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Thursday Discussion: Quality Over Quantity

Posted by - 12:22 PM on 01/17/13
With the announcement of Justin Timberlake's new album on Monday, his first album in six years, the topic of releasing quality over quantity was the first topic that seemed to arise (or at least for me). While debating and arguing music is all semantics, there is still something to be said for an artist that can return from their musical hiatus and release high quality material that lives up to their fans expectations, even after so many years. In general, most artists release a new album every two to three years at most, which has worked in the frameworks of the music industry of the past. Build hype, release album, tour said album and then eventually start writing and head back into the studio to begin the process all over again. But in the age of constant gratification, piracy and the ever changing face of music, it seems that artists are pressured into releasing as much material as possible to stay relevant and keep their fan base interested before going the way of the dodo. The conversation of how the internet has changed the way music is made, distributed and presented to the world is one that could be debated for ages with no real solution.

Now this isn't to say that it isn't possible to constantly release high quality material at a frequent and alarming pace, many do it all the time. Kanye West, Portugal. The Man, Olafur Arnolds and more have a steady stream of top notch music, some of the best in their respective genres, that they turn out at what seems to be at a yearly rate. So obviously the notion doesn't stand true for everyone, but for the most part it stands. Which brings up the question - "What makes a long awaited release that much more fulfilling than what you expect on getting every couple years?"

Ultimately, I believe the whole conversation can be summed up to a simple word: passion. When it comes to any form of artistic expression, there needs to be passion, just like anything in life. And with the current state of the music industry, it's understandable and reasonable for people to burn out trying to become the next big thing. Because lets be honest, if you aren't making art because you love it, you're doing it for all the wrong reasons and it shows. This is why the internet was buzzing for days at Timberlake's announcement, because even as busy as the man is, he could have released multiple albums since FutureSex/LoveSounds and done well, I mean he is Justin Timberlake. Difference is, he wasn't going to release music that he didn't believe in, which can't be said for everyone. In that spirit, I've compiled a list of artists (JT included) that live up to that moral standard.

But this type of artistry doesn't work for everyone and it's apparent (especially on AP.net and social media). So I ask - "What do you prefer, constant music that may or may not be an artists best for the sake of staying relevant and pleasing fans, or waiting years for something they truly believe is their best work?"

You can check out my list of some of the best, then head to the replies to discuss.

01) Radiohead
NoteWho else would I start off with? Radiohead are the kings of releasing music when they want and how they want. Arguably one of the biggest bands in 30 years? They completely reinvented the way artists release music and have shown that having a label isn't needed when you release top shelf material


02) Brand New
NoteIt's AP.net, what were you expecting? Of course Brand New is included. While they may not have as big of a reach as some of the others, the music world stops and listens when they speak. We're coming up on four years since Daisy and there's still no word if they will even release anything. Yet the thought of them releasing something in a recent viral campaign led to one of the biggest threads on this websites history. That says something.


03) Justin Timberlake
NoteWhen word started spreading that Justin was going to release his first single since 2006, the internet blew up. Of course, we had to wait three days, but three days is nothing compared to the six years prior. The teaser video that was released in anticipation sums up everything I've said in here to a T.


04) Daft Punk
NoteDaft Punk were electronic music before it became trendy. They are the face of electronic music, no matter how many new age DJ's want to try and dethrone them. It's looking like they are going to release their first studio album since 2005 this year and I couldn't be more excited.


05) Fiona Apple
NoteFiona released her first album in seven years in 2012 and it was like she never left. It looked like we were never going to see another release, but alas, she came through and delivered another hauntingly beautiful album to her incredibly solid discography.


06) D'Angelo
NoteThere's no way around it. D'Angelo is one of the greatest R&B/Soul artists of the new generation, hell, of all time. And the man's built that reputation with only TWO releases under his belt. His third album, James River, his first in 13 years is looking to be released this year.


07) GlassJaw
NoteWe're going on 11 years since GlassJaw released Worship and Tribute and the band has only released three EPs in since then. The band has one of the most passionate and endearing fan bases out there, that still follow their every move in hopes of more music


08) Third Eye Blind
NoteI'll be honest, Third Eye Blind wasn't a band that came to mind when I first thought about this piece. Then I started thinking about Ursa Major and how it's been almost four years since that was released. And it took them SIX years to get to that point. They may not be in the mainstream spotlight anymore, but they are still one of the best 90's bands ever.


09) Circle Takes The Square
NoteIt only seemed fair to include CTTS in this considering they released their long awaited second full length late last year after eight years between full lengths. Needless to say, the band delivered arguably some, if not their best work.


10) Godspeed You! Black Emperor
NoteSo technically the band "broke up" for a number of years, to focus on other projects. Which could discredit them from the discussion, but what's the difference of using the word hiatus if you're just going to focus on other projects? If that was the case, I guess you could say Fall Out Boy broke up (just kidding, don't stone me to death). Anyway, the band released their first full length in ten years in 2012 to everyone's surprise and to no one surprise, it was fantastic.


Who would you include in your list?
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 102
12:30 PM on 01/17/13
#2
CluckyB
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Ursa Major? If you're going to mention at one point good bands with douchebag lead singers who kicked everyone else out and then released a mediocrely crappy album several years later while keeping up the farce that it was somehow still the same band, why not include Chinese Democracy as well?
12:35 PM on 01/17/13
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Keagan Ilvonen
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Ursa Major? If you're going to mention at one point good bands with douchebag lead singers who kicked everyone else out and then released a mediocrely crappy album several years later while keeping up the farce that it was somehow still the same band, why not include Chinese Democracy as well?
Ursa Major is infinitely better than Chinese Democracy, and didn't take 20 years to release.
12:41 PM on 01/17/13
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irthesteve
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Ursa Major? If you're going to mention at one point good bands with douchebag lead singers who kicked everyone else out and then released a mediocrely crappy album several years later while keeping up the farce that it was somehow still the same band, why not include Chinese Democracy as well?
you mad?
12:41 PM on 01/17/13
#5
Dustin Harkins
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Thanks for reminding me to buy a new suit
12:42 PM on 01/17/13
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Keagan Ilvonen
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Thanks for reminding me to buy a new suit
I'm going to remind you every day.
12:42 PM on 01/17/13
#7
Jason Tate
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Radiohead is definitely the band I thought of when I first saw this topic brought up in our email chain.
12:43 PM on 01/17/13
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Dustin Harkins
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I'm going to remind you every day.
Please do.

Anyway, to contribute, Daft Punk was a greeeeat pick.
12:45 PM on 01/17/13
#9
CluckyB
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Ursa Major is infinitely better than Chinese Democracy, and didn't take 20 years to release.

Jenkins is still a douche for what he did to Kevin Cadogan though and it still pales in comparison to the self titled or Blue. Not really "Quality" if you ask me.
12:48 PM on 01/17/13
Keagan Ilvonen
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Please do.

Anyway, to contribute, Daft Punk was a greeeeat pick.
I was brainstorming people and then I remembered they are supposed to be releasing an album this year and I was like YES.
12:48 PM on 01/17/13
ugman_2000
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Tool spring to my mind when I think about this topic, Ænima was 96, Lateralus 2001 & 10,000 Days was 2006. Strong possibilty of their next being this year or next. I'd say they definitley qualify as far as metal goes everyone of those albums are classed as great bodies of work.

Also I had no idea Daft Punk had an album due this year add that to my ever growing highly anticipated album list.
12:50 PM on 01/17/13
Keagan Ilvonen
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Tool spring to my mind when I think about this topic, Ænima was 96, Lateralus 2001 & 10,000 Days was 2006. Strong possibilty of their next being this year or next. I'd say they definitley qualify as far as metal goes everyone of those albums are classed as great bodies of work.

Also I had no idea Daft Punk had an album due this year add that to my ever growing highly anticipated album list.
That's a band I totally forgot about but should have easily made the list.
12:56 PM on 01/17/13
Dustin Harkins
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And as for the question, I prefer when an artist takes their time. I prefer to hear things the artist believes in, easily.
12:56 PM on 01/17/13
Thomas Nassiff
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Understatement in the Brand New part. The Shone thread was THE biggest thread in the website's history. Jason can correct me if that's wrong but I'm pretty sure.
12:57 PM on 01/17/13
Dustin Harkins
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Understatement in the Brand New part. The Shone thread was THE biggest thread in the website's history. Jason can correct me if that's wrong but I'm pretty sure.
To be fair though, some of the Shone news posts basically directed people to comment in the original Shone post. I feel like that contributed to it being the biggest thread, although it's undeniable that the hype was/is crazy and doesn't refute you saying it's an understatement.

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