Pretty Persuasion
Reckoning | 1983
Listen Original Listen Final Mix

Tone Focus

From the start, this was never an attempt to get perfect-sounding replications. But I’m also not taking any artistic license with these. Just shooting for karaore-level background tracks given the limitations of my space and instrument access.

I expected to improve through these as a vocalist and guitarist, but I’m getting better at listening as well. I’ve been spending a lot more time on experimenting with guitar sounds. Listening to the original and dialing in something that works for what I have.

It doesn’t seem wise to try and ape the original recording sounds piecemeail by instrument. So once I have a couple of key guitar or drum sounds dialed in, I’ll record and mix going back to the original less and less. I’m not making something that will be listened to against the original recording - I’m making something that needs to work with itself.

That said, “Pretty Persuasion” had me referencing the oringal so much through each instrument. Despite being a basic guitar, bass, drums & vocal arrangement, this one took a lot longer to focus on each part. I’m starting with drums + bass for most songs. Mike has a lot of random sounding bass choices during the opening lick and its return. The fills on this recording are also pretty muddy compared to other albums. I spent most time here getting the main parts correct and using my own fills.

Guitar on this one took up by far the most time. The opening lick is a mystery. How does Peter gets away with such a simple run to build a song on? I only have the kids starter fender from Zoey’s Christmas gift to use around here. I’m really feeling the need to have something else to change tones. There’s a lot I can do between the pickup selectors and tone knob on the hardware side. But I’m really starting to hear the sameness of everything despite what plugins are on the software side. After things settle down for a while, I’ll be investing in a guitar.

Vocals were surprisingly easy on this one. I got lyrics from the REM project blog. That’s usually the best source for what Michal is phonetically saying. I did one cold full vocal take, then two backing vocal takes. I went back and listened to the original and added a new vocal lead take. Then noticed the third lower vocal part (Bill?) ad the tail of each verse phrase. Added two takes of that.

For one last take, I went through the entire song phrase-by-phrase and sang as close to Michael as I could. I then composited these into one good take. Surprisingly, I used most of the first take and only a few key takes from the last lead pass. Turns out my original instinct was best for this. The backing vocals really tie everyting together in a wash anyway.

I could call this done, but I want to find a time to mix in the living room speakers - which means I have to compete for living room time and subject the family to my “Pretty Persuasion” karaoke. Bwah-ha-ha-ha!