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  #1  
Old 10-20-2017, 09:16 PM
mkidd053 mkidd053 is offline
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Default Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Chainsmokers - Paris
Studio Version - https://youtu.be/PT2_F-1esPk
SNL version - https://youtu.be/mOxRNvSVQ4Y

Very tasty drum riff in the SNL version. I heard it and thought wow this song is better than I thought. Then I heard the studio version and to me it's just not very interesting.

If I took a poll here, my guess is most of you would prefer the SNL version but we are not an ideal representation of the target audience. I wonder if the song would have had anywhere near the same popularity if it was recorded like the live SNL version. Probably not.

Is it a generational thing? Do millennials prefer electronic sounds to acoustic? Or is it just the genre that needs simplicity?
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  #2  
Old 10-20-2017, 09:33 PM
KamaK KamaK is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Ultimately the answer is: Because people buy it.

You do not want to release a song that has depth, complexity, or lasting impressions and has people listening to it over and over again. You want people to hear the song, like it, forget it, and buy another song.

If you sell only durable goods, you're limiting your revenue because there will be fewer subsequent sales. You want to produce and distribute goods that are disposable, with a finite lifetime, so that consumers will buy next year's model.
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  #3  
Old 10-20-2017, 09:46 PM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

My guess is because of 2 reasons

1. It's cheaper for studios to produce and you get the exact sound you want.

2. You can do really complicated stuff with machines. A lot of the drum loops you here in hip hop today have some pretty funky/fast hi hat parts and the bass drum and snare go with it in some crazy groove combinations. I think that's why you see guys like tony royster playing with them live, because he's good and fast enough to actually play some of that complicated stuff.

But I think you'll see a lot less of that going forward. A rapper named Kendrick Lamar a few years ago came out with an album that had a lot of good reviews, it had real drums in it. I could also see Bruno mars using real drums in future albums. And john Mayer is one of the leading pop artist and he always has good drums with his music. I think it's just a fad that will slowly die out
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  #4  
Old 10-20-2017, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by KamaK View Post
Ultimately the answer is: Because people buy it.

You do not want to release a song that has depth, complexity, or lasting impressions and has people listening to it over and over again. You want people to hear the song, like it, forget it, and buy another song.

If you sell only durable goods, you're limiting your revenue because there will be fewer subsequent sales. You want to produce and distribute goods that are disposable, with a finite lifetime, so that consumers will buy next year's model.
This is by far THE best definition of today's pop music I've ever heard. Spot on truth, brother.
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  #5  
Old 10-20-2017, 10:13 PM
New Tricks New Tricks is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Wow. They sound like two completely different songs :)
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  #6  
Old 10-20-2017, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

If I may show my age a bit here: What young hipster crap ;)
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  #7  
Old 10-20-2017, 10:19 PM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
If I may show my age a bit here: What young hipster crap ;)
Ha not gonna lie I don't mind all of it. Did the talking heads always use a real drummer or is some of their stuff drum machine? Nonetheless transcribing a lot of the drum machine grooves you hear today to the actual drum kit can be pretty fun. I'm not a huge fan of rap and stuff, but some of the grooves they lay down are pretty cool!

But this song he gave a link to is terrible

Last edited by williamsbclontz; 10-20-2017 at 10:42 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2017, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Both versions suck!! LOL. That said, Only drummers, musicians, and listeners in the know, care about the drum parts.

If it has a catchy lyric, hook, or melody et. al. people will like it.

Words and melodies sell songs.
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  #9  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

If I could tolerate listening to either of those tracks more than 5 seconds I'd be more able to articulate an answer.
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  #10  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

In many cases, the writer is also a producer, and composes - and often records - the entire track on their own. Then, the vocals are added by whichever singer takes the song. Basically, there's not a 'band' in the first place.

In many other cases, there's a deliberate decision to have a solid, driving groove with consistent sounds. It's a one-take, time-saving proposition in the studio, and there's no real reason to call a drummer for those kind of sessions. Conversely, no producer would waste their time trying to program a fusion drum part, when a live drummer fills that bill much better, especially from a creative standpoint.

There are still plenty of live drum recordings, it just depends on the particular song.

Unfortunately, many drummers see programs as just a way to put them out of work, as opposed to a method for a producer/writer/artist to make a song sound the way they intend. They take it personally, which I kind of get, but as someone who's been in the business a long time, both playing and programming, I have a more real-world perspective. I don't consider it some sort of personal affront if a song is programmed... as if I got cheated out of a session. I know better.

Bermuda
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  #11  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
If I could tolerate listening to either of those tracks more than 5 seconds I'd be more able to articulate an answer.
Yeah, also not my cup of tea, live drums or not.
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  #12  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Yeah, also not my cup of tea, live drums or not.
BUT I give credit to a cool band name IMO! Come to think of it, in 25 years time, nobody might know what a chainsmoker is.
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2017, 11:35 PM
Wave Deckel Wave Deckel is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Just on a side note: There is pop and there is pop. Today, there is still a lot of pop music that has real drums, otherwise guys like e.g. John Jr. Robinson, Ash Soan, Brian Fraser-Moore or Karl Brazil would have a hard time to earn a living.
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  #14  
Old 10-21-2017, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Real drums in the SNL version make the song way better!

But definitely not my cup of tea either.
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  #15  
Old 10-21-2017, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
BUT I give credit to a cool band name IMO! Come to think of it, in 25 years time, nobody might know what a chainsmoker is.
And in 25 minutes, nobody might remember this band, either. :O
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  #16  
Old 10-21-2017, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

There's an old adage of you never miss what you never had.

I've heard remixes of classic Doobie Brothers where they used programmed drums to replace the acoustic tracks and well ,it becomes the old cooking with aspartame analogy.

It resembles sugar ,but it ain't sugar.
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  #17  
Old 10-21-2017, 01:25 AM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

You guys don't think that all of this is just because of the sounds that drum machines can make? I think of it kind of like gated reverb in the 80s and beyond. People like the sound, and it's also economical and easier to work with and manipulate. Also I think Bermuda got it right too, a lot of these top producers use it so it's quicker to sell to the public. Personally I think it's a fad that will fade away after a while, drum machines will never be as expressive as real drums.... or maybe regular just don't care about drums anymore :/
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  #18  
Old 10-21-2017, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Reminds me of the things Modern Drummer interviewees were talking about in the early to mid-80s. The LinnDrum threatened to make all drummers obsolete even then, but it didn't happen...unless you believe the conspiracy theories ;)
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

A drum machine didn't play 50 Ways.

A drum machine didn't play Wipeout.

A drum machine didn't play Coming in the Air Tonight. (Or any other Phil Collins tune)

But I think, maybe in 15-20 years, a machine might be able to do any of that, as well as a human, or better.
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  #20  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

The links are to different songs. Closer studio and Paris live. Great songs, but what are you all comparing? Not surprised that nobody here likes them. No Supra or Acro to be heard so it must suck. Stick to your guns guys. Hey, it's gotten you all this far. Love these songs. Funny thing is that I love the music you love too. Life is forward. Not digging your heals in as hard as you can. Sorry to be a pain in the ass, but you guys sound really old and kinda out of touch. To think that a real drummer would have made these recordings sound better? That the artist and producer are just clueless or mindless robots? I say that if they had let you produce this to your liking, then it never would have been a hit and therefore you'd have nothing to bitch about... and we wouldn't have this conversation. As much as I like this song I wish you had produced it and I never had to read this. Let's talk about drums people! Not this "I don't like it 'cause......." bullshit! It's new music! It's new music and we are old drummers. Get used to it. You sound like oil lamp fans bitching about light bulbs.

Last edited by The SunDog; 10-21-2017 at 02:59 AM.
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  #21  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
If I could tolerate listening to either of those tracks more than 5 seconds I'd be more able to articulate an answer.
Right there with you on that!!
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  #22  
Old 10-21-2017, 03:03 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by The SunDog View Post
The links are to different songs. Closer studio and Paris live. Great songs, but what are you all comparing? Not surprised that nobody here likes them. No Supra or Acro to be heard so it must suck. Stick to your guns guys. Hey, it's gotten you all this far. Love these songs. Funny thing is that I love the music you love too. Life is forward. Not digging your heals in as hard as you can. Sorry to be a pain in the ass, but you guys sound really old and kinda out of touch. To think that a real drummer would have made these recordings sound better? That the artist and producer are just clueless or mindless robots? I say that if they had let you produce this to your liking, then it never would have been a hit and therefore you'd have nothing to bitch about... and we wouldn't have this conversation. As much as I like this song I wish you had produced it and I never had to read this. Let's talk about drums people! Not "I don't like it 'cause......." It's new music! We're old drummers. Get used to it. You sound like oil lamp fans bitching about light bulbs.

Not digging my heals in at all and has nothing to do with no acro or supra in it. I just don't care of the music. Has nothing with being old, I like newer stuff and older stuff. I never liked Depeche Mode or the Ramoans, the Beetles, The Who why.... because I didn't care for the sound or the music. . Never cared for pop, I prefer music with drive an energy which this doesn't have which is I why I prefer rock. We all have our tastes which makes everyone unique. BTW no one made you read any of this ;-)
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Last edited by konaboy; 10-21-2017 at 03:34 AM.
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  #23  
Old 10-21-2017, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by konaboy View Post
I like newer stuff and older stuff. I never liked Depeche Mode or the Ramoans, the Beetles, The Who why....
because I didn't care for the sound or the music. I prefer music with drive an energy
I'm sitting here trying to think of a Who song that has no drive and/or energy............. I'm having trouble. Someone help me please.


.
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Old 10-21-2017, 03:33 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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I'm sitting here trying to think of a Who song that has no drive and/or energy............. I'm having trouble. Someone help me please.


.
Read after "why......."

" I never liked Depeche Mode or the Ramoans, the Beetles, The Who why.... because I didn't care for the sound or the music."

;-)
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:33 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by konaboy View Post
Read after "why......."

" I never liked Depeche Mode or the Ramoans, the Beetles, The Who why.... because I didn't care for the sound or the music."

;-)
OK. Yeah the discussion here is about taste in music and what we like and don't like. No big deal. There is a lot of music I don't like.
Your comment just seemed a little strange. I was just bustin' your chops about the "drive and energy" part.... LOL

.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:39 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

For reference, here is the studio version of "Paris."

https://youtu.be/fRNkQH4DVg8

I'm an old guy, and I like the Chainsmokers, so it ain't an age thing, lol.

I do like the live version with drums better, but I think that's just because I'm a drummer. Plus, I tend to like live music, even recordings of live music, better than studio versions anyway.
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  #27  
Old 10-21-2017, 05:31 AM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by The SunDog View Post
The links are to different songs. Closer studio and Paris live. Great songs, but what are you all comparing? Not surprised that nobody here likes them. No Supra or Acro to be heard so it must suck. Stick to your guns guys. Hey, it's gotten you all this far. Love these songs. Funny thing is that I love the music you love too. Life is forward. Not digging your heals in as hard as you can. Sorry to be a pain in the ass, but you guys sound really old and kinda out of touch. To think that a real drummer would have made these recordings sound better? That the artist and producer are just clueless or mindless robots? I say that if they had let you produce this to your liking, then it never would have been a hit and therefore you'd have nothing to bitch about... and we wouldn't have this conversation. As much as I like this song I wish you had produced it and I never had to read this. Let's talk about drums people! Not this "I don't like it 'cause......." bullshit! It's new music! It's new music and we are old drummers. Get used to it. You sound like oil lamp fans bitching about light bulbs.
I like plenty of music from today's artists, just not this group. Too cheesy, and these guys won't be remembered 50 years from now because they aren't that good, especially compared to a lot of artists on the scene today

But that's just my opinion, and the opinion of most of the guys who posted in this thread
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  #28  
Old 10-21-2017, 06:43 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Push pull stroke View Post
A drum machine didn't play Coming in the Air Tonight. (Or any other Phil Collins tune)

But, a drum machine inspired him to write it.

I always thought he was a great talent so I discarded my hatred of drum machines after I heard him recount the story.

I like new music but, when they turn the vocal autotune up to 11. it sounds horrible. There was one rhythmic gem in the song but overall, it sucked. The live performance was also lackluster.

Damn kids!!!!
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  #29  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:55 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Worth mentioning....

Many of today's recordings have both digital and analog tracks, backup singers, the full monte. Some have horns and strings recorded. The digital-only tracks often prevail in the market because it's easier for DJ's to spin/remix them in dance clubs. They're also easier to talk over when you're trying to order drinks.


Is it me, or has SNL recently implemented a no-lip-sync policy since the Simpson ordeal?
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  #30  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

I read an article talking about how music is written and produced to sound best through what people listen to it with. An unfortunate amount of people I know listen to music via cheap earbuds, portable Bluetooth speakers, cheap desktop speakers, overhead workplace speakers etc. Not a lot of need for nuance and tone and subtle playing when it'd never be heard anyway.
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  #31  
Old 10-21-2017, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

It's either because real drums suck or pop music sucks. :-)
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  #32  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Of all the instruments, I think that drums have the safest future.

A lot of music that the youngsters are listening to in the UK (Grime? Don’t quote me, I’m old...) seems to be deliberately avoiding real drums and using rhythmic beeps to give a low-key, guerrila, small studio feel (“keeping it real”). But it’s a fashion and at some point, someone will realise that a drum kit can inject real energy into the same songs and the fashion will change.

Anyone heard Travis Barker’s “re-mix” of “Low” by Flo Rida? Not Travis’s finest work, but the energy of his drum karaoke really brings out the angry misogyny that’s missing in the original recording.

Drums are dynamic, versatile and there’s really no substitute for the stage presence that a drummer brings. Although the posted videos show two different songs, I think the live performance illustrates that drums aren’t going to disappear any time soon.
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  #33  
Old 10-21-2017, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Someone's Dad View Post
Of all the instruments, I think that drums have the safest future.

A lot of music that the youngsters are listening to in the UK (Grime? Don’t quote me, I’m old...) seems to be deliberately avoiding real drums and using rhythmic beeps to give a low-key, guerrila, small studio feel (“keeping it real”). But it’s a fashion and at some point, someone will realise that a drum kit can inject real energy into the same songs and the fashion will change.

Anyone heard Travis Barker’s “re-mix” of “Low” by Flo Rida? Not Travis’s finest work, but the energy of his drum karaoke really brings out the angry misogyny that’s missing in the original recording.

Drums are dynamic, versatile and there’s really no substitute for the stage presence that a drummer brings. Although the posted videos show two different songs, I think the live performance illustrates that drums aren’t going to disappear any time soon.
I agree in some sense drums were the last to be automated. Keyboards have had player pianos for years.

I think there will be drumming Renaissance. The software has enabled composition to a degree that has never been seen before. The bar has raised in terms of what people think sounds good rhythmically. Lots of drummers cranking out same Ol' beat won't like it, but they eventually retire.

As per quality modern music is way more informed drawing on multiple cultures and highly cranial involving whole teams of sound engineers.
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  #34  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Honestly, I think the main reason for pop songs not having drums is simply convenience, it takes a bit more effort to record drums. It is easier for producers and/or singer/songwriters to make beats and stuff in reason, import some keyboard tracks using their little midi controller and what not. Then they just need the vocalist/rapper/etc to hop in a vocal booth or put up a vocal shield even and record over the pre-made track. The "bands" a lot of times are formed after the fact. Money wise it actually makes sense, means having to split royalties less ways.
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  #35  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Haven't yest listened to the tracks in the first post but it seems the discussion has gone beyond that.

The sound of acoustic drums is my first love. However, with age and maturity I have found that I like a lot of music with "electronic" sounds, including "artificial" drum sounds.

I'm not keen on electronics trying to outright copy/substitute the sound of an acoustic set, it just sounds like a cheap getout. But when someone use electronics to create entirely new sounds then it becomes intriguing.

I think of it as something that adds to and enriches the overall sound pallete instead of detracting from it. Gotta keep finding those new sounds.

Even if public taste does swing heavily in favour of such music, acoustic drums will always have their place.

Just think what could happen if acoustic drums really did become a minor niche thing, out of the wider public eye. Almost forgotten so to say.
One day some up-and-coming band or performer will feature a drummer behind an acoustic set performing on TV/internet/who-knows-what. It would become the second "Ringo moment" when the Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan show and hundreds of thousands of kids acquired an instant passion and desire to play acoustic drums. Wouldn't it be really cool to experience that again?

What goes around comes around...
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  #36  
Old 10-21-2017, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

I just listened to a WTF podcast with Mark Maron interviewing Lord (sang that song Royals that was popular about a year or two back). Her music is all digital and she said she doesn't use real instuments because her and the kids she grew up with didn't have and or couln't afford the instruments to make the music she wanted to hear. She could make all the music she wanted with a pirated version of protools and hacked plugins. In fact she can't even play an instument but in her words she can "program the s*#t out of a drum machine". So I guess for some artists the computer becomes the instrument.
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  #37  
Old 10-21-2017, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by cerendrad View Post
I just listened to a WTF podcast with Mark Maron interviewing Lord (sang that song Royals that was popular about a year or two back). Her music is all digital and she said she doesn't use real instuments because her and the kids she grew up with didn't have and or couln't afford the instruments to make the music she wanted to hear. She could make all the music she wanted with a pirated version of protools and hacked plugins. In fact she can't even play an instument but in her words she can "program the s*#t out of a drum machine". So I guess for some artists the computer becomes the instrument.
To be fair computers have been instruments since at least the early 60's. Milton Babbitt's work in the RCA lab comes to mind. I can't program a drum machine to save my life but i can play multiple instruments and write out musical notation. It's just another way of accomplishing the same thing. The way i know is old fashioned but has worked for hundreds of years. Near as I can tell the new methods are just as efficient. The only issue i have with them is that they are making illiteracy more prevalent in the industry but then that's been what recording technology in general has been doing since it's advent. Especially since the rock era.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:29 PM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by MJD View Post
To be fair computers have been instruments since at least the early 60's. Milton Babbitt's work in the RCA lab comes to mind. I can't program a drum machine to save my life but i can play multiple instruments and write out musical notation. It's just another way of accomplishing the same thing. The way i know is old fashioned but has worked for hundreds of years. Near as I can tell the new methods are just as efficient. The only issue i have with them is that they are making illiteracy more prevalent in the industry but then that's been what recording technology in general has been doing since it's advent. Especially since the rock era.
I digress. As far as computers go, it's just the nature of the beast. I do drafting for a living. I was trained in hand drafting, much like you were trained in music. To be a good drafter back then, you hand to be good with the tools of the trade in order to produce accurate and presentable drawings.

But now, with the advent of the computer, we don't use any of that stuff. It's mostly forgotten skill, much like music literacy and using old school tools. I don't need a drumset or a drummer to produce beats.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:37 PM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by MJD View Post
specially since the rock era.
I think it is kind of ironic, that the people that are belly aching about this are the very same ones that created this race to the bottom in the first place, Beatles. It's not like they are arguing that big bands are better, musically speaking. They are arguing "The Who" hoping on stage and ripping stuff up are more musical, Nay!

I think the best part of this is that if you have a musical idea you can record it, which is making the industry much more diverse. People aren't limited to samples from three cymbals and five drums.

People do eventually play these tracks. Trent Reznor played "A Copy of a Copy" live for example.
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:38 PM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

The link to the studio version is for the wrong track. But I've heard the studio version of Paris and now that I've seen the live version, I can say I like both.

The use of drum machines comes down to how easy and fast it is to use them. It's economics, and in more way than one. Today's instrument is a computer. One person can write and record all the music. One person gets paid.
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