Have you noticed this new strange trend with vocals in songs?
One of the most maddening things about music over the quarter century (well, for me, anyway) is The Loudness Wars this insane practice of making the apparent volume of music louder by adding a lot of compression. This squishes the audio signal, ruining the dynamic range and causing a lot of listener fatigue.
Here’s an example what I’m talking about
This has had some interesting compensatory side effects. NPR reports that vocalists have actually gotten quieter over the years when compared to the band with which they’re singing.
According to the University of Oldenburg in Germany, quieter lead singers have become a thing. Some genres are more affected than others, too. I quote from NPR:
“Kai Siedenburg and his colleague analyzed the four highest-ranked songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between 1946 and 2020, along with top songs in the country, rap, pop, rock, and heavy metal genres. When they compared the loudness of singers to everything else — guitars, drums and more — they found that rock and metal had the most drastic shifts in volume.”
The effect seems to be most pronounced in rock, alternative, and indie. It’s worth reading what Beck has to say about all this. Once you know what to listen for, you’ll hear it immediately.
3 thoughts on “Have you noticed this new strange trend with vocals in songs?”
Hi Alan, I would love to read what Beck has to say, but it looks like your link is broken. Would you please update? Thanks a million!
Damn. I’ve fixed the link, but here it is again just in case.
Worth the read! Thanks for the link!