An Aversion To Versions

When there are different versions of a song or piece of music, I’ve noticed I get quite picky about which one I listen to, even if the differences are only minor (like two different mixes by the same artist). I was thinking about it this morning as I picked out Pet Shop Boys – A Red Letter Day to perk me up on my way into work, and noticed myself avoiding the album version in favour of the single release.

Almost all the time, it seems to be that the first version I hear burrows its way deep into my subconscious and settles in as my favourite, then any other ones I hear subsequently fail to unseat it. I remember how disappointed I was when I bought the CD of Hergest Ridge, one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite artists (Mike Oldfield) and found it sounded nothing like my Dad’s old LP that I knew and loved. In fact it sounded so weird and stripped down in comparison that I took my first CD back to the shop thinking it was faulty. It wasn’t… I later found out that the original mix actually wasn’t available on CD at all as Mike Oldfield had decided he liked a later remix better and wanted that one used for all future releases. (On the plus side, though, I was ridiculously over-excited when he eventually changed his mind and I finally got my hands on a shiny CD copy of the “real” Hergest Ridge – only fifteen years later!).

Often I end up raiding my Dad’s music collection or scouring the internet for that elusive version of Pachelbel’s Canon or Space Cowboy that I heard years ago and still can’t get out of my head. (Amazon MP3 is a godsend… they seem to have almost everything and you can preview it before buying to make sure it’s the “right” version!). It even happens with our own music sometimes… I still have a copy of the old vocal-less, keyboard-less MIDI demo mix of It Could Be Different because I listened to it so often back when we were making that song that sometimes I just crave hearing it again rather than the much more polished final version.

Actually I can only think of one song right now where the version I ended up liking wasn’t the first one I heard. Even though I’d got used to the album version of Running Man by Jimmy Nail first, it’s always sounded bland to me since hearing the single release.

Other music news: still haven’t managed to book any more gigs or festivals yet, though I’m looking out for them. Still also practising away at the piano and been meaning to post about that again. Still slowly getting nowhere with new Sonic Triangle EP, I’m sad to say :(.