Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Save Me - Fred voice break? (studio v)

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4 x Vision user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 09:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi, if you listen to the 5.1 version of Save Me, and isolate the ch1, around 3.05-3.08 Freddie goes for a very high cry/squeal.

I was listening and my gf laughed that Freddie's voice cracks badly... don't know whether to agree with her or not cos I'll never let it down lol.

It does seem fitting that for the song that he lets off a sort of doomed "cry", so I'm really not sure.


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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 10:17 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have no way of listening to the song now because youtube is not working for me, but I do know what part you're referring to - the bar is introduced by a flat harmony between Freddie's shout and Brian's moaning sustained chord, isn't it? The chorus is resumed, if I remember correctly - one can listen to "save me, save me" in the background, the texture being created mostly by the difference in volume rather than in pitch - and then a kind of groan from Freddie as Brian starts to develop his solo.

The high-pitched shout is a simple imitation or, one could argue, a brief vocalizing: Freddie either (because I don't remember exactly the order of things):
 
a) emulates what Brian is playing with his guitar - in which case it'd be a simple imitation
b) antecipates what Brian is going to play with his guitar - in which case it's a brief performanto (because it's in unison, otherwise it could be a loose and slight counterpuntual departure)
c) reproduces and recriates what Brian is playing ; in which case one could say it's a brief vocalizing.

NOW! This is the first part, triggering Brian's solo.

The brief resumption of the chorus is faded out and plays at a lower volume, thus creating a depth to the song.

2) Then all I remember listening to is Freddie groaning, moaning even: it's an "ooooooowww", a closed-sounding moaning as opposed to the shout which triggers the soloing, which is an open-sounding one, more like: "wow!" (maybe to match the guitar's "wha-wha")? 

This groan done by Freddie doesn't seem to be a crack in his voice or a result of a crack in his voice - it seems to be a totally, first, independent sound, recorded either in a different take or, if in the same take, after the previous vocals had already faded out; second, it sounds intentional - it doesn't sound like an unintentional crack in the voice.

A cracked moan would be the "oooooww" in the end of the Millionaire Waltz - just after the last "come back to me" and before he wraps up the song with the line "make me feel...like a millionaire". Check it out. Now listen to the "Save Me" one: isn't it a much more pleasant-sounding moan, as if it had been done intentionally? Hehehe. I know it'll sound silly, but that's the way I remember this moaning. It sounds rather nice, doesn't it?
Anyway...WHY THE HELL DO YOU CARE ABOUT FREDDIE JUST WHEN BRIAN IS DELIVERING A KILLER AND BEAUTIFUL SOLO? lol Just kidding. You can care about whatever you wanna care.

I think that:

a) Either the opposition between the high, effeminate open-sounding shout and the more closed-sounding moan gives the impression of a crack in the voice or;
b) The fact that you're listening to the vocals only leads you to be believe that the sound was meant to be a logical following of the vocals he had just done; it seems to me that's not the case. It's a different, independent sound done by him, probably after his voice had already, however briefly, rested and settled down a bit, and intentionally so, to create the feeling of someone deeply in pain because of the departue of the beloved one. The first shout in the series, so to speak, is intended to match the chord played by Brian; the final moan seems to be unrelated, harmonically or melodywise, to the solo and intentionally done to create the impression of someone aching and suffering as a result of the loss of and the longing for a person he loves.  

When I get home I'll give it a listen and then I can try giving you a more helpful informed opinion.

That's it for now, so that you can have a quick feedback. I hope that these musings may help you sort out what happens in the song and invite other users to comment on it, even if it's to destroy me (hehehe). ; -)))) I haven't listened to the isolated vocals so I wouldn't be surprised if I were wrong.

Take care!


Yara
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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 13:59 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

His voice does crack there. Fortunately, in the full mix, guitars, bass and drums cover it up.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 16:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

His voice does crack there. Fortunately, in the full mix, guitars, bass and drums cover it up.



I thought it did. Would this have been missed out at the time due to the fact you don't hear it over the instruments?

It would seem strange that such perfectionists as Queen... especially in the studio where mistakes can be easily remedied... would have kept such a crack in Freddie's voice?

Thta's what's so special about the 5.1 mixes and why I wish Brian would push for the rest to be dvd-audio.

I think the "crack" still goes well with the sadness and tragic nature of the song. Like Yara said, the song deals with loss and it fits that Freddie kind of loses the plot a little. Maybe it was intentional???



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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 16:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


Attachment: 0910121160149716.mp3 150 KB
This has been downloaded 106 time(s).


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Posted: 12 Sep 09, 18:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

how can you isolate the voice track ??????????


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Posted: 13 Sep 09, 06:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You can't really.

You can rip the 6 channels (5.1) and listen to them separately, but you can't really isolate vocals or guitars or something like that, it depends on how it's mixed in surround.

But 9/10 times it has other instruments on the channel aswell.


"If there's a God or any kind of justice under the sky

If there's a point, if there's a reason to live or die".

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Posted: 13 Sep 09, 08:13 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote


Intentional and interpretive voice break, it seems to me. 


(Thanks for the sttachment, Basten9).



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Posted: 13 Sep 09, 21:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I respect Van Basten 9 and Sebastian's opinions, but It still doesn't sound to me as an unitentional failure - sorry for the redundancy - of his voice, but it could well be. I think he did run out of breath or simply cracked his voice in The Millionaire Waltz's last part, though, just after the last "come back to me" and before the line "you make me feel like a millionaire". 

It bears resemblance to something like a moan or groan too, but it sounds quite awful. For sure it sounds worse to my ears than this moan in "Save Me"!

Of course, arguing for an unintentional cracking of his voice prompts us to come up with a very good explanation as to why it made into the recording, since what's in a recording is usually meant to be there. There are exceptions, and these shall be accounted for, I guess. Being one of May's best compositions, and taking into account his perfectionism, we could try dropping him a message, though I think it's unlikely he'd answer it. :op   

That said, any analysis of it should be made in the context of the song's structure and also taking into account its lyrical content, to my mind. That's what I tried to do, so sorry for the rather long post. The problem of "long posts" always haunts me, I guess. One more reason for trying to create my website. ; -)) I hope it's been helpful in some way or another, even if as a contrast to other people's opinions.   

And, of course, thanks a lot for the attachment, Van Basten9, though I wasn't able to open up the file here - it may be a codec issue?


Yara
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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 09:57 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hi Yara, try downloading VLC Media Player. It's free and safe and can play ANYTHING. get the NEWEST version from the site : http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

My file was wma and just the part we've discussed.

I too agree that a perfectionist as May wouldn't have let anything slip and would like to think that he intentionally kept it in. As you well said it would compliment the subject matter of the lyrics rather well.

It's one of my favourite live songs actually. Mercury's performances were breathtaking of that song, even nights when his voice wasn't at it's best. He really felt every word i think. There's a version from Franfurt 82 (I think) where he really goes for it, even though his voice isn't at it's crispest, but you actually feel like he may have been going through a breakup in his own life at the time which fuelled the energy for the song (he probably was if Freestone's book is accurate).


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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 10:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I too agree that a perfectionist as May wouldn't have let anything slip and would like to think that he intentionally kept it in. As you well said it would compliment the subject matter of the lyrics rather well.

Actually, he did: there's a mistake on FGB, some 'pitchy' notes in SL, etc... maybe 99% of the things that stayed in 'had to' be 'perfect', but there's always that remaining 1%, and the voice-break in Save Me can be part of it.



John hated HS. Fred's fave singer was not PR. Roger didn't compose 'Innuendo.' Witness testimonies are often inaccurate. Scotland's not in England. 'Bo Rhap' hasn't got 180 voices.
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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 12:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Sebastian wrote:

I too agree that a perfectionist as May wouldn't have let anything slip and would like to think that he intentionally kept it in. As you well said it would compliment the subject matter of the lyrics rather well.

Actually, he did: there's a mistake on FGB, some 'pitchy' notes in SL, etc... maybe 99% of the things that stayed in 'had to' be 'perfect', but there's always that remaining 1%, and the voice-break in Save Me can be part of it.


For the song being discussed in the topic though i think it could be that keeping the voice break compliments the lyrics nicely. The torment/anger/sadness... all the emotions the song may inspire... it would make someone want to yell out/shriek etc.

Maybe another topic could discuss the mistakes you've mentioned in Sweet Lady and Fat Girly Bottoms among others would be interesting though? I'd genuinely like to know the mistakes made in the studio that they kept in the final mixes (intentionally or not).






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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 14:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Let's try clearing the cobwebs. We still haven't established with any accuracy if that's a mistake done by Freddie or an expressive moan to fit the mood of the song. Let me put this way: I don't think he fumbled the note there. I'm almost absolutely sure. On the other hand, this sort of analysis has to rely on comparisons, and then I am almost sure that he fumbled whatever he was trying to do in the last part of Millionaire Waltz's: just after the last "come back to me" and right before the "you make me feel like a millionaire" an unpleasant dissonant broken moan comes up - "Come back to me...ohhhhh". He seems to be delivering this "ohhh" out of breath or just completely out of tune.

What he does in Save Me for expressive reasons, as I think he did, sounds way better than what's in Millionaire Waltz, so that can be a point of departure for the discussion.

There's an explanation for the latter: it was Freddie's composition. A very tongue-in-cheek one, unlike Brian's. Freddie must have thought it was funny, just like the jokes he threw in "One Vision". It's very Freddie. And he liked to get away with these things and show off a sort of campy humour.

But Brian would kill Freddie for any mistake in "Save Me". The reason is quite simple: Brian was way too fond of his best compositions. A silly example: he'd like to have released "I can't live without you" on his own album. He'd only yield when he thought that the band could make something better out of the song. 
  
Brian tells Nuno in 1991: "In the past I've tended to be too dogmatic. I've written songs that have made Freddie's life hell because I wanted them sung a certain way."

So it's unlikely that Brian would let Freddie go away with a fumble. He probably thought it was a nice, expressive moan, and it's no secret that Brian has always been in awe of Freddie's delivery of Save Me.

How Freddie's voice used to crack:

1) For relying too much on the strength of his vocal folds in the high-pitched verses: e.g, the way he usually fumbled the ascending line working up to the chorus in "We Are The Champions": "But I've got/come (voice cracks) through...". It was due to the fragility of his vocal chords and the pressure he put onto them. This kind of crack sounds very peculiar: he voice just fades out and even goes way for a moment.
2) He'd harm his vocal chords on stage and the note would reflect his unease - e.g, second refrain of "Let Me Entertain You" in Dallas '78, for instance; it happened quite often in Mustapha.
3) He'd run out of breath, lose control over the pitch and sound out of tune. In such cases, his tone or timber tended to get muffled - that's exactly what happens in Millionaire Waltz, but oddily enough it doesn't happen in "Save Me": his timber is still clear, which could be a sign that he didn't actually fumble the note, but counsciouly tried to get a different, expressive effect.

Then, as I wrote in the post above, it's necessary to regard this bit of Save Me taking into account the whole context of the song: not only the lyrical content, but also the song's basic structure - there's a lot of action going on during these 3 or 4 seconds: Freddie shouts by way of doing a loose performanto to match Brian's chord, triggering the guitar soloing. Then comes this "cracked moan",  an independent sound, not the seamless following of what had just been done before, which is also a sign that he did want the line to sound that way - he went for that effect.

Finally, it doesn't sound bad to my ears - the one in Millionaire Waltz, yes; this moan in "Save Me" doesn't sound annoying or out of tune even - it's an amusing way of expressing the suffering of someone who broke with the person who's at the same time his great love and his harbor, the means of his salvation - so it's a quite dramatic situation there and the vocals fit just fine.

Of course I can turn out to be absolutely wrong. But the question is: before we can say whether "the crack" was left there on purpose or not, we have to establish with some accuracy whether it was really a crack in the sense of a failure in the delivery of whatever he was trying to do. My own opinion is that he was trying to give a physical expression for an emotional setback. 

Is it possible that he just fumbled the whole thing and it all went unnoticed? Of course it is. That's one hypothesis. But I think we can't dismiss the others yet. 

If we could get Queenzoners who have been here for a good deal of time and command the respect of other users to kindly write to Brian a message with a set of doubts or thoughts which have come up recently on the website I think Brian would be more likely to answer: there'd be a sense of fans getting together, something he always liked, and organizing to ask him the questions instead of doing it piecemeal. It'd also be representative of more fans.


Yara
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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 14:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Yara wrote:

Let's try clearing the cobwebs. We still haven't established with any accuracy if that's a mistake done by Freddie or an expressive moan to fit the mood of the song. Let me put this way: I don't think he fumbled the note there. I'm almost absolutely sure. On the other hand, this sort of analysis has to rely on comparisons, and then I am almost sure that he fumbled whatever he was trying to do in the last part of Millionaire Waltz's: just after the last "come back to me" and right before the "you make me feel like a millionaire" an unpleasant dissonant broken moan comes up - "Come back to me...ohhhhh". He seems to be delivering this "ohhh" out of breath or just completely out of tune.

What he does in Save Me for expressive reasons, as I think he did, sounds way better than what's in Millionaire Waltz, so that can be a point of departure for the discussion.

There's an explanation for the latter: it was Freddie's composition. A very tongue-in-cheek one, unlike Brian's. Freddie must have thought it was funny, just like the jokes he threw in "One Vision". It's very Freddie. And he liked to get away with these things and show off a sort of campy humour.

But Brian would kill Freddie for any mistake in "Save Me". The reason is quite simple: Brian was way too fond of his best compositions. A silly example: he'd like to have released "I can't live without you" on his own album. He'd only yield when he thought that the band could make something better out of the song. 
  
Brian tells Nuno in 1991: "In the past I've tended to be too dogmatic. I've written songs that have made Freddie's life hell because I wanted them sung a certain way."

So it's unlikely that Brian would let Freddie go away with a fumble. He probably thought it was a nice, expressive moan, and it's no secret that Brian has always been in awe of Freddie's delivery of Save Me.

How Freddie voiced used to crack:

1) For relying to much on the strength of his vocal folds in the high-pitched verses: e.g, the way he usually fumbled the ascending line working up to the chorus in "We Are The Champions": "But I've got/come (voice cracks) through...". It was due to the fragility of his vocal chords and the pressure he put onto them. This kind of crack sounds very peculiar: he voice just fades out and even goes way for a moment.
2) He'd harm his vocal chords on stage and the note would reflect his unease - e.g, second refrain of "Let Me Entertain You" in Dallas '78, for instance; it happened quite often in Mustapha.
3) He'd run out of breath, lose control over the pitch and sound out of tune. In such cases, his tone or timber tended to get muffled - that's exactly what happens in Millionaire Waltz, but oddily enough it doesn't happen in "Save Me": his timber is still clear, which could be a sign that he didn't actually fumble the note, but counsciouly tried to get a different, expressive effect.

Then, as I wrote in the post above, it's necessary to regard this bit of Save Me taking into account the whole context of the song: not only the lyrical content, but also the song's basic structure - there's a lot of action going on during these 3 or 4 seconds: Freddie shouts by way of doing a loose performanto to match Brian's chord, triggering the guitar soloing. This "cracked moan" seems to be an independent sound, not the seamless following of what had just done before, which is also a sign that he did want the line to sound that way - he went for that effect.

Finally, it doesn't sound bad to my ears - the one in Millionaire Waltz, yes; this moan in "Save Me" doesn't sound annoying or out of tune even - it's an amusing way of expressing the suffering of someone who broke with the person who's at the same time his great love and his harbor, the means of his salvation - so it's a quite dramatic situation there and the vocals fit just fine.

Of course I can turn out to be absolutely wrong. But the question is: before we can say whether "the crack" was left there on purpose or not, we have to establish with some accuracy whether it was really a crack in the sense of a failure in the delivery of whatever he was trying to do. My own opinion is that he was trying to give a physical expression for an emotional setback. 

Is it possible that he just fumbled the whole thing and it all went unnoticed? Of course it is. That's one hypothesis. But I think we can't dismiss the others yet. 

If we could get Queenzoners who have been here for a good deal of time and command the respect of other users to kindly write to Brian a message with a set of doubts or thoughts which have come up recently on the website I think Brian would be more likely to answer: there'd be a sense of fans getting together, something he always liked, and organizing to ask him the questions instead of doing it piecemeal. It'd also be representative of more fans.   

Thanks for another small reply Yara... only joking. I'm glad you put so much effort into your replies, more fittitng when I started the discussion, so i thank you for your time and effort.

I tend to agree with you that it's added intentionally, but listening to the 5.1 mix, it still sounds a lot clearer as a crack. Did you manage to download and listen to the snippet above yet??? This by no means suggests that it was just an overseen crack/mistake by Brian as the composer. I do agree Freddie's intelligence and theatricality means he may have purely went for a note/s that matched the drama and the heartache of the song at that particular part.

The CD version makes it very hard to make out the start of the note, only the ending which fits well with the guitars and that part of the song, especially as it appears after the lyrics "...each night I cry, still believe the lie, i love you til i die...".

The CD also hides any possible doubt, but the 5.1 ch1 doesn't.

Either way, it doesn't detract from one of Brian's best written songs, and one of Freddie's most beautiful renditions.

It would be nice Yara if EVERY song was broken down like this by the fans here at QZ.

Thank you for addding the quote from Brian to Nuno, that was very interesting reading. I never really thought of the composer's power over how the finished product should sound (pre Miracle anyway). Reminds me of what Freddie said to Brian when told to sing The Hero... ""Brian, you always write me these songs which f...ing kill my beautiful voice!" HA HA.









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Posted: 14 Sep 09, 22:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hehe. True. But Freddie didn't give Brian much rest either. ; -))


Yara
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Posted: 15 Sep 09, 22:12 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



Yara wrote:

Hehe. True. But Freddie didn't give Brian much rest either. ; -))    

Reminds me of Freddie's frustration with Brian during the One Vision out-takes on Magic Years. Priceless lol







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Posted: 16 Sep 09, 04:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

To me it sounds like he fucked up, made a sound that he thought was cool, and did it again on purpose...


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