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Popular music had its moment like this in the sixties, with albums like Sgt. Peppers— suddenly all that activity in the studio became less about reproduction, and about creating _a_ production. The final audio that was listened to by consumers was not something that had ever been performed and might not even be performable. All that filtering and multi-tracking might or might not constitute inserting "imperfections", but it's definitely creating something well above and beyond what was actually played live in front of a condenser mic.

Nowadays we take all this for granted, when even rom-coms go through extensive computer work for colour correction to change the time of day, and other digital additions/removals. But I think at the time it was a big deal.




And then, in the 70s, smooth mellow yacht-rock with perfect feathered hair and perfect multi-tracked vocal harmonies gave way to the intentionally flawed and hyper-naive sound of punk. Punk was a breath of fresh air for anybody fed up with the suffocating blandness and sterility of over-produced perfectionism. Authenticity became the thing.

Not coincidentally, these kids embracing this new style today are the children of Generation X who created punk, while millennials who favored the "Instagram style" are the children of yacht-rockin' boomers.

It's science.


Yacht Rock happened after (and during) Punk. Punk was more of a reaction against Prog Rock.

Incidentally, Generation X didn't create punk, that was the later baby boomers.


> Yacht Rock

Learned a new word today. Not that strange, considering that this term apparently wasn't coined until 2005.


Are you insinuating that The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers is anything short of perfection?


Haha, of course not.

But it's relevant that the last Beatles tour was in summer 1966, and that album came out in May 1967. The Beatles were fed up with stadium acoustics and screaming fans and whatever else, but definitely a part of it was simply the reality that Sgt. Peppers could not be performed live with the technology available at the time.

It's interesting to see how modern artists like Moby tackle this issue— basically they create their music at a computer, and then later on hire a bunch of musicians and figure out how to perform it on tour.


My understanding was that the decision was made to quit touring because they were exhausted by it, not because there were some constraints on what they could record such that it could be reproduced live. But once the live show was a non-factor, it freed the band from that onerous constraint and opened up the possibility of the more densely layered multitrack recording and overdubbing. The result: a record that sounded nothing like anything before it and elevated pop music to a true art form. Some years later, Queen would take the multitrack recording and overdubbing to a further extreme with Bohemian Rhapsody, which they actually did perform live, albeit with the help of recordings.


Are we sure the emphasis on multitrack recording is due to the Beatles no longer touring and not just due to improvements in studio technology? The first Beatles albums were recorded in mono, so there was a lot of technological innovation happening with recorded sound at the time...


We do know that the Beatles were innovators in the recording studio to a greater degree than their contemporaries. Maybe it was a perfect storm; New recording technology arrives just as talented artists with time, resources and influence are ready to embrace it.


Interestingly, The Beatles equipment at Abbey Road was years behind what other bands were doing in more advanced studios. So maybe the imperfection meme is relevant here..


They did the exact same thing with these filters honestly, they got gritty with their sound. Not a bad thing, just a style choice. Distortion, screaming into the mic, the hiss of the amp, all of that used to be combated by audio engineers working in rooms deep underground below the vibrations of street traffic. We have a cultural perspective where we are blind to that change in sound, but my grandma, who is used to Frank Sinatra's smooth voice, told me she never liked the Beatles because she thought they sounded hoarse to her ears.


He can't be.

You do mean the Hendrix version, right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp9V3D3ufn4


I'm certainly contemplating it's short of Pet Sounds.




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