I love overproduced music

It seems like some folks don’t like music with a lot of studio work. Overproduced, they call it. Maybe this is a relic of the days when producers weren’t a creative force on par with the actual performers and artists.

I don’t know, because I love overproduced music. Phil Spector, “Wall of Sound”? Bring it. Large band efforts like “Sir Duke”, “You’re not from Texas”, or “Good Vibrations”? Love it. Super-filtered drum sound? Gotta have it.

It probably has everything to do with, at one point, wanting to pursue a career as a double bassist in symphony orchestras. The pieces I loved the most were the big Romantic tone poems and symphonies with a chorus. Hundreds of people, dozens of unique parks, all playing at the same time, often loudly. It’s the essence of overproduced.


Here’s a curious thing. When I hear “Wouldn’t it be nice?” in my head, it’s much bigger and Wagnerian than it is on Pet Sounds. The pedal tone is bigger and more prominent, the first note after the guitar intro is massive. Maybe I’m just projecting my interpretation onto the song.

Contrast to “Good Vibrations”. There’s always more going on than I remember. Vocal parts, instruments. Sooooo good.

Outside of Brian Wilson, I’ve noticed Jeff Lynne is amongst “the overproducers”. Especially, apparently, how he thins out drum sounds. Love it. Have I ever told you how much I dislike the sound of an raw snare drum?

Van Halen ranked, atypically

Best songs that David Lee Roth talks over:

  • “Hot for Teacher”
  • “Panama”
  • “Everybody Wants Some”

Coincidentally, best use of Van Halen songs in film:

  • “Hot for Teacher” in the strip club scene of Varsity Blues
  • “Panama” in the joyriding/donuts scene of Superbad
  • “Everybody Wants Some” in the Hummer scene of Zombieland

Bon Iver discovers the Option key on his Mac

Someone just discovered all the weird glyphs you can make if you hold the option key and type random stuff!
Someone just discovered all the weird glyphs you can make if you hold the option key and type random stuff!

22, A Million, quick thoughts:

  • first track has a very Tune-Yards drums thing going
  • second track has a very 808s & Heartbreak thing
  • a few tracks in: each track is like Bon Iver doing someone else’s track from the past ten years, but with emo autotune
  • I like the background piano/horn tracks on “29 #Strafford APTS”
  • feels like the track sequencing demonstrates thinking through emotional/tempo pacing 👍
  • I really like the use of pseudo-sax harmony e.g. “____45_____”; slightly Ornette Coleman-esque
  • I like how a lot of the individual parts don’t fit together exactly right, but it still works

So what genre is this album? Neo-electro-ambient-folk-jam? Either way, it works!

On the albums of The Clash

Passing thoughts on the discography of The Clash that is not London Calling:

  • Brian and I had a conversation that randomly veered onto the Clash which prompted to me to listen to all of their studio albums
  • I have listened to London Calling a few times before, and recall some story about its producer encouraging them to go broader with the album so as to reach a wider audience; basically that it’s not much like their other albums
  • I enjoy London Calling, but I’m not sure what to expect from a categorical English punk band
  • I like the punk ethos of don’t wait for permission and build it yourself
  • I strongly dislike when punk music is simplistic shouting
  • Enough about me, let’s talk about the music
  • I was pleasantly surprised!
  • Their early albums don’t sound like the learned to play their instruments an hour before they started recording
  • They probably listened to music outside of their genre even before London Calling 👍
  • The albums after London Calling sound like they were trying to walk a line between keeping to their punk/ish origins and exploring integrating other genres into their sound
  • I should mention that their “Guns On the Roof” is exactly the same riff as The Who’s “Can’t Explain”
  • Would listen again!

This has been 🔥 takes.

I love when snares don’t keep time

In the majority of music you’ll hear after 1960, the drummer does most of the time keeping with their snare. On 100% of Bruce Springsteen songs, time is kept entirely with the snare. I listen to a lot of The Boss; it’s a little surprising when I don’t here a consistent 1/3 or 2/4 snare keeping time.

That makes the drumming on most jazz albums pretty delightful. For example, Cannonball Adderley, “Games” (Roy McCurdy on drums):

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, too much of its time

I really dislike “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears because it’s a perfectly written song that sounds exactly like the year it was recorded, 1985. Five years earlier, it would have sounded mildly seventies-ish and been great. Five years later and it would have had a little more grit and sound very late eighties.

What I’m saying is, if I could un-invent certain musical sounds, the bass on that track would appear on the list.

I look forward to the day when machine learning can differentiate between “don’t play this song because it is awful” from “ don’t play this song because I’ve heard this it a thousand times” (e.g. “Superfreak”, “Rapper’s Delight”, “Come as you are”). Related, I’d love a way to tell the machine learning “if you are ever stumped about what to play next, it’s always OK to slip this song in” (e.g. “Wouldn’t it be nice”, “Summertime Blues”, “Izzo (H.O.V.A)”, “Overture to Samson and Delilah”).

Happy Birthday, Mr. The Boss!

How to celebrate the 64th birthday of Bruce Springsteen, “The Boss”, if you’re new to this curious American phenomenon:

You want to listen to at least one of these albums because there is no one who better combines the story of America with its music than Bruce Springsteen. If all you know of his work is “Born in the USA”, you got some educatin’ to do!

My Rite of Spring overfloweth

Today’s the hundredth anniversary of premier of hometown favorite Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The National Public Radios are all over this. NPR Music and WQXR are collecting a bunch of articles they’ve done in the run-up to the anniversary. My favorites: a visualization of the score and a list of essential recordings. The latter features this amazing image of Stravinsky, which I’ve already posted twice today and will continue posting it until it just doesn’t feel right anymore.

Igor Stravinsky in a giant coat, a hat, and sunglasses
Indeed, Igor Stravinsky will be on that suit and tie.

If you’re playing along today, WQXR is streaming twenty-four hours of nothing but the Rite. Highly recommended, if you have the means.