Poll

Which is your favourite song from the new album (real version)?

Hiroshima
1 (1.9%)
Dr. Yang
5 (9.6%)
The Frown Song
2 (3.8%)
You Don't Know Me
6 (11.5%)
Before Cologne
0 (0%)
Cologne
7 (13.5%)
Errant Dog
2 (3.8%)
Free Coffee
0 (0%)
Bitch Went Nuts
3 (5.8%)
Brainwascht
5 (9.6%)
Effington
10 (19.2%)
Kylie from Connecticut
11 (21.2%)

Total Members Voted: 51

Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]

  • 48 Replies
  • 19467 Views
*

Offline MongrelPiano

  • *
  • 28
  • Gender: Male
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2008, 03:42:47 PM »
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album...


Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2008, 07:54:49 PM »
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album...





Thanks to everyone who's responded. I read the Wiki page on 'The Loudness Wars' and it certainly seems to fit my experience. They do mention that it can be less of an issue with vinyl, so I might have to pick up the vinyl version and make my own CD.

Damn!

*

Offline You Dont Know Zach

  • *****
  • 2016
  • Gender: Male
  • And it's terrible pain, and it's all for free.
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2008, 08:41:53 PM »
I never really noticed that before. Guess that's a product of being a child of the nineties
dont overplay, keep it simple and in the pocket, support the song, and you will be asked to play more than you have time to. - Chuck Folds

http://www.last.fm/user/YoudontknowZach

*

Offline Kwyjibo

  • *
  • 5
  • Gender: Female
  • Tammy
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2008, 02:01:49 AM »
Hey guys I'm trying to figure out if I have a problem!

I got a copy of the SE yesterday and I'm loving the songs, but I'm finding some of them quite difficult to listen to, not because of the music, but because of the production or engineering or something.

Much of the album seems really compressed and often a bit distorted (no, I'm not talking about the deliberate stuff in 'Free Coffee' or 'Dr. Yang' although they're affected too). Brainwascht, 'Bitch Went Nuts' and 'Effington' seem really muddy and clipped, even to the extent that listening to them loud is just really unpleasant.

And I loves me some Benjamin Folds cranked up nice and loud as I drive around!

Is anyone else experiencing this, or is it possible that I have a bad pressing or something?

Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album...





Thanks to everyone who's responded. I read the Wiki page on 'The Loudness Wars' and it certainly seems to fit my experience. They do mention that it can be less of an issue with vinyl, so I might have to pick up the vinyl version and make my own CD.

Damn!

Yep, same problem here Kev, glad it's not just my picky ears. I have to say I'm really surprised Ben wouldn't have control over something like this, or if he does, why he would choose to let it be mixed this way. Either way, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come for all future BF albums.

It's funny, my husband's a musician and is *always* bitching about sh*tty compression in songs these days. He's on the front lines of the "Loudness War" (I wasn't aware there was an actual term for it!) and I always thought he was just being an elitist prog-rock dork *lol* But now it's affecting music I like, I think I'll join him on the front lines!
"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone when you're uncool." - Lester Bangs, 'Almost Famous'

*

Offline PAUL LLEWELLYN

  • *
  • 38
  • Gender: Male
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2008, 03:02:12 AM »
"Unfortunately, a lot of cds these days are mastered really loudly and very compressed, it's something called the Loudness War (look it up on Wikipedia) and Way to Normal is apparently the latest victim.  It's especially sad b/c previous BF releases, including recent stuff like SFS, sound pretty good.  Unfortunately there's no way to really "fix" this without going back and actually remastering the album.."

Hopefully, someone who gets the vinyl will post a nice rip of it.

*

Offline MongrelPiano

  • *
  • 28
  • Gender: Male
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2008, 06:55:35 AM »
Metallica's Death Magnetic was mentioned upthread, and someone made this pretty funny (if slightly too long) parody:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YUGSrzTNjZw  ;D

Rush is mentioned in it b/c their '02 album Vapor Trails is also a notoriously compressed, clippy mess.


*

Offline MongrelPiano

  • *
  • 28
  • Gender: Male
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2008, 07:36:45 AM »
Hopefully, someone who gets the vinyl will post a nice rip of it.

That would be cool...

Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2008, 06:33:02 PM »
Seeing as how I kidnapped this thread and turned it into a discussion of modern mastering techniques, I figure it's only right that I wrestle it back into line...

Hiroshima 7/10
Strange one this. Every time it starts I kind of want to skip it, but if I let it play on I'm loving it by the halfway mark.

Dr. Yang 9/10
Oh yeah, great stuff and like the album as a whole, it plays to my prejudices. Sending up the self-obsession of the middle-classes is always going to get an extra point in my ranking system!

Frown Song 9/10
Fantastic chugging pop song with a brilliant bridge. I think the electronic keyboards just give it an extra nudge.

You Don't Know Me 9.5/10
I've heard this a lot but it still works for me. The contrast between the subject matter and the charmingly light treatment gives it a quirky depth. Regina and Ben pull off the interaction wonderfully. It's also a cross-over song in that I'm finding a few people I know who aren't Folds' fans (philestines!) are liking this track. It could bring him some new punters.

Before Cologne
Why is 'Before Cologne' a separate track? Isn't it just the intro of 'Cologne'? Bloody Americans. He would never have done this when he was living in Adelaide!

Cologne 7.5/10
I like it, but it seems almost out of place on this album. It sounds like a Silverman track, which is not a criticism btw. After a few listens I think I prefer this stripped down version to the leak, although I do miss that big echoey 'boom' at the end of the countdown in the leaked version.

Errant Dog 9/10
First time I heard this I was unconvinced, but man, what a grower! One of my favourites now.
One thing though, does it really say 'godd*mn I look like a Jew'? Am I hearing that wrong? What does it mean?

Free Coffee 5/10
I like the opening , especially the lyric, but after that it just kind of fizzles out. I like the observation, but it doesn't really evolve into anything beyond that single point. I tell you what Foldsy, I don't know about coffee, but I'll buy you a beer if you ever go broke. Just one though, I'm on a budget.

Bitch Went Nuts 9/10
Awesome upbeat piano smasher that Silverman was missing. Trademark Folds humour with that big piano sound. Guaranteed concert staple for years to come. Makes me feel good.

Brainwascht 9/10
Another killer track, the lyrics are great 'Is there a funnel...' love it. The way it meanders into the bridge and then explodes out of it makes my chest swell. Is that weird?

Effington 10/10
This song had it's hooks into me within five seconds of it starting. I love every note, every word, especially the 'it would sound like this' bit. I can't really express why, it and my neural pathways just seem to have hit it off. For those of you from Australia, I'm a Collingwood supporter, so the whole 'laughing at your football team' thing resonates. Deeply.

Kylie From Connecticut 10/10
Beautiful. It reminds me in, tone and effect, of 'Fred Jones Pt2' one of my other faves. I can't think of a better album closer (except maybe that 'Long way to go' playout from the fake leak. I love that). One of the things I like best about Ben Folds is the effortless mix of the irreverent and the moving. This song really shows off the later. It's extremely evocative, with the musical interlude in the middle of the song just masterful. The strings here are amazing. One of his best ever songs.



Overall? I'm giving this biatch a 9.5 out of 10 for the songs (and a 5 out of 10 for the mastering!).

I don't know about you guys, but it's really a relief to hear this album. Ben Folds is easily my favourite artist, but generally musicians tend to produce their best stuff really early and then devolve into mediocrity. Here we are 13 years into his recording career and he's just banged out an album that is (for me) right up there with anything he's done. Sensational.

Hat's off to you Mr Folds. You are a freak.

Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2008, 07:24:26 PM »
I enjoy Free Coffee (while far from my favorite) live... but the studio version is AWFUL.

*

Offline You Dont Know Zach

  • *****
  • 2016
  • Gender: Male
  • And it's terrible pain, and it's all for free.
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2008, 08:02:05 PM »
I think it had to do with the guy producing the album, Dennis Herring If I'm correct.  He probably had a lot to do with why it's compressed as shit, maybe epic made him do it. I don't think ben did it of his own will, he's said he thinks that current medium of cds and such isn't where he'd hoped it would be by now.
dont overplay, keep it simple and in the pocket, support the song, and you will be asked to play more than you have time to. - Chuck Folds

http://www.last.fm/user/YoudontknowZach

*

Offline MongrelPiano

  • *
  • 28
  • Gender: Male
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2008, 05:01:08 AM »
Yeah, a lot of times it's the record company execs who pressure mastering engineers into squashing.  That said, at least WtN doesn't set any new records for compression/clipping the way that Metallica's new joke album does.

Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2008, 08:24:58 AM »
It's funny, my husband's a musician and is *always* bitching about sh*tty compression in songs these days. He's on the front lines of the "Loudness War" (I wasn't aware there was an actual term for it!) and I always thought he was just being an elitist prog-rock dork *lol* But now it's affecting music I like, I think I'll join him on the front lines!

Me too! It seems your husband is ahead of the curve. Any other issues we should know about?  :D

*

Offline Hanny

  • *****
  • 2662
  • Gender: Female
  • (8) Laugh all you want, I got my philosophy! (8)
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2008, 03:22:06 PM »
Brainwascht wins with Frown Song, Kylie and YDKM coming in close behind and then the others in some unkown order...least fav is Dr Yang but only cos I was so attached to the fake version...and this version of Free Coffee isn't a favourite of mine. I have written a review but won't go on durham21 till term...
~ Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall but there's always someone cooler than you ~

*~ Han ~*

...smoke...

*

Offline melissa

  • *****
  • 3676
  • Gender: Female
  • Explain it to me again and again, like i care.
Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2008, 04:39:15 PM »
i'll have to listen a few more times to give a proper rating.  but, all i know right now is that i skipped Free Coffee.  no lie.  first listen through the record and i skipped it a minute in.  sounds f*cking terrible.  and i love that song too.   >:(
and i'm so high not even you and all your love could bring me down

http://www.last.fm/user/foldsisgod/

*

DrAlexHaleIII

Re: Way to Normal track rating [Spoilers]
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2008, 11:01:31 PM »
THE BITCH WENT NUTS closely followed by EFFINGTON.