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April 21, 2008

Filed under: music»recording»sketchpad

Musical Sketchpad, Session Thirteen

Better Off Dead, as made famous by Bad Religion:


Been a while. Give me a chance to explain this one.

Bad Religion's Stranger than Fiction caught my ear again a couple months ago. It's the album with a lot of the classic BR songs on it: Infected, 21st Century Digital Boy, and Incomplete, for starters. But there's an impressive level of songwriting in evidence, with sharp lyrics and chord progressions that--if not incredibly original--are more complicated than they sound, and certainly more involved than punk deserves.

In fact, I like the songs so much, I've had an itch to do the whole lot of them as acoustic, voice-and-bass covers, inspired in part by the sound of the baritone guitar on the most recent Evens CD. "Better Off Dead" just happened to be the first one I picked. I think it'd be a fun project, to cover the album from start to finish this way.

There's not much technique on display here, either in terms of production or musicianship. I experimented with doing some fingerstyle arpeggios, but in the end I just strummed and sang. This mix has barely even been mixed, and has had no EQ or compression or mastering, as far as I can remember. I don't know how it'll sound through your speakers. But I'm pretty happy with the performance, and still oddly taken with the idea--although I won't subject anyone else to it anymore. Just this once.

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