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 Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    We've finished with the songs from the Beginning of the Enz.

    I'm now going to pick up the pace, and start posting one song per day starting tomorrow. Some other decisions I've made:
    1. I Ill end this thread and begin a new one after Frenzy, thus avoiding incredibly long threads that take too much effort to wade though/catch up on. And then I'll begin a second thread to cover the 80s.
    2. I expect more particiapation as we go along: mainly I think that here at the beginning of their career, we are dealing with some pretty obscure stuff. Once the commercial period starts I expect more people will look into it and especially I expect the Crowded House years to be a hit.
    3. I will also encourage a brief discussion on the album as a whole once we've finished, starting today with Beginning of the Enz.
    I have really been enjoying the input from the other members here. It's great to touch base with other Finn fans, as for much of my life it's been a bit of a lonely fandom. It's also very cool to get a chance to hear info from the likes of Jaffaman and Robcar that I haven't heard before.
     
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  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Today is the time we talk about The Beginning of the Enz as an overall album.
     
  3. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    The Beginning of the Enz is not really an album proper, of course. But it's a great little collection of early singles and studio cuts that sounds almost as if it was intended to be released together. I wonder if they have other stuff in the vault from these early days that they deemed unworthy or which didn't fit? Earlier versions of songs that emerged on later albums? I'd be interested in hearing them.

    I think that production-wise a lot of these early songs sound better to me than some of their songs on their debut--there is a spark to them and a spirit of invention that wins me over. It is also one of the few Finn-related albums that I can remember playing to the unitiated that elicited some interest. (The others being Mental Notes, the Finn Brothers first album and Try Whistling This.)
     
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  4. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Starting tomorrow I will begin posting songs odaily from the Split Enz album Mental Notes.

    The TRack list will be:

    1. Walking Down the Road
    2. Under the Wheel
    3. Amy (Darling)
    4. So Long For Now
    5. Stranger Than Fiction
    6. Time For a Change
    7. Maybe
    8. Titus
    9. Spellbound
    10. Mental Notes
    with bonus tracks:
    129 (Live)
    Lovey Dovey (Live) --both from the Mental Notes reissue
    True Colours (live)
    Under the Wheel (live)
    Nightmare Stampede (live)
    True Colours (Let's Rock) (live)
    Amy (Darling) (live)--from Oddz and Enz

    My question is:
    Other than "Nightmare Stampede" and "True Colours", is it a good idea to include all these lives songs in the discussion, seeing as how we will have just discussed many of them?
     
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  5. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    I'm sorry I haven't contributed more to this thread but, as I noted previously, early Enz really doesn't float my boat and I didn't feel that constantly chipping in with negative comments would add anything. I will say though, that a song a day will be tough to keep up to speed with.
     
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  6. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Yes, I know that the early stuff is not for everyone; personally I enjoy unconventional stuff, as long as there is a good melody to it!
     
  7. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Having said that I think that saying you don't like something should not be taboo. I'm not going to hold back when we get to "True Colours" or "Nightmare Stampede", which, while perhaps interesting live, bug me to no end.
     
  8. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    For me, it's the difference between having nothing constructive to say - I just don't like their early sound/style - and enjoying their music but not liking particular songs. I'll get more involved when we get to Frenzy - there is much to discuss there, not least the various different mixes of that material.
     
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  9. Mylene

    Mylene Senior Member

    When they played Lovey Dovey live after the 'C'mon Eddie if you please, play that riff on the ivories" Eddie Rsynor used to play a long piano solo. The studio version always seemed disappointing.
     
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  10. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I think that will be on the live cut bonus track. Yes, that is the kind of thing that goes over live but might sound a little odd and unspontaneous in a studio setting. See also: Crowded House's entire career!
     
  11. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    Location:
    Chicago
    As a collection of singles / outtakes, Beginning of the Enz is a surprisingly solid album. I'll freely admit I wasn't terribly familiar with most of these songs before hearing them but I've enjoyed what I've heard so far. Some may be a little ruff but there's usually something interesting going on that rewards repeated listens…

    I just want to emphasize again thanks to Lance for starting this thread. As a more casual listener of early Split Enz it's a nice introduction to some material I may have missed in the past. Going forward, I may not be able to post every day but will try to give my reactions / thoughts when I can. Here's to hoping more come in to enjoy the ride; the knowledge base here is a great resource...
     
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  12. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    The Beginning of the Enz is a nice collection, although I'm not sure that the tracks on it that were originally released on single sides really needed to be remixed. I never listen to it as an "album" since I don't have it on disc and, in my iTunes library, I assign the unaltered single tracks to the original single releases, only keeping the outtakes and remixed/extended single tracks under the TBOTE release entry. It's nice that this early material was made available to the rest of the world once the band began to gain a higher international profile in the wake of "I See Red".

    As for discussing the live tracks, I would group them together rather than have a separate entry for each one. I would guess that most of us will focus on the songs that are not available in a studio version.
     
  13. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Yes, Frenzy/Luton is a complicated knot that took me quite a long time to unravel.
     
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  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    That might be a good idea. Or perhaps I'll just do "Nightmare Stampede" and "True Colours" alone and then the others together. That way I can focus all my negativity on those two songs. Ha.
     
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  15. Mylene

    Mylene Senior Member

    Both Nightmare and True Colours were played on stage during the Second Thoughts period. The only reason they weren't done in the studio was they decided to re-record most of the first album for international ears.
     
  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Today's song is "Walking Down the Road", the lead-off track from Split Enz' debut album.


    A Phil Judd/Tim Finn co-write, this song and album saw Phil Judd back in the band, and Rob Gillies out of the band. Rob's parts were played on synth by the multi-tasking Eddie Rayner.
     
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  17. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    "Walking Down the Road", like many of these longer prog epics by the Enz takes a few listens before it coalesces. I think it's a pretty great. It's clear that the Enz had developed from a quirky art-folk band into a full-blown theatrical prog band, probably through live performances. They really pulled out all the stops.

    Lyrically, the song seems to tell a tale of a paranoid person who is hiding out in his home but who has a rich inner life. They get progressively stranger and end with a disturbing twist as the madman telling the tale turns on his listener with an explicit threat of murder.

    But it's a fine song and a great band showcase. I can imagine this being really powerful live and I quite like it in the studio too, though I think I prefer the rerecorded Second Thoughts, which is a little tighter. I also think that the songs in general work better with Rob Gillies -- Wally Wilkinson's guitar, so fine on early singles is a bit underwhelming on this record, which was not particularly well produced.

    This one however feels more "live", so to speak and has it's own charm.

    I give this a 3.7/4!
     
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  18. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    The six cuts that were released on the first three singles really don't prepare the listener for "Walking Down A Road", or much of the rest of Mental Notes either. The sound is much fuller and the arrangement more ambitious than most of the early single tracks. The multiple sections of the song don't quite coalesce into a cohesive whole to my ears, but listening to the journey is great fun. I never picked up on the lyrics at the end; that's quite a twist!

    I believe that the album cover was sketched and painted by Phil Judd? It's a very accomplished portrait, I feel, that adds considerably to the collective personality of the band (although, coming at it for the first time from years later in the 80s, I kept seeing Huey Lewis in Tim's face). A fun start to an impressive first album. I give this a 3.7 out of 5.
     
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  19. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Yes, Phil Judd was a very talented visual artist. He was actually better than his teachers at university and consequently ended up dropping out, according to one of their biographies. Really, I think Judd was a bit of a genius -- not necessarily a commercial one, obviously.

    You're right about the parts not coalescing; I find that to be the case with a lot of these longer Enz epics.

    .You'd think that some producers might try to get them to cut some of them or arrange it better; but on the other hand, it's kind of what makes this album and the next one (and the occasional song thereafter) unique.

    I mean, it is also a trifle ridiculous, but there's something kind of charming about it; I see it as youthful enthusiasm, the urge to include every single idea they had on a song. I'd like to hear how these songs developed: were all these ideas Judd's, or were they (much more likely) just ideas that the whole band contributed to? Especially Rayner and Finn probably had ideas, but I think that Chunn was a very unusually creative bassist himself and probably came up with a few: he's certainly a far cry from the more conventional (but by no means unaccomplished) and "New Wavish" Nigel Griggs.

    I think by "Another Great Divide" they were starting to learn how to make all these pieces fit together better; still I believe that's the song that prompted some execuative to quip "As a song it makes a great album."
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  20. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    Judd won an award in Australia for best album cover art for the cover of Mental Notes.
     
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  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Location:
    Vsetin
    I did not know that!
     
  22. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    I didn't either until a few weeks ago. A snippet of the awards ceremony popped up in a music special
     
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  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    This is a fantastic song, and one of the reasons I ended up getting the Enz box set.'I am a big Split Enz fan
     
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  24. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    You have saved me some decision making. I was considering the Enz for an upcoming album thread and now you have this going my decisions are much easier.
    Split Enz have a fantastic catalog and although like most i find the middle period to be the crest of the wave, I think their output all the way through was very solid. The first few Crowded House albums were great, and Tim Finn's Escapade is an Aussie/Kiwi classic (it did huge business in Australia)
    The early albums, to me are excellent but I think some folks couldn't separate the goofy image from the quality of the music and writing. Again, to me, the early stuff, although perhaps not quite as refined was still quite brilliant.
     
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  25. DEAN OF ROCK

    DEAN OF ROCK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hoover, AL
    When did Neil Finn come on board?
     

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