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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger'
      #965878 - 23/01/12 07:10 PM
The whistled part in this production is a masterstroke on a number of levels. For a start, it presents the chorus’s key melodic moment right away, despite the song’s lyrics preventing the vocal from delivering it so early on. It also pops up all over the rest of the arrangement to ensure that you’re never more than 15 seconds from a reminder of the chorus, and allows a convenient means of signing off the song with an extra repetition of the final hook — all very savvy from a commercial perspective.

Then there’s the way that the whistling tracks the vocal fairly closely during the choruses, but deviates distinctly from it right at the end of the line, which to my mind actually draws more of your attention back to the vocal/whistle pairing for the important final “like Jagger”. (The arrangement pockets at 0:58 and 1:58 do a similar job.) The little vinyl-style pitch drops at 1:28 and the end of the song are also great, especially because they once again focus attention on the phrase’s critical end portion.

I think the drum parts are very effective too. The clap/snare backbeat has the kind of short, super-dense electronic sustain that (coincidentally) always reminds me of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie In A Bottle’. The advantage of a timbre like this is that it doesn’t really rely on its attack to cut through the mix, so it’ll continue to speak reliably even if it has to compete with simultaneous kick hits, or if the mix gets pulped by extreme dynamics processing during mastering and/or broadcast. Furthermore, because the sustain isn’t a product of reverb processing, it enables the mix to remain poptastically up-front sounding.

I love some of the drum fills as well, because of the way they manage to sound reasonably fresh despite the powerful magnetic force that cliché exerts over anyone working around a four-to-the-floor beat these days. The kick roll at 1:29 is great, for instance, especially the way the timing and velocity programming manage to hit that sweet spot where the pattern-change doesn’t disturb the underlying groove or make the tempo appear to stumble. I periodically encounter fills like this at mixdown and, believe me, they’re much trickier to pull off smoothly than a lot of people think! The filtered snare fill at 1:37-1:45 is another highlight, setting up the clear expectation of a textbook machine-gun manoeuvre, but then wrong-footing you at 1:44 to clear out the texture for the “goes like this” chorus pick-up. (There was another good recent example of this kind of subverted cliché in Pitbull’s ‘Give Me Everything’, which I critiqued back in SOS December 2011.)

At first glance, it’s tempting to write off the bass part as no more than another ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ repetitive off-beat, but if you listen closely you’ll notice that the first note of every bar is actually a sixteenth-note later in relation to the kick than the other three. The way this fits in with the more sustained rhythm-guitar playing on each bar’s downbeat really helps give this groove personality, but not at the expense of stopping anyone’s head nodding — again, a finely judged tight-rope act from a programming and mixing perspective.

Finally, this production is also notable for its use of the stereo field. The way the whistle is offset very slightly to one side, for example, delivers a degree of separation between it and the vocal in stereo, but without significantly adjusting the relative balance between these two vital musical elements in the mono balance. The way the image seems to opens out for the first chorus is also very nice, not least because the verses don’t, by any means, give the impression of being narrow by comparison. Although the verse has some width in the panning of the multi-amped/miked guitar part and the vocal has a good dose of widener (probably from a short dual pitch-shifted delay, judging by the stereo Sides component), the chorus dramatically widens the field with its opening cymbal hit, and then sustains this width with wider percussion layers, panned backing harmonies, stereo send effects, and (I suspect) a fizzy, low-level synth pad.

I say ‘suspect’ in relation to the last of these because it’s arguable whether it’s actually present at all, as far as hearing it in its own right is concerned, but I have two reasons for thinking it’s there nonetheless. Firstly, the apparent stereo width of the mix as a whole seems somehow to remain wider and more consistent than I’d expect, given the tracks I can consciously identify, and yet the tone and balance of the identifiable instruments doesn’t seem to suffer too much when switching to mono. What does disappear when you sum the left and right channels, though, is a sense of air and harmonic richness — exactly what a wide, bright synth pad might add. Secondly, when the second chorus arrives there’s a more clearly audible string pad filling exactly this role in the arrangement, so the concept was clearly on the minds of the producers concerned, and it therefore wouldn’t have been a huge leap to arrive at the idea of including something more subtle earlier on. Don’t let me decide the argument for you, though — have a listen for yourself, and give me your two cents on this thread!

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Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #965880 - 23/01/12 07:18 PM
I reviewed this song from the UK CD single version, which gives the following credits on the sleeve:

Written by Adam Levine, Benjamin Levin, Ammar Malik, and Shellback
Produced by Shellback and Benny Blanco.

(That's got to hurt. You hire Mutt Lange, one of the most sure-fire hitmakers on the planet, for your album, and then your biggest hit ends up being a follow-up produced by someone else. But I digress...)

Another nice little trick in this track: the low-pass filtering of the rhythm-guitar part at 0:15. You get some extra value out of the same part as far as arrangment is concerned, and you also remove away danger of high-frequency masking of the lead vocal, which helps that come through close and clear. So simple, but I'd almost certainly have overlooked it.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about when I mention the "short dual pitch-shifted delay" widener effect, you can find a detailed description of it in this Q&A response. I use this effect all the time in Mix Rescue, and I find it so useful that it's one of the very few effects I actually have built into my mixing default template in Reaper. If you want a potted plug-in version of it, try Schwa's affordable cross-platform CMX.

For more critiques of commercial productions, browse The Mix Review Index.

--------------------
Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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tremolounge
new member


Joined: 29/09/03
Posts: 4
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #966134 - 24/01/12 04:02 PM
Also add to the credits: Mixed by Serban Ghenea.

He really knows how to make a mix punch without it being obnoxious, if that makes any sense...


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: tremolounge]
      #966175 - 24/01/12 06:57 PM
Quote tremolounge:

Also add to the credits: Mixed by Serban Ghenea.





Interesting -- I didn't realise. Can't find his name anywhere on the single sleeve, but his discography at http://www.aaminc.com corroborates your assertion so I'm not doubting it.

--------------------
Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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tremolounge
new member


Joined: 29/09/03
Posts: 4
Loc: Massachusetts
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #966202 - 24/01/12 09:26 PM
Yeah, it's strange how it's not always easy to find mix credits for an album or song. I only recently became aware of Serban, but check his Wikipedia page -- his mixes are all over the Billboard pop charts for the past few years. I'd love to see SOS do an article on him, but it seems he hasn't given an interview since the early 2000's...


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: tremolounge]
      #966206 - 24/01/12 09:59 PM
Quote tremolounge:

I only recently became aware of Serban, but check his Wikipedia page -- his mixes are all over the Billboard pop charts for the past few years. I'd love to see SOS do an article on him, but it seems he hasn't given an interview since the early 2000's...




I live in hope!

--------------------
Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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Daniel Davis



Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 873
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #966213 - 24/01/12 10:57 PM
Whilst I agree mostly with what has been said as to the effectiveness of this mix. Sure the track is catchy like a winter vomiting bug, but is this really what the band sounds like?

Maroon 5 used to be a band - and this record does not sound like a band. It sounds programmed - has the singer gone solo? because if the band are still employed I can't tell.

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Daniel Davis
Edinburgh Recording Studio Windmill Sound


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turbodave



Joined: 25/04/08
Posts: 2367
Loc: derbyshire uk
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #966222 - 24/01/12 11:49 PM
I would like to be "all technical like" about this song but "gees who fermented the cheese?"...as you can tell I dislike it immensely. The melody in particular is childlike and annoying..after that...I don't care!..sorry, my rather emotional critique!I will try to listen without my musical head on and approach it technically , but if there is one thing i dislike it's bands who overproduce and lose their bandness..its called Simply Redenning I believe! dave

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My head hurts!


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Daniel Davis]
      #966233 - 25/01/12 06:31 AM
Quote Daniel Davis:

Maroon 5 used to be a band




When? Certainly not on 'Songs About Jane'! As far as I'm concerned the whole 'we're a band' thing was mostly a confection from the start. That bird flew long ago.

Band or not, Moves Like Jagger is the biggest hit they've ever had, so I don't expect they'll go back to the facade of pretending to be a band in a hurry...

--------------------
Recording Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete recording method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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SergeyK



Joined: 08/04/11
Posts: 1
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #966239 - 25/01/12 08:46 AM
Quote Mike Senior:

and (I suspect) a fizzy, low-level synth pad.




I`m not sure, but it seems to me that there is a low-level choir-like pad in the choruses having its fundamental at F#4 for the first 4 bars, and at E4 for the second 4 bars. And switching between mono and stereo reveals the very dramatic change in quality of this pad in terms of stereo width and in side component it`s slightly more prominent.


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Sam Inglis
SOS Features Editor


Joined: 15/12/00
Posts: 1733
Re: Maroon 5: 'Moves Like Jagger' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #966256 - 25/01/12 09:44 AM
We made the mistake of giving our kids the latest Now... CD for Christmas -- this is the first track and I'm soooo sick of it! That said, the mix is very very effective, and really stands out from the other material on that compilation.


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