Monday, April 26, 2010

Lessons From the "Under Pressure" Isolated Drums

Here's another isolated track from a hit song from the past that we can learn something from. This time it's "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie, a big hit in 1981.

Once again, we're contrasting hits from different generations because what might've worked then, might not work today. Here are some things to listen for:

1) Roger Taylor's drum track is pretty solid, but there are some slight hesitations at about 1:00 during the double time feel, and again at 3:15. Would that fly today? It depends how enlightened the producer is, but probably not. I suspect that he'd probably break out Beat Detective to straighten it out.

2) The snare and toms have a LOT of reverb. It certainly works in the context of the song, but if you listen to the drums by themselves, you think right away that there's way too much. That's why the solo button on the console or DAW can do you a lot more harm than good sometimes. You can't really tell what's best for the song unless you can hear everything in context.

3) It's also interesting how they contrast the huge bombastic reverb with none at all like at 1:12. I suspect this was just a way to get rid of the long reverb tail across a rather naked part of the song in the days before console automation, but that's just speculation.

Have a listen.



Tomorrow we'll listen to the isolated vocals.

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1 comment:

Bobby Owsinski said...

Engineer extraordinaire Francis Buckley made the following comment via Facebook:

"Also note how much more important the backbeat is to the kick, the kick is much more important in todays production."

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