Colin Timothy Gagnon (sacredspud) wrote,
Colin Timothy Gagnon

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ATTN: Charles Douglas!

Yeah? You're really Charles Douglas? Do you swear, Scout's honor?

Alright then. 'sup, Chuck?

I don't actually think you suck. At all. Really. But I'm not in love with your cover of She's An Angel, and as I said in that post, I think it has more to do with the style of production than it has to do with talent or musicianship. I dunno, it sounds unpolished and underproduced to me. And those things are so easy to fix in the studio that I know the problem can't possibly be a lack of musical ability on your part.

Your cover of She's an Angel is a prime example of a minimalist approach to sound engineering that's really popular right now, but which I don't like. To me, modern rock records sound like they're trying to replicate the sound of a live band; the playing is messy and the vocalists often hit the wrong pitches. Yes, obviously, this is what happens when human beings play music. Nobody's perfect all the time, but the nature of recording makes it possible to cut together the perfect parts of eleven takes (or 60 takes or 283 takes or whatever) to create the perfect track. And after that's done, you can add the perfect reverb and the perfect filters and the pitch correction. No, it's not a "pure" sound. But it's an ideal sound. And I've been raised on rock records that reflect this, from the extremes of meticulous production (The Beatles, Boston, Frank Zappa) to production that practically strives only to protect your speakers from the raw sounds (The Circle Jerks, Green Day).

The underproduction I'm describing seems to be most favored by indie bands, and I assume that they're eschewing slick, artificially-enhanced recordings in favor of a product that sounds more raw and spontaneous. I can see the artistic appeal of that, but to me it's like getting a really high quality bootleg, minus the audience reactions and banter between songs. Clearly it's a matter of taste. Maybe this is how you want to sound, but to me it seems lazy. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check around the web for other reviews from other people you've never met. Maybe the problem is mine. It wouldn't be a popular style if nobody liked it.

Re: Your version of She's an Angel:

Having given it a few more listens, I like it quite a bit more than I thought I did when I wrote that review, and I'm not just saying that. The whole thing still sounds a little apathetic to me, but nothing about the performance is sloppy. My issues are all about what happened with the song after the recording was finished. I don't really know what it is, but something (besides the accordion) is missing. On the other hand, if you're taking offense to all of this, keep in mind that you're a professional musician with actual, genuine fans and a track on the TMBG tribute album. I'm just some guy with a livejournal and questionable taste in music (seriously dude, my top five includes Blue Öyster Cult and Information Society, and I think Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell are the most detrimentally toxic forces in music today. What the hell do I know?).

For the record, though, I really do think that The Wrens -- whom I'm actually pretty fond of -- dropped the ball on They'll Need a Crane. I guess I'm still deciding on the tracks by David Miller and This Radiant Boy.
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