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Thread: The order of songs on a CD...

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    RAMI's Avatar
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    The order of songs on a CD...

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    I know this might not be the right forum, but I wasn't sure where to put it.

    How would you arrange the order of songs for a CD???

    I always thought it should be pretty much like a live show. Assuming we're talking about a 10 song CD as an example: Start off with a bang, but not your biggest bang. Keep the energy up for a song or 2, bring it down for the 3rd or 4th tune, and then start bringing the energy back up to end with a huge bang.

    But then I read an article where the author said not to worry about getting artistic, especially if you're not an established artist. He was saying to simply put them in order of quailty. Best song first intil the worst song last. This seemed to make sense to me as far as increasing your chances of keeping the listener listening.

    How would you approach it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAMI
    I know this might not be the right forum, but I wasn't sure where to put it.

    How would you arrange the order of songs for a CD???

    I always thought it should be pretty much like a live show. Assuming we're talking about a 10 song CD as an example: Start off with a bang, but not your biggest bang. Keep the energy up for a song or 2, bring it down for the 3rd or 4th tune, and then start bringing the energy back up to end with a huge bang.

    But then I read an article where the author said not to worry about getting artistic, especially if you're not an established artist. He was saying to simply put them in order of quailty. Best song first intil the worst song last. This seemed to make sense to me as far as increasing your chances of keeping the listener listening.

    How would you approach it?
    I thnk both ideas are correct, it depends upon the purpose of the CD as to which approach one takes.

    If it's meant as a demo CD (for distribution to labels, radio stations, managers, live venues, etc.) then the "strongest first" method is probably best. In fact I'd make an even finer point of it; the song with the catchiest, finest opening 4 bars should go first. Many listens won't even make it past that point.

    If you're making an actual indie "album" for commercial end-user sales, however, then I'd get creative similar to your first paragraph to take the listener on an extended listening ride. I'd be more flexible than to just stick with that one formula (though it's indeed a common one); let the content dictate the order.

    G.

    P.S. Since song ordering is indeed part of the mastering process, then I'd say, yes, this forum is exactly where this thread belongs
    Glen J. Stephan,
    SouthSIDE Multimedia Productions

    RECORDING RESOURCES AND INFO SITE:

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    RAMI's Avatar
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    Thanx Glen...Great points. I think I'd be somewhere in between. I would consider my CD an "indie" CD. Yet at the same time, it is also a demo because I'm nobody and I would want to hopefully keep people listening for as long as possible. This is all hypothetical, of course. Just trying to decide how I would present my music if and when I "release" something.

    Thanx again.

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    This is a really good question, and I wish there were more threads started about the truly important musical questions like this.

    If the CD is an album intended for people to listen to for their enjoyment, then I would say that you put the songs in whatever order is best for the musical journey. You seem to have a pretty good grip on that already. If there are songs weaker than others you would try if at all possible to bury them in the middle somewhere, the idea being to start strong and finish strong.

    But maybe weak songs shouldn't be there in the first place. If all the songs are more or less the same quality, then order them however it feels best when listening back.

    The best thing to do is to burn some CDR's of various song orderings. Then listen to each one all the way through at aleast once and maybe more. Experiment for a while and I'm sure you've eventually arrive at the order that feels best to you. This takes a lot of time, but I think will lead you to the best order for the songs.

    I don't like that idea of putting all the strongest songs first and then have them trail off into weaker ones. I don't think that will be satisfying for the listener.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAMI
    Thanx Glen...Great points. I think I'd be somewhere in between. I would consider my CD an "indie" CD. Yet at the same time, it is also a demo because I'm nobody and I would want to hopefully keep people listening for as long as possible. This is all hypothetical, of course. Just trying to decide how I would present my music if and when I "release" something.

    Thanx again.

    I did exactly as you described, although I had a freind I trusted really nitpick the order.

    Start strong, finish strong. Trust somebody else's ears if you have doubt.


    I don't know how many "weak" songs you've got... but I think we dropped two.

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    Usually when people ask me to do a CD for them. I like to start it with a bang , but with a tune that has kind of a 'build up' intro. Then I stick everything else in order of quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAMI
    Thanx Glen...Great points. I think I'd be somewhere in between. I would consider my CD an "indie" CD. Yet at the same time, it is also a demo because I'm nobody and I would want to hopefully keep people listening for as long as possible. This is all hypothetical, of course. Just trying to decide how I would present my music if and when I "release" something.

    Thanx again.
    In that position, I'd consider making two seperate discs...especially if you are self-mastering them. I'd probably start them both with the strongest quality song, and like I said, one that kicks off the first few bars with a strong hook.

    Then for the "indie album", put them together in a creative order. BTW, I don't fully agree with dumping all the poorest or slowest songs in the middle. While sometimes that might be appropriate, that's not always the case, IMHO. If the listener gets too bored around track 6, they might never make it to your great finale at track 10. Modulate the energy throughut the album, and even more so, try to create a continuous "thread". By this I mean pick a song that sounds "right" for following the previous song, regardless of it's energy. This could be because of a complimentray tempo change (or lack of change), because of lyrical subject matter that gives a mini-conflict-resolution between two songs (e.g. Track3-"Life sucks"; Track4-"I'm OK with that" ), because of an interesting key change between songs (e.g. three songs in a row whose home keys are a perfect triad), etc. Whatever.

    The demo disc, however (which you'd basically use to get work ) you'd want to include only a few of your best works. Don't worry too much about order of songs on those other than to put your best foot forward. And when the songs start going from great to good, stop burning. A 3-song demo CD is usually better than a full-length collector's album with fancy production values for getting noticed by "the business".

    G.
    Glen J. Stephan,
    SouthSIDE Multimedia Productions

    RECORDING RESOURCES AND INFO SITE:

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    Thanx alot guys. Weak songs??? I got no stinking weak songs??? LOL!!! I wish.

    By the way, for what it's worth, since Supercreep hopped into this thread, I want to plug my favorite indie band. Supercreep is half of "Liitle Purple Circles". They just released a CD that I can't stop listening to.

    For a small sample of what they do, yet by no means a full picture of their incredible talent, check out a few tunes HERE.
    You can probably contact the group directly to find out where to purchase their CD. It's well worth it.

    Sonic and Legion, thank you very much also. Your opinions carry alot of weight with me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAMI
    By the way, for what it's worth, since Supercreep hopped into this thread, I want to plug my favorite indie band. Supercreep is half of "Liitle Purple Circles". They just released a CD that I can't stop listening to.

    For a small sample of what they do, yet by no means a full picture of their incredible talent, check out a few tunes HERE.
    You can probably contact the group directly to find out where to purchase their CD. It's well worth it.

    .
    Spammer


    I tend to do it in the same manners as mentioned.

    But then you have the concept style (think "Dark side") were most of the tracks can be played alone, but yet they melt perfectly together, you feel something is missing if you dont hear the following track.

    One favorite of mine if I`ve made songs over a period, is to do it in order of making.

    first song made becomes track one.

    anyway just my two cents.

    Ps I`m also a big LPC fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nakatira
    But then you have the concept style (think "Dark side")
    Spammer!!!

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