independent and unofficial
Prince fan community site
Tue 19th Jun 2018 12:50pm
Welcome! Sign up or enter username and password to remember me
Forum jump
Forums > Prince: Music and More > What were Prince’s weaknesses production-wise?
« Previous topic  Next topic »
Page 1 of 5 12345>
  New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
Author

Tweet     Share

Message
Thread started 03/05/18 9:28am

soladeo1

What were Prince’s weaknesses production-wise?

If any? Maybe the rock-solid sense of belief in himself alone as a producer of his work...only relaxed a little with his last albums with Josh? I would have loved to see what a Prince album helmed by someone like Daniel Lanois or Chris Walla would have sounded like...or Nile Rogers!!!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #1 posted 03/05/18 12:13pm

TrivialPursuit

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #2 posted 03/05/18 12:37pm

dandan

TrivialPursuit said:

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.


What are some examples of great Prince tracks that have too much going on?

I got two sides... and they're both friends.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #3 posted 03/05/18 12:45pm

PeteSilas

i don't think that's true for most of his music, or at least i never thought so, especially the classic stuff. His classic stuff is mostly pretty sparse and simple.

TrivialPursuit said:

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #4 posted 03/05/18 12:48pm

PeteSilas

soladeo1 said:

If any? Maybe the rock-solid sense of belief in himself alone as a producer of his work...only relaxed a little with his last albums with Josh? I would have loved to see what a Prince album helmed by someone like Daniel Lanois or Chris Walla would have sounded like...or Nile Rogers!!!

I'd have to say as a musician myself that self-production is hard because it's difficult to take on the stance of creator and listener at the same time. For me, periods between what i'm working on or advice from friends has been invaluable. So, I could see Prince thinking his music was always a gift from god and the greatest thing on earth when it wasn't always great. He raved about thieves in the temple but that isn't one of his greatest songs in my opinion, therefore, lack of objectivity has to be a problem for anyone who self produces. Still, he was right, he didn't need anyone.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #5 posted 03/05/18 1:41pm

soladeo1

dandan said:

TrivialPursuit said:

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.


What are some examples of great Prince tracks that have too much going on?

I agree with this, largely. Especially for his mid 90s output. For example, think of a track like

Endorphine Machine... GOBS and GOBS of kayboards and layers of guitars. Massive drums and loops and samples. Oh, and SOUND EFFECTS TOO!!! That's a song that would have been more powerful if it wasn't so STUFFED, IMO...

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #6 posted 03/05/18 1:46pm

jasopig

When it comes to writing, composing, and producing, he had no weakness.

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #7 posted 03/05/18 1:49pm

cbarnes3121

being that prince was a muican first i dont think he had a weakness it was all his creations from his mindset where he was at that time in his life. being a musican and creator myself u have in your mind what u invision its not trying to appleal 2 the maases its trying to appeal 2 your thoughts and getting them out . i would say his weakness was giving some songs away that i thought should of been his own ???

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #8 posted 03/05/18 1:51pm

PeteSilas

soladeo1 said:

dandan said:


What are some examples of great Prince tracks that have too much going on?

I agree with this, largely. Especially for his mid 90s output. For example, think of a track like

Endorphine Machine... GOBS and GOBS of kayboards and layers of guitars. Massive drums and loops and samples. Oh, and SOUND EFFECTS TOO!!! That's a song that would have been more powerful if it wasn't so STUFFED, IMO...

probably lovesexy was the start of that, before that, he was pretty simple in his approach, however, he didn't always overproduce stuff, in fact, for the most part, the production and use of the studio was superior to his 80's stuff honestly.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #9 posted 03/05/18 1:54pm

PeteSilas

also, susan rogers said something key when she said she always chafed at the description of Prince being a "perfectionist" she said, quite rightly that if he was a perfectionist there is no way he could have gotten so much done. Sheila e once said that working with prince was different from working with other people because he didn't care about how clean and perfect the playing was but rather that it had feel so to say he overproduced stuff all the time would certainly not be true.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #10 posted 03/05/18 2:27pm

paulludvig

TrivialPursuit said:

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.

Have you heard the song before Prince started to add stuff? I don't think the version we have of Wally sound overproduced at all actually. As for the supposed reason for adding extra layers to the song ("puposely building up and destroying") well that is pure speculation.

The wooh is on the one!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #11 posted 03/05/18 2:31pm

TrivialPursuit

PeteSilas said:

i don't think that's true for most of his music, or at least i never thought so, especially the classic stuff. His classic stuff is mostly pretty sparse and simple.


It is more sparse and simple in many regards, I'd agree.

But with the onset of more money and Paisley Park being built (opposed to his at-home studios), you can hear the layers being piled on a song. While there have been sound effects in the past (especially on 1999 with the traffic sounds, baby noise to cut off an otherwise long "Delirious", etc), there has never been a plethora of sound bank material inhabiting Prince's music until "Batdance". That seems to have set him off on a sampling and looping whirlwind for quite a few years.

Examples of "Endorphinmachine" were given. And while I absolutely have an eternal hard-on for that song, I can also recognize oodles of keyboard layers and the brash tone to it. Live, it's wonderful. On record, it's really good, but it feels a bit like standing in a parking lot of semi-tractor trailers and they all suddenly turn their lights on and blow their horns simultaneously. I'm all for a shock n' awe in music, but at some point, one gets over/de-sensitized to thing like that aurally. The balance of sparse elegance vs thick-like-lava gluttony disappears. In "Endorphinmachine"'s defense, I think it was Jim Walsh who said the scream in "Endorph" and the guitar solo in "Gold" are both Prince searching - hard - for something new in his life (not just his music). It's a man on a mission who gives no fucks.

The beauty of a record like Lovesexy (although the levels are push to near 10 across the board and even Eric Leeds said the EQ was "too hot" on the whole thing giving it an almost blown out sound) is that you have the more simple things like "When 2 R In Love" or "Positivity" coupled with the thick under brush of "Dance On", and "Lovesexy", while the middle of the road songs like "Glam Slam", "Alphabet St" and "I Wish U Heaven" help keep it evened out.

Then you have something that is, otherwise a masterpiece in its own right and arguably Purple Rain II, layered and looped and sampled to all hell (in some mad genius bizarre perfection) like The Gold Experience. The choruses of "Now", the full-band arrangement (perfection) of "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" with a bit of air taken out of it with the ticking clock sound (again, too literal of an aural interpretation of the music), and a lot of the prince album in '92 are examples of just too much going on. (I'm not even bringing up the scratchin' and rappin' thing he was exploring during that time - following trends instead of creating them.) "The Flow", "Daddy Pop", "Push", "Arrogance" are pieces with way too much in them. Yet again, you have something so wonderfully balanced with dueling guitar solos in "Live 4 Love" (a song still slightly overbaked) with Levi that harkens back to Prince dueling with Dez in "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad".


This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #12 posted 03/05/18 2:34pm

TrivialPursuit

paulludvig said:

TrivialPursuit said:


While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

.

Have you heard the song before Prince started to add stuff? I don't think the version we have of Wally sound overproduced at all actually. As for the supposed reason for adding extra layers to the song ("puposely building up and destroying") well that is pure speculation.


No sir, I was referencing the original that we'll never hear, just as a loose example. The one we have now is certainly vastly different than the one recorded the day prior.

I'm not sure the speculation is as much that as it is based in actual fact. There is no reason for him to add a bunch of garbage to a song then erase it other than to expel his demons. I would bet good money there are a few of those exorcism type tracks in the vault somewhere, that were just too personal to ever put out. Prince's music wasn't just a reflection of his life and gifts, it was truly his therapy and religion. A softer, yet pointed, example of that personal side is certainly the original "Old Friends 4 Sale".

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #13 posted 03/05/18 3:04pm

ufoclub

avatar

His biggest weakness later on was his boredom with arrangement and mixing... he stopped working on mixes for weeks the way he used to, and it shows in the dry more demo like straight preset sounds of many of the later songs from emancipation onward. Of course there were exceptions. The upside is that he probably was recording even more ideas than ever.
Check out a feature film I directed FREE on Amazon Prime: http://a.co/54e7uEG

Check out my first art book: http://www.lulu.com/spotl...ecomicskid

VIDEO WORK: http://sharadkantpatel.com
MUSIC: http://www.soundcloud.com/
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #14 posted 03/05/18 3:20pm

PeteSilas

I still remember listening to the symbol album and i was blown away, the amount of great songs, the vast improvement over the 80s stuff in terms of how clear the music was and his perfection as a singer and musician just had me thinking "he's only getting better and better" which he was in certain ways. I never really focussed much on the hip hop elements, i pretty much ignored them i only noticed the number of great songs and how much better sounding the record was than his claustorphobic, sometimes almost amateurishly produced 80's classics. Of course that's not a sleight, the best rock and roll has almost always been recorded on garbage going back to elvis' sun sessions. Elvis too, as little as people talked about it, did truly improve as a singer and as the producer he actually was from the git go. cultural relevancy and a certain level of excellence in specific areas do not go hand in hand.

TrivialPursuit said:

PeteSilas said:

i don't think that's true for most of his music, or at least i never thought so, especially the classic stuff. His classic stuff is mostly pretty sparse and simple.


It is more sparse and simple in many regards, I'd agree.

But with the onset of more money and Paisley Park being built (opposed to his at-home studios), you can hear the layers being piled on a song. While there have been sound effects in the past (especially on 1999 with the traffic sounds, baby noise to cut off an otherwise long "Delirious", etc), there has never been a plethora of sound bank material inhabiting Prince's music until "Batdance". That seems to have set him off on a sampling and looping whirlwind for quite a few years.

Examples of "Endorphinmachine" were given. And while I absolutely have an eternal hard-on for that song, I can also recognize oodles of keyboard layers and the brash tone to it. Live, it's wonderful. On record, it's really good, but it feels a bit like standing in a parking lot of semi-tractor trailers and they all suddenly turn their lights on and blow their horns simultaneously. I'm all for a shock n' awe in music, but at some point, one gets over/de-sensitized to thing like that aurally. The balance of sparse elegance vs thick-like-lava gluttony disappears. In "Endorphinmachine"'s defense, I think it was Jim Walsh who said the scream in "Endorph" and the guitar solo in "Gold" are both Prince searching - hard - for something new in his life (not just his music). It's a man on a mission who gives no fucks.

The beauty of a record like Lovesexy (although the levels are push to near 10 across the board and even Eric Leeds said the EQ was "too hot" on the whole thing giving it an almost blown out sound) is that you have the more simple things like "When 2 R In Love" or "Positivity" coupled with the thick under brush of "Dance On", and "Lovesexy", while the middle of the road songs like "Glam Slam", "Alphabet St" and "I Wish U Heaven" help keep it evened out.

Then you have something that is, otherwise a masterpiece in its own right and arguably Purple Rain II, layered and looped and sampled to all hell (in some mad genius bizarre perfection) like The Gold Experience. The choruses of "Now", the full-band arrangement (perfection) of "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" with a bit of air taken out of it with the ticking clock sound (again, too literal of an aural interpretation of the music), and a lot of the prince album in '92 are examples of just too much going on. (I'm not even bringing up the scratchin' and rappin' thing he was exploring during that time - following trends instead of creating them.) "The Flow", "Daddy Pop", "Push", "Arrogance" are pieces with way too much in them. Yet again, you have something so wonderfully balanced with dueling guitar solos in "Live 4 Love" (a song still slightly overbaked) with Levi that harkens back to Prince dueling with Dez in "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad".


Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #15 posted 03/05/18 3:27pm

TrivialPursuit

PeteSilas said:

I still remember listening to the symbol album and i was blown away, the amount of great songs, the vast improvement over the 80s stuff in terms of how clear the music was and his perfection as a singer and musician just had me thinking "he's only getting better and better" which he was in certain ways. I never really focussed much on the hip hop elements, i pretty much ignored them i only noticed the number of great songs and how much better sounding the record was than his claustorphobic, sometimes almost amateurishly produced 80's classics. Of course that's not a sleight, the best rock and roll has almost always been recorded on garbage going back to elvis' sun sessions. Elvis too, as little as people talked about it, did truly improve as a singer and as the producer he actually was from the git go. cultural relevancy and a certain level of excellence in specific areas do not go hand in hand.


I was much more in love with prince than Diamonds and Pearls back then. Once I took Tony M out of both, I loved them equally. There was a pointed growth in those records. They were band records mostly and that made a huge difference, I believe.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #16 posted 03/05/18 4:05pm

Mintchip

avatar

I don't love Prince's use of sound effects to flesh out songs.

Sometimes it was witty, like the 'thank you' on "Take Me With You", (i guess that could be a lyric).

More often it was weird, like the elephants and god knows what on "Lady Cab Driver", or the laser beams on "the breakdown".

And worst of all, when the sound was a literal illustration of the lyric that preceded it, as on "Chaos and Disorder" or "Dion".

The dolphin in "Animal Kingdom". The cereal eating in "Joint 2 Joint". The SWAT team on "Bob George". The cartoon noises on "Peach". Never exactly your favorite part of the song, you know?

[Edited 3/5/18 16:06pm]

[Edited 3/5/18 16:24pm]

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #17 posted 03/05/18 4:14pm

rap

TrivialPursuit said:

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.

Didn't George Michael say as much??

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #18 posted 03/05/18 4:27pm

PeteSilas

george said some bullshit but forget him, he didn't do anything i could listen to after the 80's.

rap said:

TrivialPursuit said:

Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.

Didn't George Michael say as much??

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #19 posted 03/05/18 5:23pm

noobman

These are little things that annoy me.

One thing that annoys me a bit if using a lot of keyboards on hard rock tracks. Like Endorphin Machine. He doubles the guitar riff with keyboards, which feels unnecessary to me. Prince likes to double guitar and keyboard a lot. I like it sometimes but not always. It gives a synthesized feel.

Chaos and Disorder was an album I felt could have been more stripped down as a rock and roll album. He used keyboard and horns in spots where I thought it was a bit too much.

Another thing is use of vocals by background vocalists. Like Jam of the Year.... that "how howwww... howwww howwwahowwww... annoys the heck out of me. If it wasn't there I'd love the song. "Into the light" is another song with those extra vocals.

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #20 posted 03/05/18 5:53pm

PeteSilas

overproduction, generally speaking, is the first sign of an amateur. I remember working with a rapper, i explained to him i only had so many tracks, 6, to work with and 2 to mix down, but he didn't listen, he just kept piling as much shit as he could, i gave up after a couple hours. a good song shouldn't need anything other than a vocal and an instrument in raw form, anything added to it can help or hurt it, just depends. that's the part where prince, being the producer, i'm sure it hurt him. just like it would hurt anyone who works alone, you don't have anyone to tell you when things aren't so good. Paul Mccartney said once that the most important functions lennon/mccartney had as songwriters was not the writing together but the advice of what was good or not good. Prince didn't have that and it would have to hurt him sometimes, just like i'm sure it hurt me to be alone.

Prince.org: With fans like these he didn't need haters.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #21 posted 03/05/18 8:22pm

controversy99

avatar

PeteSilas said:

i don't think that's true for most of his music, or at least i never thought so, especially the classic stuff. His classic stuff is mostly pretty sparse and simple.



TrivialPursuit said:


Too many tracks. There have been critics and engineers who have said Prince should be limited to 24 tracks instead of 48 or more. Prince's weakness was adding just one more sound or note or whatever to a song. It's like a drug - "just one more track", "just one more instrument - I need to run my fingernails over glass for this part." No boo, you don't.

While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

He once talked about why "Prince" was credited as producer on Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic, which was a prince record. "Because Prince knows how to edit". It's a juxtaposition to the unedited nature of things like Emancipation or even Lotusflow3r. (The irony of that is longer albums like 1999).

I've said before that when Prince really puts his head to it, he can write an equally Prince record and radio-friendly record. Musicology, although not a favorite, is a great example of that. It's purposeful, focused, and a clear vision. It's not just Prince whipping his dick out for 8 or 9 minutes (although often brilliant a la "Automatic", "Do Me, Baby", "DMSR", "Positivity", etc). When he's left to his own devices and starts layering and layering and layering, there is a time to pull back on that and actually limit him. There is a brilliance in that freedom, but there is also a concise and wonderful product that comes when he's limited in how many tracks he can put into one song. He will use whatever he has in front of him to write a great song, so why not say "Hey, you're limited to 24 or 36 tracks for this", and see what he comes up with.

If he can be half-awake and write "Little Red Corvette", he could (and did) stay brilliant with fewer tracks on a song.




Too many tracks and too much layering is NOT a major problem for Prince, at least not for his most significant work. Prince is famous for being sparse. When Doves Cry, Kiss, all of the Prince album, almost all of Sign o the Times, etc. are among very sparse and that’s just a small sample. Lovesexy is the only album of his classic period that has a lot of layering.
"Love & honesty, peace & harmony"
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #22 posted 03/06/18 12:19am

BoraBora



I think the "original sin" of his weaknesses production-wise was P's decision to follow trends instead to go on with his personal musical journey.

From D&P he lost some of the focus he had before, searchin' to give his music a commercial appeal even when not necessary, and unfortunately using production tecniques that evolved in "cliches" over the years.

Just my opinion.



  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #23 posted 03/06/18 3:47am

Nasalhair

Overproduction, definitely. Too many layers of keyboards, particularly on his material from the 90s onwards, often smothering the guitars so everything sounded like a wall of synthetic goo. Compare how a song like "Fury" sounded when played live to how it was on album. I always wished he'd had someone to hold him back, reducing the number of tracks and overdubs, and leaving more rough edges and real sounds in his studio albums. Sadly it didn't happen though.

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #24 posted 03/06/18 2:55pm

paulludvig

TrivialPursuit said:



paulludvig said:




TrivialPursuit said:



While he did it on purpose, "Wally" is an interesting example of Prince literally adding too much to a song and it being overproduced. We know he was purposely building up and destroying "Wally". However, in the songs he wants to put out or release often have just a tad too much in them.

.



Have you heard the song before Prince started to add stuff? I don't think the version we have of Wally sound overproduced at all actually. As for the supposed reason for adding extra layers to the song ("puposely building up and destroying") well that is pure speculation.




No sir, I was referencing the original that we'll never hear, just as a loose example. The one we have now is certainly vastly different than the one recorded the day prior.

I'm not sure the speculation is as much that as it is based in actual fact. There is no reason for him to add a bunch of garbage to a song then erase it other than to expel his demons. I would bet good money there are a few of those exorcism type tracks in the vault somewhere, that were just too personal to ever put out. Prince's music wasn't just a reflection of his life and gifts, it was truly his therapy and religion. A softer, yet pointed, example of that personal side is certainly the original "Old Friends 4 Sale".



But he didn't add a bunch of garbage. That is just your opinion.
The wooh is on the one!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #25 posted 03/06/18 3:02pm

TrivialPursuit

paulludvig said:

TrivialPursuit said:


No sir, I was referencing the original that we'll never hear, just as a loose example. The one we have now is certainly vastly different than the one recorded the day prior.

I'm not sure the speculation is as much that as it is based in actual fact. There is no reason for him to add a bunch of garbage to a song then erase it other than to expel his demons.

But he didn't add a bunch of garbage. That is just your opinion.


You weren't there, but engineers were, and I'm using what they have said. That is a fact.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #26 posted 03/06/18 3:18pm

42Kristen

Prince's weakness in production is listening to the people around in his circle at that time! Prince was always ahead of his time in the music genre. But, in the past he has listen to a few people( women) what is in the norm for Prince! It had cost his a lot. As far as, money and fans back in the '90's. Prince had tried many of times to regain what he worked so hard for back in the late '70's and all throughout the '80's. Yeah there were quite a few mistakes that were made. I do not know if Prince had ever learned from those mistakes. Time only can tell

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #27 posted 03/06/18 3:39pm

luvsexy4all

imagine those "exorcism tracks" .......too mind blowin

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #28 posted 03/06/18 3:47pm

Musze

avatar

TrivialPursuit said:

PeteSilas said:

i don't think that's true for most of his music, or at least i never thought so, especially the classic stuff. His classic stuff is mostly pretty sparse and simple.


It is more sparse and simple in many regards, I'd agree.

But with the onset of more money and Paisley Park being built (opposed to his at-home studios), you can hear the layers being piled on a song. While there have been sound effects in the past (especially on 1999 with the traffic sounds, baby noise to cut off an otherwise long "Delirious", etc), there has never been a plethora of sound bank material inhabiting Prince's music until "Batdance". That seems to have set him off on a sampling and looping whirlwind for quite a few years.

Examples of "Endorphinmachine" were given. And while I absolutely have an eternal hard-on for that song, I can also recognize oodles of keyboard layers and the brash tone to it. Live, it's wonderful. On record, it's really good, but it feels a bit like standing in a parking lot of semi-tractor trailers and they all suddenly turn their lights on and blow their horns simultaneously. I'm all for a shock n' awe in music, but at some point, one gets over/de-sensitized to thing like that aurally. The balance of sparse elegance vs thick-like-lava gluttony disappears. In "Endorphinmachine"'s defense, I think it was Jim Walsh who said the scream in "Endorph" and the guitar solo in "Gold" are both Prince searching - hard - for something new in his life (not just his music). It's a man on a mission who gives no fucks.

The beauty of a record like Lovesexy (although the levels are push to near 10 across the board and even Eric Leeds said the EQ was "too hot" on the whole thing giving it an almost blown out sound) is that you have the more simple things like "When 2 R In Love" or "Positivity" coupled with the thick under brush of "Dance On", and "Lovesexy", while the middle of the road songs like "Glam Slam", "Alphabet St" and "I Wish U Heaven" help keep it evened out.

Then you have something that is, otherwise a masterpiece in its own right and arguably Purple Rain II, layered and looped and sampled to all hell (in some mad genius bizarre perfection) like The Gold Experience. The choruses of "Now", the full-band arrangement (perfection) of "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World" with a bit of air taken out of it with the ticking clock sound (again, too literal of an aural interpretation of the music), and a lot of the prince album in '92 are examples of just too much going on. (I'm not even bringing up the scratchin' and rappin' thing he was exploring during that time - following trends instead of creating them.) "The Flow", "Daddy Pop", "Push", "Arrogance" are pieces with way too much in them. Yet again, you have something so wonderfully balanced with dueling guitar solos in "Live 4 Love" (a song still slightly overbaked) with Levi that harkens back to Prince dueling with Dez in "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad".


This. His mixing was awful at times. Brickwalled to the Nth degree... especially so much of his late 90's and on work.

Recently got my hands on a used but pristine copy of LoveSexy on Vinyl and the record is MASTERED so much better than the CD version... still too "hot" at times, but so much easier to pick up the subtleties.

I Love U, But I Don't Trust U Anymore...
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #29 posted 03/06/18 4:01pm

Musician9

the 90's stuff was overproduced but somewhat sonically better than the 80's material because of technology. Now IMO a lot of his material, SOTT in particular, is in such dire need of a remaster because of its production, which is P's fault. Using primarily one engineer for every single song led him and Susan R. to become tone deaf in a way. No one ever stops to think that tracks that are buried in the mix aren't there on purpose, it could also be bad mixing, i also record and mix my stuff and when you try and produce a song per session with a complete mix your ears can go dull on you, and if you don't play it for others or get their opinion then you get a mix YOU like, but one that could be better, depending on the song. Ever wonder why he wasn't ever nominated as Producer of the year? Sonically speaking SOTT is all over the place, The Cross sounds like a 25 buck an hour studio job, and we all know the story of TBODP, when I hear Susan say P liked the mistake so he kep tin, I laugh, because the truth is that he couldn't hear the deficiency in the first place, and the track might have sounded better had the board been working, or mix on another console and environment. The same is true for most Led Zep's stuff, IMO jimmy P's production made those albums sound like they were recorded in in a puddle of mud. Color wise, when I hear most Zeppelin tracks and SOTT tracks the color I see is brown. Parade, however, entirely different, but I credit that to Wendy and Lisa's input.

  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Page 1 of 5 12345>
  New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
« Previous topic  Next topic »
Forums > Prince: Music and More > What were Prince’s weaknesses production-wise?