By Hans Ebert
Suffering from Adeleosiphilitis? Tired to watch one more spoof of the dear lady’s “Hello”, the uniquely titled first track off her upcoming record “25″ that’s been over four years in the making? Bored shitless reading that she and Damon Albarn couldn’t write together, and that he fobbed her off as being “insecure” and “middle of the road”? Can anyone really work with Damon Albarn who seems to need constant reassuring that everything he produces is brilliant when much is absolute crap?
Getting back to Adeleosiphilitis, whether it’s the dear lady’s insecurities brought on by mega fame, or that of her management and enablers, is that the singer- and she has a fabulous voice- is becoming tedious, at least to me, in a creepy way. It’s a bit like waiting excitedly for your favourite aunt you haven’t seen in ages to visit, and then, when she shows up, realising she’s a dreadful bore who is so self-obsessed she should have been in “The Shining”.
The music that has finally made it onto “25″, and reading how much say record producer Rick Rubin and everyone else around the golden goose has had in the creative process with its false stops and starts shows a meticulously manufactured product with very definite objectives, mainly, meeting the “numbers”, and sweeping the Grammys which will guarantee another peak in sales and the numbers game.
Apart from making one wonder about the real back story behind “25″, and why so many songs written by and with so many “name” songwriters never made the cut, makes me wonder when there will be another record from The Tortured One.
All this effort and research and concern to ensure the release of the most commercial of records for the dear lady’s audience and millions of fans makes one wonder whether “25″ is an Adele record at all, or some musical Frankenstein put together by a team of Google analysts to ensure that every hashtag and key word is there. And if so, is this about music, or an extremely contrived and bloated exercise in marketing and promotions with every effort taken so that nothing could go wrong, especially the carefully coiffed hair?
Whatever happened to spontaneity in music, where four guys got together and jammed and out poured brilliant songs that were produced with consummate ease and released so frequently- albums, singles, EPs along with the experimental films made to accompany all this music?
Gawd knows, I try to look beyond the Beatles and their comrade in arms- record producer George Martin- but, God, you know it ain’t easy. When one thinks of all the music they gave the world in seven short years as a band, and what these days is de rigeur time before a new release by a major artist surfaces- three years- it really makes one appreciate the Beatles even more, not only for their incredible output, but for the sheer creative consistency of their records.
Everyone has their favourite Beatles record, but trying to think of something that didn’t make the grade like that lucky man who blew his brains out in a car, well, that’s not just tough, it’s bloody impossible because even Yellow Submarine has its moments.
The Beatles set the bar and everyone is still on those springboards trying to reach what Sgt Peppers taught other bands to play over fifty years ago today. Why are we still playing catch-up? Laziness? Simply not good enough? Thinking okay is good enough? Dunno. Maybe all of the above and more.
What I do know, and have witnessed and endured, first hand, are those who call themselves musicians squander whatever talent they might have by not trying to improve themselves. There they are still working within the confines of formulaic chord progressions, trite lyrics, and with either an inability to arrange their songs so they are showcased in the best possible way, or else believing that mediocrity will be accepted. And then they cry and blame the world for their woes and lack of success.
Success is what you put into anything and everything that truly matters. It’s like a marriage. Stop romancing the person you’re with or take them for granted, and they’re gone forever and you end up with the scraps and a lifetime of regrets while singing, “If you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with”. At least, try.
Success in music, especially, has much to do with where your head is at. If it’s in a bad space and has been there stagnating for years, that’s where it will stay forever because no one can be Peter Pan.
Don’t expect the kindness of strangers to bail you out either. You’re seen as an Eleanor Rigby and one of “all those lonely people” that needs to dig yourself out of a self-created hole. And the older one gets, the more difficult it becomes, and the music loses its way with no direction of home.
An ex girlfriend had a very straight-forward way of putting it when coming up against average musicians with a false sense of entitlement: “Why don’t you find another job?” Perhaps she had the right idea, and, perhaps, we have become too polite and have also lost some of our Bang Bang shoot shoot Happiness Is A Warm Gun edge. When Lennon sang just about everything, and McCartney tackled “Maybe I’m Amazed”, there was no holding back. The love, the hurt, the anger, the passion, the truth was there for everyone to hear.
These days, Truth In Music is like Truth In Advertising. There’s very little of it. It’s probably why no matter how good “25″ by Adele might be, I’ll have a hard time accepting its honesty. But that’s Adele and she couldn’t give a rat’s arse what you and I might think.
For the music guy lurking inside me, any signs of dishonesty- and dishonesty has many different faces- when working on the creative process of a project means it has lost the one edge needed to keep it alive: Honesty.
Music must be honest. If it’s not, it’s fake, and if it’s not, it’s never heard the honesty of The Plastic Ono Band, the bastard child of the Mothers Of Invention.
Music is not about perfection, but its not about sloppiness either. Music must first come from the heart and mind and be the building blocks for something bigger and better. Being “Indie” is not an excuse to trash about musically without a clue where it’s all heading.
Being “Indie” is about not being a Kunta Kinte of the music industry, but, instead, having- and enjoying- the freedom to create without being beholden to anyone except for yourself and those with whom you choose to make music.
In a music industry that’s rarely been this divisive, where, like life, there are the Have and the Have Nots, there are, mercifully, the Why Nots who don’t follow any rules and also don’t follow leaders and watch their parking meters- Why Nots like Ivory Hours, Mother Mother and Coleman Hell, all from Canada. It must be something in the water. And a North American attitude.
Whatever it is, it’s refreshing and so very much needed to keep music honest, honestly creative, and creatively honest.