Do you ever listen to a song and think, “Mmm, I wish they could have done that part over.” It could be a particular verse or solo or middle eight, as is the case whenever I listen to an old favorite I spun on this week’s Saturday Night Shut-In, XTC‘s “Love on a Farmboy’s Wages.” I still love that song, but I used to love everything about it, even the bridge—so much so, in fact, that leaned on it as a model for quickly exiting a tricky bridge on a few of my own songs. I don’t remember exactly when I started to wish for a do-over on that bridge, but at some point in recent years the way it ends—”…and it’s breaking my back!”—started to feel a bit forced, as if my man Andy Partridge was laying heavy on that closing line to shut the door on any feeling the listener may have of him having abruptly exited that exciting, unexpected part of the song. (Andy, if you one day Google yourself in this piece and start getting worked up about this pathetic cretin who is trying to read your thoughts, etc, please know that I love your body of work, including this song, which is one of my favorite songs on the planet. This is a Rock Town Hall discussion, where we allow ourselves to pick apart even our most beloved songs and artists.)
Your rock ‘n roll do-over may be an entire album or stylistic shift, a Look, whatever, but keep it to subjects you really care about. For instance, unless you’re a die-hard Styx fan, some snarky comment about “Mr. Roboto” won’t fly. I’ll ask YOU for a do-over.
Let’s do it again, shall we?