Going it alone

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Is there a single Lennon or Wings album that can stand up to what the Beatles accomplished at peak? If we're being honest, isn't Pet Sounds a better record than SMiLE?

James Baldwin's writing famously gets worse (excessive, unchecked, baroque) as he gets older, because as his name and reputation grow, no editor dares trim back his work.

Probably not many fans of Girls here, but when it was Christopher Owens + Chet White, they put out some tight, efficient, beautiful records. Then they broke up, and everything Christopher Owens has done since has slid more and more into saccharine, tasteless territory.

It seems like checks and balances are important, and that bands or projects with multiple voices on creative input can outcompete solo projects. But on the other hand, too much workshopping (too many cooks) and you get MFA-syndrome: bland, personality-less.

I love the Cale solo records, but sometimes I wonder if he'd be better off checked sometimes too. Ditto with Reed. But clearly there are also parts of their visions you don't quite get in the Velvets, and it's only after the fact that those ideas can bloom.

When's it better to go it alone? When is the sum of writer & editor, songwriter & producer, better than either on their own? When is "unchecked expression" a good thing?
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
My first thought is Bjork leaving the Sugarcubes to get into club culture and electronic music. A good decade of wonderful music before she ended up falling into the traps of self-indulgence
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I don't categorise the Beatles as music I would call it more cabaret or something. a different form of entertainment. Mvuent has a bit blog series about these issues
.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
My first thought is Bjork leaving the Sugarcubes to get into club culture and electronic music. A good decade of wonderful music before she ended up falling into the traps of self-indulgence
She always worked very closely with collaborators
 

boxedjoy

Well-known member
Perhaps, but it's a different thing still isn't it. Like, as much as I love Mark Bell there's a reason Homogenic is credited as simply Bjork.
 

suspendedreason

Well-known member
Mvuent has a bit blog series about these issues
I've actually read that and liked it, but it seems like there's an appreciable difference between "scenius" and the importance of being situated in a scene, and on the other hand, having active collaborators making active creative decisions and intervening in the work by editing out certain creative impulses etc
 

john eden

male pale and stale
Mark Fell was in SND but his solo work is also awesome and what I know and prefer.

Steve Goodman much better post CCRU

Matt Johnson (The The) and Jim Thirlwell (Foetus) started out in bands but are best known for their solo stuff.

Brian Eno.

Scott Walker.

There’s an argument to be made for Henry Rollins maybe.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I think age and technology are a factor here. Like if you master the studio and make conceptual or cerebral music then that may well be better as you get older. Less so if you do pop or rock ditties about teenage desire.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
That's my feeling at least... some people just have that indefinable star quality I think.
Roxy Music is an interesting one with Eno and Ferry having careers of success, but moving in almost opposite directions.
 
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