Being your own worst critic

I am – always have been and probably forever will be – my own worst critic. More often than not, even with tracks that others tell me they like a lot, I will be telling you how bad this part is, how little I like that part and how absolutely crappy this second is and how it ruins the whole track.

Let me show you exactly what I mean by dissecting a “summerhit-style” track I am working on right now. Bear with me, this is going to be a slightly longer post than usual.

Disclaimer: this track is far from finished. I haven’t done too much of EQ-ing yet, there are little to no automations, not much FX work has gone into it yet, this is in its early stages.

Summer of 22 was supposed to become a “summerhit-style” track. Something, I often try and pretty much always fail at horribly. Or so I think at least. The most important critic of all in this household, my wife, said that it clearly carries “summerhit-vibes“. I could’ve taken the win and be done with it. But obviously my inner self-critic had to take over.

It certainly starts own “summer-hitty” enough with a smooth, voicy lead synth accompanied by chords played by some xylo/marimba type VST.

So far, so good. Also, I’ve decided to go for the usual “start slowly, build up later” approach in terms of melody and chords. So we don’t get to hear the full thing right away in the beginning, in an attempt to draw out the point in time at which we get bored of hearing the same thing over and over again 😉

Then, already after the first 8 bars, a typical badidol thing happens. “I need a smooth pad to snuggle around the rest of the sounds.“, he said, like he always does. Probably not necessarily something one should do with a “summerhit-like” track, but it is, what I went with.

It’s still somewhat ok but ultimately I wouldn’t necessarily say it fits the summer vibe too well. Since I am a creature of habit though and really didn’t like it without the pad, I kept it in.

Now the time came to pick up some speed and add a bit of dynamic to it. In hindsight: probably I’m much better suited to try making one of those laid back, smooth house summer hit thingies or some Felix Jaehn-like stuff. However, that’s not, what I was going for. I wanted a summer dance track and for the love of all that is holy, that’s what I was going to do or at least die trying 🙂

So, we picked up the pace a bit, where do we go from here? Oh right, let’s make a “drop”. I’m not sure, I’m happy with it, however, I do kinda of dig its simplicity.

Now, this is, where it all starts to go horribly, horribly wrong. I do like the melody. I also am very ok with my choice of instrument, this soft, raspy, voicy synth fits nicely and it does its job. I do hate the snare, though. Ok, granted: when do I ever not? I have yet to make a track and be ok with the snare.

Now, I have issues with the middle part of the track. Not sure, whether it’s the instrument choice for the brassy part or whether it’s that being a brassy part to begin with…I kind of like it. And I kind of hate it. If only I could put my finger on the exact reason, why that is.

Noticed the reggaeton perc on the weird off-off-beat-ish rhythm? Noticed, how it’s actually there all along but you only really notice it, when the rest is quiet enough for that? Yeah, sure, this is all in its early stages and mixing hasn’t been done yet but yeah…it shouldn’t really get swallowed completely like that.

I mean, as far as middle parts go…I guess I can live with it, but it also doesn’t make me go all fuzzy and wild about it, so far.

I also though I needed something to add to the track towards the end, so I made a choice, I am not sure I am still comfortable with. Droplets are always interesting, right? They always contribute to the whole in one way or another, don’t they? Well…not sure, they do. Not sure at all.

Maybe it’s the brass instrument, maybe it’s the droplets as such…but in hindsight, I don’t feel I am still happy with “the Stuff for the End”.

Now, you’ve read all the thoughts and criticisms I’ve shared so far and you know, what the 2 people, I’ve shown it to so far, said? “It’s nice.“.

So, there you go, this is pretty much how it goes with each and every track I make. With the amount of criticism and hate I pour out over myself for most tracks it’s actually a minor miracle, any of them actually ever make it to release 🙂

Speaking of which, the release date for my upcoming album “Infinity” is getting closer and closer! I will upload it to Distrokid so that most platforms should have it around 01.07.2022. This means: those of you, who use Spotify, iTunes and Amazon Music will probably already be able to listen to the album around 24./27.06. 🙂

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