Wednesday, August 11, 2010

lights and lip gloss

This week, Ellie Goulding releases "The Writer", the third single from her current longplayer, "Lights".

It's lush! The song really shows her depth as a songwriter. One of the highlights from her debut longplayer. As far as I'm concerned, they pissed away the best track from her elpee as a "buzz" track. "Under The Sheets" should've been the centerpiece of the promotional campaign. Zut alors!

"Lights" is another in a long line of recent albums that just haven't stuck with the public. It's a worrying trend. This topic has come up among numerous friends and acquaintances in the musoratti, lately. Is it the economy? Too many things to spend leisure cash on other forms of entertainment? Is the music "biz" so effed up that they don't have a handle on the promotion of music in the new paradigm? Are the labels just staffed with clueless interns? Is "everybody" downloading their music illegally? All of the above? Questions for the ages, kittens.

Anyway, the lovely lass has lensed a video for her current single. Let's take a peek.

One question... What's with all the lip gloss? Ellie looks like she's been eating a pork chop. Srsly, gurl! Tone that shizzy down. This ain't the 80s, babe. Or is it?


  1. Once again, I love your blog.

    Speaking as somebody who has actually shelled out hard cash for an import CD from Ellie Goulding, I would have to say that your general thoughts about the lack of records sticking with the public is pretty accurate. I would add that, back when downloading was thought to be the "hip new thing to do" (especially the stealing aspects of it), people forgot to pay for things later that they really should have, and used logic like, "I don't really like the whole album, so it's not worth owning it", forgetting that the money generated from many of those sales allowed other up-n-comers to be promoted as well. In retrospect, the implosion of some of these big companies have generally rid the world of a lot of shitty corporate rock, but unfortunately, THAT is what sold and made it possible for somebody like Ellie Goulding to get heard somewhere. Now, unless you know what you are looking for or how to find it, you have to stumble upon it. As good as Kylie's sales of her new album were in the US, it only really sold for one week, and that isn't a model for a sustainable business, especially if you don't know of its existence.

    I think downloading is a convenience that has made everything so predictable and unexciting. There is no hunt to partake in, no gem to call your own special find. It has become a clinical experience similar to paying the rent or going to the dentist, and where is the joy in that? People have really done it to themselves though, by trading their passions for convenience, and claiming there is no good music out there because they gave up the search. There are lots of distractions out there, but music has always been something that speaks to human souls, and if we don't wake up and cherish what we've got left, it's gonna disappear.

    New artists cannot survive long without selling some product, so why should new musicians even try when they cannot make a living doing what they love? All the overpaid artists of the past have ruined that possibility, and should be made to go out and buy 100 albums by all the latest talents (I'm talking to you, Mariah, Robbie, Madonna, etc.).

    This is a good topic for discussion, as I myself wonder from day to day when people are gonna wake up. I feel like an entire generation of kids is really suffering from a lack of exposure in this area of the arts by their general disinterest and lack of understanding about the financial aspects being perpetuated by the previous generation who felt taken advantage of by corporate greed. The only people buying records are those who can afford to, and there has to be accountability and a fair middle-ground somwhere.

  2. @countpopula - Bravo! Fantastic comment. This is exactly the reason why I write this blog. The adulation! Just kidding. Informed responses and intelligent dialog. You made my day.

    It's a bit like the natural food chain. Bigger artists might dwarf the sales of new artists, but they are needed to support the lifecycle of the music "biz". There is a yin and yang relationship.

    The clinical nature of the process that has overtaken music is one of the reasons I go back to the stuff I've treasured for years. A lot of it still feels and sounds special.

  3. Thanks for the compliment Vinny, and by the way, I have always enjoyed your writing, and I still have all those Living in Oblivion CDs from the 90's you put together--most excellent!

    My new catchphrase I just said to somebody with a snarky comment about indie music stores remaining in existence:

    "You can't hold a download."

    My new mantra.

  4. I wonder whether one might add to your list of questions:

    Would music sales increase if there were a music-video channel somewhere on the television dial?

    Are the sales of particular genres directly correlate with radio airplay, and if so, can we just blame Clear Channel for all of this? (In other words, there is so much populism in culture today, and I fear that people have forgotten that tastes can still be made by people in power.)

  5. @countpopula - Thank you! "LIO" is a highlight within my oeuvre. :) Very proud of it. From there, I was responsible for bringing the "Now" compilations to the US.

    And yes. With radio conglomeration, narrow research testing and deregulation of radio, you can blame Clear Channel and others for the stale state of our airwaves.

  6. @esque - Well, it would be another promotional outlet. But MTV was at the dawn of a new age for cable. Not sure with it would stand out now with the proliferation of hundred of cable networks. But I would certainly tune in!

  7. I love Ellie Goulding! Do I have a crush on her? Probably.

    But even so, objectively, everything she does is so incredibly well calculated. The release schedule, the remixers, the sounds...EVERYTHING! I think it's even pretty obvious to the average music consumer.

    @ Countpopula
    The entertainment industry and music business is in fact NOTHING tangible at all. It's an industry built on credit and the perceived value of one's intellectual property (in this case being music). The only control in the entertainment industry is copyright law with the variables being infinite.

    With that being said, many things have contributed to the value of music being significantly diminished. Technology, horizontal/vertical mergers (conglomeration), historically low barriers of entry (artists and labels alike) and the list goes on. Labels, whether majors, imprints or indies, have ceased to be the gatekeepers they once were. Not so much majors and their imprints due to a bottom line, but more so indies.

    "You can't hold a download."

    Concerning that quote, the CD format is EXTINCT. The format itself not the LP or long player. Imagine a spectrum not unlike any other spectrum, whether it be politics or any range of polarizing topics/ideologies. Digital format all the way on the right and vinyl all the way on the left. As you move left, you move the same distance to the right. An direct relationship if you will. The exponential increase of vinyl sales, especially among the current generation) has to do with that whole idea of physically being able to have your hands on the commodity. The buying of vinyl has become a reaction movement to the digital download exodus.

    The whole idea of owning the various white labels/promo only releases is a completely different discussion all together. I think human nature and supply & demand account for owning property that others do not.

    Thoughts? Ideas?