First thought: OMG this album has 30 songs
So that was my first thought. But my second thought was "oh, I think I'll like this".
The songwriting is very reminiscent of the early 2010s - twirling around ideas of love and nature intertwining. Lots of talk of god... I realized around track 11 that these guys are a christian rock band.
The melodies are repetitive, making them catchy and easy to sing along to.
The production is very cohesive through the whole album. A lot of the songs start off quiet with one or 2 instruments and the vocal, and halfway through the verse, starts to grow and subtly introduce more instruments until you're enveloped in sound. It drops off for the second verse or the bridge, to come back quicker and more intensely. The formula works, though, because I'm engaged through each song.
There's LOTS of ear candy. This is something I want to work on in my own production is how to introduce ear candy without it sounding out of place.
In the embers: reminds me of a Cam song, with sounds of fire or rain or something in the background of the song. Very cool.
In Earth, the reverb is being panned back and forth rather than the instrument itself - like the sound is bouncing off the walls around you.
West: the first 10 seconds of this one reminded me of Ian Sherwood's Firefly - just way slower. Now I'm sad that his album Bring The Light isn't on my list for this year.
The Projectionist - production on this one is great. Panning that caught me off guard and made my heart skip a beat - loved it.
Mercury - 0:46 intro of piano part is super cool
Overall I really enjoyed this album. Very reminiscent of my early 20s (though I had never heard of them before, their style was familiar). I love that they had instrumental tracks trickled in throughout. The production was very cohesive and evolved through the album, some being more folky, some being more orchestral.. I wrote one thing on a sticky note for production which is <pan reverb>.
OK so I've obviously heard Billie Eilish and I've done a lot of watching production videos with Finneas but I've never listened to a full album of theirs.
Right off the bat, his use of processing to distort her vocal with the bass in bad guy and xanny is super intriguing to me.. how do I do that in Logic? Also the back and forth panning on the vocal is cool.
By 'you should see me in a crown' I'm over the vocal distortion. SORRY.
SUPER strong bass lines - they are so singable which I love.
I like how the songs are diverse in composition/genre but it's still a cohesive body of work. I worry so much about genre with my music being too different one song to the next but I guess if it's all me it doesn't matter.
Really good use of space and quiet throughout.
Also layering vocals of different timbres. In my own songs, I often just default to doing my own background vocals because I sing, but that's not always an intentional production decision - I shouldn't forego complexity and depth for the sake of convenience. DUH.
when the party's over - I'm a sucker for lush layered vocals.
listen before i go - i like the sparsity of the instrumentation on this one.
Overall I totally understand why this album did so well. They broke so many "rules" about pop music. I feel like every song could be in a mystery/horror/thriller movie... I mean, just based on the album art I should have expected that.. I think this album is a good lesson in 'don't second guess all your decisions'/'break the rules'.
My sticky note take away is <male bg vox>.. seems obvious but I needed the reminder.
*To note: I locked myself in my classroom over lunch on the first day back from holidays to listen to this album on my wireless headphones.
The first song takes so long to get going.. the suspense is almost unbearable.
Lots of use of feedback in the first song... Which I don't hate, especially if this genre of music.. has me thinking of how I could use it in my own productions.
"Selling the drama" sounds like every 90s radio rock song I've ever heard. Which is definitely not a bad thing - it works for a reason. I'd be interested to see if I could come up with a formula to follow for production. I'm sure it would be fairly easy and would help me develop my production and engineering skills considerably. This might be a production goal for the year.
"I alone" is playing now and I'm realizing why selling the drama sounded so familiar. I listened to this song a lot when I was a kid. Is chez 106 still a thing in Ottawa? Because that's definitely the radio station it played on.
Lightning crashes - THROWBACK. I never intentionally listened to this song though. The panning of the guitar is pretty cool. It lingers just long enough in the centre. Subtle and powerful use of volume on that same guitar. It's building tension so subtly. Same with intro of drums.. so subtle to start and builds exactly the right amount of tension. At 4:05 the whole mix gets quieter so they can crank it at 4:30 for impact. I've heard of this production trick before but this is the first time I actually notice it in a song.
Another throwback: All over you. Focusing on drums in this mix, the ride is panned almost all the way left. Everything else is nicely down the centre.
I'm not mad that this album was on the list. There are some really great songs and the production is solid. The amount of waiting I did listening to this album is considerable.
Sticky note: build tension with production rather than with dissonance * intro of drums, volume, waiting just a little too long to intro drums or more instruments..
Lower mix volume before a big release/climax so it is more impactful (bring up volume right at the pivotal moment).
I've definitely heard songs by this band before but I never took the time to figure out who they were.
Bass lines from the get go are very prominent in the mix and melodic. I'm a fan.
I like the different ways they processed electric guitar (maybe Brandon could tell me how to achieve all these sounds with various pedals I'm sure are in his collection).
Listening through this album, I knew SO many songs. Just further proof that I need to be more intentional about my listening. I didn't know the band name/couldn't name one Audioslave song, but I know all the words to half this album.
I am a big fan of "Shadow on the Sun". There's lots going on in the production without being overwhelming. The drums sound super clean & dry.. I like how the bass line matches the vocal melody at parts. It complements the vocalist really well and ties the whole song together.
Something I noticed in this album and in LIVE's album, are that the drums get heavier and then drop off. In my mind for whatever reason, once the drums have 'grown', they need to stay big... but that is not at all the case.
I am the Highway intro = love.
The drums in Hypnotize are awesome. I like that the vocals start out low. Also the octave harmonies on the vocals are a nice touch. I never think to do octaves on harms because I always hear so many other notes - this should be something I incorporate for sure.
"Light my way" has a lot of cool ear candy, but rather than instruments they use a lot of sound effects (swooshing, beeping, twinkly sounding stuff..) I don't know how else to describe it but I like it!
sticky note: octave harmonies for a subtle sound, sound effects for ear candy.
Love this album
I have actually listened to this one from front to back before, but never for production and it's been a long time.
I miss new waves: Town Heroes vibes BIG TIME! (Or I guess, Town Heroes has Matthew Good Band vibes). Very resonant/reverby drums in this one.
Failing the Rorschach Test : This lyric hits so hard... "mother told me to be something so I'm afraid". I love the electric guitar part that drives the bridge into the last chorus. Also the synth at the end is perfectly placed.
Born to kill - love the ending.
Strings in Running for Home are 🤌perfection.
Honestly listening to this album is very nostalgic. It feels comforting and easy after a long week of listening intently. I clicked "like" on a bunch of these tunes and will have them in rotation (in 2024 when I'm done this wild challenge I set for myself).
Sticky note: There are 37 seconds of silence at the end of the album. It has to be intentional. Why?
Thoughts on week 1:
If you need me this year, I'll probably be sitting in front of my computer listening to music.
I can't believe I originally wanted to do 365 albums. 4-5 per week is going to be PLENTY -- would you all be mad if it took me 2 years to listen to them all? Because it might.