What's the point of fadeouts?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Alvaro Martín Gómez A., Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Yes, I mean, I haven't heard the first live band that ends a song with a fadeout, so why so many studio versions end with a fadeout? The only explanation for me is that the songwriters or producers couldn't come up with a better idea when in the recording studio and that's OK for me if we're talking about an independent or "cheap" production, but there are plenty of fadeouts in big budget works. If my band is going to play a radio hit that ends like that, anything but a fadeout for an ending! Of course, a fadeout is easily done in the studio and I also know that most bands don't like to play their music exactly as recorded but again, if you don't plan to do a fadeout live, why do it in the studio? I'd like to hear from you about this topic.
  2. BassGod


    Jan 21, 2004
    Sometimes it does seem like an excuse for a lack of a good ending, but then, sometimes it works to great effect. For example, Metallica's 'Master of Puppets'. The fading outro makes for an erie ending, which sounds perfect for the song.

  3. The studio is a completely different aspect of the stage, if you WANT it to be.

    I have great albums that were mostly all done live with minimal overdubs, and recorded just how they composer wrote them.

    I also have great albums that were produced so there are snips of tones or sounds that just make the song more awe inspiring.

    A fadeout can be used when you want to give the feeling that something is never ending, your just moving away from a particular song. Like your in a raft flowing down a river, and you're just going with the flow.

    It's a little hard to describe. There are amazing things you can do in the studio that you can't do on the stage, and vice versa.
  4. I think it has more to do with not being able to come up with a "suitable ending."
  5. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I think that at least part of it has to do with making it "work" more easily in a block of radio time. The fade allows the DJ to come back on while the song is ending and start a seque into the next track without having to perfectly time the end of the song. One of the things pro DJs try to do is minimize the amount of time when nothing is going on and the fade helps that.

    My guess is that it started with DJs fading early and gradually producers thought it was interesting so they started doing it more.

    I played a sub gig a few months ago with a cover band who ended every song in their set like that except for a few which had specific endings. It was very weird.
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Some songs sound better with a fadeout ending, some songs sound better with a cold ending. Big deal. It beats putting a crappy ending on a good song.
  7. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars

    Then you haven't seen my band play. We fade several songs in our set. Not a lot of bands do it, but when its done well live its good.
  8. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I've seen bands fade... Fantomas did it when I saw them.. when they finished it was dead silence for about 20 seconds... and patton was like, "Uh... that's the end" and the crowd went mad!!! :D

    Worst song ending ever "War Pigs" by Sabbath. Talk about a cheesy ending to a great song.
  9. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    And the most heinous fade ever: Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum.

    The producer decided the song was looking too long, so he faded it down after the second verse...EVEN THOUGH YOU CAN HEAR THE CHORUS STARTING!!!

    That's not right.
  10. flatwounds


    Apr 22, 2003
    Sydney, Oz
    You gotta love the way the Beatles' 'I Want You' (from Abbey Road) ends. :)
    I mean, Lennon/Gerorge Martin/whoever was in charge of that recording could have faded out, but decided to just stop the song at a seemingly random moment of the extended coda.
    I love it.
    If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out.
  11. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    As far as I know, that was done on purpose because "I Want You" was the last cut from side A. The idea was like creating sort of a shock in the listener by suddenly cutting that dense ending, but also give some time to relax, recover, stand up and flip the disc to continue the audition with the peaceful "Here Comes The Sun". That purpose was totally lost with the CD. Another example of LPs' charm.
  12. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Sometimes it's an artistic thing like Freaky Fender said.

    Rush, for example, has a few songs that fade out (Mystic Rhythms, Between the Wheels), but you can hear that they actually end right as the fade out finishes!
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    A lot of tunes fade out on solos over the main riff of the song - so it keeps you thinking about the song - like it's going on for ever so you have it going round in your head and want to buy it..

    But it also allows for somebody to take an inprovised solo of indeterminate length, at that point - which is very useful as many instrumentalists have a few great ideas which they can get in and then the track can be faded when they start running out of ideas or play a bum note!! ;)

    Seriously, I can remember listening to many rock tracks where there is a fantastic guitar solo at the end, but if you listen to the fade - maybe turn it up - you can hear a bum note or the solo starting to meander aimlessly!!
  14. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Or how about the Kiss song - I Love It Loud, actually fades out and then fades back in during the middle of the song! The first time I heard that on the radio, I thought the song was over.

    I have always wondered about the use of fade-outs myself. I know that they were originally done years ago as mentioned before for the use of radio deejays. Now, I would have to agree that's they are what I would call artistic compromises.
  15. flatwounds


    Apr 22, 2003
    Sydney, Oz
    Oh, I realise it was done on purpose, and for that very effect. I'm sorry if my post sounded like I didn't know what I was talking about. :ninja:
    However, I have only ever known the compact disc version.
  16. That's cool, and I agree completely. For their wedding my brother and his wife hired a professional soul/r&b band from Boston. That band did impeccable live fadeouts to mimic the original records. They also did a live crossfade between two songs which knocked me out.
  17. Question.

    How does a live band fade out?
  18. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Hiring dynamic musicians.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Sorry, but I don't think fadeouts work very well live. A proper ending signals the crowd that the song is over, but a fadeout just leaves them sitting there confused. I'm not nearly as insulting to the intelligence of audiences as some musicians are, but in the case of fadeouts, you're going to confuse them and leave them sitting there not knowing if it's time to clap or not.
  20. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I think whether or not a fade works depends on the arrangement of the song, genre, audience, mood, etc.