"Jolene" and other records that sound great when played at the wrong speed

‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ is far better at 33rpm:

I suspect I’ve listened to it more often at this speed than the ‘correct’ one.


A few months ago I picked up a sealed copy of Portishead’s Third limited edition lp and put it on the turntable. Started playing it and was digging the slow burn of the new album but something felt “off” - started to read the label and saw that this was an LP but supposed to be played at 45 rpm rather than the normal 33 1/3…

Gotta admit that record sounds good at both speeds (didn’t try it at 78 rpm though!)

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I recorded the Beatles’ “White Album” at 45rpm because it was the only way I could fit all 4 sides onto one cassette tape. After a while your brain just accepts it and doesn’t fight you to slow it down. It’s only after you hear it at the correct speed do things start to sound weird.

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The other ones didn’t include new beat, aka how hardcore techno started off slower than everything else.

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I’m reminded of a time when I was attending high school, way back in the Pleistocene Era. A good buddy of mine was an enormous KISS fan. I could barely abide them, and while he and I were good friends, he would fight like a wounded animal if you were to besmirch them in the slightest. Which of course we did for fun, or whenever he needed taking down a couple of pegs, which was often.

As I say, he was an enormous fan. He had every record, the solo stuff, everything. Card carrying member of the KISS Army. So I don’t know why he did this, but one day he recorded their records at the wrong speed, a higher one, giving them the Chipmunks treatment. This made a single track finish soon enough, and I found it was the only way I could endure one of their songs. Of course, the novelty wore off quickly for myself and others, but for a month he rode around in his Z-28 with no other music playing.

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I have the slowed-down version of Jolene, and I used Audacity to repitch it back to normal pitch. That version may be better than either of the others (slowed or original).

And, IIRC, I also took Tracey Ullman’s ‘They Don’t Know’, slowed it from 45 to 33 but then put the tempo back to 45 (i.e. same speed but much deeper vocals, etc.) and it sounded very interesting, too. Must hunt down that file and refresh my memory of it.

This at half speed makes it sound even more mournful than normal.

I’m pretty sure that ESG whatever would sound like shit at any speed.

Cat Scratch Fever off the LP played at 45 RPM showed exactly how slow and not hard so called hard rock was. I heard it as I was being introduced to Black Flag and the Circle Jerks and I could not unhear it. So much music of the 70’s is better when it is sped up.

I listened to pretty much all of Pink Floyd - The Endless River at 45 rpm one time. For those that haven’t listened, it’s mostly an instrumental album except the last song or two. I thought it had sounded like it had less bass, but didn’t really question it further… until one of the tracks with Gilmore singing popped up and I just bust a gut laughing. It was a pretty amusing moment for me realizing I had just listened to 30+ min of music at the wrong speed.

Old Canadian Hardcore classic. My friends and I weren’t the only crew to listen to this at the wrong speed: (link is the right speed)

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