How U2 and Taylor Swift Are Making Re-Recorded Music Cool Again – Rolling Stone

As U2 announced last week, they’ll be back in March with an all-new album. song of surrenderplaying Bono’s recent memoir Surrender: 40 songs, 1 episodeyou can see that the band has remade 40 songs from their back catalog.

Not surprisingly, when it came to a band that could still be polarizing 40 years later, the response was rattling and humming. rolling stone’s social media feeds alone, reactions ranged from elated (“Amazing!” There is. We’ll judge for ourselves when the album releases on his March 17 St. Patrick’s Day, but one thing is clear. The pointless effort suddenly becomes too legal to stop. And it has a pretty deep effect on both musicians and fans.

Of course, projects like this have been around for decades. Pop history is full of artists and bands redoing old songs, often for business reasons. When pioneers such as Chuck Berry and the Everly Brothers changed record companies early in their careers, to name just two of his, they re-edited their most famous songs into new “Greatest Hits” albums. bottom. Unfortunately, these redoes often ended up in a bloodless collection that did nothing but satisfy the new bosses.

This trend long seemed to have died down, from the 90s into this century, but artists and bands were willing to cut out full sonic remakes when licensing songs for film and television. I realized that I could make more money. And released them on their own or on new labels (so the old labels don’t get the cash). The same is true for Wang Chung’s remake of “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” where Squeeze’s cheeky title is spot the difference Def Leppard made what singer Joe Elliott proudly called a “total forgery” of the hit. There are enough metal discs and full remakes of hard rock discs to fill.

Another factor in remaking old recordings is artist dissatisfaction with the original sound. In 2017, Lucinda Williams recut her 1992s song. sweet old world that’s why This Sweet Old World, rearranging songs and rewriting lyrics here and there, much like U2 does. Similarly, Natalie Merchant made her 10,000 Maniac debut. tiger lilya redo from a few years ago, shows that she wasn’t entirely happy with the original arrangement and that her voice had a newfound maturity. was

But few artists have reinvigorated (and validated) the decision to re-record music from the past quite like Taylor Swift. The decision was moored in business when the global superstar announced plans to re-edit her early albums. but also wanted a competing similar sound that would devalue the original when it came to licensing the song.

When Swift released its first two remake albums, Fearless When red, was well received by both fans and the media.Part of the reception had to do with Swift’s popularity, and another part had to do with the album’s headline-grabbing backstory, but overnight, the concept of remaking an old song has been validated in a way never seen before. Even for respected names such as Williams, Merchant and Paul Simon (in 2018 in blue lightSimon revived Deep Cut from his solo catalog) revisiting their past, and the project was deemed interesting but limited.

Now there is another upper layer act doing the same move. So far, U2 has only previewed his one full track. song of surrender: an overhaul of “Pride (in the Name of Love)” that replaces the wail-raising, sky-reaching fervor of the original with a muted chamber-pop arrangement that didn’t feel out of place even in the ’90s. increase.Episode of MTV UnpluggedSinging in the lower register, Bono sounds more like a late David Bowie than his old self.

As the 2023 edition of “Pride” seeks to demonstrate, one of the rationalizations behind re-recordings is that vintage material can be enhanced by the artist’s life experiences. Old songs can take on new layers and additional depth when sung by a voice that conveys hard-earned lessons. Sometimes it’s true.When George Jones and producer Billy Sherrill re-edited Jones’ early hits for a 1977 compilation All Time Greatest Hits Vol. 1, Some of the slower ballads felt more alive, reflecting the ride up to that point in Jones’ bumpy life.Most recently, St. Vincent was re-recorded Genocide that’s why mass educationand it worked: the revised arrangement, centered mainly on her voice and piano, was less manly than the original and immersed in the inherent beauty of her songwriting.


Still, risks remain. Some artists’ voices may not sound as strong as they did when they were younger, making them less noticeable by comparison. Thanks to Swift and her unspoken endorsement of U2, it may only be a matter of time before other giants decide to remake their past, regardless of generation or genre. I did it once.

Fans could be OK with that scenario, too. Already accustomed to the look and sound of rockers. As the joke goes, the past is different than it used to be, and more and more that can apply to pop as well.

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