Sunday, January 23, 2005

Greatest moments in rock and roll, part 1

On the album, The Tonics will be experimenting with single- and double-tracked vocals, and combinations thereof. So here's a Neon Phosphor spotlight on the band that made double-tracking great:

The Beatles - "I Should Have Known Better" (2:01-2:21) off A Hard Day's Night.

The real innovation of this song is the last half of the last verse. Not that The Beatles needed any gimmick to make the song more interesting, but this one really adds magic to the song. For the first 2 minutes of the song, we hear John Lennon double-tracked (he liked the effect because he hated his voice). Pretty standard stuff. And then...

"that when I tell you that I love you, oh/ you're going to say you love me too, oh/ and when I ask you to be mine"

Holy shit, John's now single-tracked. To put it in more distasteful terms, this is the equivalent of a solo singer stepping out from his boy band/ a capella group near the end of the song. But this is a full-blown rock song, he doesn't need a cheesy chorus behind him going "ooh" and "aah". It's all in the production, but it makes the world of a difference. Why is this technique particularly effective at that point? Well, single-tracking exposes all the subtleties of the singer's voice. It makes the singer sound more honest, especially when done in conjunction with the most heartfelt part of the song.

The second best part of the song is when the double-tracked vocals rejoin the song, IN THE MIDDLE OF A WORD. It happens on the second half of the word "mine."

Look for The Tonics to use this technique on songs like "Lucy," "Blank Page," and "Distance."

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