I Believe
Life's Rich Pageant | 1986
Listen Original Listen Final Mix

I Believe Mix

Adam Flint came through with the banjo intro at the need of the week. He left it as a voice messsage and I played it from my phone into the vocal mic on a track. This is perfect for this track as I need that abrupt switch at the top. I was going to replicate the part on acoustic if Adam couldn’t do it.

I definately spent more time on the volume curves for each track on this one. I also took some time at the end to add some light mastering EQ. The track just wasn’t bright enough across playbacks.

I’m pretty happy with how this one ended up. It’s known as one of Michaels most intimidating vocal parts for a reason. There are a few passages with no breating pauses for long periods of time. Going into eavch phrase with a breathing plan really helped. All of the “I—– Believe” sections takes a ton of support to hold pitch. I can tell that I’m improving only because I don’t want to kill this recording with all the fire when I hear my voice. That’s my usual response to my own recorded voice.

I gained a much greater appreciation for the lyrics of this song all week. I get new meaning out of this one each time I listen. While walking around outside, I’d find myself lost in thinking about this song rather than my usual podcast crutch. Despite sharing space with allp-time REM classics like “Begin the Begin”, “These Days”, “Fall On Me” and “Superman” - the strength of the lyrics here elevates this to the standout track of “Pageant”.

I’m looking forward more than ever to the other two “Pageant” covers on this list. Similar to during last week’s Shaking Through, I was constantly looking forward to covering “Sitting Still”.

Final Tracks (17)

Vocals (6)

  • Main vocal composited
  • Main vocal doubled part
  • Background Vocals (4, panned across range)

Guitar (6)

  • Main Jangle
  • Lead Lines
  • Chorus Chords
  • Low F Hammer-on
  • Strummed Chords

Other Instruments (5)

  • Banjo Intro
  • Robot Drummer
  • Organ as Accordion Replacement (2)
  • Bass

Faithful Cover?

I moved away from the original much more on this one than the previous covers. I’ve always liked the sounds I get when I harmonize with myself on several background tracks. So I rearranged Mike’s parts to spread out the harmonies and sent them across the stereo spectrum drenched in reverb. It’s pulled back in the mix, but reaches and internesting touch.

Speaking of the background vocals, I accidentally left a scratch take during a part of the last verse that wasn’t supposed to be in harmony. Having that pulled way back in the mix from only being on one track left an amazing ghostly effect on that verse. I’ll have to pull that out on other songs.

Special thatnks to Furious George, that furious little guitar playing monkey.


  • Finding ways to change a song to what works for my vocals is better than attempting to recreate the original
  • MIDI organ is not a great substitute for accordion
  • It was worth attempting to put a string quartet part on the bridge 2 by multitracking myself, but it takes a lot more time than I had this week.
  • Spend time with the final mix on different systems and adjust eq for a poor-man’s mastering. A little goies a long way.
  • To throw some mystery into the mix, add a background harmony vocal in at an almost imperceptable level.

Next Up

  • Sitting Still