Following Tuesday's post Always Hopefulwe sparked a lot of discussion on the nature of recordings; most being not too great. The few that are good a combination of three critical elements: a musician who cares, a producer that understands and a recordist who knows how to pull it off. And all this IF the goal of the artist is to make a great sounding recording. Take an artist like Adele. Some of the worst sounding recordings yet. Compressed, loud, unforgiving. And such a shame, as she's a really great artist, one that I personally enjoy. The recordings are bad enough I simply cannot bear to hear them on any system save, perhaps, my car (and then only in small doses). But maybe her producer's intent was to play the loudness game, the one that helps her track stand out on the crowded airwaves of popular radio. It certainly cannot be that she doesn't have the money to hire a good recording engineer. And it certainly doesn't seem to have hurt her success. Truth be told I think my expectations of hope may be unrealistic. Let's face it, the world doesn't work that way. Just about any category of product or service I can think of follows the classic 80/20 or even 90/10 rule. 80% of any product in any category is going to be mediocre, relative to the 20% that stands out. It's true for high end audio, restaurants, cars, music, recordings. Heck it's probably true for people as well. I look at my music collection and realize even the way I catalog them reflects this pattern. 20% of it is a treasure, 80% of it is just ok. What we as a collective should do is figure out a way to make sure that in some way we support the 20% that really deserves rewarding. It may, over time, help raise the level of the 80%. The ratio will remain the same, because a rising tide lifts all boats, and that's just fine for me.
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