Sunday, December 22, 2013

Media Minute

Generation Zero is forever bored.

 Media is ever-changing.  It's format, content, and quality ebbs and flows like unpredictable molten gumdrops in a river of chaotic flux, colorful, sweet, sometimes tasty, and often sticky, and it sticks with you, for how long depends on the victim.

  In my case, I focus on music.  I have a few covers out, engineered fairly poorly, with mixed reviews, but most of it was by myself, every instrument, and I think that counts for something, maybe... shrug.  It's a hobby, and it's fun, and I don't get too many tomatoes thrown at me, just a few, and maybe a head of cabbage.  Now if I can only get some croutons. 

  What's interesting is that I believe the actual music "album" is dead.  In a way, it always has been dead by my reckoning.  Most bands come out with an album of which aside from the "hit" or "single" the rest of it is fluff.  Now, I myself am an album-centric rock fan.  I like the whole album as a multi-course meal.  I'll digest it all and see what the artist is trying to convey.  Sometimes there's a few fillers, a few songs that were forced to add content. 

  I wouldn't say "throw away" songs, but sort of like if a cat (or person) has a litter of 12, one of those is gonna be called, "Stinky Pete" and like Dopey from Snow White is going to walk a little crooked.  Sure, the mother-cat is going to love them all, but, well... Petee ain't goin' to be an astronaut any time soon.  Sometimes the artist is delightfully surprised when a song does well that's a filler, in the case with my band Rush, the song New World Man was known as "Project 341" where they had to make a song that was 3:41 to fill the second half of the LP (back in 1982 vinyl days when that mattered).  They wrote it on one day and recorded it the next, yet it made Billboard Top 40 across the world.  For your amusement:

  Still, the patience of today's society is short; shorter than any time I can remember historically.  Kids these days want things fast and now, a microwave oven is dreadfully too slow for 'em.  Folks want it pre-cooked and ready-to-go.. now.  I'm afraid the art of cooking is almost dead.  Gordon Ramsay has brought up this fact in one of his offshoot series.  He laments the average UK woman buys pre-made microwave foods for the kids not occasionally but all the time.  At least the TV-dinner generation of the late '50s and '60s had to wait 40 minutes to heat in the oven, and that was considered quick.  Now, ten minutes to cook a whole meal is considered a lifetime for a family.  I won't even start on the "everybody eats at the table" concept that I think died-out in 1988, some renaissance traditionalists still gripping to that wholesomeness of Americana to my heart's warmth.

  My point of all of this is that releasing a 12-song album, even a concept album is a waste of time.  Instead, there should be only singles.  If a band is making a rare concept album, they should release it like Steven King's The Green Mile in small parts of 2-chapter, dime-store novellas.  Each band should release a 2-song single every month.  Sure, they can record it all at once if they like, but only piece-meal it out.  This would give greater effort towards Billboard presence.  After a year, you can consider releasing a "box set" of all the recordings at-once for further profit, maybe after a few years to re-invigorate the market.  Not too soon so that people will just "wait" for the final album release.  Wait till the fire's fizzled-out completely and the tour is over, then a year after that, release the full "album" as an afterthought box-set deal to re-spark sales and interest now that it's dead.  Rush has re-mastered Vapor Trails from 2002 and it actually charted on the Billboard 200 again at #35!  That's a Top 40 album from 12 years ago!!!  Amazing.

  Further still, I recommend shorter songs.  I know this is getting George Orwellian here, but the average attention-span of a YouTube viewer is about a minute.  Instead of the standard song setup: Intro Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Solo Chorus Verse Chorus Outro (there are other methods) Just perform: Intro Verse Chorus Solo Outro.  I call this the "Cronis Method".  I'll put it as one of my songs in the Alignments somewhere, and I'll use this method from that album onward.  More concise and keeps the attention.

  I myself am guilty of "skipping" through hearing a new song that someone recommends to get the feel and gist of it.  Music producers do it as they can get a feel of the pulse versus masses in seconds.  I think with this Digital Age of Generation Zero there's no patience for anything more than a full minute.  One minute is the current maximum attention-span.  I will adjust to fit like some audio Twitter-feed.  God save us those that love the concept that music is the space between the notes, but this scatter-brained impatient bunch we call Generation Zero will not tolerate anything less.  God save us all, and bring me my Ibanez against these daft zombies!  Gabba-gabba hey, indeed, Johnny Ramone.

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