Stranger than Fiction, Larger Than Life: the Finn Brothers song-by-song discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    On this thread, we will discuss the much-varied ever-changing career of the Finn Brothers (and Liam Finn). My intent is to post one song per day for other fans to discuss and rate. (On a 5/5 basis. Decimals are OK (why not?), but I will round to the nearest whole number for the discussion thread.

    At first, I will go a little more slowly, at a rate of one song every three days, beginning with the songs from The Beginning of the Enz. But I will gradually pick up the pace until we are discussing one song per day.

    Please, if someone has any suggestions or ideas I would encourage you to send me a PM about it. I plan to ask for suggestions regarding bonus tracks and B-sides that I may not be aware of: I am from the Northern Hemisphere and there is much that is not available here that is available in the South.

    Handling these issues by PM will mean that there won't be too much meta-discussion going on in the thread and we can focus on the music.

    I will be doing officially released non-bootleg, non-fan club release live albums as well; but of course when discussing songs from studio albums, discussion may naturally turn to live versions of songs, which is fine. Then even fan-club releases or bootlegs might come up too.

    While I like quite a lof of music from other artists related to the Finns, this thread will only concern projects, singles and albums with involvement from that family. Other Split Enz or Crowded House-related projects without Finn involvement will not be addressed in this thread. Perhaps an "Other Enz" thread could follow this one.

    But the main thing that will be discussed here are the songs from Split Enz, Crowded House, Neil Finn, Tim, Finn, Liam Finn or any combination of the Finns. Thanks.

    Finally, I will be going on holiday a few times over the course of the next year, so apologies if, at those times, posts get more sporadic. :)

    I will be begin with the songs from the collection of early singles and outtakes from the album The Beginning of the Enz.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  2. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    I'm in. Speaking of the Finns on one of our retro specials here in OZ they played "My Mistake" with the Enz at their weird peak followed by a late 80's Tim Finn single. The contrast was mind blowing
     
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  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Our first song is "For You."

    For You - Split Enz

    .

    "For You" was released in April 1973. It was written by Phil Judd and Tim Finn.

    It was not released on album until 1979, when it was included on The Beginning of the Enz album in November 1979.
     
  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Split Enz (at this point, I believe they were still known as "Split Ends") kicked off their career in quirky, indie-pop style with "For You."

    A lovely, arty slice of pastoral folk pop, "For You" sounds really nothing like anything that would have been on the radio at the time. With it's gentle, sweet arrangement of acoustic guitar, flute, violin, drums and hyperactive bass (and a brief touch of electric guitar) it remains one of the Enz's most charming songs in my opinion.
    The dual vocals are perfect. Tim Finn sings with a sweet, high-pitched clarity that was simply unearthly in its beauty. While Phil Judd's voice is probably best described as "expressive" rather than beautiful, it lends an edge to to this gentle and sunny slice of psychedelic folk pop.

    This song would have felt more in time during the nineties lo-fi revolution in Indie Pop...People talk about Split Enz being ahead of their times and as a precursor to New Wave, but this is even further ahead than that, though perhaps there are echoes of Genesis' From Genesis to Revelation album from the late sixties.

    I rate it 5/5.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  5. BunnyBoy

    BunnyBoy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Tokyo
    Thanks Lance for this thread. Big fan of the Finn family here in Tokyo. Always wondered why they aren’t big in Japan. They’ve got catchy melody, big chorus, tight arrangement - in theory they tick all the boxes to be liked by us.

    Anyway, For You. I like it, cute instruments, nice melody, and especially the beautiful harmony of Tim and Phil, which I think is the most powerful thing in very early Enz music.
     
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  6. bob_32_116

    bob_32_116 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth Australia
    I'm not a big fan of the early era of Split Enz. They were certainly original and imaginative, but sometimes I think they were being weird and different for the sake of it. That impression is reinforced by seeing clips of them performing. I appreciate the value of humour in music, but there has to be something there musically as well.

    It's not really until the True Colours album that I start to like their output much. I consi8der that the point at which they stopped horsing around and decided to get serious.

    I give this song 2.4/5. I want to give it a pass, but the bottom line is I reqally don't enjoy it all that much, despite its cleverness.
     
  7. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    I think that's true for most Australians as True Colours was the big breakthrough as was "I Got You" which was a number one. Although they were still plenty weird in 1980 it was toned down and they fit perfectly into the new wave scene. I really should check out the pre True Colours Enz - except singles such as "I See Red" which were popular at the time
     
  8. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    Early Split Enz was indeed a different beast when compared with what followed. For You is a terrific song despite some of the harmony stylings being a bit grating at times. The Genesis connection was apt although I'd suggest For You would have been a killer addition to Nursery Cryme-era Genesis. And it is hard to hear the flute and not think of Tull. The Beginning of the Enz was all over the map musically but you can see the art-prog leanings at times which are glorious. If only the effort was a bit more consistent in terms of style and execution.

    4.5/5 - I have always considered For You a standout early-Enz track.
     
  9. PJayBe

    PJayBe Forum Resident

    I'm in!! Should be fun!
     
  10. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    Just read that Cyndi Lauper was a big fan. Interesting as she released an album with the same name, True Colors.
     
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  11. dthomas850

    dthomas850 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    This thread will be fun. Even though i'm not that familiar with the Split Enz stuff, i'll contribute when I can. Glad you are including Liam!
     
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  12. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    Location:
    Chicago
    I'm realizing just how little I've heard of the early Enz so I guess I'll have to rectify that...

    "For You" certainly isn't a bad way to start a musical career; I feel like there's a lot of things going on in it. I'm a sucker for songs that build up over time so this is right up my alley. I'll rate it 4/5.
     
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  13. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    The original single is shorter than the full version on The Beginning Of The Enz. From memory, I think it’s the second verse that was edited out. Same mix on both releases.
     
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  14. bob_32_116

    bob_32_116 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth Australia
    It's probably worth mentioning at the outset that anyone from the northern hemisphere looking for info on Split enz albums is likely to experience a certain amount of confusion.

    To begin with, their first and second albums released in Australasia were, respectively, Mental Notes, and Second Thoughts. The first album was not released in the rest of the world, where the second album was released under the title "Mental Notes" with a slightly reworked version of the Mental Notes album cover.

    Another source of confusion is that, following the breakthrough success of True Colours, the follow-up album was intended to be given different names in different countries, using the word for a tribal gathering of the native peoples. This idea was eventually carried through only to Australia, and abandoned for the rest of the world. Hence, if you ask an Australian what was the name of their sixth album, the one containing the hit "One Step Ahead", they will say it was Corroboree, but everywhere else it was called Waiata. The colour of the cover was also changed for the US market from the original brown and black colour scheme, defeating the point of using what are traditional colours in many indigenous cultures, including the NZ Maoris and the Australian aboriginals.
     
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  15. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Whoa, I never knew that. Thanks!
     
  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Well, for me, I got into them in the nineties. In the US.

    At that point almost nothing was in print (as is probably the case now) so I bought Aussie imports so I kind of ended up getting into them Aussie style. You would not believe how hard these albums were to find back then in America. For years the only copy of Time and Tide I had was a vintage '82 cassette. Some guy just gave it to me for free when he found out I was fan. I think the thrill of the hunt kind of addicted me more than ever, though.

    The Chris Bourke Crowded House biography, as well as things like the Rolling Stone Record Guide was pretty helpful with the catalogue, actually but I was originally a bit confused.

    For a long time I had Second Thoughts but not Mental Notes, yet somehow I knew that there were songs that repeated and that confused me. There are also songs on Beginning of the Enz that repeat on the other albums.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
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  17. Aphoristical

    Aphoristical Aphoristic Album Reviews

    Thanks for running this!

    I enjoy the early stuff with Judd a lot. On Beginning of the Enz they sound very different before Eddie Rayner joined on keyboards as well (so the first five songs on Beginning of the Enz), as once he joined he was very much the focal point instrumentally. Genesis is definitely a good reference point for the early stuff.

    Often I find with Enz that I love almost all of the Judd and Neil Finn material, but find Tim Finn a lot more hit and miss. This is an issue as Tim is the dominant writer most of the time, except the early stuff where he and Judd often co-wrote.
     
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  18. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I think Tim's stuff is less consistent from 1983 to 1993 but overall I really like him just as much. His music is somehow more arty and theatrical than Neil Finn, to be sure; but those guys have got songwriting in their blood and to me the talent in both of them is just so clear and obvious.

    For me It's like comparing two super models: you don't have to choose: you can have both.
     
  19. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Forum Resident

    Also note that the Northen hemisphere Beginning Of The Enz vinyl/cassette/8-track Chrysalis release has a completely different track list from the Aust/NZ Mushroom vinyl/cassette/CD.
     
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  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Yes. I’ll be doing the Southern Hemisphere one. (Clearly.)
     
  21. bob_32_116

    bob_32_116 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Perth Australia
    You can? I imagine some people would like to know how that can be arranged. :p
     
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  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    The trick lies in simply not being too choosey.
     
  23. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    ...or seeing the best of what both have to offer!
     
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  24. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    And here is the aforementioned single version:

     
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  25. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    "For You" was the first release by Split Enz (then known as "Split Ends"), coming out as a stand-alone single in April 1973. As has been noted, the original single was shorter than the version that would later be included on the compilation LP The Beginning of the Enz in 1979. My notes also say that it was remixed for the compilation, but, other than the edit, I can't hear any differences.

    I find it a pleasant, pastoral tune that morphs into something a bit more complicated toward the end. It's very different from the style that would eventually make Split Enz famous, of course, and I have never much enjoyed Phil Judd's singing. The single did not make much of an impact as it was only released in New Zealand and failed to become a hit even there.

    So, I'll give it a 3.0.
     
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