Looking for stripped down versions of pop and rock songs
June 15, 2013 2:08 PM   Subscribe

I recently have become very fond of some vocal track only versions of pop and rock songs that someone had reversed engineered from DVDs and posted online, and I would like to find more music like this.

What I really liked about these songs was not they were acappella arrangements (with many parts), but just the vocal tracks from the songs, creating a really simple, stripped down sound, rather like Frente's cover of "Bizarre Love Triangle". I've been playing this music to relax or fall asleep, because even relatively energetic songs are softer when they are just voices and little or no instrumentation.

I would like to find more songs like these, whether unplugged versions, stripped down covers, or even just vocal tracks extracted from studio recordings that weren't originally acappella or stripped down. I saw the post the other day about the site with vocal tracks from Queen, etc, and that was great, but they all seemed to be in video format and I would rather find audio files or CDs that I can purchase and put on a music player.
posted by jb to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A little bit of a divergence, but have you looked into any of the many ASMR videos on youtube?

I'll grant that they probably aren't all they claim to be, but some of them are very, very soothing....
posted by HuronBob at 2:25 PM on June 15, 2013

You might like some of the stripped down covers on Covers 80's by Duncan Sheik.
posted by immlass at 3:00 PM on June 15, 2013

As far as tracks extracted from studio recordings (as more than one commenter pointed out in the Queen thread you mention), those kind of things are basically illegal leaks, so it's doubtful you'll find anything like that on CD or online for sale.

It's usually not too tough to extract/convert audio files from videos you've downloaded, and often can be done with free software or inherently within media players already on your computer, depending on your OS. I'd say it's worth Googling how to do that, so you can get stuff from that site or YouTube (which I'm sure has a zillion unplugged versions of various tunes) or wherever onto your music player.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:09 PM on June 15, 2013

A few years back someone posted to YouTube the isolated vocal tracks from every song on the Beach Boys' widely acclaimed Pet Sounds album. It was great, really fantastic. Here's an example: God Only Knows.

You may be able to find others by searching around on YouTube or elsewhere, but regarding your "buy it on CD" comment, I think (but am not sure) they are all actually available as part of the Pet Sounds Sessions box set.
posted by Flunkie at 3:34 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Although I just now remembered that some artists have legitimately released individual tracks to be used in remixing. AFAICT these are known as "stem" tracks or releases. There's a Wikipedia list here (but, Wikipedia, so who knows how complete that list is), and it seems like in some cases you can only get the stems through purchasing deluxe editions of the album or box sets or such.

You may need to get some familiarity with GarageBand (if you're on a Mac) or other multitrack audio recording programs to get use out of these, but at least it's another possible way to get vocal-only recordings of songs you like.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:42 PM on June 15, 2013

Carpenters strippped down versions posted a while back. Eerie and wonderful.
posted by Cocodrillo at 6:08 PM on June 15, 2013

Go to a torrent site and search for MOOG. You will find a couple of torrents with hundreds of multitrack OGG audio files extracted from Guitar Hero or some similar video game. (Sorry, I'm not a gamer.). You can open these in FOSS Audacity, and turn tracks on and off individually. Each instrument/voice has two tracks because the recordings are stereo.

You can export from Audacity to WAV or MP3 or whatever.

Of course you should only do this if you have a legitimate right to the songs through some other channel, such as having purchased the original recordings.

I've only listened to these a little, but I've found them fascinating. I wish more music QA available in this format and that there were better tools for listening to them.
posted by alms at 6:09 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by alms at 6:41 PM on June 15, 2013

The first thing I thought of was Whitney Houston's a capella version of How Will I Know.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:47 PM on June 15, 2013

Yael Naim does a very minimalist version of Toxic.
posted by john-a-dreams at 6:26 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cover of Rolling Stones' Loving Cup. I love this video so hard. I want to go on a road trip with these people.
posted by maggieb at 2:13 AM on August 29, 2013

« Older Set As Default means SET AS DEFAULT   |   Looking for awesome boogie piano Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.