Nothing Can Hurt Me is something of a Big Star sampler, representing all three albums, with the twist that all the tracks are previously unreleased versions. In some cases, they’re alternate or rough mixes from the original sessions; in others, songs are labeled “movie mix, 2012”, prepared specifically for the film by the band’s original engineer. Just to make things even more interesting, some studio chatter is included, along with a “demo” of “O My Soul”, a pedal steel-heavy take of “Try Again” credited to Rock City (aka Big Star before they were Big Star) and a couple of solo Alex Chilton and Chris Bell tracks.
Considering that the Rhino box set served up a whole pile of alternates to justify duplicating song titles, it really is something of a stretch to do it yet again. That said, Big Star fans are fervent, and very likely musicians themselves, so the chance to hear alternate mixes of songs they’ve memorized—maybe to decipher a mumbled lyric or pick apart how the instruments were layered in the studio—is always welcome. Some of us can’t hear enough variations on “I Am The Cosmos” anyway.
If you’re a Big Star fan and you’ve yet to see Nothing Can Hurt Me, either get the DVD now or put it in your Netflix queue. You’ll be glad you did, and don’t be ashamed to wipe your eyes here and there.
Big Star Nothing Can Hurt Me: Original Soundtrack (2013)—3