Some things can only be done once.
You can try to replicate it, all the ingredients are the same, but the same emotional investment you gave in that moment isn’t quite ticking this time round.
That always comes to mind every time I hear re-recorded releases. I have a few but none of them supersede the original.
Taylor Swift has just released her versions of ‘Fearless’ and I cross checked the two versions out of curiosity.
Everything’s been done with pinpoint accuracy where things should sound the same, but to my ears, they simply don’t!
Swift really caught the zeitgeist for teenage girls with her second album. I was busy listening to prog metal but I remember friends of mine who had her music on repeat.
There’s an authenticity and innocence in her earlier work, and 12 years down the line, I’d argue it’s nigh on impossible to recreate that magic of the original master.
Just imagine the possibility of a re-recording of any favourite records of yours. I can’t think of any scenario where that would be beneficial.
I understand the motivation and the situation with her label has been well documented, and whilst many will believe she’s been done wrong, everything that took place was legal, make of it what you will.
So what’s the intention with these re-recordings? The most obvious thing to me is the dignity of ownership. It could be and does feel like an act of defiance as well. It could be money, but all parties involved have plenty, but then again, being rich can become a hedonic treadmill.
If fans love it, that’s totally cool and to be respected, I’m just weighing in because it interests me and I think there can be a few lessons to consider.
A.) Careful about what you sign up for and what your rights are. Musicians are notorious for falling into this trap. Be enthusiastic about the work, but stand your ground if a contract looks like it’ll take something away from you.
B.) As artists, what’s the best approach with our time, to look forwards or backwards? To continue creating something new or innovative or try to recreate what’s already done?