Here’s another gotcha that I need to correct from time to time. I have a couple of interesting second level melodies or syncopations, but they are not upfront. As a producer I remember the lines, but a new listener would have a hard time figuring out, or listening to such toned-down arrangements.
This is a little bit like using spices in food. If you use a spice, make sure the user taste it propertly, instead of having a bland small after-taste. If you have an interesting sound effect, let it be heard, not so the ears bleed, but so that it’s obvious what’s going on.
There’s of course the extreme of everything sounding loud, this is where it’s good to take down the drum or other sections in parts of the song, and let silence and a couple of interesting arrangements shine through.
When I’m doing the final mix-down, I usually spend time pushing up certain background sounds that don’t have a chance breathing, and also taking down extensive drums and other parts, so there’s a clean aura of sound scapes taking place.