This song works because of the melody and the simple single note lead. It could be remixed into many contexts sped up slowed down, lyrics turned to nonsense and it would still work. Melody is king.
Bat for Lashes’ song Laura. Co-written by Justin Parker. He co-wrote some of my favourite songs from Lana Del Rey. Music is communication of emotion. If the melody is beautiful, you really only need the human voice.
Over at a blog called Silent Attraction they discuss the
luck success of two rappers achieving a number one hit unsigned. It was not unprecedented which they acknowledge later in the post. They also posit this statement about what it means:
These labels have to be nervous; no longer do artists need to go through them in order to be successful.
I have a feeling they are no more nervous than big publishing is about independent authors. Each has and will have its place in the ecosystem. I think the disambiguation has a far more reaching impact on those whom made their living as intermediaries between the artists and the labels. Independent A&R people who were going to use their deep connections to get you signed. They are the ones who should be shaking in their boots just like agents for authors are. They are not necessary anymore; you only need a good attorney to represent you. And from the labels perspective I can simply watch the independent charts, the blogs, data mine etc. and then convince the artists their life would be easier if the label handled all the heavy lifting. Of course, I would need to be compensated for all my beneficence like taking a cut of your touring money, publishing and half of your t-shirt sales, something that used to be considered unconscionable. It’s necessary you see, it’s harder to make a profit what with all the file sharing.
Have you ever wondered what percentage of musicians and actors began practicing their craft because they wanted to meet members of the opposite sex or they craved fame and adulation? One is probably safe in saying that it exceeds 60%. For the last twenty-five years and perhaps longer artists try to be bigger than their art. Their art is merely an avenue to adulation and praise, a path to the cult of personality. So many musicians move into acting following a single hit that the public quickly forgets that they had nothing to say before they had nothing to say. Once they have achieved a modicum of fame they can slump or peacock about, style dependent, whoring endlessly on television and especially on that merchant to the lowest common denominator, MTV.
Fame is ultimately of little value, but it hasn’t stopped people from debasing themselves in a thousand novel ways to taste it. When fame is the goal, a person’s art is attached to them like a Siamese twin, one which dies much sooner than the other. Kenny Rogers the ex-rock, ex-pop, full time country singer was quoted as saying, “At the peak of my success I had no life” or words to that effect. In other words your fans, your managers, your record label owns every minute of your day. Who hasn’t heard some idiot fan pontificating on why famous person Z owes them something simply because the simpleton admired the artist. Popular music is fashion as the cliché goes and Kenny Rogers in the nineties was the musical equivalent of designer jeans. This, of course, permitted him to make a “comeback” never mind he never stopped recording. Comebacks are normally nostalgia driven sales of a new record, which is sufficiently fashionable for the critics to love; never mind five years ago they couldn’t find enough hateful things to say.
Art should be separated from personality. Fans should connect with the art not the artist. The artist should care little whether one person reads listens or acknowledges their art. The work is the end, not financial achievement, not public recognition. If no one knows who you are, they judge your art on it’s own merits. There is no need for a comeback because if you have integrity you write the best you can without false company deadlines, demands that you promote and a big advance hanging over your head. If you want to join the ranks of media whores and start your own cult of personality remember your Siamese twin and when it dies it will probably poison you too.
Caught this web site when he stopped by mine. It some ways it reminds me of Jonathan Toth of Hoth which someone sent to me after a drunken tour of Youtube’s more obscure low volume listens. Totally different sounds and levels of popular awareness but what they share in common are intelligent lyrics. Rather rare in hip-hop which is dominated by the likes of Jay-Z who has nothing to say which he never tires of saying with a nice beat and light show. I have 99 problems but ethics ain’t one. Actually that is unfair because he is a great businessman and promoter who grew up on the mean streets of Brooklyn, NY, which means he’s a moral colossus, just ask Lance “Un” Rivera. As Balzac observed, “Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait.”
Hip Hop has the same rhythmic rhyming schemes which you either like or head for the nearest exit. In that way it is not at all unlike a strict form like a sonnet. It’s hard to be creative and interesting in a 8 X 8 prison cell so it’s nice when you find it.
Caught this story (h/t Instapundit). Whenever legislation has the word “fairness” in it, you can be sure some corrupt corporation, constituency, or cause is getting their payoff. The odd part is who will suffer should it pass. Why it is the big money musicians, the same people who have overwhelming supported big government candidates. Now they are upset that it will impact them financially. It must be okay because the bill’s sponsors are all Democrats. Perhaps Tom Morello will volunteer to help get it pushed through. Remember it’s the other person who is greedy. All you are asking for is your fair share.
Stumbled across this editorial by the dim bulb Tom Morello. It is really a poorly written editorial, consisting almost exclusively of buzzwords, hackneyed phrases and ipsedixitisms. He has thrived and made millions through one of the most ruthless corporate machines there is, the music industry. If he had any integrity at all, his band would have remained independent, sold their records from stage and their own web site and donated the proceeds to their favourite leftist causes, Peletier, Zapitistas, etc. Tom would like to invite everyone to download his band’s music via bit torrent to avoid feeding another dime to the 1% in the music industry. People have the right to be enlightened by Zack de la Rocha’s insights. Please use this handy link.
(Update: accidentally put bold on the font for 3/4 of the post so I have removed that)