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for January 31, 2003


The Single Life
by Stiffy Biceptz

When you last heard from me I was discussing my recent run in with Top 40 radio, and I mentioned my latest favorite song, "All The Things She Said" by a group called T.A.T.U., apparently made up of two young Russian women. They are managed and packaged by the Russian equivalent of one Mr. Pearlman, the Frankenstein behind the likes of N'SNYC and the BackStreet Boys. The song is remarkable for its lush and soaring harmonies, sing-song vocal structure and the fact that it doesn't sound like everything else on the radio. I cannot listen to it enough.
 
Which brings me to my point. Its an amazing single. There have been lots of great singles (or single tracks) in the past year by a wide variety of bands (the Donnas, the Hives, White Stripes, and a few I won't mention), who may or may not ever produce anything listenable again.
 
Ok, here's my point. Who cares? One of the quotes that I was famous for (your cue to grab a pen and write it down) was, "I'd rather have a hundred different bands with one good single each than have ten bands with 10 singles apiece..." Which ties in nicely with my second most famous declaration, "Every band can come up with one good single." As is well documented in the pop music world, bands that can produce a second listenable single are the exception.
 
My conclusion?
 
Good.
 
More artists with less output means a richer diversity of music. It's the old "15 minutes of fame" principle which I cannot claim is mine but heartily endorse nonetheless.
 
In the year 2003, the whole idea of albums is archaic. Only a tiny fraction of bands have the talent, skill, luck or message to produce 10 to 20 tracks worth the plastic discs they are burned on. Let's stop forcing the artists to manufacture so many songs to justify charging 18 bucks. If I were running a record company, I'd allow each artist to issue 4 songs a year, one a quarter. They could record as many as they wanted, but this way, the good stuff most often produced in the initial year or so of the band could be spread out longer; no filler, just killer. I'd charge 4-5 bucks a pop, hardcopy or download. At the end of the year the artist would issue a 4 track ep, for those wanted it all on one disc, and maybe throw in a bonus track just to keep the music pirates honest. It would allow the artists to become craftsmen, not assembly workers. Just think, if Free Parking hadn't shot their entire wad on their first album "And Free Parking For All", I'd be dating J-Lo right now, and you'd be paying for my droplets of wisdom.
 

©2003 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.

 







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