Rehearsals: Outros

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You guys have been giving a lot of feedback on these, but we still want to slap the warning label across – we’re rubbish and we know it, we’re learning and we show it.  These are our lessons.  So now a bit about outros, following the tour de force on intros.

There’s a good metaphor here for songs. Having written an extensive blog on intro’s, defining all sorts of sub-species, I’ve sort of lost the will on writing about outros? Is that symbolic of song-writing or more an indication that too many vodkas filled the night before the morning of blog writing?  Probably a bit of both.    Here we go – some basics about pop music with examples and then our lessons.

Part One:   Outro’s follow the same sub-species of intro’s in reverse.    You’ll surely remember our scientific dissections of the ‘intro’, where we identified seven forms of intros (in italics); here’s the outro equivalent:

    1. The build up/The build Down:  The song exits the scene one intrument at a time, or it just fades away.    In Sympathy for the Devil you can imagine Mick with the fade button just drifting out…  And Jerry presses it on Truckin’.  And Smokey on Tracks of My Tears.    Jim ends Riders on the Storm with waves…
    2. The Catch up/The Mighty Exit:  The song ends in full glory with no warning.  Dare just cuts out nicely.
    3. The count in/The count out – replace with ‘The Morality Tale…   So rather than talk about a count out, we’ve changed this one to a morality tale.  During the outro, suddenly the song’s meaning is revealed.  Two good examples:  ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ by the Who, where the new boss is same as old boss, and Stan by Eminem, where the artist realises that Stan has murdered his girlfriend.  Now, we do think count outs are important – we like it when a band counts in and we like it when a band closes live.    We like the close on Get Back, where Lennon thanks the crowd on behalf of the band and ended with ‘I hope we passed the audition’ (which is how he closed the concert not the song, but Phil Spector made a clever edit).
    4. The Riff/The Riff:  Come in a riff?  Why not exit on the riff that got you there… Paperback Writer is a great example.
    5. The WTF/The WTF:  The same bizzare moments to kick off a song can also control it’s exit.  Feel Good Inc ends bizzarely with some scary laughter
    6. The seduction/The Seduction:  The same soothing notes and rhytyhms that bring you into a song, can also control the exit.  This is most great exits, with our favourite being Dry the Rain, by Beta Band, but you could add Hotel CaliforniaLayla,   etc…
    7. The Bait and Switch/the Bait and Switch:  The song ends in a completely different way then the beginning and you wonder how you got there.  Led Zeppilen, Stair Way to Heaven, and Bohemian Rhapsody fit here … We actually, humbly think our outro for 71 Hours To Monday is a fantastic example of bait and switch – the 4 minute outro takes you to a very different place…

  1. The Build and Release/The Build and Release:   Rather than tension and release at outset, why not do it at the end.  Probably the best of these is Free Bird, where the entire outro is a ‘release.’ Stevie’s Living for the City and John’s  A Day in the Life release on the very last note.

Part Two:  Lessons:  We’ll be quick here, as the same lessons apply to outros as intro’s with one exemption:

  1. Think About it, Avoding the Fade Trap:  The laziest button in the recording studio is the fade button.  It is always there, but think about your endings and where appropriate, do something special.
  2. Think about Song Order Sometimes:  Too often groups think about song order indepedent of the choices they make on intro’s and outro’s.    You’ll lose the opportunity to create Dark Side of the Moon.
  3. Try the Count Out:   We love count out’s – they are too rare, vs. count in’s.   But we love a band that counts themselves out of a great song.    All of James Brown’s live performance are defined by his outro’s.
  4. Wait…. Capture the bass and crash final moments:  some of your best outro’s required you to keep quite and keep the record button on when the band ends.  Some great little bass fades, feedback, crash sounds, etc… Count to 10 everytime the band ends before you say anything.
  5. Say How You Feel:   Some of the best moments in our studio are the first seconds of bantor after a song is finished.  ‘Let the tape run’ we say and let the band talkk as soon as song is done.  There are some great outro’s in the mouth of a musician that might actually have done a good track.  And there are some brilliant outro’s from the mouth of a musician that seriously screws up.

Well, there you go.  Time to go.  Start the fade button……..


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