Up alone on New Year’s while the family slept, I found myself watching a TV compendium of Daryl Hall’s online show. Pretty entertaining couple of hours, and one of the bands on there, Fitz and the Tantrums, made an impression. Unfortunately, listening to their recordings was a disappointment. Here’s yet another soul band, and a good one judging from the live show, whose records sound old (meaning shitty) on purpose. It’s a shame because the music has enough character that it stands up and I would love to actually hear it.
Old stuff doesn’t sound good because it’s old. It sounds good because labels like Motown were trying their damnedest to MAKE them sound good. They were writing the best songs they could, playing the shit out of them, and using the best technology available to capture them.
If you are lucky enough to make a recording that gets heard by the world at large, it seems a waste to make it sound like it was pulled out of a dustbin 30 years before you were born. If you are good enough, stop using emulation as a crutch. It’s boring, but more than that, it just gets in the way of the listener.
This listener anyway.