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How much SHOULD a band's songs sound alike?


Barber Surgeon

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I'm the primary song writer in my death metal band. I've written several songs, but they all differ in tempo, aggressiveness, and mood. They're all definitely pretty heavy metal, and I'm sure they have common aspects that I use subconsciously, but in your opinion, should an album have a limited mood? Or is it more interesting if it has variety?

 

This is just out of curiosity. I like how it's coming together.

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Personally, I get bored by an album where all the songs sound similar. I like variety, even when it sounds like a totally different band from song to song.

 

But I'm probably alone in this. Most people want unity and want to recognize any song of yours when they hear it out of context. It's certainly helps to have a signature sound if you're trying to make money.

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There was a thread at GearSlutz (which is a little more oriented to working studio engineers) a while back titled something like "A band comes to you to record; they say they have 12 different songs -- but you only hear one..."

 

The upshot being that this fella had run into a bunch of bands whose songs all sounded the same and what did others think the engineer/producer's responsibility was in such a case...

 

Me, I like a little variety.

 

But some folks who are deeply into a 'hard core' genre-genre like death metal (where the demarcations seem subtle to outsiders but people inside the scene are highly attuned to making fine distinctions about what is and what isn't death metal) can be very fussy about what they like, I've found. Mix things up too much and the next thing you know someone's calling you a sell-out.

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I think there is something to be said for having a coherent band sound. This doesn't mean that every song on the album should sound the same, but a listener who has heard one of your songs should be able to identify another one of your songs as being "by you know, the group that did that other song we heard".

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I'd say don't have more variety than the Beatles. That's probably a safe guideline.

 

:lol:

 

That's great, CM! And I agree totally!

 

Because that means that my only choices are folk, rock, hard rock, latin, pop, psychedelic, 40's music hall, country-flavored, electronic, "string quartet"..... etc, etc....

 

And that's why most radio music today totally and completely sucks - formulas.

That's why The White Album is one of my faves of all time - the songs sound NOTHING like each other.

 

I also unfortunately agree with eeglug that a signature sound makes money today. Too bad.

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yes this is a pet peeve of mine. Some folks have said, you know a lot of your songs sound similar? And I say, do you like ZZTop? Ever notice that they have "a sound". So if you like that sound, fine. But if you're writing music and the first song sounds like ZZtop? And the next sounds like Steeley Dan? How in the hell are you going to attract a following? I mean diversity, fine, but develop a style and "work it". JMHO.

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But if you're writing music and the first song sounds like ZZtop? And the next sounds like Steeley Dan?

 

 

Quite frankly, 95% of the time, I hear bands that have songs that all sound the same. I rarely come across bands that play a range of styles that could be characterized as "too diverse".

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