Will Toledo, founder of Car Seat Headrest, began writing music in his teens and has continued to refine his previous releases as he grows in popularity and talent.
Several of the songs from his 2015 release Teens of Style were re-recorded versions of songs from one of the 12 albums he released on his Bandcamp account before he signed to Matador Records in 2015. But his newest release, Twin Fantasy, is a complete re-record of an album he released on his Bandcamp in 2011. He completely rethought the album using the skills he gained in the years since 2011 to refine and enhance it.
The writing on the album still has its youthful edge, but Toledo must have thought the album was good enough to be put out again. This time, however, it was released on a major label. Therefore, Toledo had the money and manpower to be able to put real time and production value into his work, making it a more refined album than the one on his Bandcamp.
That is something more artists should do more often. Obviously artists write before they sign to a major label. The artist can therefore refine their work and give it the production value it deserves.
Artists like Father John Misty, who released eight less commercially successful albums under the moniker J. Tillman, or The Districts, who released an entire album — Telephone — before signing to a label, should return to their old works. They signed to a label for a reason, so the music that was written before the artist signed should get the attention it so clearly deserves.
Music is fluid. It does not permanently have to sound as if it was recorded in a garage. A good song is still a good song, and better production can’t hurt it. Rethinking old music is not regression, but rather showing off music that has the potential to be commercially successful.
Ignoring old music that an artist has written is akin to ignoring history. Re-recording and releasing an album that is older showcases an artist’s full growth since the conception of the album. Re-recording quality music that didn’t get enough attention originally shows the full spectrum of an artist’s songwriting ability.
A piece of music that is unrefined doesn’t have to be that way forever. A song or an album can grow with an artist. Music can easily be refreshed to shine a light on the artist’s early works.
Just because an artist has grown doesn’t mean he or she should ignore the music that came before. Music that is unrefined can easily become refined with some help from a major label. If the resources are available, artists should revisit the music they wrote before they were signed to a label to showcase good music that did not get the attention it deserved.
Shelby Campbell is a freshman studying journalism and political science at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Let Shelby know by tweeting her .