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. Mylene

    Mylene Forum Resident

    Next Exit must be one of their most obscure singles. Even though it charted I've hardly ever seen a secondhand copy. It seemed to come and go in a heartbeat.
     
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  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    The Luton tapes version is much more rocking than the 1983 version, which has more of the 1983 Conflicting Emotions sound -- a bad sound for Split Enz, but I have many albums by many artists from that era and it was a common problem. I much prefer the earlier version.

    But either version is a good example of song craft; and the latter version was more radio-friendly, the coda more smoothly integrated: but I'm not sure that's an improvement.

    Lyrically the song seems to be about suicide; this is a little more explicit in the earlier lyrics. However, there's something a bit...comic about the whole thing, as if Tim is sending up the whole idea: both the bouncy melody and the vocal performance(particularly the early one) seem to point that it's not meant all that seriously. This is not Tim baring his soul; this is Tim playing another character, that nerdy, annoying jittery character he played on stage back then.

    I'm a bit torn as to how to rate it. On the one hand, the melody is really catchy; on the other hand, the singer is so removed from the subject matter that it doesn't move me and the whole idea of writing a bouncy, goofy ode to suicide kind of bothers me. Maybe it shouldn't. I'll give it a 3/5.

    On the other hand maybe Tim did have dark nights of the soul that gave birth to this song, and the goofy presentation is meant to deflect from that: the obvious comic facade self-consciously meant to hide the real self...which is strikingly like the facade. But I don't think so: I think it's just Tim the songwriter trying to be funny and then it ended up as an actual viable song.

    Anyway, I DO think that the single version was better than anything Tim actually released on Conflicting Emotions, which came out shortly after the "Next Exit" Release and would have fit on there quite well...and on my playlist it does. But that's five years in the future.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
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  3. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Such a difference between these two versions, recorded just five years apart! Either way, "Next Exit" is a pretty fluffy pop song. It's catchy, but I don't hear a lot of substance here. I prefer the original 1978 Luton version as it lacks the early 1980s pop affectations of the single version. I don't think "Next Exit" was a huge hit for them in Australia and I don't think it was even released anywhere else in the world.

    The Luton version linked here seems to be the original mix that was released on the More Hits and Myths various artist compilation LP in around 1981-2 and not the inferior (to my ears) remix that was included on the second disc of the RTLT release.

    The single version was later included on the "Rear Enz" bonus disc in the 1980-1984 box set from 1992, but I don't think it has ever appeared anywhere else. The single had two b-sides, one being another new re-recording of a Luton sessions track ("Remember When", which we've already discussed) and the other a 1979(?) outtake from some sessions they did in Australia in preparation for the recording of True Colours called "Two of a Kind", which I'm sure we will get to at some point.

    For "Next Exit", 3.8 for the Luton version and 3.6 for the single version.
     
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  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    The instrumental bridge on the single version, the part where it’s all piano triplets and sort of descending bass chords is very Brian Wilson-y.
     
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  5. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    I adore the single version of Next Exit. For some reason all CD releases seem to have real problems: the Rear Enz presentation has tape wobble all over the place (it's remarkable it was passed for release) and the version on the remaster (which, of course, needed some tracking down due to pressing issues) was edited. This latter issue caused me some great consternation: in 2006 I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to take an extended holiday to NZ. Four weeks in a campervan: it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life and has caused me to fall madly in love with the country. Anyway, during the road trip, I was on the hunt for the then newly released remasters. I was aware that my better half didn't want to spend too much time in record shops on her holiday of a lifetime (and neither, really did I); but also aware that the See Ya Round remaster needed some careful attention because it has been pressed twice with different bonus tracks.

    Anyways, I hunted down the version I wanted and, when finally I had an opportunity to play Next Exit, I was horrified to discover that my favourite section (the instrumental) had been brutally edited out. I finally managed to track down a mint condition single to get a vinyl rip (which proves they're out there). Score for the single version: 6/5 :) For the Luton edition: 3/5. The arrangement/performance just doesn't seem to fit the song in the way that the remake does.
     
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  6. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Hmm. I wonder why they ripped out the instrumental section for the See Ya 'Round re-issue. Was it some kind of radio edit, I wonder?

    Since listening this morning, I'm definitely revising my score up to a 3.8. My main reason for scoring so low originally was the lyrical content, which just resonates the wrong way with me; but I shouldn't hold that against a piece of art. It's a very well crafted song with a lot of really interesting sections that are easy to take for granted.

    I think the single version integrates the different ideas better; but it rocks less. They are about equal, neither of them perfect for me, but both with something I like about them.
     
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  7. Turk Thrust

    Turk Thrust Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K.
    3/5.

    Listening to the early version, you can't help thinking that it could have been a strong, commercial single with the right production. Unfortunately the completed release doesn't quite do it justice.
     
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  8. Ostinato

    Ostinato Forum Resident

    Just out of curiosity: how far away are we from discussing Crowded House in this thread?
     
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  9. Turk Thrust

    Turk Thrust Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K.
    A loooooooooong way. :)
     
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  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    We're entering into 1979 now. Crowded House's first album was in 1986.
     
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  11. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Crowded House is over a year away at this point.
     
  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I don’t know. I’d say more like 3 and a half months. There are 6 more Split Enz studio albums, a Tim Finn solo album and a live album between now and then.

    We won’t be discussing any Swingers or other spin-off groups. There will be a steadily increasing amount of Neil Finn songs coming soon, though, for CH fans.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
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  13. 4/5 for Next Exit. First discovered it on a video compliation, of all things, and always really liked it.

    EDIT: It's also interesting how much they sanitized the single version, both in how they made it so much bouncier and changed up the lyrics a bit to make it less IMMEDIATE (e.g. "go away by myself" vs "do away with myself" among other things...)
     
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  14. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Thanks for pointing this out. Yeah, I noticed that the single version on the 1992 box set sounded a bit wonky. I had forgotten that it was also later included, and edited, as a bonus track on the 2006 See Ya 'Round remaster. What a weird decision that was. Many of the bonus tracks on the remasters were remixed or futzed with in different ways ("Things" being a really notable example) and none for the better, IMO.

    Jealous of your NZ trip. My wife and I are planning something extremely similar within the next few years. Hoping to find a bach to rent near Karekare beach, where I can blast Together Alone....
     
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  15. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Interesting observation. I never realized that the song is about suicide.....I thought it was about a road trip! I may have scored it a bit too low, but I'll stick with it. There will be a lot of high 4s and some 5s coming up!
     
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  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Ratings for "Next Exit":

    1-0
    2-0
    3-1
    4-3
    5-1 (Paul H, who voted 6 and 3 for the different versions)
     
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  17. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Today's song is "So This Is Love", written by Phil Judd in his brief stint iwth the Enz. I can't find an Enz version on Youtube. The Enz version is sung by Tim and was released on the fan-club only second disc of The Rootin' Tootin' Luton Tapes.

    Instead here's a cover by Bon Marche.


    Below is also Phil's demo of the song.
     
  18. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
  19. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Also at 2.33 here, you can hear Tim and Neil with Crowded House breaking into "So This Is Love" live, before getting into Judd's "Sweet Dreams" from 1991, I guess.
     
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  20. Turk Thrust

    Turk Thrust Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.K.
    Am I right in saying that the Split Enz version is from a BBC session? Dave Lee Travis maybe?

    It sounds pretty tight and would have made a good album track. The fact that they could record stuff like this and leave it lying on a shlef for decades just adds to the depth and breadth of the band.

    4/5
     
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  21. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Yes, it is. The fan-club second disc of RTLT included two BBC session tracks, both Phil Judd songs that were otherwise unreleased by the Enz. From January 1978, so just after they relocated to the UK and, yes, the Dave Lee Travis show. It doesn't seem that these songs were ever recorded by the band during the Luton sessions or any later album sessions.
     
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  22. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    "So This Is Love" is a really nice ballad. Almost hard to believe that it came from Judd, as I tend to associate him with darker, more twisted material. Sounds like there's a ukulele or mandolin being plucked on the Enz' BBC version. Nice backing vocals as well. This is a solid song; pity they didn't record it in the studio, but I suppose that would have been strange when Judd left the band. 4.0/5

    I almost feel like this is a song that a band like 10CC or Ambrosia could have had a huge hit with at the time.
     
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  23. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I really love this song. What's interesting, is that Phil Judd, like Tim Finn, comforming to the timbre of the times, also started writing songs with consolidated bunches of hooks, rather than songs which moved from idea to idea one at a time, early Enz-style.

    This has a sweet melody which Tim sounds fantastic singing, and lyrics that seem more aimed at the pop market than Judd's angst-ridden songs of madness and loneliness from 1974-76 era.

    I think the lyrics are fantastic, linear and clear, genuinely moving and from the heart as opposed to Tim's arty affectations or Neil's sometimes rather inarticulate impressionism. The Split Enz version features both Tim and Phil singing, and it is indeed from a BBC recording.

    Musically, the arrangement is understated and good, with a an interesting but inobtrusive moog hook at the beginning and nice instrumentation that includes mandolin and acoustic guitar.

    Imagine if Judd and the two Finns had been been able to make it work together and if all three song-writers had contributed to future albums. It might have been amazing, though it's hard to imagine a band like that not collapsing under the weight of three songwriter's egos.

    Alas it was not to be. Phil Judd's Swingers were a good band in their own right it's just that hearing Tim singing Judd songs is such a sweet experience, to be repeated only rarely since this song.

    I give the song 4.5/5.
     
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  24. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    Do it. On our way out of Auckland we took a detour to Karekare. It doesn't sound so grand, but we parked the campervan in the car park and, over a lazy lunch, blasted Together Alone out before going for a walk on the beach. It was a lovely day (fortunately) but its easy to see how the place can feel very elemental.
     
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  25. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    So This is Love: a highlight of the second disc for me. A really impressive performance for a live-for-radio recording. 3/5. I only give it such a modest score because there are many other songs in this long and winding journey that will score higher and it isn't quite up to their standard.
     
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