I find the oddball, singalong vibe of this track very endearing, and likewise a few
specific production features. The first is the degree of looseness in terms of pitching
and timing allowed to the lead vocal. On the face of it, it’s possible that the
singer’s performance has been left completely unedited in this respect, but if Melodyne
or whatever was involved (as I strongly suspect), then it’s a fantastic example of
musical restraint on the part of the producers. The perceived ‘centres’ of most of the
important notes are just tight enough to stop things feeling out of tune/time, but
there’s enough waywardness in between them to maintain the quirky character of the
delivery and offset the rigidity of the drum and backing vocal parts. Comparing the first
and second verses in this respect is particularly rewarding — the first feels much
looser than the second, which makes sense given that the latter’s added harmony line
would draw attention to pitch/time vagaries much more readily. My only reservation is
perhaps that the middle‑section backing vocals maybe get a fraction too ‘Mutt Lange’
(think Shania Twain’s hoary old ‘Still The One’, say), to the point where they maybe
undermine the alternative credentials a bit. It’s a fine line, though.
are some nice simple arrangement touches too: the tambourine added during the choruses to
help the backbeat cut through in the thicker texture; the increase in the apparent number
of the chorus backing vocalists as the track progresses (whether by virtue of effects
rides, additional overdubs, or both); and the nice understated ‘drop’ beginning to the
final choruses, which keeps the hook fresh enough that the band can squeeze in an extra
repeat for luck.
Less appealing to my ears is a rather abrasive frequency
build‑up at around 3.5kHz. I have no problem at all with the pivotal role this frequency
plays in the record’s splendidly up‑front vocal sound, but I don’t think enough
effort has been made to clear space in this region on other tracks in the mix. The result
is that the snare, bass distortion, tambourine, and backing vocals all compete in the same
spectral zone during the choruses, making me instinctively reach to turn down the volume
knob. The pity is that this harshness could have been effectively tackled either with
narrow EQ cuts at mixdown, or with a single band of dynamic EQ during the mastering stage.
Clearly it didn’t bother anyone at the time, though, so maybe it’s just me...
--------------------Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio