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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 19:06 GMT 

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MMD wrote:
Dylan is mic'd so loud, his voice is so much bigger than all the instruments together, that it takes the power out of the music.
I think this is a way of allowing Dylan to be subtle and tuneful with his wrecked vocal chords -- which he can't really do in concert when the band plays loud.
So, my theory, in order to allow his singing to come forward, to be tuneful, Dylan mic'd himself (as producer) extremely loudly. This way, he can sing very softly. And the band sound is balanced way down.

The result: A song like Thunder on the Mountain, which seems like it ought to rock, to be an energetic, danceable number, feels a little anemic. Dylan barely raises his voice at all on this one. Just a little growl or a little spitting of syllable feels like a lot. And the band, the drums, the bass, the guitar, are all (as if on one speaker) in the background.


Spot on! The result is that the vocal sounds restrained and the band sounds weak.

The songs have a stately, formal sound to them (as they're all so bloody long!), and the production described above mixed with the bland arrangements makes it all so...lifeless.

Despite all that I find some enjoyment from one or two songs and appreciate that he put more time into it than most other albums, but it only proves to me that he's best when he's thinking fast and acting spontaneously. This kind of attempt at a carefully constructed epic is not what Dylan does best.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 20:26 GMT 
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Exactly. Listen to the way they punch his vocals in at the beginning of tracks - totally laughable. That hissy overweighting of his voice in the mix is there in Together Through Life too.

Which is why having Dylan producing his own albums now is just wrong. You watch - the new one will be no different.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 20:38 GMT 
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Young Bill wrote:
MMD wrote:
Dylan is mic'd so loud, his voice is so much bigger than all the instruments together, that it takes the power out of the music.
I think this is a way of allowing Dylan to be subtle and tuneful with his wrecked vocal chords -- which he can't really do in concert when the band plays loud.
So, my theory, in order to allow his singing to come forward, to be tuneful, Dylan mic'd himself (as producer) extremely loudly. This way, he can sing very softly. And the band sound is balanced way down.

The result: A song like Thunder on the Mountain, which seems like it ought to rock, to be an energetic, danceable number, feels a little anemic. Dylan barely raises his voice at all on this one. Just a little growl or a little spitting of syllable feels like a lot. And the band, the drums, the bass, the guitar, are all (as if on one speaker) in the background.


Spot on! The result is that the vocal sounds restrained and the band sounds weak.

The songs have a stately, formal sound to them (as they're all so bloody long!), and the production described above mixed with the bland arrangements makes it all so...lifeless.

Despite all that I find some enjoyment from one or two songs and appreciate that he put more time into it than most other albums, but it only proves to me that he's best when he's thinking fast and acting spontaneously. This kind of attempt at a carefully constructed epic is not what Dylan does best.


Yes. I love Cry A While from LT, and Dirt Road Blues from TOOM, and on both the wrecked vocals are snarled with power here and there. The growl and snarls give a sense of old man menace that just knocks my socks off. But on this album, no menace in the growl (am I wrong? I mean Someday Baby has it, but by being tensely under-delivered).

Jack White got the nod from Dylan to produce Thunder on the Mountain with Wanda Jackson, and while her phrasing lacks the cleverness and sarcasm, her vocal performance seems to capture the possible juice in the song -- but, and I am no music expert, the arrangement seems close to Dylan's and plods a little. So, maybe I have to think about that.

Benny Boy, glad to see you at full piss and vinegar. But, what do you mean about "punching his vocals at the beginnings of tracks"?


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 20:45 GMT 
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I mean the way the vocal track is inserted clumsily into the mix, with little attempt to disguise how digitally processed it is. It's evident that Dylan's vocals are significantly treated to make them more palatable - listen closely to the beginning of 'Aint Talkin' for example, and pay attention to the voice. It just doesnt sound right - not autotuned as such, but with something off about it.

That whole 'playing in one room live' aesthetic is nonsense - I dont ever get that sense from Modern Times or TTL. Love & Theft, maybe, but something's different about the last 2 albums. Like Dylan just couldnt cut it vocally among the band any more.

Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.


Last edited by Bennyboy on Thu May 17th, 2012, 20:52 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 20:49 GMT 
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ballynally wrote:

Your arguments can be applied to TOOM. MT does not aim for the sound of the 50's,and no Sun recording sounds like it. He just hasn't got the power anymore to pull it off.The big Shure mic just muddles it.. And i think he feels it didnt quite come off like he wanted it, i presume because of the push and pull with Lanois. The product fell in the middle with which neither were reasonably satisfied. Some of the live recordings are less troublesome, though. I think for L&T and especially MT Dylan went the other way,most likely out of frustration, with uncluttered direct vocals, and i do prefer those productions. . MT contains some really great tracks, but quite a few mediocre ones.And so did TOOM, as far as i'm concerned. I will leave out which, to stop any to and fro-ing.I think L&T holds up on all fronts and will over time.

As far as EQ-ing is concerned, TOOM is all over the place.I had to do some post production work on it on quite a few tracks to lose the troublesome frequencies. Also very inconsistent mixing on TOOM, with the vocals sometimes up front and sometimes buried.Granted, MT vocals way up front, and some will dislike it.

By the way,I'm so glad they went back to mix 'Street Legal' again, as i had produced my own copy after i got the first CD. My fingers are itching to work on TOOM, if i only could get my hands on it.I actually don't blame Lanois. I suspect Dylan wanted to go somewhere with it, but failed.I'm pretty certain that Lanois would have created a much more transparant album. More like 'Oh Mercy' as it were.


You sound like an engineer (or some such species of thing). So, I think the Sun recording have that all-on-one-mic feel, or at least not-tracked-separately. I know Dylan is a huge fan of those recordings (maybe that was of Chess). But, I saw what The Monkey was getting at. The problem, for me, is that Dylan isn't letting it rip in the room with the band all around one mic (at least that how it sounds to me). THere is a shot on the inside of the album cover on MT of them all in the center of the room playing, That is not what it sounds like to me. Rather, that it's what he wanted ti to sound like. No?


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 20:52 GMT 
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Bennyboy wrote:
I mean the way the vocal track is inserted clumsily into the mix, with little attempt to disguise how digitally processed it is. It's evident that Dylan's vocals are massively treated to make them more palatable - listen closely to the beginninhatg of 'Aint Talkin' for example, and pay attention to the voice. It just doesnt sound right - not autotuned as such, but with something off about it.

That whole 'playing in one room live' aesthetic is nonsense - I dont ever get that sense from Modern Times or TTL. Love & Theft, maybe, but something's different about the last 2 albums. Like Dylan just couldnt cut it vocally among the band any more.

Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.

Just what I was writing as you posted. I'm off to play Ain't Talkin now. Then, LT. Then, the MSG show -- Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You, in particular.
Thanks everyone.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 21:02 GMT 

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Bennyboy wrote:
Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.

Yes, it's what several others have mentioned: restraint. He's in control. Why is that bad? What is with this "floor it, already" mentality? THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN is an easy cruisin' down the highway song. Why do some of you act like the object should be to go speeding off a cliff in some juvenile blaze of glory? That kind of philosophy (not really a philosophy in his case, but simply a lack of discipline) is what created the situation with his voice in the first place. Grow up, rockers.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 21:13 GMT 
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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.

Yes, it's what several others have mentioned: restraint. He's in control. Why is that bad? What is with this "floor it, already" mentality? THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN is an easy cruisin' down the highway song. Why do some of you act like the object should be to go speeding off a cliff in some juvenile blaze of glory? That kind of philosophy (not really a philosophy in his case, but simply a lack of discipline) is what created the situation with his voice in the first place. Grow up, rockers.



whats wrong with punching in a vocal or two anyways? now bob cant punch in vocals? everybody punches vocals but theres something wrong with bob doing it?

its a nice warm hearted record.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 21:14 GMT 
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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.

Yes, it's what several others have mentioned: restraint. He's in control. Why is that bad? What is with this "floor it, already" mentality? THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN is an easy cruisin' down the highway song. Why do some of you act like the object should be to go speeding off a cliff in some juvenile blaze of glory? That kind of philosophy (not really a philosophy in his case, but simply a lack of discipline) is what created the situation with his voice in the first place. Grow up, rockers.


I guess most of his fanbase do have to be careful when slowly tapping their slippers to the track, in case they put a hip out.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 22:22 GMT 

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It would appear that at the centre of this twister of techno babble lies the possibility that the artist made an attempt to sound a little different, or perish the thought -at least OK. Given that the album was recorded at Dylan's usual rapid pace, I wonder why so many so called experts are dragging the chain here. This was no six months or two years in the studio epic, designed to smooth the sound of troubled waters. MT is one of Dylan's biggest selling albums, lots of people love it, yet the self assured ER know nothings want to criticise. Is it because a majority think, feel and hear differently. Accept it for what it is. Like it or dislike it but don't attempt to BS people about things you plainly know sod all about, just to sound brash and condescending.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 23:40 GMT 
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senor10 wrote:
It would appear that at the centre of this twister of techno babble lies the possibility that the artist made an attempt to sound a little different, or perish the thought -at least OK. Given that the album was recorded at Dylan's usual rapid pace, I wonder why so many so called experts are dragging the chain here. This was no six months or two years in the studio epic, designed to smooth the sound of troubled waters. MT is one of Dylan's biggest selling albums, lots of people love it, yet the self assured ER know nothings want to criticise. Is it because a majority think, feel and hear differently. Accept it for what it is. Like it or dislike it but don't attempt to BS people about things you plainly know sod all about, just to sound brash and condescending.


Jeebus, what are you on about? This is, mostly, a conversation on a dylan forum, about the sound on one of his albums. Are we really to be confined to this range of response to Dylan's music: "I like it!" :) or "I don't like it!" :(
Are you a logical positivist? There's scientific proof and the rest is only yay! or boo! ? Or is even technical assessment out, merely "techno-babble"? I admit I am no sound engineer or musicologist, but I didn't pretend to be.

I thought the Monkey's and others' defenses of the sound were great. And I appreciate harmonica albert's cantankerousness and Benny Boy's shiv in between the ribs style.

And your assessment is what? That Dylan made it quick and so no reflection on it is permitted?

Take a bath, please.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 23:51 GMT 
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senor10 wrote:
It would appear that at the centre of this twister of techno babble lies the possibility that the artist made an attempt to sound a little different, or perish the thought -at least OK. Given that the album was recorded at Dylan's usual rapid pace, I wonder why so many so called experts are dragging the chain here. This was no six months or two years in the studio epic, designed to smooth the sound of troubled waters. MT is one of Dylan's biggest selling albums, lots of people love it, yet the self assured ER know nothings want to criticise. Is it because a majority think, feel and hear differently. Accept it for what it is. Like it or dislike it but don't attempt to BS people about things you plainly know sod all about, just to sound brash and condescending.



i second the emotion. sold like hotcakes and theres a reason for it, it hit a note.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17th, 2012, 23:58 GMT 
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Train-I-Ride wrote:
oldmanemu wrote:
Well take it out and give it a spin you may well be surprised


Has it improved since I last played it?

It is just the same , but you may have moved to a point where you may now appreciate it !


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 00:04 GMT 

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senor10 wrote:
It would appear that at the centre of this twister of techno babble lies the possibility that the artist made an attempt to sound a little different, or perish the thought -at least OK. Given that the album was recorded at Dylan's usual rapid pace, I wonder why so many so called experts are dragging the chain here. This was no six months or two years in the studio epic, designed to smooth the sound of troubled waters. MT is one of Dylan's biggest selling albums, lots of people love it, yet the self assured ER know nothings want to criticise. Is it because a majority think, feel and hear differently. Accept it for what it is. Like it or dislike it but don't attempt to BS people about things you plainly know sod all about, just to sound brash and condescending.


Well if i was going to slag off an album that people like for the sake of being controversial then I wouldn't have picked Modern Times!

I've just always thought the quietly sung vocals sound odd on this album, especially on the bluesy rock songs. Oh, and for what it's worth, it's been well reported that he took much longer on the recording of the vocals than usual.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 00:11 GMT 
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Young Bill wrote:
senor10 wrote:
It would appear that at the centre of this twister of techno babble lies the possibility that the artist made an attempt to sound a little different, or perish the thought -at least OK. Given that the album was recorded at Dylan's usual rapid pace, I wonder why so many so called experts are dragging the chain here. This was no six months or two years in the studio epic, designed to smooth the sound of troubled waters. MT is one of Dylan's biggest selling albums, lots of people love it, yet the self assured ER know nothings want to criticise. Is it because a majority think, feel and hear differently. Accept it for what it is. Like it or dislike it but don't attempt to BS people about things you plainly know sod all about, just to sound brash and condescending.


Well if i was going to slag off an album that people like for the sake of being controversial then I wouldn't have picked Modern Times!

I've just always thought the quietly sung vocals sound odd on this album, especially on the bluesy rock songs. Oh, and for what it's worth, it's been well reported that he took much longer on the recording of the vocals than usual.



controversial is to like a bob album.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 01:01 GMT 
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anyone got any ideas where Champagne Scott Litt is gonna land on the new one?

i am excited he will do great from his recent work i've heard - very crystalline


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 05:05 GMT 
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So, I think the Sun recording have that all-on-one-mic feel, or at least not-tracked-separately. I know Dylan is a huge fan of those recordings (maybe that was of Chess). But, I saw what The Monkey was getting at. The problem, for me, is that Dylan isn't letting it rip in the room with the band all around one mic (at least that how it sounds to me). THere is a shot on the inside of the album cover on MT of them all in the center of the room playing, That is not what it sounds like to me. Rather, that it's what he wanted ti to sound like. No?[/quote]

He might've wanted the one mic feel, but no studio except one that specialises in bluegrass semicircle recordings does that, and even they use various mics.There is no good reason NOT to use different mics for recording. It just takes a good engineer-producer to make it a transparant mix.
Sometimes artist have half-baked ideas and try to push the engineer his way, with various results.It's pretty standard to hear the '' i want to sound like elvis'' line used.
i personally think that 'live' in the studio is about right, because of the group dynamics involved.The layered recordings sometimes miss that (some tracks on 'Oh mercy'), but that's the way engineers like it to have total control over sound. But artists sometimes get restless with waiting around, or bored when working with a click-track. Inspiration is hard to get, but you know it instantly when a band is cooking.
Bye the way, i'm both engineer and player/writer, and i let others mix my own stuff (with some, ahum, pointers).

As an aside, i love detailed discussions about sound/music. You can see where people are coming from, so anyone complaining about that wants to block other people's fun. That's a nono, bro


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 05:21 GMT 
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Quote:
He might've wanted the one mic feel, but no studio except one that specialises in bluegrass semicircle recordings does that, and even they use various mics.


anyone anytime can put a mic and record, nowadays its done all the time. when i hire a studio i tell them how its going to be done. in fact since studios are closing at an alarming rate, if i tell them i want one mic they got it set up before i get there.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 06:53 GMT 

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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.

Yes, it's what several others have mentioned: restraint. He's in control. Why is that bad? What is with this "floor it, already" mentality? THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN is an easy cruisin' down the highway song. Why do some of you act like the object should be to go speeding off a cliff in some juvenile blaze of glory? That kind of philosophy (not really a philosophy in his case, but simply a lack of discipline) is what created the situation with his voice in the first place. Grow up, rockers.


On a performance like Moonshiner he sings with control and there's a sense of with held power. On MT he just sings quietly. There's a big difference.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 07:05 GMT 

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Well his damaged voice certainly sounds better when he sings quietly than when he shouts, to my ears. Given what he had to work with, I think using it conservatively was a wise and sympathetic choice. From the first time I heard MT, I was struck by how much "less damaged" he sounded on it than on the two albums that preceded it (not that I don't like them too, I do) and that impression has only been heightened after hearing what he sounds like on the two that have come out since. I don't really think it's fair to compare it to what he sounded like in 1963, as there is no conceivable way he could sound like that now. Though I agree with you, that MOONSHINER is controlled and powerful.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 07:28 GMT 

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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Well his damaged voice certainly sounds better when he sings quietly than when he shouts, to my ears. Given what he had to work with, I think using it conservatively was a wise and sympathetic choice. From the first time I heard MT, I was struck by how much "less damaged" he sounded on it than on the two albums that preceded it (not that I don't like them too, I do) and that impression has only been heightened after hearing what he sounds like on the two that have come out since. I don't really think it's fair to compare it to what he sounded like in 1963, though I agree with you, that MOONSHINER is controlled and powerful.


I get where you're coming from, it's just not my preference.

For me, his voice may sound more damaged on TTL, but there's more energy in the performances. That's partly why I prefer Beyond Here Lies Nothing to anything off MT.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 07:39 GMT 

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bobschool wrote:
anyone got any ideas where Champagne Scott Litt is gonna land on the new one?

i am excited he will do great from his recent work i've heard - very crystalline


I'm waiting for news on this too. As far as I'm concerned, the more involvement he's had the better.

Perhaps Bob is moving on to something new after a trilogy of self produced albums. Perhaps...


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 08:53 GMT 
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goombay wrote:
Quote:
He might've wanted the one mic feel, but no studio except one that specialises in bluegrass semicircle recordings does that, and even they use various mics.


anyone anytime can put a mic and record, nowadays its done all the time. when i hire a studio i tell them how its going to be done. in fact since studios are closing at an alarming rate, if i tell them i want one mic they got it set up before i get there.


If you're on your own, yes. With a band that won't be a good idea, but i'm sure some will accomodate. But then you might as well get a good sounding room and do it yourself. no studio needed, as many do, like you said. To counter that, some studios are well known for their acoustic qualities. I remember a particular reggae studio where everything was nailed down and miced to an inch, to get that great sound.
If you want a 'sun' sounding recording, then you have to factor in, apart from the mic, the desk (used to be valves 'till early 70's) compressor, tape, and a great room. In many ways it was easier in them days because you had fewer options, so you couldn't really go that far wrong. Most of the 50's recordings were just a mic here and there, balancing it out a bit and off you go.Nowadays they take gazzillion tracks and a whole year to produce a record. No wonder people get fed up. I think most Dylan records were done live in the studio in a few takes, and you can hear it.

I apologise, just got off-track here.better suited in another thread/post


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 09:06 GMT 
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The Mighty Monkey Of Mim wrote:
Bennyboy wrote:
Could just be that close mic'd thing, but I dunno, there's something else.

Yes, it's what several others have mentioned: restraint. He's in control. Why is that bad? What is with this "floor it, already" mentality? THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN is an easy cruisin' down the highway song. Why do some of you act like the object should be to go speeding off a cliff in some juvenile blaze of glory? That kind of philosophy (not really a philosophy in his case, but simply a lack of discipline) is what created the situation with his voice in the first place. Grow up, rockers.



^^

this,
good debate, bad debate, no matter. it spurs me on to listen to the album again to see what it's all about...in the end, it's a good thing.


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PostPosted: Fri May 18th, 2012, 09:16 GMT 
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Troubadour64 wrote:

^^

this,
good debate, bad debate, no matter. it spurs me on to listen to the album again to see what it's all about...in the end, it's a good thing.


It's about 3 hours too long, thats what its about....


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