I encountered some songs today with vocal resonance that had my inner engineer saying “they should have tamed that”, but my inner music fan actually appreciated that the vocals jumped out at certain notes and made things “more exciting”. At the grocery store they were playing Katy Perry “Firework”, and the hook vocal was piercing and resonant (especially the keynote) like I never heard before - may have been the mono sound system in the store - and I found it irritating at first, but then I realized that’s the only way the ‘average listener’ would notice it as distinct from Muzak! Then, on computer speakers was listening to Molly Hatchet, on “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, he hits the same note pretty repeatedly on the chorus, again kind of irritating but also wondered if that’s what made it a radio hit back in the day.
Sometimes you have to stand out and be extreme rather than “well balanced mix and frequencies”? Just a thought.
Im pretty sure that brainwashing techniques were perfected around 1000 years ago. So i dont think modern “hits” mind being super annoying when they repeat one phrase or note dozens and dozens of times.
I know nothing of this song or artist except for having heard the stupid chorus on my clock radio this morning
Well, part of it is probably a “belting” vocal in the midst of more subdued phrases, but it’s a quality in the vocals where the vocalist finds a note that resonates with their physical attributes and comes out stronger than the other notes. You know the old example where a bass guitar has a resonance at a particular note because that frequency resonates particularly well with the wood the guitar is made of or the length of the neck or body etc? The cure is usually to do a notch EQ filter at that note (like E = 82Hz) to keep it in line with the rest. In these examples you might think the engineer would have done that with the vocals, but if they did the song might not have as much excitement and ‘drama’.
The average joe listening to music probably needs more variation than audio engineers. To get their attention, because they are listening ‘subconsciously’. We tend to hear something and think it is too extreme, but it could be precisely that extreme audio ‘glitch’ which gets the average listener to pay attention. In the Katy Perry example, the “aye” in Firework and the “oh, oh, oh” all hit the resonant note that stands out. In the Molly Hatchet example, it’s the vowels in the chorus (flIRtin wIth disAster). It’s a strength in the singer’s vocal register, but also might be enhanced by the particular microphone they are using. It might even be mechanically enhance for effect!