Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blaming Labels: How Musicians Try to Get Away With Terrible Music

     Just recently, Lily Allen was called out by one of her fans and told that her music was "rubbish". She agreed but blamed her label and the radio stations for the problem. "All I can do is my best, the labels and radio stations won't play the better stuff," she tweeted. It's all well and good to blame the radio stations and the labels for poor taste in music. We all know that labels and the stations only play cheesy, poppy music that really isn't any good at all. But why is any of your music bad? Why aren't you proud of all of it?

     This seems to be a recurring problem with artists; when the fans don't respond positively to their music, they blame someone, anyone but themselves.

    Here's some advice. If you can be "badass" enough to get in trouble with the law, give the middle finger every time a camera comes near you, and use expletives liberally, then you should be a big enough person to take ownership of your sound.

    It's not just limited to pop acts. My Chemical Romance blamed their label and feeling rushed and tired after the Black Parade when fans criticized their 2010 release Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Black Veil Brides' lead singer, Andy Biersack, also blamed pressure from the band's label when fans questioned their sophomore release Set the World on Fire. It begs the question: if you knew it was bad, why release it?

   Yeah, there are label politics and such but why even make the music that way?

    I can understand boy band pop acts having their hands tied. But, ironically, One Direction has been allowed to mature from bubble-gum, Brit-pop infused music to a much more rock oriented sound. Their latest release, Midnight Memories, was not only a huge commercial success, but was also a massive critical triumph. Looking back on their discography, they have never bashed what they put out or blamed their label. They have just said that, as time has gone, they have found their sound and matured.
   So, if a band of a bunch of twenty-somethings can stand by their music, most of which they didn't even get to write themselves (this excludes their latest release for which members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne wrote more than half the tracks), then why can't artists who are supposed to care for their work and put their best effort into it stand by their music? If it's bad, admit it's bad and move on. Don't blame the labels, even if they do share the blame.

   In regards to Allen's new work, I'm actually okay with it. It doesn't have the same Brit-pop vibe the other albums have had but there's still something inherently Lily Allen about the new tracks. They're not songs that should be abandoned and laid at the feet of the labels and radio stations. While I'm not the biggest fan of "Hard Out Here", "Air Balloon" has an almost "LDN" vibe to it.

    Either way, when you create something and share it with the world, be prepared to take ownership of it whether there's praise of criticism. If you don't, you're just going to look weak.

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