Big Star - You Get What You Deserve (demo)
A lot of people just considered Big Star to be a studio band - the sound of a bunch of guys dicking around at Memphis’s Ardent studio, treating it like Guided By Voices treated their four-tracks. Lucky sonsabitches.
2009’s Keep an Eye on the Sky box set features a number of alternate takes of the band’s earlier material, but Alex Chilton’s solo demos for post-Radio Citymaterial provide the deepest insight. Aside from the aforementioned ‘Downs’, the songs for Third seem to have gone through absolutely no change. Sure, there’s a version of ‘Big Black Car’ where Chilton would rather “fuck” than “sleep in a holiday in”, but the lyrics and arrangements are all surprisingly watertight.
The big anomaly in these is an acoustic version of ‘You Get What You Deserve’. This is mostly because it’s simply another rendition of the song from Radio City. However, it also seems like the big reveal on the album’s psyche - the fact that Chilton was always this pissed off. He just didn’t want to make it particularly obvious.
The album version is all raging guitars, hefty solos and rock bombast. On the demo version, you can hear much more clearly what Chilton’s actually singing - and you wonder if he was ever considering to give it a second home onThird. It would certainly have made sense.
The lyrics are worth posting in full:
Try to understand what I’m going through, but don’t blame me for what folks’ll do. For some of us it’s not a good time, but you’re gonna get used to, and you’d better resign yourself: you get what you deserve. You oughtta find out what it’s worth. And you gotta have a lot of nerve. You just do what pleases you. Go on and sign out every move. You’re gonna get your place in the scene. All God’s orphans get a face in the dream. Too bad. Such a drag. So much pain down the drain. And a lot of us ain’t got many friends.
Just imagine what he would have written if Big Star had made it.