I think this is the year we reflect on our lives. With anticipated releases from some of our all-time favorite bands, we all sit in anticipation, waiting, to see if said band can pop the cap off our nostalgic good times.
The Daily Reveille finally set their online archive straight with their new server and site, and all my articles are back on the Web. But it's one of my last opinion columns that I reread today before typing this post. It's something that seems pertinent to what I'm about to say.
Yesterday I finished my chapter on The Shape of Punk to Come. In essence, a few people-- and artists-- may hate me because I essentially talk about the irony behind the record (and also how great it is with interviews from David Sandström) and how it spawned a "scene" where the ideas behind the record aren't held in the same light. I don't call anyone out in particular, but more of a group or "you know who you are" type general statement.
One of the things that struck me with Sandström's interview is his love, and still love, for 80's hardcore and the "new school" hardcore, as he called it, of the 90's. He said him and Dennis Lyxzén are still huge fans, and are in fact working together to recreate that sound in a new band. (NO, NOT ANOTHER REFUSED, SO DON'T LOSE YOUR SHIT!)
The point of my last opinion column was how the Internet has opened up an archive of new and old music to discover and rediscover. The idea being that age is important with some music. Adolescence may accept adolescent music and with age and we may "get" other aspects of the musical spectrum.
This is not to say that adolescence doesn't bring about great music. Albums like Blink 182's Dude Ranch and Descendant's Milo Goes to College are best because of the adolescent ideas lyrically and musically. For my greatest example, I shall use Weezer.
Weezer's Weezer (the Blue one!) is one of the greatest albums ever, especially in the 90's. The key to the record is its adolescent approach and swagger. Everything seems innocent and realatable. It's definitive in pre-teen to teenager angst nature. Weezer then "grows up" and gives us Pinkerton, which is my personal favorite, and then something happens. It's like they grew up too much, and maybe we didn't. Later Weezer isn't as approachable to fans of their older catalog because maybe, just maybe, we as fans don't want to grow up with them.
A lot of our favorite artists are releasing albums this year, and I expect many of them to grow with their music, as they grow in age. I'm thankful to still have bands like Thursday and New Found Glory around. It's good to go back and rediscover why I fell in love with them in the first place. With the Internet, I hope I don't get caught up in discovering so many new artists, that I forget about the ones I know and love.
Maybe, just maybe, that U2 album will grow on me, I mean, they did right The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby...so maybe I'm just not grown up enough....
...or maybe Rolling Stone smoked a lot of cocaine before they wrote their review.
If only this existed years ago. My mind would probably more crammed with musical references and a greater knowledge of back catalogs.
Myspace.com has given the generation after me a greater opportunity than I had. I can honestly say, as a music journalist, I have had it easier than all those before me.
With the ability to discover, and at times hoard - for better or worse - back catalogs of music. Essentially, I harbored an archive of education that cost me nothing, but was mainly illegal (in my defense, I am a music journalist, so under fair use, I will testify under educational and job related use).
Now, I don't have the illegal problem for two reasons: 1) In the past four years, I have obtained a lot of records for free through radio or whatever print I was working for, or am working for, and 2) I won't have to if this little Myspace thing keeps up.
See, one used to be able to "sample" songs, usually no more than a few, on an artist's page, or listen to 30 second clips on iTunes or Amazon. Now, one can discover an entire catalog. Not just the new release for a week, or a few older songs off a band's first record-- but an entire archive FOR FREE.
Only a few bands are doing this as of late. I can understand this through whatever personal or label reasons that this may be. But for the bands that are participating, are they throwing out the fact that their records can be Web ripped or have they simply realized the idea that the bigger end of losing out on Web rips is the overall exposure.
Isn't that it in the end? The exposure. What if an artist sells 100 CD's, because their album leaked to 500 people, and a fifth of them bought it, or someone who overheard them bought it? I understand there are now 400 CD's that aren't sold, but a band can only hope that all those 500 listeners will at least make putting gas in their van and enduring road trips worthwhile by showing up to those same artist's shows.
By combating the problem, things can only get worse. The last few years have greatly proven that. We're all little kids, and when we're told not to do something, we usually let our curiosity, or stubborn foot forward take its step.
In the wake of a crumbling economy (at least gas is a slippery slope), bands participating in utilizing Myspace's new technology will give new listeners a good dig into their catalog. Bands change, and by getting the full spectrum of sound across a career, whether short or a lush decade, a quantity of selections might just equal a new listener picking out their quality.
Though this may be hurting artist in record sales (for some reason Universal is prevailing, even after picking up BMG, which is like Wal-Mart acquiring Big Lots or Dollar General), the money saved in just listening to a band's catalog online might be used to go see them at a club when they pass through. No one likes to go alone either, so a band should expect an extra ticket sale here and there which may or may not lead to shirt sale or even a dollar for a button.
The next generation behind me has it so much easier - legal and frugal. I would only hope this trend catches on throughout Myspace pages. This is the archive I was talking about with LSU Professor Stephen Beck. This is the legal way of discovering music, and it may be the future. Financially, for both label and artist, where that leads, I don't have an answer.