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Examples of Overproduced Songs/Albums
Old 17th May 2006
  #1
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Examples of Overproduced Songs/Albums

-Guns and Roses: "Use Your Illusion" (1 and 2).
-Peter Gabriel: "UP".
-Primus: "Sailing on the Seas of Cheese".
-any Van Halen after D.L. Roth left.

My definition of "overproduced" is songs or music that sound lifeless due to lack of spontaneous performance, due to injudicious use of overdubbing, gridding, cutting and pasting, etc. This is different from BADLY produced in that badly produced might mean poor sound quality or bad performances or bad arrangements, or a vision for the song that doesn't work ("let's do James Brown covers with a polka feel!").
Considering the albums mentioned above, think of how alive and dangerous "Appetite for Destruction" sounded. Now compare it to "Use...". Compare "Fizzle Fry" to "Sailing". Etc.
David
Old 17th May 2006
  #2
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It's difficult for me to comment, because I'm a major proponent of what many consider an 'over produced' sound.

Some could easily venture to say that the Queen albums were over produced. Thank god they were.

Today it's just a 'different' manner of over production solely contingent upon budgets and turn-around time.

The production criteria has changed quite dramatically over the last decade or so-perhaps even less.

It starts with a 'artist/performer' who has the potential to move units. These performers are then moved into a world of 'HIGH VISIBILITY' in an attempt (based upon promotional budgets) to represent all the various entities involved in realizing what we hear on record.

The crux of it is that many of these 'artists/performers' require massive production in order to get sufficient results. The result is more likely to be reflective of the producer/production, which will sometimes very easily qualify as 'over production'.

With regard to some of the legendary artists metioned here, I believe that their attempt at a 'current' production style is to continue the legacy in a contemporary climate...and market. They just want to maintain relevence. Nothing wrong with that. We all have bills to pay.
Old 17th May 2006
  #3
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I wouldn't call Queen overproduced, just heavily produced. There is plenty of energy in those songs. I'm not a big Queen fan BTW, but they certainly get my respect. David
Old 17th May 2006
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Herbert
-Guns and Roses: "Use Your Illusion" (1 and 2).
I don't think "Use your Illusion" were overproduced, but they were probably very close to the line. I remember when it came out and I thought they got that sound exactly right!

I think ALL Michael Jacksons work after Bad is very overproduced. I agree that Perter Gabriels latest work being overproduced, so is Bowies latest records.

I think a pattern can be seen here! Looks like when good songwriters have written to many songs or lost their writing skills they rely on the producer or the production to make it good.

/Cojo
Old 17th May 2006
  #5
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The Use Your Illussion records and UP are some of my favorite recordings. I think "over-producing" is a technique used to try and make poor material listenable.
Old 17th May 2006
  #6
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It's a matter od taste. I doubt you can get a general consensus on certain album wether it's overproduced or not. I don't agree that "UP" is overproduced, it is what it is, like it or not. I think it would be much easier to talk about albums that are underproduced... heh
Old 17th May 2006
  #7
the best UNDERPRODUCED album for me is DOWN - nola

raw,dirty, delta-blues-metal

ohoh.. thread-hijacking by moderator.. tutt
Old 17th May 2006
  #8
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I remember when "Boston" came out, thinking that it had redefined overproduction. You might not know it, listening to it in retrospect...

Anything by Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, ... I've always wondered what kind of recordings they could have made if someone had simply stood them in front of a great band and let them have at it for a while.

I find some of Sting's recordings to be a little bit overproduced, but in a different way from the above. The backgrounds seem kind of stiff and lifeless... Maybe I'm just missing the sound of the Police.

-synthoid
Old 17th May 2006
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid
I remember when "Boston" came out, thinking that it had redefined overproduction. You might not know it, listening to it in retrospect...
Please don't confuse innovation with overproduction. If a 30 year old record still sounds better than a CD that came out yesterday, I would hardly use the term overproduced.

Most producers active in 76 should be ashamed that Sholtz/Boston recorded that disk in his basement on the gear he had. It sounds better than anything else from that era. Today, putting that disk in perspective is really mind boggling.

Overproduction is simply trying to make a bad sound good with production.
If a song or record is great and sold millions how can it be overproduced??? If it is a succesful song or record it was produced just right now wasn't it???

I think pearl jam and bands like Creed are sloppy and 'demo' sounding. But if suckers waste $15 on it Then it is produced the way is should be since that sound is what some folks like. I guess saying Pearl jam or Nirvana is underproduced is as ignorant as saying something like boston or Queen is overproduced. 'It is what it is' and that the way it should be.


The term overproduced is simply ignorant and a term for folks who cannot achieve or dislike sonic greatness
Old 17th May 2006
  #10
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Anything by David Foster or Trevor Horn.
Old 17th May 2006
  #11
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>> If a song or record is great and sold millions how can it be overproduced???

Well, if it sold millions, presumably someone thought it was great. So I guess this means nothing successful is overproduced? Listening to the radio, it's hard to believe.

-synthoid
Old 17th May 2006
  #12
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Hmm...I think a lot of what you're hearing energy-wise when comparing Appetite to the Use Your Illusion discs is in the songwriting. The material (though great--I love those albums) wasn't the same hungry, balls-to-the-wall stuff they wrote for Appetite. I think the UYI production was perfect for the material.
Then again, I'm about to record 50+ voices for a choir on a Power Metal record, so I'm probably unqualified to even post in this thread. heh

Matt
Old 17th May 2006
  #13
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I agree, I have a real problem with the "if it's economically successful, it's good" argument.

I also have a personal problem with pandering to the lowest common denominator, which is why I expect to die in abject poverty




Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid
>> If a song or record is great and sold millions how can it be overproduced???

Well, if it sold millions, presumably someone thought it was great. So I guess this means nothing successful is overproduced? Listening to the radio, it's hard to believe.

-synthoid
Old 18th May 2006
  #14
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in a good way: metallica-black album, boston, tool-lateralus, nirvana-nevermind,

in a negative way: all of Evanessence, Lucia Coil (i think that's how you spell it), and just about anything on modern rock radio (gosh i'm really showin' my bias now)
Old 18th May 2006
  #15
84K
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Turn on your local modern rock / pop station. Whatever new band is on at the time is most-likely overproduced.

Obvious Rock Stuff:

Nickelback
Audioslave (although the stuff sounds amazing and there are a few good songs, it is way too perfect)
All Orange County Diet Punk stuff
Old 18th May 2006
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins
Most producers active in 76 should be ashamed that Sholtz/Boston recorded that disk in his basement on the gear he had. It sounds better than anything else from that era. Today, putting that disk in perspective is really mind boggling.
This is not the entire story. The original songs were indeed worked up by Tom Scholtz, but once signed, the project migrated from his narrow gauge multitrack to a real 2" machine - some things were re-tracked, drums forinstance. He didn't do it all himself, like so many wish was the case. There was a producer on it after they got signed. If you search the back articles of Mix Magazines "Classic Tracks" you'll find this info!
Old 18th May 2006
  #17
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I thought that Peter gabriels "up" was great and that the production fit the music. He likes to be different, and it is.

the post DLR van halen stuff had awful production 5150 and OU812 just sounding awful and Balance being so terribly over produced it's embarassing. F.U.C.Knowledge i thought was pretty good (production wise)

the problem with the guns 'n roses stuff wasn't production, it was the fact that they had the worst singer in rock and roll history.
-now that was their problem.





in my opinion.
-Jeff
Old 8th February 2007
  #18
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NSYNC, Back Street Boys, all these "new female faces" like Beyonce... overproduced, boring, bad songs.
Old 8th February 2007
  #19
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its all a matter of taste, i love heavily produced recordings. although i know a guy who thinks using 2 overheads and any overdubs is over producing.

in both our minds we're right? you cant judge it...
Old 8th February 2007
  #20
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Over Produced is one term that should just get thrown away and never repeated. It really does not mean anything. There is Good Production and bad production. That's it.

If a band and the producer spend 9 months in pre production getting the songs just right and then cut the album live off the floor, and mix it with not reverb or FX, that to me is a lot of production. Is it over produced?

If a producer gets a great band in the studio and cuts a kick ass album in two weeks, but the label rejects the mixes and sends them of to another mixer that uses lot of unnecessary FX, has that record now been over produced or is that a bad mix?

If Peter Gabriel spends forever recording the "US" album and it comes out as wonderful as it is, is that overproduced?

I think overproduced is a term created by people that do not understand how records are made and it has for some reason been adopted into the lexicon of people that should no better.
Old 8th February 2007
  #21
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Cradle of Filth - Thornography

everything I've ever heard from Nickelback.

Quote:
If a song or record is great and sold millions how can it be overproduced???
Sales are not an indicator of how good a song is... but anything beyond that statement is probably worth another topic
Old 8th February 2007
  #22
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But again, what about "underproducing"? Allen mentioned the distinction between your Pearl Jams and your Queens (both talented bands with good songwriting -- esp the early stuff for Pearl Jam). But what about the "underproduced for the sake of underproduction" side of things? What about the difference between Pearl Jam and, say, Bright Eyes or Pavement?

A friend of mine in grad school used to drive me nuts with his snobbery about "overproduced bands". His expensive thrift-store-chic clothes and super-conscious conforming to nonconformity made him difficult to take too seriously, but he literally thought that any band that used compression or EQ at some point in the chain on the record, played in tune, and whose singer didn't sing in some sort of totally effected way was "overproduced". And most of the bands he liked were, surprise, just not very talented musicians.

I suppose we could start an entirely separate thread about the "indie-rock/emo" vocal, but what about the production issue? It seems to me a bit like modern art. Some of it is fantastic, and it can be hard to put your finger on why, especially when you compare it technique-wise to a Rubens or Velázquez or something. But sometimes, well, you've just got to call a turd a turd.

And there are even finer distinctions within this group of consciously "underproduced" bands to be made. For example, although the Pavement and Bright Eyes records sound "underproduced", when you see them live (and I have seen both) you realize that there is a significant difference, and that the "underproduction" of the record may only be a sound that they went for, since the producer was clearly doing a whole lot of work to make them sound better than they can actually play live. Couldn't we call this "overproduced" in a certain sense?

(See also Fall Out Boy -- I really like the record, for what it is, but I see them live or on tv and, well, let's just say that it is, um, a BIT of a disappointment).

But then you take a group like the Flaming Lips -- just as odd, experimental, low-fi, whatever you want to say, as Pavement or Bright Eyes, etc. -- and they're absolutely brilliant live.

So it seems like there are at least a couple of different axes that go into this: the talented vs. not so much axis, the lots of "production" vs. not so much axis, and (directly related to both of these) the lots of production as part of the sound (both on the record and live) vs. a major difference between record and live axis.

Any thoughts?
Old 8th February 2007
  #23
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Personally I think that all "Madness" albums after their first couple were over produced.
Old 8th February 2007
  #24
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Almost any band formed after 1994 or so has been over-produced.

And let's not use the term "under-produced." "Lack of talent" or "lack of fidelity" is a better term for what you're describing.
Old 8th February 2007
  #25
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some tracks on the decemberists latest album "the crane wife"


still is my album of 2006 though
Old 8th February 2007
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
Almost any band formed after 1994 or so has been over-produced.

And let's not use the term "under-produced." "Lack of talent" or "lack of fidelity" is a better term for what you're describing.
Yes, I'd agree totally for much of it, as I said in my last post (turds, etc.). But then along comes a group like the Flaming Lips. Or, I suppose, Magnetic Fields. They're going for a consciously lo-fi or bizarre sound, the opposite of the perhaps "overpolished" sounds of all of the bands you mentioned (that is, everyone since 1994 ), and yet, there's real talent there. While many of those boybands and a number of other, more elegantly-crafted musical products signed to major labels may be all production polish and virtually no talent.

So there have to be a couple of different directions to plot this, more than one variable, continuum, or whatever other term you want to use. No?
Old 8th February 2007
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectacle View Post
Yes, I'd agree totally for much of it, as I said in my last post (turds, etc.). But then along comes a group like the Flaming Lips. Or, I suppose, Magnetic Fields. They're going for a consciously lo-fi or bizarre sound, the opposite of the perhaps "overpolished" sounds of all of the bands you mentioned (that is, everyone since 1994 ), and yet, there's real talent there. While many of those boybands and a number of other, more elegantly-crafted musical products signed to major labels may be all production polish and virtually no talent.

So there have to be a couple of different directions to plot this, more than one variable, continuum, or whatever other term you want to use. No?
Here's a question: Do you consider The Beatles "Abbey Road" album to be "lo-fi?"

I know it's all semantics, but for me, "lo-fi" is an artistic decision whereas "under-produced" means somebody dropped the ball.

But hey, obviously, SOMEBODY thought "Let it Be" was over-produced (it wasn't me, tho!)
Old 8th February 2007
  #28
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Yeah I don't buy the term "over produced" either. Just rightly or wrongly produced. I guess it comes down to whether or not the production takes away from the emotional impact of the song or adds to it.

Sure you may think alot of the current stuff is "over produced". But unless you've had the luxury of hearing the material before it was quantized, tuned and properly crushed ( heh ) who the heck knows??? It may very well have been an abortion before the tunes went through the grinder.
Old 8th February 2007
  #29
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I can't believe nobody mentioned: Def Leppard-Pyromania.

Talk about "over-produced"......

It sounds kick-ass, but give that puppy a listen and you'll hear what I mean.
Old 8th February 2007
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
Here's a question: Do you consider The Beatles "Abbey Road" album to be "lo-fi?"

I know it's all semantics, but for me, "lo-fi" is an artistic decision whereas "under-produced" means somebody dropped the ball.

But hey, obviously, SOMEBODY thought "Let it Be" was over-produced (it wasn't me, tho!)
Exactly my point. There is a MAJOR distinction between the artistic decision and the simply unfortunate. But this distinction is often missed when people start talking about "overproduction". Good call Alex.

And as kats says, who knows what it sounded like before it went into the grinder? (unless you see them live)

So, is the producer who turns a pile of smoking dung into a product that sells millions "overproducing" it, just doing his/her job, or perpetrating some sort of heinous crime on the world full of talented musicians?
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