Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Too Close To The Edit?

In what I think they said was Phil Spector's first television interview for forty years, the "genius that other geniuses come to" described The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations as an "edit song".

Since he contrasted this with his own composition "Be My Baby" (which Brian Wilson calls the greatest song ever written), I took him to mean that an "edit song" was one that couldn't be faithfully reproduced live and was therefore inferior at some emotional and perhaps musical level. It's an interesting thought.

Perhaps that is what the repulsion of the uncanny valley is about - if something is refined or edited too much, the authenticity is lost and we sense the manufacture involved. This doesn't mean we have to get it right first time, but I wonder if it means we have to know when to stop refining and move to a whole new model/service. Incremental improvements are fine, but eventually they get tiresome. It's easier to be remarkable if you do something completely new.


Blogger Mark McGuinness said...

That was a riveting interview. I had a different take on what he meant by 'edit song' although I'm not musician so your guess is at least as good as mine.

I took 'edit song' to mean a song in which the editing (and therefore the editor/producer) is critical to helping the song find its final form. My impression was that Spector was bigging up his contribution to the record, implying that Wilson was pretty good songwriter but it took producer of genius to turn his music into the real deal. I didn't pick up any suggestion of inauthenticity.

In the same way, I'd call The Wasteland an 'edit poem'. TS Eliot's original draft was brilliant but rambling, and included some pretty average material. It took Ezra Pound's critical eye to sort out the wheat from the chaff and edit the poem down to its published form, an acknowledged masterpiece. That's why Eliot dedicated the poem to Pound as 'il miglior fabbro' (the better craftsman).

Pound was barking mad as well.

1:42 AM, October 29, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

Hi Mark

Yes, I like that interpretation too and agree totally. My interpretation was influenced (maybe wrongly) by Spector's follow-up statement that Psycho was an edit-movie which needed the edits to make it work, whereas Rebecca was a great story. That seemed to me to suggest that it was better to get the story right than to rely on edits, but maybe I was trying to rationalise the thoughts of a rather odd mind.

2:23 AM, October 29, 2008  
Blogger john dodds said...

And, of course, since Wilson was his own producer this would mean that Spector was saying he was a better producer - so that would fit.

3:23 AM, October 29, 2008  
Blogger lauren said...

oh but doddsy, don't you know that we're in post-modernity now, which means that nothing is completely original. which means that nothing is completely remarkable.

6:25 AM, October 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an incredibly useful concept, Mr. Dodds. I have always wondered why it's so much easier to sell a whole new thing to a big company than a cheap little enhancement that obviates the need for a whole new thing. Not everyone is Phil Spector -- they'd rather be responsible for the good story than the edit thing. Thanks again. v. helpful insight.

5:52 AM, October 30, 2008  

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