Why You Should Try Rearranging Your Verses
If you ask any old head they will tell you its the simple and little things that make a big difference in a record. It’s never the amp, plugins, or mic. It’s usually something so small that it gets overlooked.
Yesterday during a session I was working on an artist’s album which has been in production for the past 18 months. The artist, including his management team, feel as though this album is the one that will skyrocket his brand to the next level. Especially since this project is being used for numerous purposes; one including building a certain brand. So because of that this project is being reviewed with a fine tooth comb as they want to make sure everything is perfect before a single record goes to mix. During the 3 hour session we came across a record that may possibly become a single. Of course, everyone wants that record to be as pristine as possible but I noticed something during the playback. It didn’t have a strong introduction.
The record itself is a standout and may possibly be used separate from the album itself. However, every great single has a strong intro or a build up if you will. I played the artist a few records as references where you could feel the anticipation of the chorus drop which gave them way more energy. We brainstormed a few ideas like a reverb sweep, riser, or even a chopped vox. Then I heard the second first for the tenth time and had a crazy idea. Why don’t we switch the first 8 bars of verse 2 with the first 8 bars of verse 1? Verse 2 comes in very strong and has a build up. To be more specific, the vocal for the second verse actually starts right before the first kick drum of the verse. This would give it sort of a buildup and get the crowd into it as they are jumping up and down in the rhythm before the explosion of the chorus. We switched them around in Pro Tools, after much nudging, and boom! “Oooohhhh sh-t!” Just like that, the entire dynamic of the record changed. “Now we’ve got a single!”
Both my mentors have always told me that one of the hardest things to do is to keep things simple. With so many techniques, plugins, and the constant push to be innovative its hard not to become super technical trying to achieve that goal. As creatives a lot of times we really do want to push the envelope by adding 12 more vocal stacks, an effects chain, or even totally warping the song in an attempt to be ‘different.’ However, from my experience I have noticed that when the beats are simple, the top line that is super easy, or just EQing a sound without another effect I get exactly what I want. You may want to change your approach when trying to problem solve. Sometimes just turning the BPM up/down gives you the feel you need or changing the key.
Keep It Simple…..duh