Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

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Tactful Cactus
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Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Tactful Cactus » 12 Aug 2017, 11:59

Taking the idea from a Mark Kermode blog (brilliant actors in bad films)...

What examples do we have of terrible musicians being on brilliant songs (and presumably not managing to ruin them)

Nothings coming to mind but Im really tired. Over to you...

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby The Slider » 12 Aug 2017, 18:03

Many of the musicians who get accused of being rubbish (Adam Clayton, Ringo, Nick Mason) sound perfect to me.
I can think of a couple of excruciatingly bad performances (Neil Young's solo on Burned, Edge's on Party Girl) but they aren't on particularly great songs.
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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Quaco » 12 Aug 2017, 18:36

Thoughts:
Maybe pop music is different from art forms like film and classical music in that you don't have to be objectively good to make a pleasing noise that resonates with people. Maybe something like "Bodies" (Sex Pistols) because Sid Vicious was objectively a bad player, or so it is said. Or some Roxy Music song that has Eno on it, objectively a very limited player at the time -- and yet, he was more musical than many people who were better, so in pop music anyway, he's not a bad musician.
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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby take5_d_shorterer » 12 Aug 2017, 18:45


Vic Chesnutt, "Very Friendly Lighthouses"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Oa4hmFWO5g

The song is not brilliant, but there are aspects of it that are good.

In addition, you can't fault the musicians completely for the problems in the recording. The producer or recording engineer made the decision to record two vocals that aren't in time with each other.

I would also like to know what the musicians really thought about that trumpet solo. Something that sounds primitive doesn't necessarily sound "authentic".

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Darkness_Fish » 12 Aug 2017, 20:16

Are we including naivety here, because basically Maher Shalal's back catalogue (with the exception of their last album, which was rubbish), is a long list of great songs by terrible musicians. You can look to the likes of Half Japanese for a more extensive recording career, too.
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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Tactful Cactus » 12 Aug 2017, 20:38

Quaco wrote:Thoughts:
Maybe pop music is different from art forms like film and classical music in that you don't have to be objectively good to make a pleasing noise that resonates with people.


Someone like James Dean was probably a film equivalent to Sid Vicious. Not technically good but he compensated with raw attitude and charisma.

Maybe the title is a bit limiting -- could also be terrible performances on brilliant songs

Although I still can't think of a good one :? the guitarist on Bowies Space Oddity? A brilliant song with a bit of a clunker solo

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby The Modernist » 13 Aug 2017, 01:30

Tactful Cactus wrote:
Quaco wrote:Thoughts:
Maybe pop music is different from art forms like film and classical music in that you don't have to be objectively good to make a pleasing noise that resonates with people.


Someone like James Dean was probably a film equivalent to Sid Vicious. Not technically good but he compensated with raw attitude and charisma.



Untrue. He was a great trained actor, who found a very unique film presence which had a huge impact, as he knew it would, that's clever acting not bad acting. You might find it a little melodramatic now, but you have to appreciate it within the context of the times.

As for the question, it's an interesting question if only by showing there's no satisfactory answer. If a record sounds great then we tend to love every instrumental bit. In that sense, it's a very different medium to film.
In film it's much easier to isolate key elements ( so you can pick out John Gavin's weak performance in Psycho for instance), in music it's about the whole mostly I think.

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Quaco » 13 Aug 2017, 02:30

Also, film is essentially people acting somewhat like other real or fictional people, so there is some way for us to gauge when something seems "real". Music is mostly abstract, so it's all in the ear of the beholder. Even a random sound may seem perfectly timed. There is no real-world counterpart save the songs of birds and the wind. (It seems that classical art is easier to judge because the picture is supposed to look as much like a bowl of fruit as possible, whereas modern art has no real-world analogue either.) I suppose if music were nothing but an imitation of something else, then you could tell if someone had hit the mark or not, but in general, this isn't the case. No matter how many IPO shows you have been to!
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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby take5_d_shorterer » 13 Aug 2017, 02:57

Tactful Cactus wrote:Someone like James Dean was probably a film equivalent to Sid Vicious. Not technically good...


A general question about what it means to be technically good as an actor.

I know when musicians are or aren't technically good because music is dominated by some basic, but often very difficult requirements--you have to be in time and on key--but I don't have any feel for what are the necessary requirements for acting except having to remember your lines. Where's the technique in acting?

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby slightbreeze » 13 Aug 2017, 09:41

Anything by Pulp

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Jeemo » 13 Aug 2017, 10:32

Dare by The Human League
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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Tactful Cactus » 13 Aug 2017, 10:35

The Modernist wrote:Untrue. He was a great trained actor, who found a very unique film presence which had a huge impact,


I didn't realise he was trained. To me he seemed like a limited actor, essentially playing himself rather than channelling someone else into his performance. Limitations he made up for with onscreen charisma (and maybe carefully chosen roles?). I'm probably being too hard on him, he was only in a few films after all. For all I know his next role could have been a fast-talking conceited homosexual car-salesman. He's just the first actor that came to mind to try and find someone who relied on a strong personality over technical talent.

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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby borofan » 13 Aug 2017, 16:43

Tactful Cactus wrote:
Quaco wrote:Someone like James Dean was probably a film equivalent to Sid Vicious. Not technically good but he compensated with raw attitude and charisma.

Of course, Sid didn't actually play on the tracks. After Matlock was sacked, didn't Steve Jones play the bass as well as guitar?
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Re: Terrible musicians on brilliant songs

Postby Quaco » 13 Aug 2017, 19:58

I didn't say that, BTW!

He apparently did play on 'Bodies'.
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