Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Paul Fuzz on the pointlessness of Acoustic Versions...

Acoustic Versions are popular for a bunch of reasons. The main reason they're popular is that they allow people who like Scouting For Girls but find their regular electrified output too loud and rocking the chance to own quieter, less engaging, less intrusive versions of Scouting For Girls records. Another reason is that bands themselves like doing Acoustic Versions because they think doing Acoustic Versions makes them look more like Proper Artists and less like Scouting For Girls, which is especially useful in Scouting For Girls' case. From Woodie Guthrie to Craig Mclachlan, the Acoustic Guitar has been the symbol of Serious Adult Rock Music.

Read more here...

14 comments:

Paul 'Fuzz' Lowman said...

Always generous with your heads-up, Anna. I dunno if you heard that Ting Tings thing. I was just like: "what's the point?" They do what they do, and translating what they do to an acoustic guitar was just a complete waste of time. They make trendy electro-pop records on computers. Leave them to it.

AnnaWaits said...

I did hear it, it was pretty hilarious to be honest... in a kinda sad way. The annoying thing is that I can almost guarantee that they thought it was a good idea - "we're a proper band!".

Persephone said...

Are acoustic versions always pointless? If the song has merit, sometimes it's nice to get the window dressing out of the way to actually hear it. Just saying...

Paul 'Fuzz' Lowman said...

Well, like the article says, it isn't about merit. It's about how appropriate a song is for an acoustic makeover, and the insanely wrong idea that a song is only a real song if it can be done convincingly on an acoustic guitar. Booker T & The MG's 'Green Onions', Phuture's 'Acid Trax', James Brown's 'Cold Sweat' and The Beatle's 'Tomorrow Never Knows' are great songs, but there's nothing to be gained from doing them acoustically. On the other hand, ther are lots of awful songs which are perfectly suited to acoustic makeovers.

Persephone said...

I actually have "Tomorrow Never Knows" as a Gregorian chant (by Schola Musica). Now that's acoustic! (It works, too!)

Paul 'Fuzz' Lowman said...

Actually now I think about it I have a semi-acoustic cover of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' by Junior Parker, which is incredible. So that was a bad example. But you get my point.

Persephone said...

I absolutely do. But the title of Anna Wait's posting refers to the "pointlessness of Acoustic Versions". And I just wanted to point out that acoustic versions aren't necessarily pointless by definition. Your point is that acoustic version aren't superior by definition. But isn't it great that we could have this discussion?

Dean said...

I think we get acoustic versions on the radio because radio studios are small and you can't fit the entire band in.

stu-n said...

Hang on, hang on... the Ting Tings? Electro-pop on computers? That's the band that's like the White Stripes, but with the girl guitarist and the boy drummer, and nowhere near as good? The Stripe Whites? Not really electro-pop.

But anyway. That's nitpicking.

Right about the 'proper band' thing, and I still have shuddering nightmares about 'More Than Words' by Extreme. Some people shouldn't be allowed near acoustic instruments.

I'm not sure where the idea that it isn't a proper song if it can't be played acoustically came from. Possibly it's MTV Unplugged's fault? But even then, you can't tell me that the acoustic version of Nirvana's 'Come As You Are' isn't brilliant.

I have no idea why I'm replying here rather than on Paul's blog. Hey ho.

Paul 'Fuzz' Lowman said...

Stu; not sure who you're talking about (Maybe Blood Red Shoes?), but the Ting Tings are nothing like the White Stripes...more like Billie Piper via Shoreditch.

Anyway, yeah, I think Mtv Unplugged does shoulder alot of the blame for this trend. On the other hand, Nirvana's Unplugged is the only Nirvana LP I like, it's a wonderful album, and a great example of what can happen when this sort of thing is done well.

AnnaWaits said...

"But the title of Anna Wait's posting refers to the "pointlessness of Acoustic Versions"

Oh so it's *my* fault! :P Ha. Good conversation :)

Persephone said...

Clarification only, m'dear! And look what an opportunity it was! I'll have to look up that Junior Parker rendition of "Tomorrow Never Knows"....

Lena said...

It's all riffs, riffs, riffs in my house now. The younger generation can be influenced heavily by the songs they hear growing up.

I miss the acoustic sounds of when I was a lass but if I'm honest I enjoy the younger generations' covers of some acoustic songs. Scouting has caught my attention but it's a sound I'd have in the background while ironing! But where would we really be without acoustics?

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

I have to say that I like to hear versions of songs that do something different with the original - sometimes (and partly this is to do with the tendency in post-1950s popular music to be faster and more upbeat) this means slowing things down, and - yes - an acoustic version is often a quick way of making that change of tempo.

Does it always work? Nope. A poor song can't be rescued by an acoustic version, it doesn't work for everything and some really great songs just are what they are (am VERY intrigued by that Gregorian Chant version though!)

As said though I should really be at Fuzzboy's place!