Put a record on & let's talk.

The Fade

I have a pet peeve about a certain aspect to some songs. It's something so small that most people probably don't even notice when it happens to a song. [That's right it doesn't just happen in a song.. It happens to a song. That distinction is important to me.]

From years of playing music on the radio [On a tiny college station, but still a station nonetheless- ps. I just took a detour from writing this to tweet about how nonetheless is a top notch word. It really is! You feel me?], I have noticed how much It irritates me when when songs fade out. The damn dreaded fade. I hate it. It feels like the song never comes to a final conclusion. There's no end note. There's no period (or full stop for you British folks) at the end of the damn sentence Yeah, see how annoying that is?!

To me it seems like the artist or producer [or whoever decides these things] just gave up. They couldn't give the conclusion to the song a damn thought and carelessly threw a bullshit fade onto it. It's the same feeling you get when you watch a fantastic movie, but the ending just doesn't work. I's are left undotted and Ts are left uncrossed. It feels so unsatisfying.

[Completely ridiculous sidebar: Holy shit. This just occurred to me... Is the fade a marketing tool? I know how this sounds, but just listen. You know how the remedy for a song being stuck in your head is to listen to the song all the way through? The idea is that you will finally get a resolution to the endless loop that is stuck in your head. You get the song out of your system. But. But. But. But, what if the song fades?! Do you get that same resolution? Doubtful. Is that what music producers have been doing all along? Is the fade a sly marketing tool devised by some cackling executive in the board room of a multimillion dollar record label? They want the song stuck in your head because that means more dolla dolla bills y'all! Think about it. I mean, I did preface this whole rant with the word "ridiculous" so I'm not sure how much thought this actually deserves. But still.. Makes me say "hmmm".]

The part about the fade that really bugs me is that [save for electro based music] it's not very achievable live! And because the fade seems to appears in rock music, this is a relevant observation. Even the tightest, most practiced band could not achieve a computer level fade. And there's no way they would waste their time doing that in a live show anyway. This means that legit conclusions must exist for these faded tracks. While playing live, bands can't just fade out. They need to end the song. So, non-faded versions of all of these songs must exist for the purpose of live shows. And, if that's true, then why the hell aren't these versions being used on records?! Why aren't they being recorded and used on albums instead of the faded monstrosities we must live with?!

As you can see, I've thought about this topic extensively [because it runs through my mind every damn time I hear a song fade out]. Although I doubt this topic is worthy of the amount of words I have just spent on it, thanks for sticking it out and allowing me to air my grievances. You the real mvp.