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Project putting the lyrics to one song to the tune of another

KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
Chris Cornell famously put the lyrics to Metallica's "One" to the tune of U2's "One", and it was GENIUS. I took the idea and adapted it a little further rather than just doing the straight transposition of lyrics the way he did it. Guaranteed not to be on the same level as Chris's composition or execution, but eh, that's just life :)

This is just me singing straight into a cell phone mic and then "mixing" it (Ha!) with the karaoke track in Audacity. It's mostly one take with just a little cleanup to get rid of background noise.

This is actually part of a larger "To the tune of" project I'm working on - taking one song's lyrics and putting them to the tune of another. Can't wait to show everyone why the theme to Baywatch actually fits perfectly to the tune of Soundgarden's "Burden In My Hand" lol

Love to hear ya'll's feedback! :smile:

Much love!

@TommyM @blondiewales @highmtn


  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    Pretty cool, man. Your tone is actually quite consistent from what I heard. I hadn't heard Chris's One version. I may have to check it out.

    I'd venture to say that, for whatever reason, you are listening to your voice more than your are listening to the music. I find that we, as singers, have to do what the Doobie Brothers say: Listen To the Music. A lot of the times when you're a bit off, you start off on the wrong note. The phrase is in tune with itself, but not always the background music. This sometimes creeps into your tempo too. Fixing this would radically improve your singing.

    Keep it up man. All your practice will pay off.
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @blondiewales No doubt on not listening quite enough to the music! That's one of my next skills to tackle. I started off this singing journey with wild pitch issues, so even when I sang this, I had a pitch finder in front of me just to make sure I didn't get wildly off course haha

    Thank you for your feedback and your encouragement! I will keep plugging away at it!

    Btw, I meant to post Chris's version with this for comparison! Here it is:

  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    Take two :smile: Mostly focused here on advice from @blondiewales to listen to the song more and get the rhythm right. Still a couple of (thousand) spots where I go flat or nasal, and can't wait for my head voice to be stronger! but just gotta keep working :smiley:

  • TommyMTommyM Posts: 270Pro
    Big improvement pitch-wise on the second take. I'd definitely agree with Blondie's comment re. listening to your voice more than the backing track, but it's something that just comes with practice. Your tone is still really nice and 'your' voice is really growing into its own skin, but definitely work on pitching and try to find an optimal way to both hear yourself and also hear the backing track.

    How exactly are you recording? I know you mentioned just recording into your phone while singing over a backing track that's presumably playing on your laptop or something - Are you basically using your phone to record your voice and then importing that into Audacity? If so, maybe try using one earphone and leaving the other one out so that you can pitch yourself externally and also within the song. It's not ideal as you want to learn how to pitch yourself within the track itself, but that takes practice in itself so work with what you've got and do whatever helps to remain on pitch.

    Your support sounds good, your throat sounds open and, as I've said, your tone is really good and consistent so keep it up. Just work on that pitching while you're recording and you'll step it up even more. Good work mate, great to see you pushing yourself creatively as well as vocally.

  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @TommyM Thanks for the feedback, man! Yeah everything about this is new to me, so it's just 1,000 plates for me to keep spinning haha but I so appreciate when people like you and @blondiewales give me your far more experienced opinions!

    I literally just record audio and video onto the phone while I listen to the audio track through a separate device, then sync them up later in Audacity or in Sony Movie Studio. I'm going to invest in a real microphone and pre amp soon!

    Do you have any opinions about the kind of headphones one should wear while recording? I've just got these ear buds I'm really fond of, but it seems like most people I've ever seen video of recording are wearing big ear muffs.

    Also, went ahead and recorded a take of another mixup I've been working on - "Like a Stone" to the tune of "More Than Words". I'm just going to start posting new "to the tune of" songs in this thread instead of cluttering the forum with new posts every time :smile:

  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    Hey, I'm at work right now so can't quite listen to your tracks properly, but I would like to recommend Sony MDR7506's for headphones! They're apparently industry standard, but they're also just great headphones for recording. I even mix in them.

    I'll listen to your track soon, dude. Keep singing.
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @blondiewales WOW these look great! All right gonna add these to my wish list!
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    A new song... and an experiment in creating a semi full demo!

    I took the lyrics to Chris Cornell's classic James Bond theme, "You Know My Name", and put them to a little known, almost Industrial sounding Def Leppard song. It comes from their HIGHLY underrated Slang album. The song is called "Truth?"

    I took multiple vocal tracks, composited the best phrases from each of them into a single vocal file, and added some effects in Audacity to help my vocal match the production of the original. Just trying to get my feet wet with mixing and producing my own demos. Even if all the audio was recorded straight into my phone haha! :) Can't wait for my real recording gear to arrive!

    Here's my demo

    Here's the Chris Cornell song

    Here's the Def Leppard tune

    @blondiewales @TommyM
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro

    Sorry it took a while to get back to you, man. I listened to your latest track and also the "More Than Words/Like A Stone" one.

    You actually have some pretty cool tone going, and I like the creativity in your songs. You actually put some thought into the arrangements, and I think working on this is helping you musically. Good work. Keep it up, and don't be discouraged by the lack of response on the forums. The staff is pretty sparse compared to the amount of questions they get. Personally, I respond where I can and definitely if I'm specifically asked. However, I try not to post too much elsewhere because I'm not KTVA "staff" and don't want to give people the impression that I know more than I do. I just want to help because I know the struggle of learning to sing well.

    Now there are some things I noticed that need to be addressed. My purpose in saying them is to help you improve, so don't get discouraged. Your pitch and tempo have gotten better, so good work on that. The honest truth, however, is that singing (and music in general) will never be fully enjoyable to listen to until the pitch and tempo are functionally perfect. I mean "functionally perfect" as no one is bothered by parts that are off because it's by such a small amount. Very few vocal takes are genuinely 100% perfect, and it can be argued music sounds more real when slightly flawed.

    So work on your pitch. It's not as big an issue as tempo right now. Try ear training or singing along to a well-tuned guitar or piano. Don't consider a song practiced enough to be released for critique until you feel you've fixed EVERY recurring pitch issue you can notice in a take. This may feel like a tall order, but it'll save you time in the long run and maximize the benefit you get from critique. If you fix every mistake you notice, the mistakes other people point out will only help you further improve. If you are already aware of them, then it's not helpful and just feels like pointless criticism.

    I know the frustration of people telling you "be more on key." Really. You may want to hear something new after people keep saying it. That's why I started with ways in which you've improved in tone and musicality. Take solace in the fact that every wrong note you notice and correct is astronomically improving your singing in a proportionate sense. Know that you'll fall short of perfection for a while, but aim for it anyway. Eventually you'll get to the point where you'll show someone a vocal take and they won't even notice the mistakes you do.

    One final note: vocal distortion can be very sweet, but digital distortion is a bad thing. Notice the distortion happening on your latest track when you first say "you know my name." You're peaking the mic. Turn down the input or back away. Just experiment with it.

    Again, keep up the good work and happy singing!
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @blondiewales thank you for all your feedback!

    I'm mostly just trying to contribute to the forum myself. The feedback I've gotten from pros and amateurs alike has been worth the price of the program to me! And I know we're all busy with our lives. So no worries on when it takes a minute to reply :smiley:

    Pitch and tempo are my obsessions right now! It's good to hear that I'm not imagining the challenges I'm having with them. It's so funny. I have a ten year career as a dancer, so you'd think it would just translate to great rhythm as a vocalist. Nope lol

    It's no excuse for not getting a recording to functional perfection, but this guy in particular I sat down that night and said ok, I'm not going to go the Chinese Democracy route on this, I've got this long to record vocals, this long to splice it together and add any effects, and then I'm putting it out there to a few people, warts and all. It was a challenge in meeting a deadline :smile: I also had some real recording gear being delivered in a few days (it's here now!) and I figured I'd use any feedback i got at that point to produce a much higher quality demo.

    I'm a little confused about your comment on the "digital distortion". Are you saying that my attempt to add an effect in Audacity to make the vocal line sound like the effect they used in the original Def Leppard song (on the line "why don't you tell me") makes it sound like the audio is getting clipped or like I'm too close to the mic? I totally don't know my way around adding effects yet, so it sounds like I might have gotten it waaaaay wrong haha the original vocal track is normal volume and nowhere near clipping.

    Thank you again for your feedback and encouragement!
  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    @KaiEllis Actually I'd imagine your career and experience as a dancer will help you with tempo! It is a little bit different, but as a famous drummer once said: "don't worry about the technical playing you hear tonight; it's all about the groove, man." (extremely paraphrased). You just have to find the same fluidity in your words as you do in your dance. Of course, if you're singing to a backing track that has the lead vocals on there or with a band, you have to make your words complementary to the other singers', or everyone will sound horrible.

    No worries about establishing your own deadline! Setting new challenges for yourself can lead to discoveries. Congratulations on your new equipment. What did you get? I'm very passionate about music production.

    Regarding digital distortion: I listened to the Def Leppard song just now. It does appear to have a distortion effect, which is pretty unusual in how strong it is. The song is very, very strangely mixed... especially for Def Leppard. In any case, it sounds like analog console or preamp distortion. Mix engineers achieve this effect by increasing the input while decreasing the output so they can achieve the "drive" sound without blowing out our ear drums. On your version, that particular line is quite loud. Back off the volume on it a little bit. However, don't expect to get a great mix out of Audacity.

    You'll have to look up the technical difference between digital and console distortion... It's beyond my audio production knowledge. However, digital distortion is usually considered bad.
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Posts: 215Pro, 2.0 PRO
    @blondiewales That's a great paraphrase from that drummer. What's actually started to help me immensely was that I had totally divorced the two skills. I wasn't moving at all while I was singing. But once I started at LEAST tapping my foot while I'm singing, everything got much, much better :smile:

    My recording gear is nothing wild (yet!). Bought everything for $300 based on this list from the Recording Revolution. The preamp is supposed to come with Pro Tools, but I can't figure out where or how to download it yet :neutral:

    Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2nd gen
    Samson C01 Condenser Mic
    Sony MDR7506 Large Diaphragm Headphones
    Pop filter and shock mount
    Samson MK10 mix stand

    You're right about the song being strangely mixed, especially for Def Leppard. That whole album is a bizarre detour for them. If you get four spare minutes, give this other track off the Slang album a listen. It's incredible to realize this is the same band that wrote "Pour Some Sugar On Me" lol If you get a chance, I'd love to hear more about the song "Truth?" from your production point of view. What's weird about the track to you?

  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 469Pro
    edited July 2017
    I haven't gotten a chance to watch that home studio video, but just to be clear, a preamp is a piece of equipment, not software. It should be hardware you're looking at, not a link to download.

    Regarding the song, I do like that Def Leppard was going away from their arena pop sound into heavier material. This may have been partially due to them recruiting Vivian Campbell of Dio. However, "Truth?" just has a bizarre mix, especially on the "original" version that's on YouTube. The production equipment is good, and the listener can enjoy the fat tube sound associated with professional recordings. However, the mix is muddy, too mid-y, ad just not very clear. While someone could argue that this was part of their new sound, I think it's important in ANY genre to be able to hear all the instruments clearly. The guitars are blurry, the drums don't stick out, and the bass guitar sounds wimpy. The voice doesn't stick out, but this could be on purpose. I've never heard a high-fidelity version of it, and I suppose all of this could be the fault of whoever uploaded the track on YouTube.

    It confuses me because it was probably done by a pro mix engineer, but in my opinion, it's a poor sounding mix based on the YouTube link you posted. Again, this could be partially due to whoever uploaded the YouTube track. They could have ripped the CD and otherwise processed it with lossy file formats.
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