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Alongside Carly Rae Jepsen -- the song's actual singer -- and his "Late Night" house band The Roots, Fallon and company play a variety of children's instruments while actually singing, not lip syncing, the song.
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?uestlove playing the kazoo totally made my day.
 
This is easily the most twee thing I have seen a serious hip-hop group ever do.
 
I find the poor mixing between the vocals and the instrumentals really frustrating, but it's adorable enough that I forgive it!  Also, Jimmy Fallon looks like he's having an incredible amount of fun.
 
+Hannah Grimm I don't think there was any mixing done, this was done probably with a couple of boom microphones.  It sounds that way.  I actually like how it sounds largely because it better reflects how this would sound in person, as supposed to being overproduced.  You can resolve some of the issues in the mastering process (which trust me is NOT fun), but it is not a panacea.   
 
+Christine Paluch Yeah, it seems like Carly Rae Jepsen is a bit too far from the mic (or just sings really softly).  "Mixing" was the wrong word for me to use there.
 
+Hannah Grimm Most performing musicians are not used to singing without amplification with live instruments.  So this is kind of normal. Even then there is usually sound isolation for musicians in a studio, and they frequently record in absence of other musicians.  There are a great deal of tricks to the trade for recording.  This is about at the level most people sing at, including professionals.
A few of my friends who are musicians intentionally did performance sans amplification, Jason Anderson is well known for this in fact.  If only because it trained their voice to project more. 
I used to do sound engineering professionally, sometimes without the best equipment either.  I did quite a bit to make the vocals stand out more.  It is not as easy as it seems. 
What may have helped is if they aimed one of the mics recording right at her.
 
+Christine Paluch My entire family (sans me) is comprised of musicians, and my father is a sound guy who works a lot with bluegrass/oldtime musicians, many of whom don't use a lot in the way of amplification.  He's done a little bit of recording in a setting where they're all together in one room, so relies a lot on mic placement and turning up certain mics and down others to balance things out.  There's a lot that can be done to avoid drowning someone out, but I'm guessing this was just a fun little side project that they didn't want to spend hours on, and since they don't play together normally the band wasn't really catering to the singer's needs.  I think that it would have been better to have had a few more mics in the room, and turned up the volume on the one that she was singing into.  

With that said, there is something really nice about having an intimate, unmixed recording like this.  It makes the entire experience seem more personal, and given the bubblegum pop flavor of the song and the intentional use of children's instruments, "charming" is almost certainly the vibe they were going for, and that may be worth sacrificing some volume on the lead singer for.
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