Take a look at this video – it’s the Billboard Top 50 from the Hot 100 charts for the week of 10/5/2013.
Even after about 3 minutes, it’s pretty clear that pop music today runs the gamut – from traditional country sounds to insane synth pop – anything can be popular if it has the right ingredients.
But what are those ingredients? Well – they all boil down to a simple necessity – a good song.
It doesn’t matter how great the production or the mix is, if the song is mediocre, that is all the recording can ever be. So what does this say to an engineer or producer trying to make great music? Focus on the song, and let all of your decisions be dictated by the song.
If the song is about driving Chevy trucks on the backroads, there’s a strong likelyhood that a DJ Khaled style production may not fit the song. However, change that to driving a Bugatti in Abu Dhabi, and DJ Khaled might be just the guy for the job.
On a much more focused scale, make musical decisions that fit the song. A song about the rejection of lavish lifestyles, such as Lorde’s current hit “Royals,” doesn’t need a flashy production – only a simple beat and a few chords. Anything more would seem hypocritical and make the song invalid.
So think about this when working on your next project – what does the song need?