It probably wouldn’t surprise you to hear that creating a full-length album is a lot of work. For an independent album with even a small budget, you’re often looking at weeks, months or even years of writing, rewriting, second-guessing, managing budget, grant writing (if you’re lucky), collaboration with other artists, working with a multitude of professionals for engineering, mixing, mastering, artwork, marketing, etc., etc. You get it – it’s a lot.
And I appreciate the effort. There’s little in life that I enjoy more than sitting down with a new album and really getting to enjoy the fruits of someone’s creative efforts.
Usually, in the process of all that work and rework, artists end up with material that just didn’t make the cut. Some of it might be unsalvagable garbage, never to see the light of day or ideas that never grew into anything usable. But a lot of it is actually quite good. Maybe they just ran out of time or resources to polish it into a fully realized piece. Maybe they just couldn’t get it exactly the way they wanted it and cut it.
Whatever the case, I love that people still choose to put in that little bit of extra work to release these as b-sides/extras/whatever. I often find myself liking them even more than a polished gem of a studio album because they let me peer behind the curtain a bit and see what kind of stuff goes on when they’re creating stuff. These tracks tend to have a certain energy and roughness to them that makes them feel more intimate. They also frequently contain really wonderful music.
Just a quick thought for today. I was going to go into the whole history of b-sides thing, but maybe another day. Hope this just encourages you to listen to spend some extra time with some of your favourite artists.