Background from the Band
From Ask Carol: In April this year, we, Ask Carol, finally got set up for a meeting with some big shot management in LA, which we had been working towards for a long time. We were supposed to fly in around the middle of April, but we all know what happened… So, with all travels out of the question, we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, with internet-speeds from the 90s. “What do we do now?” we thought.
In need of a distraction from our frustrations, we made this song, “Do It in LA”. Half satirical comedy about the shallow, plastic fantastic society, half an honest testimony to us dreaming ourselves away to sunny Californ-i-a, and LA. Everyone has an opinion about the celebrity scene, but who hasn’t dreamt of being a Hollywood star?
A contrast to our often more melancholic music, we needed some feelgood music in our not so cheerful times. This is what we ended up with. A feelgood, rockin Alt-pop tune about making it big in LA. Badass female vocals, lots of energy and a stubborn punk attitude. As if Blondie had a kid with Paramore… Satirical lyrics of a shallow, plastic fantastic society, but really, it’s just us dreaming ourselves away to sunny California in these crazy times.
There’s a lot of filtering going on with this song, which I find not to be my favourite thing in the world in general.
That being said, I did like the verses because it was a lot more cutback in terms of how many instruments there were and how many effects were on those instrument. There was more space for the few instruments to exist in and to stand out that you didn’t get with the chorus.
The chorus feels a bit murky to me, especially with the filtering on the vocals as well. I felt that I had to strain if I wanted to hear anything other than the whole or maybe the drums.
However, I did really like the vibe of the song. There’s a kind of 70s/ 80s feeling to the song that I enjoy. And the drums and the bass line create a nice beat during the verses to give it a dance-y feel.
Lets talk about the vocals for a second.
I don’t want to say that I necessarily don’t like them because when I say I don’t like a vocal I like to think that I don’t like it because there’s something technically wrong with the way that the person is singing. Like if someone is constantly sharp on their notes then I can say I don’t like their voice because they haven’t put in the work to make the voice what it needs to be.
That’s not what’s happening here. I don’t feel like the singer cannot sing or hasn’t put in the work. I just think that the quality of the voice tonally isn’t personally something that I like.
There are some great leaps where they go from a lower register up into a higher one that I think are clean. Some crying notes that sound exactly the way you would want crying notes sound.
However, I find their vocals have a lot of nasal resonance to them which I’m not a huge fan of. I think it makes it sound a little bit whiny when it has a lot of twang in it. A little bit of twang is good because if you need to hit a higher note then you need to have nasal resonance to give yourself space for the note.
I don’t know if that’s because there’s a higher register to the song in general or if that’s the way that the singer usually goes about their vocals. Another reason why I’m hesitant to say straight out that I don’t like the vocals because if this is higher placement in their register and they’re trying to do that in chest voice, then it makes sense for them to have a lot of twang in their voice to hit those notes healthily.
I haven’t listened to the other songs by this band, so I don’t know, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to pass judgment on that either way. Personal preference: I would like them to be less nasal resonance, but there’s nothing wrong technic-wise with the way that the vocalist approaches the singing.
Overall, I don’t think this is a bad song by any means. I have a few problems with the mixing of it, but that comes down to a lot of me wanting to be able to hear as much of the song as possible so I can talk about the different elements. The same goes for not liking the tonal quality of the vocals because that’s a personal preference too and there are a lot of popular singers that people seem to love their voice, and I don’t like it, so that’s not something against the song objectively either.
Now, will I come back to the song anytime soon? Probably not because I have enough issues with it on personal preference that it’s just not my thing, but I’m still willing to listen to some other stuff by this band and see if they can impress me elsewhere.