I just spent a few hours redoing vocals for our next single, as when listening back to the original I don’t think it was as good a performance as what I’m capable of. Which makes sense, as I’m a better musician now than I was then (I don’t remember how long ago I cut those other tracks). This is an infuriating conundrum for a musician (at least one who is practicing and attempting to better one’s skills): no matter how good a performance you put down, in retrospect it will be worse than you could do now. This can create a spiral of constantly re-recording tracks as musicianship improves, and if you record in your own studio (as we do) can cause songs to never be released. It’s especially funny (in an infuriating sort of way) when others hear my old “crappy” tracks and my new “improved” tracks and don’t hear a difference. To them I guess I just sound like me.
There’s another curious thing that happens with time,though: when a track (or song, or whatever) is old enough, the performance doesn’t seem to be such an issue, like it’s just become this old song that I remember, and not “my dreadful performance” anymore. At least this is how I experience it. So there’s the time I’m performing the track and anything from as long as a day to as little as ten minutes afterward when I’m quite pleased w/ my performance (at times I even start to believe I’m a genius) and directly after that I listen to the same performance and hear it as complete rubbish and then after that window (which can last months) I start to like it again. At this last stage I feel like I stop hearing it as “me”. (Does that make sense or does it just sound nutty?)
Of course, this all makes the recording process tricky (and for anyone that has to deal w/ me, infuriating), since my opinion of the recording is so mercurial. I guess this is why producers were invented.