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Don't Wake Me Up

by Chris Brown

This song’s chorus is fairly conventional euphoric trance, but the second verse (1:37-2:07) is so nicely put together that it’s worth seeking out even if this sub-genre isn’t your usual poison. The lovely blippy synth sequence and eighth-beat-only clap hit put a great new slant on the basic four-to-the-floor kick pattern here, but still leave plenty of room for the ear candy of the vocal/guitar delay details to be amply appreciated. Then you’ve got the reverse acoustic-guitar transition effect at 1:35 which initially announces the section, the piano sneaking in at 1:52 as a welcome little boost to the texture after eight bars, and finally the burst of filtered synth pad which provides a one-bar fill into the pre-chorus.

The first two bars of the final chorus are also noteworthy for the one-shot explosion Foley that overwhelms the mix, over-stuffing the sub-300Hz region, masking most of the HF detail, softening the kick’s LF punch, and smudging the bass line’s apparent pitching. Although SFX detonations are the stock in trade of this style, they’re usually mixed quieter and with less low end, to reduce some of these side-effects. I have to say that I rather like this example because its sheer shock value distracts my ear from the collateral damage until normal service resumes, a few beats later. As any stage conjurer will confirm, you can get away with practically anything while the audience is looking the other way.

I’m really not a fan of that acoustic guitar sound in the intro. I can’t ever imagine wanting an acoustic to sound like that out of choice… Also, did anyone else get the strong resemblance between the “yeah"s at 2:28 and 2:43, and the same word in the chorus of Cher’s 'Believe'? It’s uncanny.

What is it with vocal-stutter effects at the moment, too? Between this, Angel’s 'Wonderful', Trey Songz ‘Simply Amazing’, and Elly Goulding’s 'Anything Could Happen' you get more stuttering than The King’s Speech