Solange Deschatres—A 2007 Review of Pop Music—London Lite
EMI/Capitol records is an old fart. So are most other big corporate labels. With music industry and media companies boasting technology all over the world, swaggering like Keith Richards on their last leather-clad legs; crooked, mean middle fingers poised on the pulse of the hip and now, one would think that a drastic change in the way people hear and receive music would have occurred by the year 2007. Instead, years crawl by with the same digitally re-mastered re-releases, packaged in metallic jewel cases at the nearest overpriced, corporate megastore.
Smashing Pumpkins had it right in 2000, heave-ho-ing the huge Virgin label by releasing what was supposed to be their last album via Internet mp3 files. Early 2007, the band reunited, continuing its love affair with the digital market by releasing the “Zeitgeist” EP on ITunes in the US. Aside from a few other artists, Radiohead followed suit with the 2007 Internet release of “Rainbows.”
The ITunes and digital phenomena will not be ignored. The kids are hopping on the Internet all the time and downloading as fast as their high-speed connections will allow. Most of them use software programmes like LimeWire to satiate their desire for new music. While the stone idols of media Mecca stand proudly, defiantly stomping on these so-called “delinquents,” the deftly-clicking, persistently downloading fingers will slowly pick away at the bottom line until the rock facade disintegrates into the sandy desert floor from whence it came.
The time has come for a change in tactics. The fact that record companies claim that they want to stay on the up and up with trends and technology smacks a little bit of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” transported to a colorful new, world, only to realize that it’s more comfortable back home in the silvery panorama of 65mm. Media companies are hesitant to loosen a grip on physical album sales just yet, but 2007 proved yet another year for the idea of passing the baton.
The more things change, the more they wallow right where they’re at and leave a ring around the bathtub. How many artist comebacks did we witness this year? Besides Smashing Pumpkins, we had Genesis, Ace of Base, The Police, Rage Against the Machine, Joni Mitchell, The Sex Pistols, The Spice Girls, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, My Bloody Valentine, The Verve, Kriss Kross, and the one-time smash performance of Led Zeppelin. What do all of these huge comebacks mean? Is the once overflowing sea of new artists so shallow that we need to keep diving into the old bathwater?
At the risk of tossing out the New Year’s infant, 2007 made meek progress in the world of pop music. Even the brave comebacks stood as weak blips on the music radar. No one asked for a comeback. Us kids are bored. A fantasy for 2008 would be a noticeable shakeup to clear the stagnant, thick air that’s beginning to scent of cedar chests, mothballs and rehab. Somebody, smash a window, please!