Monday, September 28, 2009

Reading Between The Tracks

Happy Monday People... Or as happy as it can be I suppose haha
Do you ever find that when you buy a CD, you're quick to skip ahead to the tracks you know? To those catchy singles flooding the airwaves long before the album hit the shelves? We're all guilty of it, no use in denying it. Lately, I've been trying to catch myself and break this habit. The reason? In all honesty, most of the songs I grow to love are the ones I discover beneath the gimmicky singles. 

In the music industry, its all about mass market appeal. Its about what's going to sell to the highest percentage of the target group. As a result, the labels choose songs that fit into a specific mould. They have to define what's popular at the time. If its rock, then the label picks something with a heavy guitar riff and lyrics about teenage rebellion. If its rap, the label picks something about rough beginnings and a feature by the hot lyricist with impressive flow. And hey, even if it has to be country, the label throws a violin or a banjo into the mix... its all about sales and profit margins. But what about those songs that break the laws of popularity, the ones that don't fit into the radio charts of the day? 

I think its almost depressing when an incredible album is remembered only for its singles, or forgotten only because it never contained those catchy tracks. When I think of Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is not the first thing that comes to mind... instead, its a little track called Something In The Way that has never let go of me. Buried beneath the hit list that is Nevermind, a lot of the beautiful pieces of music are left underrated. Lost in the shuffle. Grunge rock was popular at the time, not ballads with orchestral strings and harmonies. There is always a lot more to a group than those songs that hit billboard's number one spot, thats important to remember. 

So come on people, lets make a music resolution, make singles a dying breed. Challenge yourself to expand your horizons. The next time you hear a song on the radio that catches your attention, take down the artists name. Remember it. Then when you get home that night, go to Youtube, Lastfm, LaunchCast, Rhapsody, Itunes... whatever website you may choose (even if it happens to be a P2P network which I will ignore) and do some research. You may find that the rest of the bands style just isnt you. Maybe that track is a situation where mass marketing proved deceitful... but then again, maybe you'll discover that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe you'll find out that sure, that song they play at all the shows is great, but that one track in the middle of the album is where the band really gave it their all and thats the track that really speaks to you. You have nothing to lose, so give it a shot. Just listen to an album once... when you first buy it, put it in the CD played and just leave it alone. Dont touch it no matter how much your finger twitches. Let it play and who knows, maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

Happy Listening One & All
Rock On!
- Girl At The Rock Show

A lot of you probably recognize this as the hot new song climbing the charts. Thats why I picked it, to make a point. Not all singles are bad. I happen to love this song actually. Now, Cobra Starship has been around for a few years, picking up a few fans along the way with their dancey techno punk. Writing the title track for Snakes On A Plane as well as song placement in other popular Hollywood blockbusters probably didnt hinder their career progression either. That being said, what about the rest of their songs? Three albums later, this is the first time they've achieved commercial success on the radio. And yet, this song is a great representation of their career catalogue, its not a matter of times. This is the same music they have been playing for years. I have seen them play a few shows over the years and have watched as the crowds grew from fifty to five hundred. Singles arent ALL bad. They give bands who otherwise wouldn't have a chance, their 15 minutes to show us what they can do and I obviously support that. Singles can be great, but don't skip through the rest of the songs without giving them a fair chance. Dont hold other tracks in comparison to one, okay? Now grab a dance partner and click that link!

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