This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.

Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Filler songs: myth or reality? (+ a Demons & Wizards poll)

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA' started by skyrefuge, Jul 16, 2010.

?

Which of these songs on the first Demons & Wizards album was intended to be "filler"?

  1. Heaven Denies

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Poor Man's Crusade

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Fiddler on the Green

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Blood on My Hands

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  5. Path of Glory

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  6. Winter of Souls

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. The Whistler

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  8. Tear Down the Wall

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Gallows Pole

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  10. My Last Sunrise

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. skyrefuge

    skyrefuge Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Suburban Chicago, USA
    At http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/progpower-usa/609241-cds-1st-half-vs-2nd-half.html#post9226179 Zod and I were having this conversation:

    I think we're actually both at the same place conceptually on this: we agree that bands *intend* to create "filler", and that if fans, without knowing the band's intention, overwhelmingly regard it as "filler", then yes, "filler" been created.

    Our disagreement then is mainly on how often this situation actually occurs. I think it happens very rarely, while Zod presumably thinks it's fairly common.

    Whenever I see "best song on album X" polls (or better, "worst song..."), it usually seems like there is surprisingly little consensus among fans. I think that when we develop our opinions in a relative vacuum (without friends, radio, or MTV to tell us what to like and what to hate), our opinions end up being a lot more random than we expect. So while bands might create filler songs, I think fans do a bad job of detecting which songs those are, and thus, they aren't "filler".

    Hence, the poll. I visited the studio for a couple days during the recording of the first Demons & Wizards album. Jon Schaffer and Hansi Kursch had written all the songs together in a writing session well before the recording started. Before I arrived, they had been in the studio for some time, and had nearly completed all of the recordings. But on the day I was there, they decided they needed one more track to fill out the album.

    So they went back to the apartment, and sat together for an hour or two coming up with random riffs and vocal melodies and banging out a song. They laid it down in the studio the next day, mechanically piling up layers of guitars and vocals, and copying-and-pasting sections to construct the final product. You could not have a more perfect example of a band attempting to create a "filler" song.

    Thus, your task is to identify the song. If (and only if) you find it hard to believe that *any* of the songs were intended as "filler", then you can just choose the song that you like the least.

    Neil
     
  2. General Zod

    General Zod Ruler of Australia

    Joined:
    May 1, 2001
    Messages:
    14,208
    Likes Received:
    36
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Let me clarify a bit. While I do believe filler songs are occasionally created deliberately, as you describe below, I think more often than not they are created as part of the normal songwriting process and are not discarded. Bands have deadlines and budgetary constraints. Consequently, some of the material just doesn't turn out as strong as they would have liked, but they release it anyway.

    I don't know that it's fair to say there's little consensus. Granted, there will always be outliers. However, I like to stick with the 80/20 rule. As an example, if you were familiar with a band's catalog, but had never seen them live and you were completely unfamiliar with their set lists, I'd bet you could guess their set list, with a high degree of accuracy.

    I assumed half of the first D&W disc, and all of the second D&W disc, was filler. :loco:

    As I'm not a fan of that disc, and not familiar with the songs contained within, so I really couldn't guess. I'll give it a listen later on, just to play along. However, I suspect what this pole will bare out, is exactly what you alluded to in our other thread (with regard to Jon's thoughts on Burnt Offering), that bands and their fans don't often agree on the quality of their material.
     
  3. TribunalRecords

    TribunalRecords Record Label(s)/Vocalist

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,913
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    from both a label and band standpoint there is definitely filler provided for albums, some bands mask it better than others. some of my band's "filler" has wound up being our most popular songs. so it's truly up to the fans to decide what is filler and what isn't because ultimately they are the ones who enjoy the music.
     
  4. Force10

    Force10 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    Yeah, I've heard "Paranoid" was written in the studio in short time in order to "fill" the album, but then it turns into a fan favorite.
     
  5. BenMech

    BenMech student of the d'eh

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2001
    Messages:
    3,420
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    the other side of elsewhere
    I know Rush's New World Man was a space filler . . and it ended up being the ONLY top 40 charting "hit" by them.
     
  6. TribunalRecords

    TribunalRecords Record Label(s)/Vocalist

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,913
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    i did not know that, and that is one of my favorite tunes.
     
  7. Sumeet

    Sumeet Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Tampa
    This suggests that the term "filler" has an undeservedly negative connotation. Which I think is probably true, given the typical lack of consensus you mentioned. The concept of "filler" seems to be based on the notion that a song written at some random time, when someone suddenly had a riff pop into their head and just had to write it down and create a song from it, must inherently be better than a song that was written when that same person sat down and said "Ok, time to come up with a song". I don't see any particular evidence to support that idea.

    As for which Demons And Wizards track was created at the last moment to fill out the album... I don't think I can narrow it down to one song specifically, particularly since I haven't listened to the disc in years. I see you removed "Rites Of Passage" and "Chant" from the list, which makes sense, so in accordance with that, it would probably make sense to eliminate "Gallows Pole" and "My Last Sunrise", as the last 3 tracks on the album were supposed to form a trilogy of sorts, and I remember an interview at the time stating that the "trilogy" thing was actually Kursch's idea, even though Schaffer's previous two Iced Earth discs ended with trilogies. I'd also take "Heaven Denies" off the list, as that's a pretty typical Schaffer-style opening song, not something I imagine they waited until the last minute to write. Plus, I believe there's an early demo version of that song floating around somewhere, which would conflict with the idea of it having been written at the last minute. I suppose the demo / alternate version thing also knocks "The Whistler" and "Tear Down The Wall" off the list. The concept and execution of "Fiddler On The Green" also suggests it was not written at the last minute. Also, the cover art of the album seems to make reference to the song, and one imagines the lead time involved in getting the album art ready would preclude the late addition of the song. So unless my analysis of any of these other factors is wrong, that leaves "Poor Man's Crusade", "Blood On My Hands", "Path Of Glory", "Winter Of Souls". I don't know of any other external factors that would allow me to further determine which song is the "filler" track, and I have no reason to believe that my opinion on the music itself will yield anything conclusive (also I don't have time right now to go back and listen to those 4 songs), so I guess I'll have to leave it at that!
     
  8. oldboy

    oldboy Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2007
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Oftentimes authors/composers are not the best judges of their own work. One of my favorite songs is "Carry On Wayward Son" which was written in a very short time, as filler, because the record company was demanding one more song before releasing the album. Also RJD always thought that "Rainbow in the Dark" was filler.
    As a heavy metal fan I do not care much about forming opinions by consensus. If I was going to listen to what 80% of people consider to be good I would be probably be listening to the last "flavor of the week" pop icon (Lady Gaga?). Ultimately, for me if I consider a song crap, then it is crap, regardeless of what anybody else thinks. If I think a song is a classic, then it is a classic, regardless of who shares that opinion (the band that wrote the song included). Of course I respect the opinions of people who disagree with me on a given song/album/band. But I am just not going to rely on the majority to decide what is a crappy song.
     
  9. VenomGA

    VenomGA At War With Stan

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Messages:
    4,243
    Likes Received:
    40
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Warrant's Cherry Pie was filler...written because the record company said they needed one more song so Janie Lane wrote it like in minutes. This went on to be one of the band's biggest hits much to Janie's chagrin
     
  10. adaher

    adaher Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Coral Springs, FL
    I've noticed that inevitably, the songs an artist is most proud of and worked the hardest on will often be the songs fans aren't that interested in, while the speedy ditty they wrote in five minutes will end up being very popular.

    I think Sonata Arctica recognized this when they pulled Flag In the Ground out of the old Ecliptica sessions and used it as their first single.
     
  11. Magius

    Magius .................

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,950
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I think it's more of an attitudinal approach to "filler" that makes a difference. If a band thinks they need one more good track to finish an album one wouldn't be able to tell. If they just throw a song out there because the lable demands it then quality will suffer.

    Also there may come a point where bands reach their artistic limit, because of either from lack of song writting talent or maybe time constraints or both. In that case they may just go with whatever the've got, even if they know what they have isn't very good. Sometimes those songs comprise a large part of an album.
     
  12. skyrefuge

    skyrefuge Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Suburban Chicago, USA
    Agreed, but then this is a good distance away from my original point, which was that people who complain about "two good songs and then a load of filler!" are nothing more than blathering idiots. :heh:

    The situation you describe is more like "10 good songs and a couple of filler tracks". Every album is always going to have a range of tracks on it, where a band member/producer/label can order them from "great" to "meh". Coming to a consensus between all those parties on which tracks are the "meh" ones is probably quite hard, particularly if there are multiple writers with egos in the band, or if one of the songs has a TOTALLY FUCKING KILLER drum solo. And then in those cases where they do come to a consensus on the "meh" tracks, but decide to leave them in anyway, it's certainly not going to be 10 out of 12 tracks. Because a label isn't going to bother supporting something that they think is majority crap to begin with. More likely for a fan who hears "two good songs and a load of filler", it's really "10 decent songs in a style they don't really care for (or haven't gotten familiar with), and two out-of-character GREAT songs (or songs they've heard a million times on the radio)".

    First, somehow I think it's easier to find consensus on the "better than average songs" than the "worse than average songs", and "filler" is about finding consensus on the latter.

    Then, while sometimes I can do a fairly good job of predicting setlists, at other times I can't. I can recall plenty of times seeing a band playing a song I would have considered filler (if I believed in such a concept!) Just look at Iron Maiden...no matter what they play, there are always tons of people who want to hear something different. "more old stuff!" "more new stuff!" "more rare stuff!" "more hits!" In that setlist thread, almost everyone had at least a few "new era" songs in their lists. You might think that everything they've done in the last 10 years has been "filler", and expect their sets to be made of nothing but their "classics" (as is the case with other dinosaur bands who still release new albums), but that's not what they've done, and it's also not what everyone wants to hear.

    As usual, I did a little research, looking for ultimatemetal.com polls asking for favorite songs on an album. I don't think I ever saw one where a single song got more than 30% of the vote, and in most cases where there were 4x more voters than tracks, every track got at least one vote. The 30% figure means that, at least among UM albums/fans, there aren't albums where there are one or two clear winners for "best song". Though, there can be 4 or 5 that become consensus favorites, while the other 4 or 5 have a much smaller (but still non-zero) consensus on them being favorites.

    Ah, I assumed your IE-fandom carried over into D&W, but maybe Hansi makes you stop short? Anyhow, give it a listen sometime for fun, maybe at bedtime. :) At least 'Fiddler on the Green' is an out-and-out awesome song that everyone should join the consensus on!

    And yeah, even if no one detects the filler song in this case, it isn't really proof of anything. It's just a tangible, specific example of a song that was written as "filler" that nobody noticed. And for Iced Earth, the opposite has also happened, with "Hollow Man", a song so great that Jon waited years to release it (so that Century Media wouldn't wreck the opportunity), only to have it go pretty much unnoticed by the fans.

    When people whine about the "2 good songs and a load of filler", I never recall hearing specific examples, which is what has helped lead to my "blathering idiot" impression.

    Neil
     
  13. euleria

    euleria the last in line

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Western New York
    I personally think it is one of the weaker songs on the Holy Diver album, but I'm still surprised by this. It is, after all, the only song on that album with the word "rainbow" in the lyrics, and as we all know, you can't have a RJD recording without rainbows showing up somewhere. [No no, not DOUBLE rainbows...]
     
  14. Pellaz

    Pellaz Tigron of Immanion

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2002
    Messages:
    8,828
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Oh, what does it MEAN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!



    :lol:
     

Share This Page