Hey guys, long time, no posts! I’d say my bad, but at this point, in a year or so from now, I’ll start secretly updating all of my old posts and removing all evidence that I was ever late for a post. Ever.
Anyways, I thought I’d brighten up the termination of your weekend with a little bit of music that you’ve already heard on the radio! Every day this week, I’ll be talking about 1 of 5 recent singles that have come out in the last 6 months. 4 of these have seen some time on the radio spotlight, but the last I’m feeling deserves a shot too. Think of it as a sort of apology for my poor posting behavior.
Singles play a huge role in the modern music industry. Back before digitization of music, when music was either on vinyl or cassette, the idea of a single was unthinkable. Money was the issue- the value of a single song did not outweigh the cost to produce the physical disc or cassette, and thus, music was created with the idea of albums in mind. Every album produced was designed with a goal in mind, a rhythm and flow to the music inspired to hook the listener. Try this: use a program like iTunes, where you can give rating to each song you listen to. Listen to an 80’s or early 90’s album that you’ve heard is good, and rate each song after it finishes. You’ll find that most albums have a mix of good songs, great songs, and mediocre songs. You’ll also notice that there will be a flow to the album- points where the intensity of the music changes and where the quality of the music changes- and you’ll be able to see it in the ratings. Odds are, if it’s a good album, it’ll have a oscillatory pattern to it- a track with a 5, cycles down to a few 4s and 3s and then back up again to 5. Since skipping tracks was impractical, your objective was to try to get your listeners to listen over the whole album. If the fans weren’t willing to stick around for the whole album, then they probably would not bother putting on your album at all.
In the 80s and 90s, when CDs began to become popular, the style of music began to change. Instead of focusing on the flow of an album, the idea and concept of a single became possible due to track skipping. Don’t like track 4 of your favorite album? That’s fine, you are only one press of a button away to get from track 3 to track 5. Still, many bands during this time focused on albums over singles, because it’s what everyone has been doing for so long. Then came the era of the MP3. When completely digital music began to evolve, this brought the idea of the album being more valuable than the single to a close. Where before, setting up an album of singles required some amount of effort on the listeners part (and therefore wasn’t done often), users started to be able to create playlists and develop their own albums, their own flows. Not being artists, they sucked at it, but hey, you can’t have everything. This is when the paradigm of music evolved, and music started being about landing one or two tracks per album on your fan’s playlists. Take a look at Fun’s album Some Nights. I love Fun- they’re a very clever and original band, and they’re bringing quality lyrics and music to pop, but their Some Nights album, as a whole, sucks. They try to make some flow over the course of the album, but quite honestly, I skip track 1, listen until the end of track 4, and then I leave. (AKA, I listen to Some Nights, We Are Young, and then Carry On.) I’m not going to shell out the cash to buy the whole album, but Fun will still make money off of me thanks to the magic of micro-transactions. I would definitely cough up a buck to have Some Nights forever (I already did. That song is so good!) even if the album as a whole isn’t worth my money. If you poke your nose around, you’ll see that many albums follow the same principle, where they try to get you with a few good songs put closer to the beginning than the end.
So, Let’s start with today’s song= Gentleman Hall’s “Sail Into the Sun”
So, things I like about it: It’s really a positive song. It’s uplifting, upbeat, just the thing to listen to on a gray morning into a sunny day. It’s pretty catchy, and overall, I like it. While there’s no video for it yet, there’s a teaser online, which I’ll throw at the bottom of the post. Looks pretty groovy.
On the other hand, there’s a lot that’s awkward with this song, too. Let’s start with the lyrics. The lyrics are pretty bland. There’s a whole lot of sunshine and cheer, and not a lot of engaging wordplay. Quite frankly, I’m bored by the time I hit the end of the song. Even though I called it a strength in the last paragraph, the chipperness is also a bit of a weakness- the change in style in the third stanza isn’t significant enough to pull me out of the same feeling, so overall the song has a one-tone quality to it, and it’s depressingly chipper, Alvin and the Chipmunks hula hoop song chipper. Bleugh. Overall, the song takes no risk, and plays like the background for a commercial that thinks that bright colors are the best thing ever. But actually, it is.
Anywho, that’s all for today, see you tomorrow.