Jason Falkner – Necessity: The 4-Track Years

Jason Falkner - Necessity: The 4-Track YearsI like Necessity: The 4-Track Years, a collection of lo-fi demo recordings by rising power pop star Jason Falkner, and yet it bugs the heck out of me.

It really says something about Falkner’s fans that they’ll actually buy (A) a CD of home demo recordings, and (B) a CD of songs which, for the most part, they’ve already heard on his two solo albums to date. It’s kind of a treat to hear these songs in their work-in-progress raw state, but the thing about Falkner is that he’s enough of a perfectionist that the difference between demo and finished recording isn’t always that great. “She Goes To Bed”, for example, possibly my favorite Falkner song of all, isn’t all that different here than it is from the final version that made it onto Falkner’s first solo album. Now, I’m impressed that this was mostly done with four-track recorders (a basic piece of home studio gear on which I’ve never managed to sound this good), but Falkner works his arrangements out in his head obsessively – and the result is primarily a difference in the fidelity of the recording.

Such songs as “She Is Not The Enemy” make their first official appearance on record here, though we Falkner fans are notorious for finding the man’s old recordings in bootleg form, so chances are, if you’re into Falkner, there won’t be much new here. “His Train” is just about worth the cost of admission though. I did, however, like the slightly more-chilled-out take on “Hectified”, with its catchy little guitar hook.

Good stuff, but what bugs me is that Necessity is one of several compilations of Jason Falkner’s demos, early indie label singles, B-sides, covers and whatnot that have been released. Some of these have been intended for foreign markets, but most if not all of them overlap heavily in terms of the material used – and this is from an artist whose professional music career as a solo artist spans not quite a decade (less than a 3 out of 4decade as of this compilation’s release), and only two original albums. Falkner’s supposedly been working on a new album for a while, but the number of times he’s recycled old material endlessly in the interim. It’s not as if Jason Falkner owes me a new CD, but after so many demo/B-side/indie label single compilations, part of me is hoping to hear something new from him soon.

Order this CD

  1. She Is Not The Enemy (3:45)
  2. She Goes To Bed (4:13)
  3. His Train (3:43)
  4. Song For Her (2:29)
  5. I Live (3:09)
  6. Miracle Medicine (3:24)
  7. Hard Way (4:46)
  8. My Home Is Not A House (3:29)
  9. Take Good Care Of Me (4:25)
  10. Hectified (2:58)
  11. Road Kill Rules (4:02)
  12. I Go Astray (3:54)

Released by: Phantom
Release date: 2001
Total running time: 44:17