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ed collins
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 pm
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:29 pm 
 

I've been reading a number of reviews and have come across this word quite frequently. "Filler", as reviewers commonly use it doesn't exist. They are merely songs that you don't like. In order for a song to qualify as "filler", one would have to provide evidence that a member of the band specifically stated "We only wrote and recorded this song in order to fill the album time". Failing that, they are songs that you don't like, not filler. Reviews containing this word should be removed and annihilated. Same goes for "cheesy", but that's another story.

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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:25 pm 
 

Is a review an objective statement, or an evaluative opinion piece?

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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:01 pm 
 

Zodijackyl wrote:
Is a review an objective statement, or an evaluative opinion piece?

Basically this. Filler songs are considered as such by the authors of the reviews, we won't delete them, of course.
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Azmodes
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:44 am
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:20 am 
 

It's simply a qualitative term for songs that feel like they were put on the album solely for the purpose of reaching a required duration. Whether or not the artist actually had this in mind or thought he wrote a good song that later turned out to be a bland placeholder for some listeners is inconsequential in the context of a review and secondary within the present connotation of the word "filler".

The reviewer wants to express that a song is boring/bland/mediocre and could/should have been left out. You could just as well criticise the use of "good", "bad" and "boring" in a review.
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Mr_Belvedere
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:42 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:33 am 
 

Anyone who has ever recorded an album knows that a certain amount of filler songs is inevitable. No album is full of hit-only songs. Would also make it bad in the end. E.g. some acoustic piece can be a filler and could be meant as one aswell. What i try to say her eis that an album always needs fillers in a certain degree to show it's highs and lows. So if anyone considers a song a filler, it's no bad thing in my eyes.
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orionmetalhead
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:54 am
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:39 am 
 

When I review an album, and I feel a song is a filler, I listen to it a few extra times to really determine if it has much redeeming value. If it does nothing to add to the flow of the album, if it has no interesting segments, if it is a collaboration of the song before and after it... it's filler. Filler, as Belvy said is necessary. When you install cabinetry, the fillers are important to reach the proper measurements you need to finish your job... it's much the same in music.

Fillers DO exist and they aren't tracks we don't like. They are tracks which pass us by like the telephone poles on the side of the road. They are the ingredients in a pie which you can't taste. They are the socks you wear to complete an outfit which no one cares about but you can still tell they're there.
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ed collins
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 pm
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:21 am 
 

Well, let's see. "Good, "Bad" and "boring" are opinions. I would not object to their usage. It's either "filler" or it isn't. The sky is blue or it isn't. My opinion is irrelevant. Allow me an example. Say a band records an album of 14 songs. They consult the MA expert and ask, "So what do you think"? MR. MA says, "Half of it is good, cut out the filler". The band says to themselves, "There is no filler", but cut 7 songs. These were the seven songs Mr. MA liked. Before Mr. MA had half an album he liked. Now he has a full album that he doesn't like.

"Madrigal" from Rush's "A Farewell to Kings" is often referred to as "filler" in reviews. I love that song. It's just as good as anything else on the album. If someone said to me, "Great album, but Madrigal is filler, I would say, No it isn't, it's a song that you don't like (or find boring, mediocre etc.)

Kinda repeating myself here, "Filler" is objective. It either is or it isn't. Good, bad and boring are opinions.

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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:57 am 
 

ed collins wrote:
Well, let's see. "Good, "Bad" and "boring" are opinions. I would not object to their usage. It's either "filler" or it isn't. The sky is blue or it isn't. My opinion is irrelevant. Allow me an example. Say a band records an album of 14 songs. They consult the MA expert and ask, "So what do you think"? MR. MA says, "Half of it is good, cut out the filler". The band says to themselves, "There is no filler", but cut 7 songs. These were the seven songs Mr. MA liked. Before Mr. MA had half an album he liked. Now he has a full album that he doesn't like.

"Madrigal" from Rush's "A Farewell to Kings" is often referred to as "filler" in reviews. I love that song. It's just as good as anything else on the album. If someone said to me, "Great album, but Madrigal is filler, I would say, No it isn't, it's a song that you don't like (or find boring, mediocre etc.)

Kinda repeating myself here, "Filler" is objective. It either is or it isn't. Good, bad and boring are opinions.


Only final releases are reviewed on MA, and reviews such as these are generally intended to guide listeners. "Filler" is a simple way of saying something that can be elaborated on - many reviewers elaborate on it, but sometimes it's not worth too much detail. Simply dismissing something as "filler" and mentioning it no more is a terrible writing practice, and it could be said more gracefully, but everyone isn't as elegant a writer as myself or Napero.

Referring to "Madrigal" as filler would be a poor statement if left at that, since Rush don't tend to have "filler" like you think of in the context of a 40 minute album with a few radio singles where all the effort goes. A better metal example of filler would be Overkill, especially the 90s albums where the song structures were recycled and unimaginative, and it felt like you heard the same song five times on a record and they buried the ones with the weaker riffs in the middle of the record.

"Filler" is an assessment of music. "Good", "bad", and "boring" are at least as worthless in a review unless a larger explanation accompanies them, but "filler" comes with a suggestion of something more than "boring".

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Azmodes
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:44 am
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:09 pm 
 

It is not necessarily objective. Did you read my post? The commonly understood meaning when used in reviews is a purely qualitative judgement from the perspective of the reviewer. Not a fact that the reviewer needs to double-check with the band for him to use.

Quote:
If someone said to me, "Great album, but Madrigal is filler, I would say, No it isn't, it's a song that you don't like (or find boring, mediocre etc.)

...and that's what is implied by "filler" anyway. As Zodi observed, it's just another term that should be elaborated on and reasons be provided. But there's nothing factually wrong with using it in that sense.
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ed collins
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:33 pm 
 

@Azmodes: Yes, I read your post. I've read everybody's posts. I maintain that "filler" is not a matter of opinion. Everybody else says that it is. We disagree.

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:35 pm 
 

You're right, "filler" isn't a matter of opinion. The only way to know what songs truly are filler, though, would be to ask the bands, which just isn't possible. So using it as a blanket term for "song that sounds unnecessary/sounds like it was put in to pad out the run time" is totally acceptable and shouldn't be taken so literally. It's just part of the writing experience, and if you're a good writer you can use it and get your point across without just looking lazy.
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Pale_Pilgrim
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Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:01 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:35 pm 
 

orionmetalhead wrote:
Filler, as Belvy said is necessary. When you install cabinetry, the fillers are important to reach the proper measurements you need to finish your job... it's much the same in music.


Have to disagree with this entirely. What's the need? There is none. The only explanation for filler - true filler, you know - is to pad out the length. And when is that shit ever actually *necessary*? When you're on a major label and some idiot recordhead say "ooooh, I see here this new material only totals up to 27 minutes, we're gonna need more than that to shift these units as full-lengths". Fuck that, fuck them and find a label that actually gives a shit about your music and wants quality over quantity.

Besides, if you're capable of writing a good album/mini/EP/whatever and you're asked for an extra, shouldn't you be able to come up with something, anything of value rather than tacking on a re-hash? Even just do a neat little instrumental or an acoustic song, just for example. Spice it up.

Leave the filler to major-label pop stars.
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ed collins
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:46 pm 
 

@Empyreal. Agreed, it is completely impractical to consult the bands'. That is why the word should not be used. It is a useless word. It is used far too liberally in reviews. It also grates on the ears/eyes. But hey, everyone else seems to love it!

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:48 pm 
 

Well yeah. But given that most reviewers on this site are like 16-18 and don't really have any writing skill, such expectations are a bit too high. If this were a professional review site I'd definitely agree with you more.
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ed collins
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:37 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:54 pm 
 

@Empyreal: Thanks for seeing where I'm coming from.

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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:49 pm 
 

Pale_Pilgrim wrote:
orionmetalhead wrote:
Filler, as Belvy said is necessary. When you install cabinetry, the fillers are important to reach the proper measurements you need to finish your job... it's much the same in music.


Have to disagree with this entirely. What's the need? There is none. The only explanation for filler - true filler, you know - is to pad out the length. And when is that shit ever actually *necessary*? When you're on a major label and some idiot recordhead say "ooooh, I see here this new material only totals up to 27 minutes, we're gonna need more than that to shift these units as full-lengths". Fuck that, fuck them and find a label that actually gives a shit about your music and wants quality over quantity.

Besides, if you're capable of writing a good album/mini/EP/whatever and you're asked for an extra, shouldn't you be able to come up with something, anything of value rather than tacking on a re-hash? Even just do a neat little instrumental or an acoustic song, just for example. Spice it up.

Leave the filler to major-label pop stars.


That certainly isn't true. Many bands work on a fairly tight 2-year album cycle, the way they work for a living is recording an album, touring and retouring to support it, then repeating it. Most bands who keep up the cycle can't afford to take much time off until they're fairly deep into their career, usually 6-10 years and 3-5 albums deep. The nature of the industry and the ability of many musicians to make a living requires them to put out albums at a regular interval, scheduled long in advance to secure a good studio/producer and label resources. This is what most of the bands signed to labels like CM, NB, MB, and SOM do - their schedules are fairly tight and they don't necessarily have a lot of time to write songs. They usually have time to jam and come up with parts on tour, but they have a limited amount of time to put together a full album, and quality can be inconsistent for a few reasons.

A band usually decides that they're going to take some time to write an album while they're on tour - they have their label book the studio and make arrangements, they take a month or two off to write while having no income, only savings and maybe some advance money. They usually write a lot more material than makes the album, and the producer helps them make the cuts in the studio to some extent. They need to write a lot of material in a short amount of time, and they also have a limited amount of time with a producer if the producer is helping arrange/work on songs. You can often spot that there is a stronger set of songs on an album that have more precise songwriting, stronger hooks that are presented better - these are the more memorable songs. In limited time, bands usually don't make a dozen songs that stand out, they'll have 2-3, maybe 4-5. Some will be experimenting, some will be the band working on something catchy, some will be the band doing their thing - it's really hard to make a good one-dimensional album so bands vary what they do. Write out song charts of an album (but not Rush, that's a bad example) and see if the standout tracks tend to have different song structures than the "filler" - it is fair to consider something filler when the attention to detail in songwriting and production gives preference to some songs, and other songs have similar, simpler structures that are more or less verse/chorus or riff 1-2-3 type things without using arrangement to highlight the quality of the parts. It shows that bands often put more effort into some songs than others, and you can notice it.

Writing an album usually isn't a band writing 40 minutes of material. They start with riffs, odds and ends, assemble songs, have some scraps and odds and ends, and some songs that just worked out better than others - that probably adds up to at least an hour of material. Labels like to have some extra songs too, in a few years they'll want some material for a deluxe re-release and people like hearing new material from the same session (way better than live renditions, which are basically bonus filler). Some retailers like to have their own special edition, labels do different Japanese versions, sometimes an extra track for a compilation or something. A 30-40 minute album with 10 songs will often start as 16-20 songs and 80 minutes, but the band cuts out weaker material, reworks stronger material, and they generally fill out the album with something in between. Filler isn't necessarily material a band cranks out once the good half is done, it's often just similarly formed material that admittedly isn't their strongest.

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Morrigan
Crone of War

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2002 7:27 am
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:37 pm 
 

Of course the use of the term "filler" is a subjective opinion and not objective. Everyone knows you can't read minds and thus won't know if the band really did try to pad the length or if they genuinely thought the song was good, but that's not how the term is understood by people with more than one brain cell; it's understood to mean that you think the band might have considered this song that way, or that you think it was bland and boring and should have been left out regardless of what the band thinks.


I'm sorry, but this thread is beyond stupid, and worse yet, it's just whining for the sake of whining.
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