Today we get into the reproduction of Jimmy Eat World’s “Appreciation” as the first cover we’re doing off of the “Damage” record.
Check out the original recording by Jimmy Eat World:
Now check out the cover:
I started working on this one late one day (late for me, anyway, as far as this type of thing generally goes), and was initially going to pair a full video montage of me working through everything, which I started to record using my phone before I found myself feeling like I was rushing it because I only have so much phone storage.
So I nixed that idea as I worked through putting the initial drum parts together (the intro bit was being fussy for a while – have I mentioned yet how annoying I find midi drum programming?). Instead I through my phone on a tripod and ran an impromtu Instagram livestream and then basically forgot about it while I went about my business, tracking the rhythm guitars over the drums first, doubling those, then some lead guitar work and vocals before I had to call it a night.
It’s a huge bummer when you’re subjected to the clock to determine the end of your session because I would’ve been happy to keep rolling along for another couple hours on it, likely finishing it then.
Instead I picked up the bass the next day, re-tracked the vocals with a bunch of backing vocal parts, and then let it sit for a few days.
I’d really like to keep offering the livestream element to these sessions, but I worry that my laptop will get too bogged down running through so many things. If I still had a pair of studio monitors this wouldn’t be an issue, since you’d be able to hear everything easily that way, but I sold mine a few years back when I was having financial difficulties. I really regret that. I had a pair of sick Yamaha HS80’s, and I’m not even sure they still make the model, and they were amazing, perfectly flat, just like you need in mixing.
That all said I’m still working around some ideas for how to best present this all through livestreaming as we go, so bare with me.
Before we look at the parts a little closer, let’s check out those lyrics, ya?
This is one of those songs where all the lyrics really hit close to home, and it seems the older the song and I both get, the more true they feel.
I think it’s easy to make assumptions about people at first go, and it’s even easier to get set in your ways about what you think about those you’ve known a long time. What’s not so easy is being on the end of it where you realize that the people you thought “got” you, understood you, that you could trust and go to, have been doing exactly that, making assumptions and recalling old versions of yourself and not seeing the person that’s really standing right there in front of them.
The second half of this verse I feel all the time with so many things. I’m constantly of the mind that I’m not doing enough, not trying hard enough, and just letting the time waste away while I fumble through my decisions. Time and life is precious and I’ve always been very hyper-aware of that, almost to a fault.
When things get particularly hard, I know I have a tendency, like a lot of people, to stow away my problems, dismiss them, or diminish their severity or importance. I think that’s what this chorus is talking about in the first half, ignoring and compartmentalizing things so that you’re able to focus on the day-to-day and move forward, but it’s this exact type fo attitude and behaviour that leads to further issues down the line (in my experience).
By doing that, we find ourselves in the second half of the chorus, a little lost and not sure of how we even got where it is we are when it finally hits us: something’s gotta change and I think that something is me.
I like how non-descript this first part of verse 2 is while still encapsulating a lot of heavy feelings. There are so many times I’ve found myself thinking back to things that happened in my childhood, or the way certain things or people made me felt, and it weigh’s a ton more the older you get and the more you catch yourself reminiscing about them, especially if what it makes you feel is lost, lonely or longing of some kind.
Often times when I feel those emotions coming up again, what I want more than anything is to have someone to share them with, someone who can help lighten the load a little, or, if it calls for it, compartmentalize it for a second or two until I’m ready to really work through it. In those moments that I feel myself wanting more than anything to do something, to say something, I know I’m really tapping into one of my core beliefs, passions or needs, and it’s important to take the time to sit and recognize what that is before jumping into anything.
The rest of the song repeats just the chorus, especially in my version where I go into a sort of merry-go-round, repeating just these lines over and over, above and below each other.
Admittedly, often times right now, I still feel very lost and struggle to break out of this type of psyclone. But I also don’t think that’s something someone like me can every truly come out of; It’ll always return, the uncertainty, the longing, the struggle between boxing and unboxing new and old feelings and experiences as they happen. But hopefully along the way I get better at reading the map.
Okay, let’s talk more about the production now because I’ve got some cool videos to show ya later in this blog!
As I mentioned, I kicked this session off with the drums after loosely sorting the temp (153bpm), and I was getting a little annoyed with the finicky-ness of midi programming again when I pieced together the intro. It doesn’t sound like much but when you’re working within a grid for something you’re trying to get a natural feel for, it can be frustrating.
There are LOTS of cool things you can do with midi programming but the reality is it’s one of those things I don’t have much patience for, and I actually end up liking the rigidness of the performance because it keeps my playing it line after the fact, and I often don’t need to edit any of my other parts all that much to be happy with my playing as a result, although I do find that tightening up main hits, like the first of a measure, even if they’re only off the grid by a couple milliseconds, makes a big difference as you build out the full track, so I have a habit of editing anyways despite what I just said to you.
The point is I don’t HAVE to, okay? And you don’t either. But try it, it sounds really good.
So I ultimately ended up getting the drums here very simple, and I vow to take more time in my drum programming going forward because I’m starting to feel like I’m getting hella lazy with it and this is only cover song 5 out of…
I haven’t calculated how many we have to go yet. I refuse to look.
I’m getting a little lazy about bass, too.
Just kidding. This song is one of those that doesn’t necessarily get improved upon too deeply if I went again and starting running up and down the bass next. It’s supposed to be pretty steady and let the vocals and lead guitar carry the weight, especially after whatever it was I did in the bridge.
For the curious, the bass is just following the root notes of the rhythm guitar track to a tee.
Those notes are: B, A, D and G in the verses and B, D, G, E followed by B, A, G, G in the chorus (x2!).
That’s it, on repeat.
In the verses I switch to quarter notes to drive the rhythm further, but it stays like that through almost the entire track, other than the syncopated notes in the introduction part and when it’s repeated after the first chorus.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I run my bass straight D.I, and sometimes I keep it as just that because the bass itself and the pre-amp do the trick, but this time I ran it through the SansAmp and you can almost never go wrong with this plug-in on any bass track, fine-tuned to your liking of course as it suits the track.
The rhythm guitar track follows the original recording pretty closely, and since I offered up the chords for the bass track it seems only fair I do the same here.
In the verses we’re playing Bm, A, D, G and in the choruses it’s Bm, D, G, Em.
The best way to learn this track is just to play along a couple times to the original recording, and I find sticking to downstrokes in the intro bit make it a lot easier to match the rhythm. I otherwise have a tendency to do a lot of alternate strumming instinctively, as was the case here before I succumbed to downstrokes, frustrated by where those were leading me.
And here’s some good news – I finally got around to getting the adapter I needed to show you guys these tracks broken down, so I went ahead and did a quick video on the lea guitar lines for ya to help me better show you what I did.
In this video you’re going to hear mainly the red track, “Gtr 5” which is the lead guitar, and you’ll hear the purple guitar, “Gtr 4” in the chorus.
Okay, since I’m all hyped up about this whole showing you the Pro Tools sesh thing, let me also quickly show you the vocals track in the bridge so you can make out what’s going on.
Truthfully, I should’ve spent a bit more time on this probably to get some better clarity, but I was overall pretty satisfied with how it shaped out.
On the 3 main “lead” vocal line, I’m only running them through EQ and a compressor (my BF-76 that I adore so), and otherwise they’re going to 2 reverb’s and 2 slapback delays.
The next set of vocals, which you’ll hear solo’d, are going through the same main reverb line, but also a chamber reverb, and some additional delays at times, and two of the tracks are running through a filter to cut through the final chorus.
I’m itching to do an acoustic track and I have one in mind after listening through the Futures deluxe/demos release on Spotify, so I might opt for that one next, but as far as full-band covers go, I’m looking at the “1994” record. Haven’t wholly decided but I’ve narrowed it down to a couple.