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Better to Burn Out, Than Fade Away?

leppard.jpgIt's a hallmark of 80s music to have that perpetual fade at the end of a song. Unfortunately, this production fade doesn't mesh well with music videos. I got to thinking about songs that have an abrupt end or long fade, and decided to compare videos, using Def Leppard as my study model.

Two songs that have a long, almost painful fade are "Rock of Ages" and "Love Bites." These are two of the Leps biggest hits, with "Bites" being their only number 1 single. Still, the video for each has a stalled paused, with singer Joe Elliot's face taking up much of the screen. Especially in "Rock of Ages" the slow end is hard to handle, but simply listening to the track I can't image the song with an abrupt ending.

Conversely, the songs "Animal" and "Let's Get Rocked" have an abrupt ending. I like to think of this as the Leppard ending because the British band transformed music production in the 1980s, with over the top effects and expensive studio elements. The no-holds bar tracks of "Animal" and "Let's Get Rocked" encompass what it means to be a great rock band, let alone glam group. In fact, "Animal" is my favorite Leppard video, and I can't imagine such a frenetic song without an abrupt ending. A slow fade would compromise the production, and undermine the ethos of the track. You can find all these Def Leppard songs on Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection.

So, does the slow fade to abrupt track ending represent an evolution of modern rock music? I am not sure, but I do know that it is more common for current rock artists  to choose an abrupt ending for a track versus the more pop-oriented slow fade.

In fact, rock songs produced more than a decade ago such as Motley Crue's "Primal Scream" began switching to the abrupt ending format. It gives a track a harder edge, a special "in-your-face" punch. Plus, it works better for music video production, a now necessary evil in artist marketing.





Reader Comments (1)

i think it should depend on the song/.....

slow love songs or ballads or soft stuff etc. should have faded endings, but heavier faster songs should end ubruptly...

and in Glam should listen to the faded endings of the songs, beacuse at least 50% of them have AWESOME guitar solos at the end....too bad there so hard to hear..
November 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLandon

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