Artists trashing their own songs

Every heard an artist say they don’t like their own song but it happens to be one that maybe you love.

De La Soul when performing Me Myself And I have been inserting a line about “how we hate this song”. That’s all very well, but its probably a favourite many people in the concert, I’ve always found it to be a bit offish when they do it (and I hate Me Myself and I myself).

Now onto one that did upset me a little. I was watching a documentary on Dr Dre and he was really taking the piss out of and belittling The Wreckin Cru / Surgery. Now I love this track and I bet its a huge favourite of anyone who was listening to Rap/Electro in the early to mid 80s. Yeah its very off the time but its one of the best examples of that time, I thought Dre mocking it was unnecessary and I really didn’t like it.

I had another example of a track I really love being trashed by the artist, but I have forgotten it (as I seem to forget everything these days!), I shall post.it when I remember what it was.

3 Likes

Lots of artists want to be ‘forward ever / backward never’ but they’re not really in control of what their fans like

1 Like

Re Da La, i just read this article the other day that you might enjoy. It turns out De La (or at least Dave) liked Breakadawn even less than Me Myself. De La Soul Picks Their Favorite (and/or Most Hated) Tracks | GQ

I remember speaking to Floating Points just after Marilyn came out and saying how great i thought it was. He was like “hhhhmm it’s ok”. Guess he was just being modest. Still one of his best imo, can’t get into any of his recent stuff
Floating Points - Marilyn (youtube.com)

3 Likes

One of the best stories I heard was Neil Young & Crazy Horse performing their then unreleased album “Tonight’s The Night” in full at concerts in 1975. The crowds, who had been shouting out requests for the hits such as “Heart Of Gold” all evening, cheered when Young announced that, “we’re going to do some songs that you’ve heard before.” They then proceeded to go through the “Tonight’s The Night” album again…

8 Likes

He famously doesn’t like any of his records all that much.

1 Like

john lennon spent most of the 70s disowning everything the beatles ever did in some highly entertaining - if not always convincing - interviews

1 Like

Music is a funny old thing in the art world, where you are expected to repeat the same thing over and over. How do you keep playing the same songs and keep it fresh?

We would complain if an author wrote the same book again, and even painters etc go through a “period” and then move on.

I was listening (or maybe it was reading, I forget) to David Sylvian recently who said he hasn’t even listened to Japan and his early stuff for 20 years. Seems strange to not even have given a quick listen back, but maybe he feels he knows it well enough already.

I went to see Penguin Cafe last month and felt a bit sorry for them when at the beginning they said “we’re going to do 2 halves, first half is the new album and then we will play some of my fathers stuff” to which there was a slight cheer for the second bit. I get it if you want to play the new stuff and see who comes with you for the journey.

However there is absolutely a time to shut up and play the hits.

2 Likes

A good way around this dilemma of giving the punters what they want whilst avoiding the band getting bored is to be more inventive in versioning tracks. I saw Dexys a few years back and amongst the new stuff they played totally rearranged and reconstructed versions of their old hits - a samba version of Come on Eileen iirc and a wildly different version of Jackie Wilson Said. Both were great and kept it fresh whilst also being familiar. Too rarely done

7 Likes

Ah but then you get into the age old dilemma of not being able to please everyone. Most people who go out of their way to see an act live, they want to hear a song as good or better than they remember the studio version. Or at least as close as possible. I’m a bit of a stickler in that respect myself. Saw Fleetwood Mac back around 2008 and they were terrific, blew the doors off the place, exceeded my expectations. The one complaint I had? Stevie intentionally changes the lyrics in Rhiannon, in a way that alters the lyrical melody and I have to tell you, that drives me fucking insane. At a certain point, you’re just botching your own song.

A real catch 22.

That said, I’m all for an act doing whatever they need to keep things fresh for themselves. It can’t be easy going out and doing the same songs every time, never mind how you feel about them. Just, once in a while, do it as you intended for us.

1 Like

I guess each act deals with it in different ways. Kylie revisted the early years ironically. Faithless evolved Insomnia into a dance-rock festie event. The Chems similarly turn everything into an audiovisual extravaganza. Madonna reimagines a lot of her stuff and the choreography does the talking. And the Pet Shop Boys turn the hits into their own brand of performance art. I remember a Moby gig in the 90s where he was itching to go full thrash rock but didn’t have the bottle, so it ended up as this weird hybrid of rock and happy hardcore!

1 Like

was recently listening to joe jackson’s “live 1980/1986” https://www.discogs.com/master/48791-Joe-Jackson-Live-198086

and it’s fun to hear how he keeps some stuff really close to the original album versions, and some stuff just so far away from expectation that it becomes it’s own new thing. part of that is probably out of necessity (he wasn’t gonna be true to his power pop sound when on his “big band” tour) and some was probably out of boredom for the number of times he had to play “is she really going out with him”.

you’ve undoubtedly heard it by now, but the version of “steppin’ out” on here is sublime - and the audience doesn’t even know what it is for the first two or so minutes.

4 Likes

The part in Moby’s book where he tours his thrash album is excruciating. Career suicide.

1 Like

Scott Walker apparently never listened to his own stuff once it was recorded and all finished off.

1 Like

I mean, I quite like it when artists deliberately change direction and shed their fanbase, like Weller did with the Style Council.

1 Like

Breakadawn is one of my favourite De La tracks and fits perfectly on the album Buhloone Mindstate which is by far my favourite De La album. Dave’s vocals are incredible on Breakadawn !

1 Like

That album is a great example. Haven’t listened to it in years but some great versions including that lovely one of Steppin Out

Listened to an interview with Man Parrish, he didn’t like Hip Hop Be Bop, he said its just too simple, and I think he said stupid,
Again a track many old-school Hip Hop heads are really fond of.

1 Like