Friday, July 4, 2014

An Open Letter to George Ergatoudis.

Dear George

Are you a fan of The Stone Roses?

I wasn't until recently. My dad owns a best of album of theirs and like it says on the case it is 'The Best Of' The Stone Roses. I didn't get it, I felt the songs were great but the whole CD itself was a bit bland, a bit of a slog to get through. The other day though I bought a copy of this seminal d├ębut album. I suddenly understood the hype, it's not just the hits on that record, every song is pretty much perfect. As a whole the album still bursts with the same youthfulness, the politics, the drugs, and the sense of the band as underdogs triumphing over a scene that initially didn't care.
Ever since Linkin Park's Hybrid theory changed my whole perception of music I have been buying albums, and  even though only a handful of those records have really impacted my life, albums like 'The Suburbs' Unknown Pleasures' or ...entroducing. These are complete statements, music is art. You don't just mash up all of Leonardo Da Vinci's Artworks onto one canvas to save time, you take the time to appreciate each one.
What people don't realise about truly great albums is they take time to become Truly great albums. Pet Sounds, 36 Chambers, The Velvet underground And Nico, these records took time to find their audiences but the people who discover them year after year after year will treasure them. You can quote all the statistics you like, but music is art, and as long as great art and great music is being made, people will want to hear the album, because the album is a complete statement. I don't want my music to just be files I have on a screen, I want to something I can own, that I can touch, not just something I'm borrowing from a site.
Beyond the press, the hipsters and the live shows (no matter how great they are), albums are the benchmark that new bands rely on. Take Viva Brother, it all seemed to be going so well for them but the album was crap, palma violets for a while looked like they were similar, a mediocre band riding a wave of hype. but the release of 180, is the reason why people still care about them. 
The Vaccines for instance have never had a top 10 single, but they have had two Number 1 albums, this is because the fans wanted to hear the albums, they waited for them and bought them rather than just cherry picking the favourites.
see how fans react when their favourite band announces a new record. Or how in Hip Hop, beyond free mix-tapes albums are becoming an essential source of income for new acts. Last year both Jon Hopkins and Daniel Avery proved that even in electronic music, the album can still be an artistic statement.
I really couldn't care what the statistics say, although the rise of independent shops and HMV's reporting that this year their physical sales have risen by 12 per cent.

Anyway none of this matters, you are the boss of Radio 1 not the music industry itself. So what I will say is this. Rock and Roll, is not 4 pretty boys playing guitars. Go back to the start and watch Jerry Lee Lewis, or Little Richard (both famous pianists). They laid the groundwork for Rock N Roll. They showed that it is dangerous, it is about sex, it's about rebellion and youth energy. Rock n Roll should hit like a punch. Sure, good stuff gets played on your station, but nothing vital, The 1975, Bastille, Imagine Dragons, this is not rock n roll music, anyone who thinks so just knows fuck all about music.

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