I don’t listen to my own work much – I mean, I hear it a lot, in rehearsal, right? – but it’s not just that, it’s that I can’t hear anything but all the flaws. I’m told that’s pretty common, but not universal; it’s just a quirk some artists have. Actors, too; Bill Shatner just recently said on his Twitter account that he never watches his own performances after production, for the same reason.* He’s not the only one; just the one I’ve seen say so recently.
But even with all that in mind, I do listen to my own material occasionally, for one reason or another. I listened to a few tracks on Dick Tracy Must Die this past weekend, and aside from the usual hyperfocus on flaws nobody else ever hears, I listen to those vocals and know – know – how far I’ve come as a vocalist since recording those back in 2011.
A lot of it, I can live with. The vocals… I don’t know. So I think about going back and fixing them – by which I mean re-performing them entirely – but that opens whole shipments of worms, not just individual cans. Would I start screwing with “Shout at the Desert” and how I think it’s recorded too fast? Would I start remastering the whole damn album? I have new albums to make, I don’t have time for this – but I’m insecure and worry that my old vocals are weighing down my current opportunities.
Balanced against that – I don’t get many album reviews, but the few I have got have been pretty damned good.
That’s a pretty scary rabbit hole, no matter how you look at it. Lucas’s revisionism started out fine, too – no? Don’t believe me? Look at the before-and-afters for Young Indiana Jones. That’s where it started. The revised cinema-oriented episodes are genuinely better than the shorter as-aired episodes, and are really kind of wonderful. That round of Lucas revisionism was an unqualified success. Only later did it turn feral.
So, yeah. I kind of honestly don’t know what to do here. If anybody who has heard me perform lately has any opinions, I really do want to hear them, because the artist is generally the worst judge of their own work. And while I put up a pretty good front, I don’t always have the confidence I should just to bully my way through.
*: And jokes about overacting aside – of course he’s guilty of it on a regular basis – he’s also a very good comedic actor and does, in the right hands, deliver an entirely credible dramatic performance. If you don’t believe me, go watch his turn on Playhouse 90 sometime. I suspect he’s just flat out better at drama on stage.