Art: Innovations and Innovators

I really love artist that push and sometime break boundaries, leading to a new style or vocabulary, or even redefining what constitutes art or not. Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and maybe Andy Kaufmann would be examples of the latter. Other innovators, who may not cause us to re-think art, but I still I like a lot are Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, to name a few. This is a thread to discuss innovations of specific artists as well as innovations in art more generally. I want to start by talking about two different innovations in music that I’m interested in.

Could Tower Records Resurrect Itself Today?

I’m sure exactly when the coining of “third places” occurred, but I do believe it’s real–the idea that people have a need for a cozy, appealing space where they can be next to people they don’t necessarily know or interact with. After college, Tower Records was definitely such a place for me, and watching this reminded me of this.

Based on what I gather from the film, Tower Records did not need to go out of business. For one thing, if they had made a transition to online music streaming, thinking they could still be here seems reasonable. On the other hand, I believe they filed bankruptcy in the mid-2000s, and this was before a lot of music streaming sites like itunes. Made going to a music streaming wasn’t viable at the time. But even if you put that aside, there are other, perhaps more critical reasons they went out of business…con’t.


Novelty Songs

I don’t know why, but this morning I thought of Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Light,” which made me think of another song, “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You,” which then made me think of a song about King Kong, which I recall the DJ, Kamasami(sp) Kong, using clips from this song for his radio show. What other novelty songs can you think of? What exactly is the definition of a novelty song?

Is Streaming Video/Music Economically Unsustainable?

Jazz critic Ted Gioia has some tweets about how streaming services are “the black hole of the entertainment business.”

I’ve updated my quick and easy guide to streaming economics—the black hole of the entertainment business.https://t.co/7AXsrUgB0E— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) March 13, 2019

His basic point is that streaming services lose, and continue to lose, a lot of money, and I assume he thinks this won’t change. At the very least, Gioia doesn’t seem to believe that streaming model will be able to support the making of movies, TV shows, and music. Equally dispiriting is the notion that musicians are getting even less revenue from streaming services (less than money they’d get from the traditional recording industry). That really sucks. I really don’t want to pay for a service where the musicians and artists don’t really get far less than they deserve (which, actually seems to have always been the case, but this is going in the wrong direction). Should serious music fans consider purchasing music in a traditional way (e.g., cds, records), and, even better, from the musicians themselves?

Another question: Why can’t artists ever take control of the distribution so that they can receive the majority of the profits?

Albums You Really Like

I’ve been thinking about great albums, or albums that I’ve really like (which is not necessarily the same thing). Some titles have come to mind, and then I can’t remember them. I’m starting this thread to keep track of these titles, and also discuss the albums. We can also discuss the qualities that make a great album or one that you really like.

By the way, I realized that for most of my life a great album was one where I liked most, if not all the songs. The flow of the album from song to song and the way each song worked together to create a cohesive whole weren’t criteria I thought much of, at least not consciously. (Well, I doubt that I did.) As an example, I liked Def Lepard’s Pyromania for this reason. Basically, I thought of a good album similar to a “best of” album.

Continue reading “Albums You Really Like”

Kalapana

I know we started this conversation via text, but since texting is a hassle for me, I’m starting this thread. Mitchell did a poll of the best Kalapana songs (which he’ll hopefully post here). I think choosing one is actually kinda hard. By the way, a song that grew on me over time is “Love ‘Em.” I don’t if it ever received much air time, but I kinda like that one.

Mitchell, you don’t like “Lost Again?” I think that’s one of my favorites.

By the way, Don mentioned “Real Thing.” I remember the first time I heard that, I thought, “Dang, that’s a legitimately good song, as in it could be popular outside of Hawai’i.” I was disappointed to find out that it wasn’t an original.