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Lip-synching

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Isabel, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. Isabel

    Isabel Member

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    Here's a new article about the current controversy. It's even worse than I thought. :( Don't care how common it is, it's still not right.



    Lip-Synching Has Always Been the Standard

    18 minutes ago Entertainment - AP


    By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, AP Music Writer

    NEW YORK - It seems Ashlee Simpson (news) will forever bear the scarlet "L" — for lip-synching. The 20-year-old "singer" has been lampooned and shamed, held up as an example of today's style-over-substance culture — all because of one lip-synch gone famously awry on "Saturday Night Live."


    Yet must Simpson bear the cross alone, while all the entertainment world goes free? Consider this:


    _ Now-classic footage from shows like "American Bandstand" featured artists lip-synching.


    _ Michael Jackson (news) mouthed part of his superstar-making moment on the "Motown 25" TV show in 1983.


    _ Whitney Houston's spine-chilling rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Super Bowl was prerecorded.


    _ And perhaps the only moments when Britney Spears (news) did not lip-synch during her recent tour was when she said hello and goodbye to her audience.


    "It doesn't make the least bit of difference," Dick Clark, America's oldest teenager and the creator of the now-defunct "American Bandstand," told The Associated Press.


    "Every motion picture you've seen, every 'American Bandstand' you saw, most of all MTV you see, it's all lip-synched," he said. "(What's important is) the impression you get as an audience. If you're pleased with what you saw, who gives a hoot how it got to you?"


    It never seemed to matter in the past.


    We've all watched performances where singers dance, prance, and almost do back-flips while singing — but aren't a bit out of breath. Or when they sing earnestly to a prerecorded ballad during a TV show. Or rap along to their own song, a la Eminem (news - web sites), also on a recent "Saturday Night Live."


    Producer Jimmy Jam, who's worked with artists ranging from Janet Jackson (news) to Usher, said he too was surprised over the Simpson incident — surprised that it was such a big deal.


    "I thought everybody knew that everybody lip-synched," he said. "I just thought when you went and saw Britney Spears, you knew that she lip-synched the whole concert. ... They're seeing a show, and to them, that's what a show is."


    Not for everyone. R&B veteran Patti LaBelle, known for her booming voice and creative improvisations, lamented that "the whole world is so phony today so people are accepting it. People are loving phonies."


    Sounding hoarse from recent performances, LaBelle said she never lip-synchs at shows. But she's seen plenty of it, and not just from singers with feather-light voices.


    "I was surprised when I heard some of the people who were doing it," she said. "When some of the bigger stars who can sing their butts off are using some enhancements, I'm like, why?"


    Steve Leeds, a former record executive at labels such as Virgin and Universal, offers an explanation: "People want to hear what's on the record. You've got to supply that expectation with whatever's necessary. Studio wizardry is definitely part of a live music show today."


    Sometimes, performers just plain lip-synch. Other times they add an extra vocal of the song, and sing along to it so their voices sound fuller. Then there's live help — background singers to make the star's voice sound stronger.





    And sometimes, they just want it to sound perfect.

    "There's more of a premium of getting it right," said Jam. "Whitney, when she did the national anthem, which was the greatest national anthem that we ever heard, what we heard over the air was prerecorded. The reason it was prerecorded was, that was a moment that no one wanted any mistake. They didn't want any feedback, they didn't want any technical difficulties ... and it was great."

    While Taylor Hanson of the group Hanson acknowledges that not all lip-synched performances are evil, he complains that record companies today are manufacturing artists who can't perform live even if they wanted to.

    "There's so many great bands who are performing, and singing their guts out every night, and the prevalence of artists being represented ... and saying, 'Hey everyone does this, everyone sings to track,' I just think it's lowering the standard," he fumed. "It's totally insulting to so much great music out there."

    But P. Diddy says the practice has become standard, especially in an era where it's become more common for entertainers to do everything but juggle onstage.

    "So many people at times have used backup tracks. I just think (Simpson) was the first one that had a mishap on it. I've heard her sing live. I don't think she's doing no Milli Vanilli," he said, referring to the infamous duo that didn't even sing the vocals they were lip-synching to.

    "That's the way the ball bounces," Diddy said. "I don't think she'll be the last one to sing along to a track."


    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=529&e=1&u=/ap/20041104/ap_en_mu/music_lip_synching
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    It has been common since the days of American Bandstand. I forget who it was (maybe John Cougar?) who had the musicians just jump around and not even play instruments to make fun of the lip synching. Shows want a controlled sound because it is difficult to control live sound in a television studio unless they are set up for it, which Saturday Night Live most certainly is.

    In live settings, it wasn't super common until the 80's when sampling of back-up vocals became very common because it was easier than hiring musicians who were good players AND singers.

    This is still most prevalent among pop singers. Rock bands are much more likely to play live, mistakes and all. That doesn't mean they won't lip sync, but it means they are less likely to.

    Here's a clue: if the band fades out at the end of the song, there is an excellent chance the song is being lip synched. You don't see that as often, but they used to do it on all the award shows and variety shows in the 70's and 80's.
     
  3. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    Or if the singer is jumping around and dancing while the vocals sound PERFECT as far as pitch and tone goes.

    Personally, I don't think there is ANY excuse for lip syncing. I don't care what kind of music it is, how much dancing you're doing, how bad your voice is gone etc. There is NEVER a reason to lip sync unless you're trying to fool your fans.
     
  4. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    I understand why they do it. I wouldn't ever do it, but I get it.

    The problem is that studio technology is now light years ahead of live sound technology. You can do things in the studio that are simply impossible live. That being the case, it is getting harder and harder to reproduce what you did on your record in a live setting. And, if you just ignore the technology in the studio, you don't sell CD's.

    I once asked the percussionist for Al DiMeola at a show who was playing drums on their new acoustic record. He said, "Synclavier" meaning the keyboard would do it (i.e. drum machine). This was around 1990 when the only way to really sell jazz or new age records was to make them "pop" sounding.

    I looked at him kinda surpised and said, "Really?" He said back, "Yeah, man. You gotta keep up with the times. Art don't pay the rent." I nearly fell over considering this was coming from one of the finest Latin American percussionists on the planet.

    Truth is that consumers have been conditioned to expect absolute perfection when it comes to recordings. A band can sound like a million bucks on a CD and sound like dog **** live because of auto tune, sampling, drum loops and other digital technology. Get them out live and they sound like the same garage band you just heard at the dive club around the corner.

    Of course, the main reason for this is that artists live and die with record sales. Even in the 80's, an artist that sells half a million records can play the Compaq Center. You sell a million, that show is sold out. Nowadays, you sell half a million records, it is a disappointment. You end up doing a theater tour (5000 seats or so) with three other bands that each sold about half a million records. You drive in a van and hope that one of your songs break and you push the million mark.

    People just don't go to see live shows as much so bands do not have to be good. I remember Billy Joel saying that they went on the road with the J. Giles Band early on in his career. He said J. Giles was playing "full-tilt blues boogie" and they were coming out singing, "Sing us a song, you're the piano man" and getting booed. They had to get good and fast or they wouldn't survive the tour.

    You NEVER see that happening anymore. Being good live is a dying art.
     
  5. Toast

    Toast Member

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    The irony of it is the band doesn't make a lick of money for the studio work, they make their real $$ playing "live," i.e., broadcasting their studio album to 35,000 fans at your local colloseum. And they charge you 3 times as much as the cost of the CD!

    Sorry, but when I go to see a concert, I'm not paying to see the face on the cover dance around for a couple of hours. I wanna see music played. And it better be good music too, damnit!
     
  6. SamCassell

    SamCassell Contributing Member

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    I like how Hanson is cracking back on record companies "manufacturing artists".
     
  7. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    In some ways that can be a GOOD thing IMO. There's a fine line between sucking and "sounding raw". I would much rather hear a subpar live band than watch someone lip sync. At least it's real.

    I don't know, mabye I'm too traditional but they way I see it is if a song is too hard to pull off live, then why bother recording it?
     
  8. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    Not as much anymore. Most bands break even on tour because of the cost of touring staff/expenses/venues, the high percentage promoters take and the fact that they almost always have to split bills with other bands to draw crowds.

    Bands make most of their money from publishing and merchandising. Tours have become incredibly expensive to put on and, unless you are a very big name artist, you cannot afford to be out on the road 24/7 like bands used to. Now, it is two weeks on, two weeks off and that sort of thing.
     
  9. Oski2005

    Oski2005 Contributing Member

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    I always thought those guys were talented, I just never liked their music. I've been wondering what happened to those dudes and if their music has matured over the years. I think the oldest one is the same age as me, so I would think he'd want to play cooler music.
     
  10. Relativist

    Relativist Contributing Member

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    Great discussion. Reminded me of a song I've been listening to a lot lately, and I just thought I'd share. Carry on.

    *********************
    Say, it's only a paper moon,
    Sailing over a cardboard sea,
    But it wouldn't be make believe,
    If you believed in me.

    Yes, it's only a canvas sky,
    Hanging over a muslin tree
    But it wouldn't be make believe,
    If you believed in me.

    Without your love it's a honky tonk parade,
    Without your love it's a melody played in a penny arcade.

    It's a Barnum and Bailey world
    just a phony as it can be,
    But it wouldn't be make believe
    If you believed in me.
     
  11. Major Malcontent

    Major Malcontent Contributing Member

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    The only acceptable excuse for lip synching is if you are a talentless hack of a performer, but your secondary sex characteristics are so compelling as to make people willing to shell out cash just to watch you writhe around to your overproduced "hits".....that means Britney....Christina...yes....from the other side N'Sync/ Backstreet Boys...go ahead. If you are just routinely gorgeous or less...you have to be able to perform live.
     
  12. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    I've always brought that up when I've heard friends say how it was one of the best renditions ever. Of course it was, she perfected it in the studio.
     
  13. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    Are you trying to tell me that Ella Fitzgerald lip synced this song? :D
     
  14. rockHEAD

    rockHEAD Contributing Member

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    Lip Stink by Adam Ganderson

    Found this interesting tidbit in the Village Voice. It's a brief, recent history of famous lip-synching events. Be sure to check out the off the wall (what else would you expect) antics from John Lydon and PiL from their brouhaha on American Bandstand back in the early 80's.
     
  15. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    while i'm not a huge fan, i think it's pretty clear that christina can sing and sing well. personally i don't care about lipsynching. i do enjoy hearing cd quality stuff and i like music pretty much purely for the listening. i understand for some people music means more than that and people like jeff and ima are hugely into music so it means even more still and having an artist not put everything into a performance or even be doing it can take something away from it. for someone like me, what hits my ear is really all that matters and so for me i see no problem, but i can see the other side.


    eh, who cares. it's still badass. i'll just randomly play it every once in a while on my computer it's so good. add in the imagery of all the flags being waived in the stadium and it makes it even better. lip-synching did good that day.
     

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