Super star producers have the ability to make, or break, the careers of musical artists; what is added, or taken away, from an original composition can be the difference between it’s critical/commercial success. Would a Johnny Cash cover song have sounded so meaningful if Rick Rubin hadn’t stripped the sound right back? Would Nirvana have sounded so emotionally charged if they hadn’t had Steve Albini beside them?
As exemplified through numerous court battles and autobiographies, the battle for final production can be vicious with artists often fighting the creative and commercial desires of A&R and ‘management’. ‘Final cut’ is often referred to as a reason for the end of the Beatles.
Jess Glynne has dominated the pop charts for the past 3 or 4 years, personally, I’ve never really been able to see the appeal; predominantly as the production of her tracks border on the ‘dance’ end of pop – a musical style I’ve never tended to enjoy. But my tastes are in the minority, so what do I know!?
In a live setting, particularly with pop, audiences want to hear the songs they know and love already; but they often want to hear them in a slightly different format, or with a slightly different production.
In her live setting, Glynne provides an interesting way of meeting those needs; using a live, gospel-sounding, band to recreate her tracks. The result to her sound means that the ‘pop’ element is kept, but the dance tinge is phased out slightly, in favour of a philly-soul sound. We get the beat, but it sounds more human than the electronic sound of her recordings. Personally, it feels reminiscent of George Micahel’s MTV acoustic special including the great showpersonship and band performance.
It’s this sound, and this production, that allows me to hear Glynne’s vocal ability and lyrical integrity clearer than before and shame on me and my unconscious pop bias for not seeing this earlier.
This is a very real artist doing great work.
Production. It’s a funny thing.