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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist

Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1510
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Owl City featuring Carly Rae Jepsen: 'Good Time'
      #1053569 - 21/06/13 10:43 AM
I had high hopes for this collaboration, given that these artists have delivered two of my favourite pop singles of recent years (‘Fireflies’ and ‘Call Me Maybe’ respectively), but I have to say I was disappointed. Gone are the quirkily inventive song-writing and clear, super-efficient arrangement that set both those former singles out from the herd, and we’re treated instead to party club-pop by numbers. Sure, it’s of a high enough calibre in its own right to have performed solidly on a commercial level, although not a patch on past glories in that respect, either. What’s also intriguing is that both the previous singles also seem to have been mastered slightly quieter, leaving the headroom for a weightier low end, whereas ‘Good Time’ (more in line with typical chart releases) controls the sub-60Hz zone more tightly in order to hit the mastering stage harder. To my mind, though, a significant part of the appeal of both ‘Fireflies’ and ‘Call Me Maybe’ was their more expansive low end, so it seems a bit perverse to remove that for the sake of sheer loudness when sales suggest that the target fan-base may be both predisposed towards extra bass and willing to reach for the volume knob.

Looking on the bright side, though, there’ll always be space in my record collection for the nice finger-cymbal fill just before the second verse!

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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist

Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1510
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Owl City featuring Carly Rae Jepsen: 'Good Time' new [Re: Mike Senior]
      #1053572 - 21/06/13 10:46 AM
I critiqued this production from the version on the Now 83 compilation, so here are some credits from Wikipedia:

Writing: Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen, Brian Lee
Mixing: Robert Orton
Mastering: Ted Jensen
Vocal Production (Carly Rae Jepsen): Ryan Stewart (Not sure the dedicated vocal production really made much of a difference here, but if it did then I'm glad we didn't end up hearing the 'before' performance...)
Vocal Recording (Carly Rae Jepsen): Ken Friesen

Anyone who's familiar with the format of the Now compilations will already be aware that they tend to list the most popular singles earliest on each disc, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions from 'Fireflies' being track two on Now 75, 'Call Me Maybe' being track two on Now 82, and 'Good Time' being track 11 on Now 83.

There's an example of bitcrusher-style distortion being used to create an upper spectral 'bracket' around an essentially dull sound in the main keyboard sound (heard best during the introduction), another recent example being Katy Perry's 'Wide Awake' (with a different engineer at the helm). Listening again just now, the little synth hook during the intro also caught my attention. It could have been tossed off, but there are nice little pitch-sweeps at the beginning and end, and the sprinkling of vibrato on the final note is another appealing detail.

Oh, and if you're also a sucker for finger cymbals, check out Nelly Furtado's breakthrough hit 'I'm Like A Bird' if you've not heard that already...

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

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Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio.

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