Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Marquee Release

So, as I type, I'm watching last night's Colbert Report, with his opening bit about Hilary Clinton's obnoxious "I'm Baack"- and it dovetails into what I want to talk about: We've got a new U2 and a new Shellac record this week.  I've heard, and enjoyed both, but I've got reservations about both, and those reservations have to do with fame, expectations, and hype. See, U2's new record came bundled with the new Apple's product, and the new Shellac record came out on a "retired" record label.  In both cases, the attempt is to create a "marquee" release- the assumption is "Hey, you like this band, and therefore you'll like us". That rankles me a bit. I won't do Apple products, and Touch and Go is just a record label to me, not a mark of quality. Still, I did get both, and I do like both. I'm not going to automatically do anything- I won't judge based upon anything other than the quality of the music. So far, both have some strengths and weaknesses. Neither one is what I'd call "10 out of 10"- both feature some coasting on the part of the band, and both follow some worn out tropes. But, I'll actually go over what I think of each a bit later- right now, I'm talking about the machine behind either release.
So, the point is?
Here's my point: I don't care that U2's record was auto-bundled with the new I-whatever, and I don't care that Shellac are "Indie Stalwarts", coming out on a hoary old label. I don't think anyone should care if U2 are this or that, or if Shellac are comprised of Uber producers, or whatever- the ONLY thing that should matter is if you dig the music. That's it. It's disheartening how little the actual music matters, whether people hate the machine ( U2) or love it ( Shellac).
This where Hilary comes in- people are talking about whether she'll run or not- but it's based upon her "profile"- just once, I wish it would be about her policies, instead.  Once again, it's about the machine, which is narcissism disguised as news. That has infected out discussion of art, philosophy, and aesthetics for too long- so, yes, I still want to know how long must we tolerate mass culture?

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