Bands and sports teams

Created: Mar 7, 2024 | B quality | Low importance

I've started to think of bands as sports teams. For a sports team, like an american football team, there are a lot of players. You have a quaterback, an offensive line, a running back, some wide recievers. You have an entire defense with a defensive line, cornerbacks and safetys. To have a successful team, all of these pieces have to come together in perfect harmony and align so that the team can be maximally successful.

Or do they?

Look at any high school football game. Generally speaking, the winning team has some star player or two that are bigger, stronger, faster or more skilled than the rest of the players on either team. When you have a quarterback with great passing precision, and a wide receiver that can evade coverage and catch the ball, you just run that same play. Almost every time. Why take a risk with any other players when these two can win the game for you by themselves.

So how does this relate to bands? The goal of a sports team is to win a game, or multiple games. The goal of a band is to make a great record, or multiple great records. Now, it's easier to quantify the success of a sports team. How many yards did they gain, how many points did they score, did they win the game? The success of a record is harder to define, but it is probably some combination of critical and commercial success, along with the lasting legacy of the song and how beloved it is.

So what makes a song successful? Usually it has some combination of excellence in: songwriting, lyrics, melody, harmony, vocal performance, arrangement, star power, production (including electronic), instrumentation, instrumental solos and various other elements. The important observation is that not every aspect of the song has to be great! Just like a few good players can "carry" a sports team, a few great or amazing elements can carry a song. A band might have weak songwriting, but amazing vocal performances. Or mundane lyrics but incredible instrumentation and instrumental solos. The elements that carry a record for a band might vary between one record and another. In fact, it is often bands that "mix up the formula" that have the most success and staying power.

I think this is something to keep in mind when recording my own tracks. I don't have to have every element be perfect. Not everything has to shine. I should figure out what aspects of a song are making it "work", and hone in on those.


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