Nothing embarrassing at all, and someone else’s answer might be different from mine here so don’t take this as gospel truth! Actually my comment was prone to confusion indeed, because production can have different meanings in different contexts. And you’re totally right, in general production encompasses everything from songwriting to mastering.
The thing is, for a lot of artists, some of the intermediate steps tend to be overlooked quite often, sometimes skipped altogether. If we’re considering this simple, chronological way to break it down:
- Songwriting (melody/chord progression/lyrics)
- Arrangement (song structure, orchestration)
- Demo recording
- Pre production (deciding who will perform what, where and how the final song will be recorded and other things like that)
In my experience, a lot of non-signed artists are skipping steps or mixing them together, most of the times they are going through 2 steps which are:
- Recording, arranging, mixing (simultaneously)
This results in a less than perfect production, with things that could have been easily improved with not much more than a little time or perspective. A producer can help improve the final product tremendously, but it’s hard for people to let go of some of the control they have on their own music (not even considering financial matters).
In the present situation, I was referring to the fact that a good production job would have included selecting drum kit samples that fit the song genre perfectly, a proper drummer and a proper keyboardist to perform these parts and other things that would have brought this song to its full potential (which I believe is far greater than what has been achieved in terms of recording).
Some producers specialise in some of the process only, but in general the producer is the driving force that makes it happen and delivers a pro final product. There is a great thread here on this topic.
I’m sure you knew all of that already, it’s just a matter of clarifying something I had poorly phrased in the first place.