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Week 6 Blog Topic - Soundalike Song Analysis

For our soundalike assignment, we as a group were asked to choose a song that we would like to recreate. While having a group discussion, we came across this song “Old Songs by Betty Wright & The Roots” which was recommended by Woody and almost instantly, we were all moving our heads to the music. Finally, all of us agreed to do it.

The song is beautifully crafted and is catchy and although produced in 2011, reminds and incorporates elements of the classic 60s and 70s american soul music. Considering the instrumentation and the style of the vocalist and the musicians we have, we knew this song would be realistically achievable.

The song is in 4/4 common time and in the key of F minor. The tempo is at 90 bpm.

The chord progression for the hook goes as: F min F min C min G# Major

and the verse as: Fmin Fmin Ab Gb

I created a variations timeline of the song in my DAW using coloured Markers.

The song starts with a percussion loop which uses a woody Rim sample, low tom and an open hat. The loop has reverb on it with the decay time of approximately 2 sec. This loop continues through the rest of the song.

The intro comprises of drums, bass and electric jazz rhythm guitar. The Wah pedal guitar comes in every second beat of the second bar in the 8 bar section of the intro.

The Hook consists of the lead vocals sitting in the middle, the backing vocals panned left and right and the left side having frequency filters on it cutting the highs and the lows with increased resonance in the mids. Hook 1 is 16 Bars long.

The harmonies are more prevalent in the verses 1 and 2 which are 12 and 16 Bars in length respectively. The harmonies are bright but are pushed back in the stereo field using reverb. The lead vocals are front and centred.

This song features a long (40 Bar) extended chorus/outro which continues with the same instrumentation as above. The only variations are of vocal overdubs (which I presume are done by the lead singer herself), backing vocals and harmonies.

The overall drums are dry and sound like they were recorded in a small room with not a lot of mics. I tried duplicating the song and inverting the phase on one of the copy of the song in my DAW and found that there wasn’t much stereo width in the song. Apparently, the technique above removes/masks the centre image of the stereo field. This gave me the impression that the producers might’ve not recorded any overheads and the room mic. The Kick of the drum kit is not very prevalent in the mix and is lower than the bass in the frequency range and doesn’t sound very punchy.

I feel that the most difficult aspect to recreate for this song would be the Vocals and the Bass.

The vocals are warm and I assume they were recorded on a Ribbon Mic to emulate the sound of the classic 70s soul music. The delay on the vocal follows triplets of the eighth notes with a short feedback.

The Bass is groovy and was probably recorded using a Fodera Emperor Standard 5 bass guitar. In the mix, the Bass is prominent and overpowers the Kick. The guitar riff is rhythmic, following the chord progression and compliments the genre.

I’m really excited to be a part of this group assignment and hope to achieve great results in the coming weeks.

Here's the song

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