The art of mixing is an essential component of music production. It can be the deciding factor between a good song and a masterpiece. Let’s explore ten examples of best-mixed tracks in contemporary music and understand why they stand out.
Track 1: “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
“Uptown Funk” is a great example of a perfectly mixed track. The instruments are clearly distinguishable, the vocals are smooth, and everything is expertly balanced. This track is a testament to the power of a well-balanced mix and effective use of EQ.
Track 2: “Hello” – Adele
“Hello” is a masterpiece of dynamic range. The track starts soft and gradually builds up, with Adele’s voice standing out beautifully in the mix. The reverb and delay effects used on the vocals are also perfectly tuned to provide a sense of space without overpowering the mix.
Track 3: “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams
“Get Lucky” showcases an excellent balance between electronic and live instruments. The bassline is crisp and punchy, the guitar strums are bright but not harsh, and Pharrell’s vocals are perfectly placed in the mix.
Track 4: “Royals” – Lorde
“Royals” stands out due to its minimalist mix. Every element has room to breathe, demonstrating how less can indeed be more when it comes to mixing. The vocals are placed at the forefront, the bass is powerful yet not overwhelming, and the sparse use of percussive elements adds rhythm without clutter.
Track 5: “Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd
“Blinding Lights” offers a perfect blend of ’80s synths and contemporary production. The mix is wide, creating an enveloping listening experience. The drums are snappy, the bass synth is warm, and The Weeknd’s vocals cut through the mix brilliantly.
Track 6: “bad guy” – Billie Eilish
“bad guy” is a testament to the power of creative mixing. The bass is heavily distorted yet never muddies up the mix. Eilish’s whispery vocals are intimate yet clear, and the sparse percussive elements effectively support the rhythm.
Track 7: “Sicko Mode” – Travis Scott
“Sicko Mode” is a masterclass in dynamic mixing. The track has multiple beat changes and diverse sonic elements, yet it maintains a consistent feel throughout. The bass is powerful, the vocals sit perfectly, and the use of spatial effects adds to the psychedelic vibe of the track.
Track 8: “Dance Monkey” – Tones And I
“Dance Monkey” has a crystal-clear mix where every instrument and vocal part has its own space. The lead synth is bright and punchy, the percussion is crisp, and the vocals are placed perfectly in the mix to make them the star of the show.
Track 9: “Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran
“Shape of You” showcases Sheeran’s vocals brilliantly. The mix is clean and balanced, with a catchy percussive loop and a bassline that adds rhythm without overpowering the mix. The use of stereo field to separate elements also contributes to the overall clarity.
Track 10: “Old Town Road (Remix)” – Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
“Old Town Road (Remix)” demonstrates a perfect blend of hip hop and country elements. The mix is clean, with a tight low end, clear vocals, and a wide stereo image that makes the track feel big and spacious.
These tracks serve as excellent examples of top-notch mixing. By studying these, you can gain insights into how the pros balance, pan, EQ, and add effects to create a compelling mix that serves the song and resonates with listeners.