We have all bitched and complained about a band, a track being overplayed, whether it’s in the dance clubs or the radio. We complain so much about it to the point that we have this horrible disdain for the band because of it. Then somehow we get our own soapboxes of wanna be music critics and music curators and decide that because of that one track the band/musician is shit.
This rant has been a long time coming. Now I admit, I am not perfect. I did that stupid arrogant shit back when I listened to radio too. You know how I stopped bitching about it? I stopped listening to radio. Unfortunately, there is an awful shitty downside to that. Not listening the the radio means that I am missing out on some musicians out there. Don’t give me that, “Nikki, you don’t read music journals?” Cause seriously, whether it’s a music blog, a music journalist, it doesn’t mean that they have the same tastes as me, anyway. And as if I have time to read every music review under the sun….
A few weeks ago I tweeted out that I was late to the party with finding about Hozier, several people agreed that I was late to the party. I was smitten with the ‘Take Me To Church’; I like tracks that have complicated musical arrangements. I find that as I get older, as much as I love punk rock, I look for music that can tell a story in the arrangement and production now. It’s not about growing up, it’s about expanding my appreciation of music.
But it wasn’t that track that sold me on this ‘over played’, possibly ‘mainstream’, perhaps ‘sell out’ musician. Like many musicians and bands before him; I always check out more than one track. I do the same thing when picking an indie band for my show. I listen to 3 tracks. If there isn’t one track out of the 3 that I am smitten with, then it’s not a band for me.
Even more interesting, is the choice of track that the label or artists choose to be the single to be heard on the airwaves, or push/promote. Sometimes, more often than not, many other gems on that album will get overlooked. This is where radio fails us as an audience, as fans or as the music consumers. That’s another rant. For another time.
I will just use the Hozier album as an example to make a point, or at least try. But really you could do this with almost any album I would think.
So, let’s dissect this album, this musician: with four tracks from the album released in 2014.
Track 1: Take Me To Church
Yes. This is the infamous song. The anthem. The one with the social message. The overplayed song on the radio that won awards, was number two on the billboard charts. There are many different ways to listen to a song. Some listen to the lyrics, some it’s the musical arrangements. Have you listened to the music on this? Forget the lyrics or the ‘social message ‘ for a moment so that you can hear how much talent and work went into this.
Then hey, if you look at this link right here you will see that Hozier had THREE other tracks that didn’t make it on the charts in other countries. The tracks ‘Work Song’, ‘Sedated’ and ‘From Eden’ did shitty on the charts. I could give theories on why these failed, but it’s theories and opinions. I ain’t even close to being an expert. I will say that there is a mix of a pop format, and a blues format here. This shit could have gone either way…
Now this is probably where someone might call this musician a “One Hit Wonder’ and by the ‘standards’ and ‘data’ of the billboard charts, he kind of is.
Being a ‘One Hit Wonder’ has more to do with how a musician is promoted and is presented to audience, a listener, a consumer. Through concerts, radio, that long ago art form called the music video (is that still aired on TV?) is how it reaches us. I am totally digressing here.
Back to my point of waging my finger at you not listening to more than the damn track because of the that one overplayed track on the radio.
Track 5: To Be Alone
After having this album on repeat, I decided to tweet out this particular track with my own comparison to Junior Kimbrough. Actually, the Junior Kimbrough track that I was reminded of was “Done Got Old’ This track has some very, very awesome guitar playing; if you like blues. After I tweeted this track, a follower was willing to check out the album. This, is one of the many reasons I love twitter right here . I could stop right here and tell you that I have proved my point. But perhaps you don’t like this track; let’s dissect another track.
Track 2 : Angel Of Small Death & The Codeine Scene
Is this track possibly too similar to ‘Take Me To Church’ and this is why that it was never featured? Probably. Because then you could argue that the musician is only capable of one sound. And it doesn’t help that this was also slotted at the second track. But if you are a music junkie, then you know that listening to a whole album has a flow. It doesn’t have to have the same chords, but something underlining subtle kinda strings it all together; seamlessly. The first time I heard this, I was reminded of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lilac Wine’ guitar riff intro. Someone far smarter than me told me, that a good song reminds you of something you’ve heard before. If anything this means that yes, we can hold on to our idea of ‘nostalgia’ but breathe life into new music.
I like the track ‘Someone New’ but I think it was trying too hard with being diverse musically, even for me. It might grow on me. Talk to me in a few months. Maybe this is why it did horribly on the charts? But again. it’s an impressive attempt when you think what it’s trying to accomplishment. It’s just not on Nikki’s iPod repeat worthy.
Track 12: Foreigner’s God
Unfortunately there is no youtube link to this song. There is a link to the story that went behind the lyrics of this song, the meaning, blah blah blah. This kinda reminding me of the intro to Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’ and I love that song ever so much! This track, had the diversity musically that ‘Someone New’ missed the mark on.
Here’s the iTunes link because I won’t use a Spotifiy link because I am a jerk that way.
The whole point of this rant was to help share other tracks from an ‘Overplayed’, ‘Sell Out’, ‘Too Popular’ musician and give back the merit where it’s deserved. To the album. The unknown unearthed gems. Go listen to an album you snubbed. Listen to 3 tracks and then make your opinion.