I subscribe to the Lefsets Letter. Bob Lefsetz is a music industry “insider” without really having been on the inside. But he tooted his horn, was often brutally honest with his views, and the industry listens to the guy. I’ve got to admit that despite his often pessimistic vitriol he makes a helluva lot of sense; enough sense that major, heavy-hitters read his letter, and send him email on a regular basis. This morning, I was surprised to see an email from Steve Lukather. Here’s an excerpt:
Damn the soundtrack of my childhood Bob.
I LOVE all these records so much.
The whole 60’s era of music will never get old to me.
The songs, the production the musicians, and let us not forget the STUDIO players in LA-NYC-Nashville-London and Motown!!
Oh the bands were great too but many had ‘ ringers’ ya know. THE guys.
And the singers!
Nothing remotely close today for me.
Everyone uses the same f**king plug in’s and over compression on everything and the same drum samples etc..
It is like seeing how many twinkies you can shove in your urethra. Painful and pointless.
I was recently thinking about what singers are doing today, and it’s all the same crap. It seems that very few pop singers can get through a song without doing some sort of Whitney-Houston-gospel-chorus-inspired vocal run every chance they get. Male and female vocalists alike are guilty of this. Singers like Whitney could pull it off because they were some of the first to really use it and it set them apart. But now all of pop-dom does it, whether they have the vocal chops (as in strength) to do it or not. Believe me, most don’t. You need lots of power to pull off those modulated vocal runs, and there just aren’t very many powerful singers out there. Unfortunately, for many pop singers, this is the norm, and it’s perpetuated by the music industry. But if you want to be different, you gotta break out of the box.
On Lukather’s view on over-compression and using the same drum samples, I totally agree, and the twinkie thing says it all! 🙂