“This song sounds cheesy.” You’ve all said it at one point in time.
How do songwriters avoid this problem? Sure, Michael Bolton rocked the “cheese” in the early nineties and Christopher Cross made hits in the eighties with this “out-dated” production style, but let’s keep moving forward. How do you avoid sounding like “you just can’t let the good ole days go”?
Several steps in the song writing and production process of your song can help you avoid taking a step in the wrong direction on the cheese-o-meter. First of all, try to avoid overplaying in a song. A really good song should sound perfect alone with just an acoustic guitar and a vocal. It’s always good to get an outside ear to hear a song when you first write it. Even if your audience doesn’t give you too much feedback, you’ll have that initial instinct while you’re playing to help you determine if it’s a “good song”.
Secondly, avoid overproducing your songs with excess of instruments. Midi sounds are something you really need to be careful layering.
Drum sounds are also a make or break when you are recording a song. The best thing to do in this case is to listen to some current artists that you like and copy the drum sounds they are using in their recordings. Listen to the drum track and picture the room it was recorded in, the effects that were applied to the mix, and also the placement of the drums in the mix.
Keep your ears open when you are getting to the music production stage of your song. Take from the current sounds around you, and interesting recording techniques from the past. New ideas are good. Recreate old sounds instead of replicate. You’ll have an interesting and “cheese-free” song in no time.