On typical Monday mornings, it’s always a chore to get out of bed but not yesterday. Feeling invigorated after a cool band (Who is Arcade Fire?) won the Album of The Year Grammy, and before anyone could Let England Shake (and props to PJ Harvey for letting me borrow this from her REMring endorsed new album), the guys at Radiohead decided to announce to the world that they were coming out with a new record.
Oh, and the record was coming out this Saturday.
And I thought to myself, what the fuck is going on? How is it possible that a band can come out with an album without months and months of promotion? That is not how the big record companies do it and of course they are big and successful because of their superior knowledge in putting out music. This is what I am used to and not some willy-nilly, oh we are going to come out with a record within the week, and on a Saturday for Christ sakes. Who comes out with albums on a Saturday?
You know, Radiohead is completely fucking up my entire music listening experience, from the random song clip or the single being released on some website to build up my expectations. Their promotion sucks compared to that of R.E.M., oh with their months of preparation for this album.
The Warner Brothers, the record company, had hours to sit in boardrooms to stare at blank walls and pick their noses to figure out how to truly make ‘Collapse Into Now’ a great record; to come out with all the catchy taglines such as ‘A Return To Form’ or ‘Back to their Classic Sound’. How to make all those wonderful videos with the lyrics.
They were able to share with all their favorite reviewers to assure that magazines like Spin put their most favorable R.E.M. fan in charge of the review of course before the fans or some of the fans start shredding it.
All we got from Radiohead was an appreciative statement that they were happy that we waited. With R.E.M. we got the same spiel we get after every record. Peter Buck thinks this is the best album that they have ever done. Michael is not talking, and a series of random facts and figures by Mike. Of course it would be possible to come up with an interview for this album based entirely off of past interviews and it would be completely believable.
We have to stop thinking about the common method for releasing an album is. What Radiohead is proving is that there are more than one methods for large mainstream bands wanting to release music and that does not necessarily mean spending 3 months hyping the shit out of it.
Whatever is in our brains, whether it’s releasing Singles, B-Sides, Tours, Press, no longer applies. We have to start from scratch and have no preconceived notions.
As a sidenote, I have been sitting here listening to the new PJ Harvey album as I type this and it’s continuing a standard for me that the new music that I am checking out and listening is 100 times better than what has been a total and utterly disappointing Collapse of My R.E.M. Fandom.
The songs on the new record blow, blow and blow again. I went from being slightly excited with this release to complete and utter boredom. The question is not whether I will actually like the new album or not to will I actually purchase it. I question whether I will have to change my site address to www.remringpre2k.com.
I wonder whether it would have just been much simpler to just release the album on December when Discoverer was promoted without any press because with fewer preconceived notions I think I would have been much more open to purchasing it.
I wonder whether my tastes and preferences are shifting and I question what is the point to writing about a band that I claim to admire when all that comes out of my mouth these days is crap, crap and more crap.
I question how anyone in the R.E.M. office likes this site. (And I do question why it has not been removed. Not that it would get me upset as I can totally understand a business having issues with a guy on a blog ragging on their wares).
I have done my spleen-venting and maybe it’s just time to move past the site to something better . . .