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Getting Past the Industry to Love Music Again
|Late Night Thoughts on Hell or High Water
|In my last post, I was referencing something I wrote earlier this week. It something that I've shown a few people, including the artist, and have contemplated posting for the past two days. While reading it, I understand that it sounds pretentious, but again, I digress that music is a touchy subject as an art form because of the weight it has the ability to carry with people which leads into discussion and arguments.|
For example, last night at the These Arms Are Snakes, Young Widows and Maserati show, I had a discussion about my book with Young Widows' merch guy who seemed upset that there was a list of bands that I wasn't including in my book that are "more influential" in his eyes. I agreed with where he was coming from, but stressed that I wasn't as familiar with said bands, and even though they will receive mention, I can't write as knowledgeable for said bands.
I was inspired by this since I finished the chapter last week. Remember: Music isn't here for controversy, but insightful discussion-- it's the market of ideas that keep the art form interesting and fresh, and I think that's the point I want to get across here:
I met all the guys in As Cities Burn at different stages of my life. The first church I ever went to, I befriended Colin. In college, I started a radio show that originally belonged to Chris the year before. Cody recorded my first demo for a project that was fun for a while, but is now dead before it was pumped with any more life. Aaron is, honestly, just a great guy who I have had drinks with.
Watching As Cities Burn grow from the stage at my high school's Battle of the Bands to an even bigger stage for their CD Release show, their "final" tour, and then opening for them at their "secret" show a night before their CD release for Come Now Sleep, it's hard to believe that their time is now coming to an end.
An end also reflects enlightenment. Like a person on their death bed, one ponders decisions made by direct and indirect forces within their life. What if certain things went this way? What if that didn't happen? Was it really for the best?-- Each question just a reflection of "could haves" and "should haves" in justifying those means that gave said person. or persons. obtainable. or unobtainable. endings. Within the life we reflect, we also may possess documentations such as photographs, reels and heirlooms that spark memories of adolescence and growth, creating nostalgia that is either embraced, or creates a sense of shame.
Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest was a solid reflection of angst and humbleness in the eyes of either fear, a higher power, or even both. It's heavy sound came along at a time when the river flowed heavy, but narrow enough to spot each current for what it was worth. In the years between debuts and follow-ups, the river grew wider, and all the people saw was a stagnant flow of water. Come Now Sleep was a drift against the current while still possessing the same elemental state. Hell or High Water is the irrigated water dried into the root filled ground.
Lyrically Cody has dipped into a confrontation between religion and belief and an idea that songs either possess an abundance of meaning or something to sing back to in harmony. The ironic thing about both scenarios comes down to the song's original author, and the initial ideas that flow from thought to ink and paper. Somewhere between the studio and a car stereo or concert is the miscommunication of the original author's vision. Are we meant to get it anyway, or do we think we get it? And if we think we got it, is it the correct interpretation?
Talking with Cody over lunch about the new album, it seems this is what possibly brought about the band's demise. It seems that maybe the original author's intent hasn't been reflected back in a way he would have thought to see it. This is not to say success isn't appreciated. When anyone gives kudos to an artistic vision, that artist will forever be grateful.
Maybe it's marketing, or maybe it's a deeper seeded misunderstanding, equally weighted between the artist and its fans, or at a business level, consumers. Maybe it's neither parties' problem, but the middle machine that "knows what's best" and sells us either consciously or subconsciously.
After hearing Come Now Sleep, my reaction was this: "If people don't love this record, there's no hope for progressively good music." After hearing Hell or High Water my thought weighs differently: "If people don't love this record, maybe they don't deserve to get it." Pompous and pretentious as that sounds, I say that with objectivity, grasping the underlining of a conflicting interest of having a preexisting history with the band.
But it is that preexisting history that melds a greater understanding of the end. Through pondering the means of the last seven years of the band's existence, it seems the members are moving on with their lives, all with positive outlooks ahead. Hell or High Water more importantly showcases the life of the band, a documentation full of adolescent beginnings ("'84 Sheepdog") progressive footsteps ("Lady Blue") and passing the torch on to personal heirs ("Capover").
Progression is a tricky subject because it alienates some who aren't ready for change, or possibly don't understand it. So many great bands experience this occurrence. In fact one time I heard these demos and asked, "Well, would you rather have a million fans or 50,000 fans that appreciate thoughtful progression?"
If you're willing to give it a chance, the album will surely touch you, and that is sincerely critically objective.
love and respect.
|Tags: Late Night Thoughts, As Cities Burn, Hell Or High Water