Monday, April 15, 2019

You Can Take Forever to Finish An Album

The idea of a new Metallica album does not interest me in the slightest. They can put out all the records they want, but I won’t be listening to any of them. That does not mean I am anti-Metallica or anti-Heavy Metal. I just listen to other things.

I have always thought that Metallica was the first major band to stand up against the piracy that ended up destroying the music business in the early 2000s. Albums are not free, nor should they be. So, when Lars Ulrich took all that shit for pointing out that, if you don’t pay for music, then there will be a lot less of it that you will want to own, I could tell that his heart was in the right place.

People have made a lot of music since the early days of Napster, but the resulting business model meant that there weren't any viable record companies to ensure that artists would get paid for their work. This ended a lot of promising careers and left musicians with no sustainable means to make a living. So, it’s great that Billy and the Funkerbeans put out all those free tracks, but I’m not exactly burning up the Internet trying to find them.

Kirk Hammett needs to have a long talk with his fellow band members, and make a decision here:

Metallica‘s guitarist Kirk Hammett has admitted that he feels “uncomfortable” over the long wait fans have had to endure with their previous albums.

The band had an eight year gap between 2016’s ‘Hardwired…To Self Destruct’ and 2008’s ‘Death Magnetic’.

And it’s looking like they won’t be getting into a recording studio any time soon with the guitarist confirming the band will not finish their current world tour until November 2019.

“When I was 13-14 years old, bands put out albums every year,” Hammett told Mixdown. “Seriously, KISS put out an album every eight months. None of this eight years between albums.

“None of us are very comfortable with the fact it’s been so long, because that is a long time. We’re hoping to avoid that this time around.

He added: “We’re in our third year since ‘Hardwired’. Maybe we can get a bit more focus and go into the studio a bit sooner. I have a ton of material. I’ve over-compensated, so I’m ready to go anytime.”

Nowadays, the old model of album/three-singles/EP to hold you over/album/three singles/quickie live album/break just doesn’t cut it anymore. In approximately their first four years of putting out music, U2 released a slew of independent singles, Boy, October, War, the A Celebration single (which has vanished from their canon almost entirely) and then put out The Unforgettable Fire. That’s an amazing run. In five years, the Police literally put out five incredible albums and then told everyone to fuck off.

There’s no pressure anymore. There’s no fear of being dropped, no institutional memory of what it means to be on the charts, no need to have product in the stores because, umm, there are no stores (and Record Store Day doesn’t count). So Hammett doesn’t have to put anything out.

What they could do is innovate. Go back and figure out how to make EPs work. Or set a deadline and work towards it. This comes out on x date with x songs and if we only have three of them done, that’s what is released. If we have 20 songs by x date, that’s what comes out. Let the fans bank on that.

I don’t know what you could even do anymore. Someone has an answer, and it’s probably Billie Eilish or someone like that. They’ll be the new innovators, and then maybe we’ll all stop buying video games as if they were Led Zeppelin albums.

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