Wednesday Question: Most Overproduced Album Ever

Votes and nominations inside...

Ultimate Guitar

For this week's traditional Wednesday Question, we'd like to kindly ask you folks to think about all the heavily overproduced albums out there and answer this thing right here:

What is the most overproduced album of all time?

THE RULES - post only one suggestion per comment after checking that your favorite wasn't already nominated (Ctrl+F and all).Multiple nominations of one album create heavy confusion, since on one hand it's unfair to the given effort to take into consideration only the most upvoted nomination, but seeing that multiple nominations allow one user to give two or more votes to the same record, it's also unfair to other nominees not to discard it.

Finally, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another UG top list. Show us what you got now!

270 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Guns n Roses - Chinese Democracy has gotta be pretty high up there
    Yeah. According to Axl, there were 3 versions of the album that they presented to the label. Apparently the other ones weren't so bad. In fact, if you get ahold of the Antiquiet Leaks, I believe they sound much better.
    That's not exactly this There were 3 different mixes. The one we all know with full dynamics, one loud mix (loudness war standard) and one in between. Axl wanted the one with full dynamics which is why it sounds so 'soft' compared to albums like Death Magnetic. Listeners have to turn the volume up themselves but it is a wonderfull mix, it's pure and without an ounce of distortion. There are so many layers and everything is absolutly audible, it's not an ocean of sound unlike so many albums of the couple last decade. Axl was strongly against this loudness war bullshit. What you heard were demos. Good sounding demos but still demos.
    It's the mastering, not mixing. Loudness war, brickwalling BS is a mastering thing. Mixing has no effect on brickwalling and destroyng dynamics. CD is mastered awesomely, full dynamics, no brickwalled shit. The way every record sounded before the '90 when the loudnesswar destroyd every album.
    Whilst it's largely the mastering that slams stuff, it's also pretty standard mixing technique to have at least a little bit of compression on every track in a mix. I'd be very surprised if loudness-war style mixes weren't being over-compressed at the mix stage as well as the mastering.
    It's a great album, but it's probably the best (or worst?) example of what a negative effect overproduction can have on the final product. It would be a better album if it was a little more reserved. The only other album I can think of that even comes close in terms of overdoing it in the studio is Pet Sounds from the Beach Boys, but again, great album.
    Nirvana nevermind is way too slick for a punk record. It's candy ass production doesn't even fit in with anything else nirvana did
    10,000 Days by Tool - love the songs but the sound Not counting earlier stuff, but to go from the rawness of Aenima, the perfection of Lateralus and then the heavily compressed 10,000 Days...
    Hysteria - Def Leppard
    Strongly disagree. Heavily produced, yes, but not overdone. Forgiving that it marked Def Lep's full departure from NWOBHM, for what it is Hysteria is one of the best sounding albums out of the 80's IMO.
    Judging by the range of suggestions I think "overproduced" seems to mean different things to everybody.
    This should be the very definition of overproduced.
    But still a great record. 'overproduced' is quite negative, and for me it means so heavily produced that it ruins the record.
    Every Metalcore Album of the 2010s maybe? Seriously, especially smaller bands... the arrangement and music is often a total mess, and then its produced SO STRONGLY... I cringe everytime I hear one of "those" Bands... not hating on metalcore in general btw
    I actually came here to say something similar. Not necessarily metalcore (although I agree) but today's hard rock radio landscape has the same production on every song and album. Too in your face and not enough dynamics for me not to consider it bubblegum at the end of the day.
    In Flames - Sounds Of A Playground Fading Really like their older stuff but it seems like after Come Clarity things got more and more overproduced.
    Yeah I'd agree with that. I think maybe Sense of Purpose is a better example though.
    Ozzy - Scream In general, later Ozzy has been getting the treatment, and I could arguably say Black Rain here too (even though I enjoy pieces from each album). It's just so, so, overproduced.
    ZZ Top - Afterburner They had changed their sound on the previous Eliminator from the dirty blues sound to a more mainstream studio-like sound and introduced synthesizers. To this day, I still like Eliminator surprisingly well. Afterburner, however, simply took it one step too far. As a huge ZZ Top fan, I find it their hardest album to appreciate. There's simply too much compression, synthesizers and sequenced drum beats to still sound like what ZZ Top was about on the early albums. They then, luckily returned to the rougher sound in the 90s (starting with Antenna) after making another mediocre Eliminator-like Album called Recycler.
    I quite liked Recycler...but I have to agree Afterburner was mehhh after the brilliant Eliminator
    Agree. Was going to suggest this one along with the unfortunately-named Recycler.
    The only song I can even remember from this album is Rough Boy, so apparently it's pretty forgettable, too.
    A case could be made for '...And Justice For All' as being overproduced. The amount of compression, little weight to the drums in the search of that 'punch' sound. Also the aggressive pushing down of the bass. Its a fantastic album but the production elements are very overpowering
    Can't agree. For one, it's not that compressed. The drums could have had much more weight but Lars insisted on really dry, thin sounding drums (Flemming Rasmussen himself said that he set up room mics but they seemed to totally ignore them at mixdown). Hell, if anything, it's underproduced.
    It's definitely compressed heavily but yeah i have no trouble believing Lars getting in the way of the engineer hehe. He's great at the songwriting aspects of production but he should stay very far from the technical aspects. Aiming for thin drums and taking a lot of the natural feel from them is what i would refer to as 'over produced.' Knowing when to walk away from a product as being 'done' is never easy though
    The Beatles - Let It Be great record on it's own, then Phil Spectre got involved...
    Ryan lp
    George Martin suggested the album credits should read 'recordings produced by George Martin, overproduced by Phil Spector'
    Agreed. Luckily we have "Let it Be - Naked" to hear what it should have been in the first place
    The Long And Winding Road... or as I refer to it, The Long and Boring Most Overrated Beatles Track.
    I like the Spector versions of "Long and Winding Road" and "Across the Universe" more. The rest of the album was better served with more minimalism, but in comparison the Naked versions of those two sounded more like demos than anything else.
    Metallica - Death Magnetic
    How is it overproduced? It's dry as can be. I'm not sure if there's even any overdubs. The only problem with the production is that it sounds like a demo... and then in mixing, it got brickwalled, which caused a crazy amount of clipping and distortion. Hardly overproduction, though. Just laziness and incompetence. The biggest problem with that album, though, is that the songs suck.
    I may have bad ears or something but why does everyone think that death magnetic is badly produced? How to tell a good production from a bad production?
    Metallica - Black Album edit: mistook the term "Overproduced" for heavily produced. I think Black album is perfect. Maybe Death Magnetic for overproduced.
    If anything, Death Magnetic is underproduced. Guitar Hero mix is so much better.
    You know what's interesting? The Guitar Hero version is exactly the same, minus the brickwalling and clipping.
    Yes. In my opinion the album is good mixed and at least mediocre in production, but someone really, really fucked up the mastering.
    It is the mastering of the cd version that is awful. The mastering is terrible and brick-walled beoynd repair.
    I know no one here listens to them, but Oasis -- Be Here Now is the most overproduced thing I've ever heard. The second track (My Big Mouth) has something like 30 guitar tracks playing the same chords
    Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown Some really good songs on there, but the sheer number of layers in conjunction with the ridiculous compression and endless reverb makes the original release physically hurt to listen to.
    Blind Guardian - A Night at the Opera Doesn't mean it's necessarily "bad" but still..
    Even Hansi said that it was hard to perform a lot of those songs live because of the overproduction, specifically the use of so much chorus and vocal overdubs.
    Muse - Drones. Good songs live. It sounds more alive live than in studio. Sounds like a computer made the whole album which makes it boring and almost too "perfect".
    GnR Use Your Illusion I and II. Not that the production is terrible on those albums but part of being a producer is being able to get the band to streamline the content. There are some bloated songs on that album and if they eliminated some of the dreck songs and combined the gems into 1 CD, it would have been right up there with Appetite. Instead it is just too much of everything. Too much orchestration, too many needless songs, some songs too long... all part of producing. But then again, who was going to tell Axl what to do with his music back in the day?
    I can see why someone would feel this way, but I don't agree with it at all.
    Just finished reading Slash's autobiography (albeit it's a tad dated at this point), but he takes a couple of paragraphs to explain how he felt the Illusion albums were WAY over produced and that he felt the band had lost a bit of its edge and rawness that it had during the Appetite era. In fact, he even mentions that he remembers listening to the albums before some of the production elements were added (i.e. synths, back up singers, etc.) and thought how raw and kick-ass they were. If anyone knows where to find these pre-produced tracks on the interwebs, Slash is looking for them.
    Yeah totally. There are definitely good songs there but it was totally a case of trying to be the biggest band in the world (which they already were). They didn't get there by having an orchestra and 12 band members on stage. It got way out of hand during that period IMO.
    How do I contact Slash ? I got some stuff in my archives that sounds like what you described. It's called Raw version, I believe there are like 12 songs and yeah it sounds like what they would have done for Appetite. There are no vocals. Just Drums, Bass and Slash parts only (no Izzy parts if my memory serves me right). It's what Slash heard in the studio while he was recording his parts. It doesn't get rawer than that.
    He's always on Instagram. You could send him a DM, but I'm sure you'd be the millionth person to do that today.
    Haha, wish I knew! That's awesome though that you have what Slash would have heard in the studio.
    Chili Peppers - Californication
    Interesting. Obviously it sounds like shit because of the brick wall compression, but it's pretty sparse in arrangement and all in mono if I remember correctly.
    I thought it was all mono also. Could be wrong. Either way, it's not overproduced it just sounds like shit.
    I know there's at least a mono version, but I don't know if every release is mixed that way or not.
    it is mostly mixed in mono, as far as I know, it has nothing to do with the mastering anyway. the vinyl version has a much better mastering and is not brickwalled.
    It's definitely not mono, but there is a severe lack of dynamic range and soundstage on that record.
    Almost any 2010s metalcore. It's just so dynamically crushed (people like Joey Sturgis are huge fans of putting brickwall limiters on EVERY element in a mix... and then crushing the life out of it in mastering), never mind the robo-edited guitars and programmed drums. It all sounds fake. So I'm gonna say Attila - "Guilty Pleasure".
    I don't think overproduced specifically refers to the mastering
    It doesn't. But trust me - I know Joey. I've seen his Cubase sessions. Waves L1 and L2 live on EVERYTHING. And everything - vocals, guitar, bass, even drums if they're not programmed - are grid edited and tuned within an inch of their life.
    The Black by Asking Alexandria and That's The Spirit by BMTH. I know those bands and albums aren't popular here but hear me out as someone who enjoys them (well, The Black and two songs from TTS). I'm not bothered by the mixing and mastering itself, but I fucking hate that glitchy skipping effect that appears a little bit on both albums that ruins otherwise decent songs for me.
    Can't speak for The Black but That's The Spirit is definitely overproduced. You can barely hear anything but the keyboards some drums and the vocals
    This definitely needs some upvotes. I think they even had Denis use a lot of unneeded auto tune. I'm sure they did that with Oli too as I heard he cannot sing for shit live.
    Denis used to do very short vocal covers and I'm 90% sure he's using pitch correction on them. Look for his cover of 'The Kill' by 30STM if you want to judge for yourself.
    Aerosmith - Get a Grip Love the album, but can't not cringe when ten different instruments play the riff of 'Shut Up and Dance'.
    I'd still put that album over anything they've done since, and I'm pretty sure their later albums have been at least as overproduced as Get a Grip was.
    30 Seconds To Mars - A Beautiful Lie. Lot of nice tones to it, but completely over the top.
    YES - UNION Should of been a classic but ended up being a complete mess. The producers brought in loads of their friends to play on it. Rick Wakeman calls it "Onion" coz it makes him cry!
    Kiss - Music from the Elder. Bob Ezrin almost ruined Kiss with that album.
    The whole Led Zep catalog is overproduced so they can keep reissuing the cd's over and over...
    deftones - white amazing record don't get me wrong, but such a departure from the first 2, especially from a production stand point.
    Nickelback - All the Right Reasons
    Their newest album is an even worse offender. Here and Now, I think it was called.
    Their newest album is No Fixed Address. So funny cuz it's been out almost a year and you didn't know/forgot lol
    Oh shit, you're right! I forgot all about it. I only heard the singles, though.