Happy Long Weekend Good People,
Here’s another stellar post from Cape Elizabeth graduating senior and my job shadow, Eamon Kelley.
Read on and Rock on… + Aimsel
When 2014 began to fade into memory 5 months ago, I made a point to think about where music might be going in the coming year. 2014 was a year of megalithic releases and of overwhelming anticipation. St. Vincent’s self-titled St. Vincent, Swans’ menacing To Be Kind and Sun Kil Moon’s heart-stabbing Benji were all releases from highly established artists that came with a choking amount of hype. However, there was an odd man – or woman – out. Right as the year began, Beyoncé dropped Beyoncé out of absolutely nowhere. Once listeners got past the initial shock, they found a top-notch pop album. This bizarre method of distribution is something only possible in the modern era, a concept that’s left behind any notion of physicality. Most importantly, it completely eliminates any sense of hype.
Saying that other artists took notice is an understatement. By the end of 2014, soul legend D’Angelo returned with a stellar full LP that, once again, came out of absolutely nowhere. Once is insignificant, twice is a coincidence, and thrice is a trend; with the help of other artists, surprise album dropping quickly moved from coincidence to trend. Kendrick Lamar rapidly rolled out all the publicity for To Pimp A Butterfly over the course of a week, a process that felt strange for an album that will likely be remembered as one of the best of the decade. In a way, the violation of the tradition of anticipation for album releases feels blasphemous. At the same time, perhaps tradition isn’t the best. Perhaps it’s time to move forward.
What the surprise album drop does is create a world of possibilities, a world where you could wake up to your favorite artist breaking a decade-long silence with no warning. It’s hope in favor of hype. Blur’s back from the dead, Aphex Twin is releasing music regularly and Sleater-Kinney – Sleater-Kinney! – has once again taken the rock world by storm. Anything could happen. It makes me feel all fuzzy inside just thinking about it! What an exciting time to live in! Surprise album dropping isn’t just a goofy gimmick – try and tell me that it made Tyler, the Creator’s Cherry Bomb any less underwhelming. It’s a realization of what the modern age can do for music; not only can new artists find renown on forums across the internet, established legends can reach their fans with as little effort as possible. It’s making me fall in love with music all over again.
And here are a few songs to check out. Hear what all my fuss is about!