Friday, 27 July 2007

Music is music is music..

And so it should be. But when you start throwing other things into the mix then this wonderous art form stays less clear cut.

Managers, producers, record labels, distributors, tour managers, venue owners and, the thing its meant to all be for, customers/consumers/music fans/us.

But when you start to view your audience as customers and consumers it seems to be the start of a slippery slope into producing music that is just not going to ring true to the artist.

And we all know and can think of great examples of bands or artists whose image, style and music have changed greatly.

For me, as pathetic as this may sound, and you really are having a glimpse into my deep, troubled soul here, for me, it is Stereophonics. The change that occured in this band was absolutely unfathomable to me. I was completely obsessed. A 12-13 year-old who was falling in love with indie and rock music and everything that went with it. Stereophonics were very exciting for me at that time. The Bartender and the Thief started it all and, well, more than a little teenage heart-throb affection was felt for Kelly Jones. Ahem.

Word Gets Around and Perfomance and Cocktails were two fantastic albums. Word Gets Around was particularly acclaimed as critics were spell-bound by such a strong debut album. Kelly Jones' lyric-writing and ability to spin such a good story had him compared to the likes of Bob Dylan and hopes were high.

There obviously is no doubt that they have become massively famous. But there is also no doubt that in listening to the differences between how the band first came bursting onto the scene and their latest releases that something has gone, for me, drastically awry.

Money, fame, travel, interference, playing to your mass audience too much.

"Thinking about thinking of you
Summertime think it was June
Yeah think it was June
Laying back, head on the grass
Children grown having some laughs
Yeah having some laughs." (Dakota - Stereophonics)

Go and buy Word Gets Around if you don't already own it. It must be about 20p on Amazon and eBay. Listen back to an album that is now 10 years-old and is still as exciting, fresh, vibrant and best of all, anthemic, as it was on its release.

So completely devastated was I in the way Stereophonics changed and completely shattered my teenage dream that if I ever met them I think broken bones, spitting and expletives would be a desirable outcome for the band.

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