At some point in a serious music fan’s lifetime, they come to the realization that things aren’t how they thought they were. Notions are dashed, assumptions killed, romantic views killed. This article from Pacific Standard offers a case study of heroes crashing into the muck.
EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I knew about writing and recording a record turns out to be wrong. Weaned on MTV behind-the-music specials, I grew up with the romantic idea that The Artist labors in a cavernous dark studio somewhere, large headphones pressed to one ear, pen in hand, mouth firm in concentration, and composing actively the lines that will be sung presently into a microphone on the other side of a glass partition.
The truth involves far, far more people, and a lot less cohesion or control. Lines are sung and re-sung; choruses and verses are reversed or re-arranged or dropped altogether; and even when a band like the Foo Fighters claims (as they did with their last album) that they kept things real in the studio by recording in analog and with live takes, well, you can be sure that what you’re hearing in the finished product was still never played simultaneously by all the musicians involved. Every three-minute pop song is the synthesis of hours and hours of work.