First, thrilled to be a getting a new NF album.
To dig a little deeper here, I have to admit to having slightly mixed feelings about the process. I mean, judging from his live improvisational songs over the years, alone, if anyone could pull off something more spontaneous, it's Neil Finn. On the other hand, judging from the development of some of my favorite CH/NF songs from demo through final recording, sometimes taking a step back and rethinking a song with a good, objective producer's input creates magic.
I guess he's splitting the difference here by doing the song composition first (as well as including older, already established songs) and just playing with more spontaneous arrangement ideas in the studio. Plus, I suppose the same kind of rethinking and evolution that happened to "Now We're Getting Somewhere" and "Fall At Your Feet" could happen during the arranging process. Either way, he'll certainly be getting a lot of feedback on the progress, so he'll have an idea what everybody (including the fans) thinks, which he can take into account, in terms of the songs and what to include or not on the final album, if he chooses to.
I'm very interested in seeing the process and hearing the final results, but some little voice inside is just worried that setting the mixing, mastering and release all on the same date - where just allowing the public to watch the entire process up to that point would have generated enough interest and spontaneity, alone - may not be a particularly useful risk he NEEDS to take artistically. I'm not sure, exactly, what the point is of rushing the final steps and trying to compact them into one day. He could have attempted it in one day and released it that way if he was thrilled with the results, but leaving himself no escape clause means if he's not 100% happy, artistically, with the results, he's knowingly releasing an album with which he COULD have been completely satisfied had he allowed for a little reflection.
Ultimately, I have faith in Neil to know what he's doing and to know what he needs to keep himself as actively engaged in the process of creating music as possible at this point in his career. Maybe it's simply a mental bias on my part that I'd prefer to hear a new album without having to consider the context in which it was made as part of the artistic statement (for instance, it's almost impossible to divorce Nick Cave's new album from the context of the tragic loss of his son, which, for me, at least, colors the final results in some way). If one publicly puts unnecessary, purposeful restrictions and limitations on oneself in creating a piece of art, can that art ever truly be viewed independently of those restrictions and limitations? Will there always be an (at the very least, subconscious) addition of "despite the restrictions" or "for an album made under those limitations" to any opinion of the results and/or the sense that somehow the restrictions were a "gimmick" or some reflexive assumption that the results may not be as good as they could have been had the artist not placed those restrictions on themselves (though we'll never know)?