Hi Secret God,
I agree with what Seven Worlds wrote. I find it hard to believe that Neil arranged the songs totally by himself. There is a distinction here between writing a song, and arranging it. It's in Something So Strong that Mitchel Froom wrote the solo for Don't Dream It's Over. This is a solo though, so quite rightly he isn't credited, as Neil Finn wrote the song. Let's take it a step further, should Duke Ellington have credited Johnny Hodges (possibly the most famous of all of Ellington's men, Hodges was THE alto sax player in Ellington's band from 1928 until he died in the late sixties) for all those incredible solos on Ellington's tunes? Of course not, because Ellington wrote the framework and the melody that Hodges then improvised on. I firmly believe that when Neil Finn writes a song it is a melody, chords and most likely the harmonies. Bands where the songwriter dictates each and every part to the other performers rarely work. Why bother with a band? Easier to use session musicians. The whole thing about a band is you have the foundation of the song and everybody brings their part to it. Bands usually end when players have no creative input into the arrangement. The songs on Mental Notes are credited to either Judd/Finn or Judd. Do you seriously think that they wrote all the parts? Including ALL of Eddie Rayner's keyboard parts (remember Tim Finn does not play piano to anything near the standard of Eddie Rayner, and as far as I know Phil Judd couldn't play keyboards at all at the time)? But if you look at the sleeve notes, it clearly states that the songs are all arranged by Split Enz. I don't believe for a second that either Finn or Judd wrote Mike Chunn's bass lines. Essentially the song is written, it is arranged by the band. Think how Together Alone was written. Most of the arrangements came out of group jams. Mark Hart turned Locked Out from a slow acoustic ballad to the Ramones version (Neil Finn's own words) that we have today. I notice Locked Out is written solely by Neil Finn though. Re Hole In The River, there was supposedly a hole in the middle of the song and Nick Seymour said we'll just vamp on C#m. I imagine Eddie Rayner then took Nick's bassline and expanded it into the funky piano break (this is my supposition, it's the part of the song that sounds the most like Eddie Rayner to me).
Yes, I do firmly believe that Nick came up with the bass lines to Paul's songs.
My point was a it's a bit unfair to say Nick had no creative input into the band and that all his bass lines were written by Neil (listen to Twisty Bass if you want to hear a Neil Finn bass line). I'm not having a go at you or anything like that (obligatory ) but to answer your questions, no I don't believe Neil Finn wrote the basslines to all the CH songs. What I do believe is that he would reject bass lines, make suggestions and that he wrote the lyrics (though even this isn't necessarily true Paul Hester wrote the line about blood in the chorus of Four Seasons and we're all aware that Liam Finn wrote the line about Mrs Hairy Legs in Chocolate Cake) the chords and the melody. Do you think Neil wrote all of Paul's drum parts as well? Having heard You Can Touch I'd say Neil Finns keeping his drumming genius very very quiet.
When Neil Finn writes a song I imagine they sound like the demo of Lester, either a solo acoustic or piano, lyrics, melody and harmonies.