December 14, 2006

The Chopping Block

I have a real gripe with the music industry. This is a long lasting gripe that constantly manifests itself. This is the special edit of a song.

What am I talking about? Well, listen to "Thousand Mile Wish" by Finger Eleven on their self-titled album, then listen to it on the Elektra soundtrack. There are very noticeably lines missing. Listen to "Happy In The Meantime" by Lit off "Atomic" and then listen to the version on the Mr. Deeds soundtrack. It's one thing if they need to keep a song short for the time constraints in the movie. It's another thing entirely to butcher the song on the soundtrack.

And this is not constrained to movies. Bands chop entire stanzas out for their music video. These aren't even dirty stanzas: watch "Friends And Family" by Trik Turner. There's a whole section missing and it's one of the best parts in the song. I watched a music video recently - I think it was for "Cold (But I'm Still Here)" by Evans Blue - and the music video was a little over a minute long. Luckily, I think they've reshot it since and there's a full version out there.
The song is 3:55.

Now granted, sometimes an edit is necessary. Mars Volta's "The Widow" has two minutes of completely unnecessary static that make the song a lot less tolerable. Korn adds the same effect at the end of "Dirty", from their release "Issues". If you're going to remove unnecessary noise from the end of a song, that's wonderful. But lyrics are not unnecessary noise.

As a lyricist myself, I know that every word in a finished song is there as the result of endless editing. And thus, every word in a finished song is meant to be in that finished song. What do you think would have happened if any iota of "Bohemian Rhapsody" were removed? How about "Stairway To Heaven"? There would be riots! And these are songs going on 7 minutes. You really have no reason to cut a 4 minute song down.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my rant for the day. Thank you.

No comments: