Jackson Browne / Late for the Sky – This Kind of Clarity Wears Out Its Welcome Before Long

More Jackson Browne

Hot Stamper Albums with Choruses that Are Big and Clear

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It’s not easy to find copies that get the tonal balance right the way the best copies do. Most err in one of two ways — either they’re rich, full and a little veiled, or they’re clear and transparent, but leaned-out and boosted in the upper midrange.

The clear ones of course are the ones that initially fool you – they present an illusion of transparency because everything is easy to hear right from the get-go, but they quickly wear out their welcome with their more “modern,” cleaner, leaner sound.

The choruses are telling here. With so many background singers, the size and weight and energy of the singers only comes through on the copies that are full and rich.

What Else to Listen For

The jug on Walking Slow — you gotta love it!

Choruses Are Key

Three distinctive qualities of vintage analog recordings — richness, sweetness and freedom from artificiality — are most clearly heard on a Big Production Record like this in the loudest, densest, most climactic choruses of the songs.

We set the playback volume so that the loudest parts of the record are as huge and powerful as they can possibly become without crossing the line into distortion or congestion. On some records, Dark Side of the Moon comes instantly to mind, the guitar solos on Money are the loudest thing on the record.

On Breakfast in America the sax toward the end of The Logical Song is bigger and louder than anything on the record, louder even than Roger Hodgson’s near-hysterical multi-tracked screaming “Who I am” about three-quarters of the way through the track. Those, however, are clearly exceptions to the rule. Most of the time it’s the final chorus of a pop song that gets bigger and louder than what has come before.

A pop song is usually designed to build momentum as it works its way through the verses and choruses, past the bridge, coming back around to make one final push, releasing all its energy in the final chorus, the climax of the song. On a good recording — one with real dynamics — that part of the song should be very loud and very powerful.

The climax of the biggest, most dynamic songs are almost always the toughest tests for a pop record, and it’s the main reason we play our records loud. The copies that hold up through the final choruses of their album’s largest scaled productions are the ones that provide the biggest thrills and the most emotionally powerful musical experiences one can have sitting in front of two speakers. Our Top 100 is full of records that reward that kind of intense listening at loud levels.

We live for that sound here at Better Records. It’s precisely what the best vintage analog pressings do brilliantly. In fact they do it so much better than any other medium that there is really no comparison, and certainly no substitute. If you’re on this site you probably already know that.


FURTHER READING

Advice – What to Listen For – Ambience, Size and Space

Advice – What to Listen For – Bass and Whomp

Advice – What to Listen For – Choruses that Are Big, Clear and Lively

Advice – What to Listen For – Compression

Advice – What to Listen For – Energy

Advice – What to Listen For – Grit and Grain

Advice – What to Listen For – Midrange (Lower) – Mid-Bass

Advice – What to Listen For – Midrange (Upper) – Shrillness

Advice – What to Listen For – Midrange Congestion

Advice – What to Listen For – Midrange Presence

Advice – What to Listen For – Richness and Smoothness

Advice – What to Listen For – Sibilance (It’s a Bitch)

Advice – What to Listen For – Side to Side Differences

Advice – What to Listen For – Smear

Advice – What to Listen For – Speed

Advice – What to Listen For – String Tone and Texture

Advice – What to Listen for – Track by Track

Advice – What to Listen For – Transparency Vs Opacity

Advice – What to Listen For – Treble

Advice – What to Listen For – Tubes Vs. Transistors

Advice – What to Listen For – Tubey Magic

Advice – What to Listen For – Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitars

Advice – What to Listen For in General

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