No, I don’t mean albums full of remixes. Those can be pretty fun, and it’s nice to hear songs re-interpreted or re-imagined in some way, like Cynic’s Re-Traced. I’m talking about entire albums being re-released with a brand new mix, but containing the exact same material and performances. What do you think of those?
Personally, I think it cheapens the original album—especially if it’s an album you really enjoy despite an imperfection or two. Exhibit A—a few weeks ago, Tre Watson released a remixed version of his album Death of A Monarch, which he originally put out in January. And no, this isn’t the version containing vocals on all the tracks that Tre is hoping to have out by the end of the year. It’s the instrumental version again, just remixed, and with interlude track “No Longer A Planet” omitted from the tracklist.
I find this to be a puzzling move. Mostly because the album sounds more or less exactly the same to me, and “No Longer A Planet” was a track I enjoyed quite a bit. But it’s as if Tre himself thought it was such a bad tune that he just had to take it off the album, like it never happened. Stricken from the record. And he must have been quite dissatisfied with his original mix to go back and take a mulligan on the entire album. As a big fan of the original version, I’m not sure what to make of it…
The quest for perfection is a crazy thing. I believe in striving for perfection, but settling for excellence. Especially when it comes to music; do the best you can, try to make it as perfect as it can be, but when it’s done you have to let it stay done. Let it go. Move on to the next project. An album marks a point in time, it should be a representation of your best work at that time, but should also serve as a learning experience for the next one, something to improve upon in the future. When I go back and listen to pretty much anything I have recorded, there are parts(or entire projects) that make me cringe. It sounded great when I laid it down and called it finished, but a few years later I have an incredible urge to grab the guitar and re-track or re-mix almost everything.
But I never do. When it’s done, it’s done. I’m a big fan of little mistakes and imperfections anyway, I think they can add a lot of charm to an album. Perfection is a nice goal, but it is literally impossible to achieve, so why drive yourself completely insane trying? Either way, Tre is a super talented dude and his music is definitely worth your time and attention. Head to his Bandcamp page to download the latest version of Death of a Monarch, and be sure to throw him a few bucks while you’re at it! And feel free to share your thoughts on remixed albums in the comments section.