In the world of musical entertainment, one of the biggest issues in the industry revolves around the inherent fact/problem of live talent. When artists record master tracks on the CD it is obvious that everything is done to ensure that the voice comes out perfect, anything from multiple takes of a part that is difficult or even support from technical aspects such as backing vocals, echo, auto-tune or even pitch manipulation. Let us delve into this issue a bit deeper using our girls as the example set with my opinions, again, opinions, pitchforks away and lets debate this like civilized humans :).
It’s no mystery that a lot of mainstream media is lip synced in live performances, Every countries entertainment media will do it in order to make shows go without a hitch. Some artists swear to always sing live (Michael buble, John Mayer, Foo Fighters, Muse) and if forced to lip sync, will simply not perform or take the complete piss and have some fun at the companies expense (One example is Muse, upon hearing that they were to perform with a recording of their song, promptly switched positions of every band member and blatantly did actions that didn’t sync up to the song). There are artists that cannot go live without some sort of backing help (many mainstream artists fall into this category so I’ll spare the long list, mostly American/English/Australian) and will continue to do so to keep their image.
So how does Soshi come into the fray with all of this?
Lets take one performance in particular and look that each member’s part in this live performance and also note the difference in levels throughout the song.
For today let us pick their performance of “The Boys” in the KBS 2011 Gayo Daejun.
Let us remember three very important things:
1 – Unsupported – the singer is singing her part without help
2- Supported – the singer is singing, but is supported by a backing track of the same voice (you usually hear a weird echo effect in which it sounds like there are 2 of the same voices)
3 – Lip synced – no singing from the singer, just dancing and mouthing along.
So I recommend you just pause the video and watch it with me and lets note down differences and changes.
lets get the spazz out “OMFG HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT” ok done? lets move on
song starts at 1:20
Jessica at 1:25 – Chorus backing track but her verse is unsupported, she is singing live, this is also noted that her volume is considerably lower (mic issue probably) making the singing much more human.
Taeyeon at 2:00 – Unsupported with no backing at all makes it very easy to tell she is singing live, along with Jessica her mic volume isn’t very high so it’s very easy to tell she is singing.
Yoona at 2:06 – Live singing, but supported by the Yoona on the master CD, this gives the double echo effect and is very hard to differentiate if she ever goes off, but it just doesn’t sound live in any case.
Sunny at 2:16 – Unsupported, this is further supported that you can hear breath with every start.
Seohyun 2:24 – Unsupported and by god does she sound the closest to her Master CD counterpart, I’ve always adhered to the opinion that Seobaby is the most consistent of all the girls, further supported that you can hear her breathe in before she sings.
Chorus at 2:35 – Choruses are the worst, because that’s where EVERYONE sings, so even if backed up by the master CD, it’s the hardest to tell. but lets break this down and look at the level inconsistencies. At 2:35 you can hear live voice somewhere by someone, but then at 2:39 all of a sudden that voice has evidently disappeared leaving the master CD running by itself (easily noticed when Yuri is lip syncing pointing at the camera).
Sooyoung at 2:44 – Lip Synced, supported by the fact that she is straight after the master CD chorus and the levels don’t change and an extra voice is not added by her and she just stops and smiles while the song word GIRLS is playing at 2:50.
Jessica 2:54 – Unsupported, sounds human
Sunny backing Jessica – Supported, she sings with her live voice cause the pitch note actually changes, but you also hear the Sunny from the original song, easiest to identify with “YOU fly high”
Seohyun 3:10 – is a robot, so consistent….but you hear breathing.
Tiffany at 3:31 – supported, but she’s not really singing…”girls generation make you feel the heat….” and the backing track of the entire group kicks in as well.
Hyoyeon 3:30 – Unsupported, there’s no mic problem so she’s actually louder than everyone, it’s very easy to tell, not singing, more rapping but the voice is evidently there.
Ok now here’s the biggest level change of the entire performance
3:49 – GIRLS BRING THE BOYS OUT – is sung by not only the master CD but also live, you hear the giant surge in volume and pitch.
But…here’s where it goes wrong, at 3:51 when yuri starts “I wanna dance right now” everything…just goes back to the original CD…and becomes kind of bland and sounds like you’ve heard this a million times when you repeated The boys on your Mp3 player again and again..
Further supported when Yoona comes out and sings live with her supported track, there is another drastic change in levels.
We’re going to stop there, lest I’ve already bored 99% of you guys, but you guys should understand the trend here. Korean pop does this a lot where specific performances one member will sing live and the others just lip sync whether it be voice issues, hurt throats or even not being able to replicate a high note on a regular basis (see B.E.G sixth sense and IU’s good day)
So what’s the problem? nothing really…but to me there’ s giant inconsistency within the performance and it pulls away from the performance itself, sort of like when you play a video game and a bug just makes the game look weird and you just lose focus.
My hope? is that maybe groups can decide if they want to lip sync everything, or sing live. It’d be so much more consistent and sure, some might find that intimidating, but it’s a damn sight better than hearing the volume jump up and down and go from human to altered voices.
Thanks for reading this, I really hope this gives some insight with analyzing performances and working out what’s real and not. Obviously the groups that are performing have their own reasons (consecutive performances, sickness, or even dancing cause sometimes you can’t sing on the same level if you’re dancing a hard bit of choreography etc etc) and again, I can be wrong with one or two things, but I hope I’ve supported my opinions with the use of level changes and human qualities of the voice.
So, finally, here’s something for you all to think about
Does this bother you?
Would you rather a completely lip synced perfect performance? or a live one where you can hear humans with ALL their set backs? do you not care and just think “Dreadtech…you’re a nutcase and I don’t care about the constant level changes in this performance” or is it “OMFG DREADTECH YOU’VE RUINED PERFORMANCES FOR ME FOREVER, SCREW YOU!!!”
❤ you all