I auditioned this one in various versions, firstly from both the album and single
'specially mastered for iTunes' AAC versions, but mostly from the version on the band's
album Mylo Xyloto. Credits are a bit vague, appearing to apply to the whole album rather
than this individual track, but here they are for what it's worth:
Markus Dravs, Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson.
Enoxification and additional composition
by Brian Eno.
Mixing by Mark 'Spike' Stent, Rik Simpson, Daniel Green, and Michael
Mastered by Bob Ludwig
(I was also intrigued by the 'Singing
Teaching by Mary Hammond' credit -- a bit of a rarity!)
One thing I didn't make
any comment on in this critique is that this track has a rather characteristic and fairly
unusual (as far as the charts are concerned) harmonic rhythm: every bar you get three
eighth-notes of one chord, followed by five eighth notes of another (assuming that the
snare is showing the backbeat of a slow four/four bar). It's not that no-one's used this
in a chart track before -- 'Fields Of Gold' comes to mind straightaway, for instance -- or
that it's any kind of rocket science, but it's nonetheless a bit of breath of fresh air
given the tendency for more four-square harmonic movement in most other high-profile songs
on the radio.
The vocal effect I mentioned in the main critique isn't the only
interesting reverb moment here. I also like the way the "whoa-oa-oa..." vocal suddenly
seems to open out into a much larger environment. Applying a much bigger-sounding reverb
to a single component of the mix like this, rather than over multiple tracks, is a mixdown
trick I use quite a bit, and the reason it's so useful is that it lets you create the
impression of a massive space around the production, but without actually cluttering the
mix too much by applying a long tail to everything.
Finally, although I
mentioned that the mix sounds rather hard in the midrange, it's nothing compared with the
first single 'Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall', which drills my eardrums so much at 3.5kHz
that I find it unpleasantly grating over nearfields. Perhaps they only actually want to be
played in the background?
For more critiques of commercial productions, browse
The Mix Review Index
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