Planet of Beautiful People

Planet of Beautiful People
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#1

This is an imaginary theme song for the most popular reality show of all time from the year 2449.

I am just telling you some of the backstory as this is part of a concept album/thing early in development even after several years for the Interstellar Fur Traders second project.

I hope you can understand the lyrics as they sit in the mix, but I’m not always finding the sweet spot. Funny how we can’t hear our own stuff that way. This is the second thanks to Ingo Lee, who almost singlehandedly brought the first project from concept only to fruition. I’ve left plenty to bash, so much intentionally wearing my Bowie hat, but I had fun.

Planet of Beautiful People by Steve Bancroft

Planet of Beautiful People

Only the best of the best
The beautifullest
Who pass every test
Who outdo the rest
Will earn our request
To be our next guest
To be one of ours
And live among our stars

They’re walking down streets
They’re in restaurants and bars
Their parties are glamorous
And since you are one of us
You’re invited of course

On the Planet
On the Planet of
Planet of Beautiful People

The celebrity life
Fairy tales come true
Everything you dreamed
Could happen to you
Our paparazzi is nice
Even in the spotlight
You have nothing to fear
At your next premiere

Only the best of the best
The beautifullest
Who pass every test
Who outdo the rest
Will earn our request
To be our next guest
To be one of ours
And live among our stars

On the Planet of Beautiful People
Planet of Beautiful People


Orchestral reprise of Planet of Beautiful People
#2

I like the concept but i feel the vocals seem far too seperated from the rest of the mix. Also deffo need de-essing.
Lovely intro musically and great style.
I like hearing stuff like this.
Origional and inspiring.
Some of the drums are a bit busy and heavy ‘rock’ sounding for me and dont seem to go with the style. But i enjoyed listening. Thanks


#3

I think its more nick cave then bowie. Which is cool


#4

That is quite possible, I tried a few things until it sounded kind of Nick/Davidish to me, but I’m not doing anything to make them feel in the same room. And I did nothing to de-ess. It is young enough I may see what I can do to remediate that. [quote=“LazyE, post:2, topic:1636”]
Lovely intro musically and great style.
I like hearing stuff like this.
Origional and inspiring.
[/quote]

You are very kind, Lazy E, very kind. Original and inspiring are adjectives I treasure. This song starts out with very straightforward chord progressions and then tries to vary it in almost clashing notes. There was some planning, and then there was this confluence of sounds that seemed to me to be greater than the sum of its parts. [quote=“LazyE, post:2, topic:1636”]
Some of the drums are a bit busy and heavy ‘rock’ sounding for me and dont seem to go with the style.
[/quote]

Well, I’ll speak with the drummer about that! Joking, it’s me with Jamstix. Drums are not my area, and I invariably go wild on them in a heavy rock Keith Moon way completely inappropriately. And this song is a primo example of that but not all the way Keith. Still, I find I get lazy on the drums, or just can’t arrange the way a good drummer would. So here I tell myself this just the way it is in 400 years, like jalapeno peanut butter.


#5

Lovely trippy fuzzy vibe to this… I’ve been reading a bunch of science fiction lately and this sound fits so well into some of the stories. I like the smooch and slide of the vocals, there is a sense of decadence to it, a careless Lou Reedy drift that has a sort of sanguine nonchalance… - hah… listen to me!!

I found the drum groove became a little relentless, listening again, i’m wondering about a bridge or a rhythm shift as the song progresses? Sort of a collapsing rhythm comes to my thoughts, an unravelling… But I have these ideas, just no plan as to how to execute them :smile:

I didn’t mind the sibilance, for me it drifted into the surreal shimmer… really like the sense of some sort of cosmic inhalation that the synths/cymbals are whispering.
It’s always great to hear some different sounds! O, the repetitive rhyme of ‘best’ ‘test’ caught my ear as maybe just having one repetitive rhyme too many, I only mention it as we are in the ‘bash’ section and the thought came into my head. Enjoyed this…


#6

Is it just me or is the vocal panned completely right? That might help to give it the presence it needs. I really can’t comment any further because it will change things but at this point the instruments seem to be meshing well. I dig it thanks for sharing.


#7

The vocals have some stereo effects, but they appear to be right in the middle to me.[quote=“Emma, post:5, topic:1636”]
I found the drum groove became a little relentless, listening again, i’m wondering about a bridge or a rhythm shift as the song progresses? Sort of a collapsing rhythm comes to my thoughts, an unravelling… But I have these ideas, just no plan as to how to execute them
[/quote]

I have no idea yet what a collapsing rhythm is- wait- no- tried to use Google to know what the heck that is, but can’t find it. But I think I imagine you mean it sort of gradually falls apart or simplifies as it ends. I think I can do that. I agree with you, by the end the drums are wearing me out! I also like the idea of changing it up in the middle somewhere.

That was my brilliant rhyme, Emma!

only the best of the best
the beautifullest

You see, the planet is Planet Hollywood colonized by movie stars, very pedigreed, for a hundred years restricting immigration to winners of this contest based on talent and looks. Not to give away too many spoilers, the dilemma has become that when everyone is so beautiful, beauty becomes boring and no longer so attractive. Some people start getting nose jobs to make their noses bigger, etc etc. The action begins the first year contestants’ actual appearances become digitally disguised until the big reveal of the winners. Needless to say not everyone is on board with this…
Sci-fi is fun!

Does anyone think there is room for female harmony ooh aahs anywhere? [quote=“Emma, post:5, topic:1636”]
I didn’t mind the sibilance, for me it drifted into the surreal shimmer… really like the sense of some sort of cosmic inhalation that the synths/cymbals are whispering.
[/quote]

Now I just looked up sibilance! At least the chorus repeat isn’t sibilant!


#8

Really unusual - cool. Just listening on some cheap speakers at work, mix-wise, the thing that stands out as needing the most work is the eq on the vocals. There is some buildup of low-mids that is compromising clarity. I’d suggest trying to look somewhere in the 200-400hz range for the culprit.

On a tangentially related note, when I saw the song title, I was reminded of this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWw_Q2-7gRU


#9

Very interesting, cool vibe and nice little touches and effects. First I got the impression of a Roxy Music (Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno) influence, then a bit of Todd Rundgren and Utopia.

The vocals meander in timing a bit, maybe that’s intentional. It does fit the style perhaps, though if they’re too off from the timing of the music it can be a little distracting. I think something like this could really groove and flow. More of a bass instrument presence might help, even something a little bit distorted and doom-y sounding, but not too much. Like the funky eclectic dance groove Roxy Music sometimes had. When the chorus repeats, the vocals sometimes sound a bit pitchy or off melody. I think that’s kind of your song “hook” if there is one, and so having each line either be very consistent with each other … or instead alternating melodies might be helpful.

It’s sounding significantly left side to me, though I can hear some stereo effect from the right.

The tone is a bit boomy in the low mids also, as Coldroom mentioned. I’d sort out the the centering issue first, then get the EQ on the vocal to help it sit/fit better.

I think you could do a lot with layers and even more touches, female harmonies might be great. Tie it in with the “beauty” theme of the song?


#10

You and Stan were right, redworks. I knew I had 2 centered mono tracks from 2 mics mixed centered into one stereo track, and assumed that meant the pan was in the center. However, I had applied several Vst effects, including Free Haas-Mono/Stereo Delay Doubler preset because I like how it adds body to my voice, but I think it also panned it to the right. I started noticing the volume meter was leaning to the right a bit, but enough to make it sound all the way right. I had duplicated the vocal track to increase the volume, so I panned one track left 50%, made them both a smidge louder and balanced it out. I’m not saying I have a logical setup at all, it’s just the way I manage to deal with my voice. I need to be more alert to that. Thanks! I think this version is better. Maybe it will help with the not in the same room comment, too.

In this version, I did 2 things to the drums, Emma. I added shakers and cut the kit out in the last 30-40 seconds except for this one part I can’t seem to silence entirely, but it might qualify as collapsing.:wink:

I’m not sure about the notch filtering suggestion, but one thing at a time.

I think it is the hook, and also like a musical game, trying to remember the exact variation for each repetition. I pity anyone trying to sing along. On the other hand, it might allow a freedom to sing it the way you prefer it. This was not planned to be like this, it just ended up this way, but I like it. I haven’t counted how many times I repeat but it is a lot!

A big version would have a bass and some siren-like female background vocals, and I would be a very lucky person if that was the fate of this song.


#11

Hi Now this is different and I like different. I didn’t read other posts because I have my fam of 12 coming in a few hours with many tasks still not performed. I like the vocal masked in like that to suit the mood, but it is slightly muddy. Maybe just a slight EQ? Love that quote “only the best of the best the beautifullest” That is good and paints a picture for me for sure. Have to go but will revisit on speakers when the tribe leaves.

Sincerely

Paul


#12

The vocals sit a little bit better now I think. I’m really noticing sibilance on the verse vocals, but not on the chorus vocals. It’s like the chorus vocals were de-essed but the verse vocals weren’t, and I think the reverb on the verse vocals has a lot to do with it. I think you said you had different tracks and treatments for the verse/chorus vocals? You might try de-essing before and after the reverb, if needed. If nothing else, I think that contrast is a bit distracting.

Is that a finger-picked acoustic guitar, and is it you playing it? It almost sounds like a harp. I hadn’t noticed it as much on the first version listen, but now I’m noticing it more and it sounds very skillful and flowing.


#13

The vocal is sitting better now. I think that it could come up in volume some and some more stringent eq on the mids to cut out some more on the mids. Especially on any effects you have on the vocals. You can pretty much cut all of the mids on the vocal effects and get a clearer vocal while still experiencing the fx.


#14

Somehow this song grows on you. I now have this planet full of beautiful people I can’t get out of my head… To me Lou Reed comes to mind. Or Talking Heads! I can’t judge the mix very well, I;m listening on my laptop speakers. But I agree with Emma that the drums are sort of fatiguing. And more so, I’m not sure if this fast 2-4 pattern with double hats fits the song very well. I think I would try a rather lazy slurring country drums (think Neil Young) that might even drift around the beat a bit now and and not hitting very hard except for a suprise (china) crash or bell here and there. The shakers help a bit but its still all a bit too much to my ears.
I know Talking Heads did rhythms like this and it worked fine for them. But the lyrics would be more staccato and fit tight in the rhythm, e.g.

I really like the way you sing this: very original. And so is the song!


#15

I will try something on the esses. I’m not sure what exactly I have for that. I don’t want to change the sound very much at all other than that, so we’ll see!

I’ll give it a shot, redwood. [quote=“Aef, post:14, topic:1636”]
I’m not sure if this fast 2-4 pattern with double hats fits the song very well. I think I would try a rather lazy slurring country drums (think Neil Young) that might even drift around the beat a bit now and and not hitting very hard except for a suprise (china) crash or bell here and there. The shakers help a bit but its still all a bit too much to my ears.
[/quote]

Well, Aef, I will see what I can do on the drums. I’m not a drummer, so I really don’t have real drummer sensibilities. I like to get carried away! But it may sound better, I will only know once I hear it.

It is a virtual classical nylon guitar VG-SILK I just got, a really cool Vst Instrument. It is very pretty and versatile and fairly realistic sounding. I have two playing slightly different strumming and panned right and left about 40% to create the effect. If I could actually play like that, Stan, I’d be in a band!


#16

main thing that stands out to me is that the vocal simply dont cut thru. They are somewhat muffled sounding to me

technically id say the singing is too far back in the throat and/or right down on the larynx etc. It could get a lot brighter if it came up more forward near the front of the face in the “mask” and/or more up on the hard and soft palate area.

the IPA vowel chart is an amazing thing if u learn to read it.

The brightest vowel are “ee” (feet, beat) followed by “ih” (as in kit or him) which are generally sung way forward in the mouth. The darkest vowels are sung way back in the mouth such as “aww” or “oh”

You can goof off with singing bright “ee’s” and “ih’s” etc and get used to where that sits in the mouth etc and then sing whatever lyrics more or less with that same feeling and the whole thing brightens up (or vice versa of course)

but yeah, to me the vocals simply are drowned out by the complexity of the track. There is very little brightness in the vocal so whatever brightness is in the other tracks is drowning out the vox


#17

#18

So I’ve increased the vocal volume a couple more Db, and it seems to be clearer. There’s a couple lines that are not easy to understand for me played loud, but fine at a low volume.

This is about as far as I can go, I feel, even with all the good advice, and I think it is an improvement. In fact, I applied Bark of the Dog to the master mix as per a Brandon video, and it did seem to help in some subtle way.

I’m not a good singer technically, and a worse vocal mixer. I usually work with best takes and leave a lot of errors. Unfortunately, bringing the vocals up also reveals even more errors, but this may be a happy medium. I don’t intend to take singing lessons but will look at the video. Who knows?

More parts- bass, bg vox- won’t transform the song into a masterpiece but may sound like they belong rather than got squeezed in.

I am keeping the basic drums but variating them throughout the song. It is lively but not so repetitious under the hood.

Oh, I repeat POBP 20 times!

Many thanks, everyone. I liked the song’s strangeness, and you’ve helped me make it significantly stronger and like it even more. All I had was that title and maybe the basic arpeggio since 2013, and I do find it amusing I actually incorporated it as the central vehicle in the song.

And I can assure you the next song you will bash will be entirely different!


#19

that does sound better. As you say it is a step in the right direction. thanks for sharing the process with us.


#20

thats not set in stone brother