It’s good, now and again, to remind yourself just how accessible music production technology is these days, and what better way to do that than by watching the biggest hit of the year so far - Miley Cyrus’s Flowers - being rebuilt from scratch on GarageBand for iPhone?
The mobile maestro responsible for this remake is the reliably inspiring iSongs, whose previous GarageBand covers include The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights, Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine and Dr Dre’s Still DRE.
In truth, we’re guessing that the Flowers facsimile might have been one of the simpler ones to assemble. The drum beat, bassline and well-worn Am/Dm/G/C chord progression are all pretty standard; in fact, the only significantly different harmonic moments come in the pre- and post-chorus sections, where F and E7 chords are used.
That shouldn’t detract from the excellence or efficiency of the iSongs remake, though. There’s no MIDI keyboard involved, so good use is made of GarageBand’s touch instruments, and the producer demonstrates that, with a little careful editing and FX processing, the GarageBand’s built-in sounds can do a pretty good job of emulating much more expensive gear.
So, we’d say that the two main takeaways are that a great pop song doesn’t need to be musically complex (in fact, it probably helps if it isn’t) and that you might have all the tools you need to create such a song sitting in your pocket.