Puttin It Down
By: Beck Hansen

Written by: Beck Hansen

Versions:
  1. Puttin It Down (2:36)
    Available on Beck, Like The Beer.
  2. Puttin It Down (2:22)
    Available on Stereopathetic Soulmanure.
    Credits
    Tom Grimley: Engineer
    Beck Hansen: Guitar (Acoustic), Producer, Vocals
  3. Puttin It Down (2:51)
    Available on Southlander.
 
Lyrics:
Puttin It Down [Version (a)]:

Big pain burning now, giving me a cow
What you seem to be saying is you're patiently waiting like an ashtray for the butt
Well, I'm putting it down, but you're not picking it up
Yeah, putting it down, but you treat me like a clown and I don't want to be funny

Fat chance, glued to the wall like a centerfold of an old cannonball
Will you put me inside the tv tonight 'cause you're treatin' me like a rerun?
Well, I'm puttin' it down, but you're not pickin' it up
Well, I'm puttin' it down, but you treat me like a clown and I don't want to be funny, no no no

So what? I lost my job at the Hut, my ass got cut
But I'll be better at kissin' when my teeth are all missin'
And the silverware's burnt and I'm eatin' with my fingers
Well, I'm putting it down, but you're not picking it up
Well, I'm putting it down, but you treat me like a clown and I don't want to be funny, yeah yeah yeah
Puttin It Down [Version (b)]:

Big pain burning now, giving me a cow
What you seem to be saying is you're patiently waiting like an ashtray for the butt
Well, I'm putting it down, but you're not picking it up
Yeah, putting it down, but you treat me like a clown and I don't want to be funny

Big...chance, glued to the wall like a centerfold of an old cannonball
Will you stick me inside the tv tonight 'cause you're treatin' me like a rerun?
Well, I'm puttin' it down, but you're not pickin' it up
Well, I'm puttin' it down, but you treat me like a clown and I don't want to be funny, no no no

So what? My ass got cut at the Hut, oh no no
But I'll be better at kissin' when my teeth are all missin'
The silverware's burnt and I'm eatin' with my fingers
Well, I'm putting it down, but you're not picking it up
Well, I'm putting it down, but you treat me like a clown and I don't want to be funny, yeah yeah yeah
 
 
The Song:

"Puttin It Down" can be found on Beck's 1994 album, Stereopathetic Soulmanure. An earlier demo version can also be found on a tape called Beck, Like The Beer.

This old folk song actually has some of Beck's finest unrequited love lines. There is a little bit of silliness in there, as a young man is wont to do, but mostly I think of this as a relatively meaningful song. Declarations like "I'm putting it down, but you're not picking it up" and "you treat me like a clown but I don't want to be funny" are observant and somewhat emotional. I mean, who hasn't been treated like a re-run every once in awhile?

The demo version is a slower, less-spirited version of the song. There also seems to be some percussion banging in there, whether it is actual drums, I'm not sure.
 
Live:

Played live 29 times:
Earliest known live version: September 6, 1994
Latest known live version: May 1, 2004

One neat early performance of "Puttin It Down" was on November 5 1994 in Madrid, when it led off a medley with Beck playing a number of his acoustic songs (including other rarely performed songs as "Cyanide Breath Mint" and "Nitemare Hippy Girl") in rapid-fire succession.

A few weeks later, on November 28 1994, Beck began his acoustic set by playing "Puttin It Down" on its own (no medley this time). Instead of the big loose chords of the Stereopathetic recording, the guitar playing is tight and restrained. His vocals match, and the arrangement is all the more bluesier?which certainly fits with many of the lyrics. The song no longer sounds like a young kid and a guitar, it's a much more confident and mature tune.

On November 11 1995, but Beck played a show at a 250-person club in Silverlake, CA. He opened the show with a pretty great version of "Puttin It Down." Before the song, he can't remember what it's called. . .some clever audience member offers "Recyclable Pillow." In the middle, he changes one line to "treatin' me like a backwash man!" (He'd use this line a number of other times too in 1996.) Beck really enjoyed the word (1, 2) there for awhile.

Beck does a silly version on July 21 1996, in his acoustic set. Someone requested it in the audience, which seems to be generally the only reason Beck performs it. During his "no no no!" break after the second verse he goes "No no no, Billy Joel!"

A terrific performance on September 1 1996 leads to a new third verse: "Fat chance / So what? / Who cares? / We do / I lost my job at the committee / But I'll be better at kissin' when my teeth are all missing persons / Out and I'm back through the town."

"Puttin It Down" has only been played in solo acoustic sets, never with a band, I don't think. The closest thing might've been at a festival on August 10 2003, where Badly Drawn Boy joined Beck's set for one song: "Puttin It Down." Beck plays some great acoustic guitar on it, while they just harmonize together. BDB's presence makes this one of the more complete, finer live performances of the song because Beck usually half-asses it, or forgets the words, etc.