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You know it's not the same as it was

"You know it's not the same..." As It Was is a nostalgic soundscape that gets stuck in your head with a simple 4-bar chorus.

Harry Styles
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Overview
Duration:
Key:
Tempo
Genre: 
Producers
2:47
A Maj
87
Pop
Kid Harpoon, Tyler Johnson

Key Takeaways

🔄 Arrangement

  • First thing to note about this song is that it's only 2:47, which seems to be a sign of the times. Songs continue to drop underneath the 3 minute mark consistently, and this most likely will increase the loopability (and therefore stream count) for this song. Plus, it keeps people engaged despite our shortened attention spans.
  • Something new happens every 4 measures or so... Variety is important to keep people from hitting skip.

🎹 Chords

The progression of this song is very catchy, and loops very well. I'll drop the progression below so you can review it for yourself.

  • Intro: N.C. - 2m - 5M - 1M,
  • Verse: 4M - 2m - 5M - 1M [x2]
  • Pre-chorus: 4M - 2m - 5M - 1M [x2]
  • Chorus: 4M - 2m - 5M - 1M
  • Bridge: 4M - 2m - 5M - 1M - N.C.
  • Instrumental: 4M - 2m - 5M - 1M [x2] - N.C.

🎶 Melody

  • Classic pop song with the same melody for each verse, same melody in the pre-chorus, and same (super simple) melody in the chorus. I'd say what stands out to me is how simple and basic the melody and lyrics are. The chorus is literally "as it was... you know it's not the same... as it was." It doesn't get much simpler than that but he delivers on the simplicity of this idea by executing it with a beautiful production, solid performance, and emotional tone in his voice.

🔊 Sound Design

  • The main driving force of the song is the guitar-heavy production you've come to expect on a Harry Styles track.
  • The song starts (and is heavily carried) by a classic synth melody that immediately tells you this sound is going to sound like a nostalgic tribute.
  • I didn't notice it at first, but he uses the classic pitched up chipmunk as the delay on his lead vocals during the verses. Very subtle but clever way to bring a modern sound into this retro production.
  • 1:50 - I love how he plays a harmony to the melody on the synth in the background to accent this line. This is a creative way to add harmonies without using typical BGVs. Clever!
  • 2:20 - He brings in some Tubular bells here which is just pretty fun. The use of live instruments throughout this song (as opposed to all samples/in-the-box) is refreshing and makes this production stand out for sure.

🎛 Mixing

  • This mix is very crisp and clear, and he has a lot of sounds that are washed out in reverb far behind your headphones, but the main sounds themselves are very dry and crisp.
  • There seems to be some use of saturation on the backing vocals in the chorus. There is just the slightest bit of "tearing" or crunchiness on the chords which helps them cut through the mix and acts as a sort of film grain for the sound. I'm not sure if this is saturation or simply the way the limiting or compression is affecting the overall sound of the mix, but it sounds wonderfully retro.
  • Listen closely to the bass and you'll hear it's got quite a bit of distortion to the top end, but it's tucked away pretty quietly in the mix which adds to that overall gritty tone that makes me feel like i'm listening to a vinyl record.
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