Monday, 25 November 2013

"You have to be *this tall* to write"

An age old discussion of the age old discussion. A collection of thoughts that I have failed to put down to paper since watching Sir Macca gasp and wheeze through a trifled Hey Jude at the 2012 London Olympics with such exasperation indicating the possibility of incoming respiratory acidosis. Unfortunately, (got a problem? sue me.) the Mac-attack came out the other end and went on to release an album he had the audacity the title New. Reference to a second wind or a premium set of organs he recently acquired from a brain-dead orphan? We may never know.
Orphans aside it’s worth considering the reality that age holds no weight within the music industry. Those who have been lurking since the 70s are still operating with immovable strife. With the recent passing of Lou Reed mortality is a current taboo which makes me want to turn to the other side of the bed and query whether there such thing as being ‘too young’ to be making music?

Embedded image permalinkAt the age of thirteen Universal Records snapped up the now unavoidably popular Lorde from her New Zealand home. Although sounding frighteningly similar to a kidnapping or grooming (we’ve had enough of those recently), Universal made a smart move in recruiting this upcoming talent so early. I’m not aware or well versed in the ramifications and technicalities of her contract but I can imagine the document’s terms would not allow Universal to release music on behalf of her under the pseudonym of Lorde until she was ‘of age’ as it were. That said, by waiting a few years it gave time for Lorde to develop as an artist and get herself mentally and physically prepared for the arguably the most exciting four years of her life. However, by signing her soul away to the beelzebub of the industry (The independent uprising is coming, trust me!) she’s not allowed herself the chance to live as a unsullied adolescent. Pure Heroin was a great and comprehensive pop release and Lorde should be overwhelmed with what she’s achieved. I won’t indulge myself so far as to write a full review but I’ll just mention that the lyrical content was occasionally discursive and narrow which entertains the possibility that she could maybe have matured as a songwriter if not for having the fat-cat suits breathing down her neck for the last three years.

Lorde’s an exception. Most artist don’t transcend into popularity as seamlessly as Ms.Yelich-O’Connor did. Let’s jet ourselves out of Middle earth and over the far less dramatic/Orc infested Nottingham, though I wouldn’t rule out a comparison between the town centre to Helms Deep; equally hazardous. Resident Jake Bugg of the age 19 has managed to rocket himself out his estate with a chart topping album and wielding a potential sledgehammer as he attempts to crack the States in time for the release of his second LP. Despite having somewhat of a sullen temperament it hasn’t stopped him from making appearance on the prestigious and austere Graham Norton Show and recording with production powerhouse Rick Rubin. Insane opportunities for someone who hasn’t even trudged through the UCAS application process, Bugg never seems phased by it. The expected giddiness and torrential “I can’t believe this”-es are glazed over by his apathetic permanence. Is it a mechanism to appear more mature so as the media take him seriously, or could he honestly not give a shit? Although I expect the former I would not chastise him for it, it’s a dependable strategy to keep the dimension of youth half a mile away from the immediate components that make up him as an entity in the public eye.

In the digital age where operating within social media is as, if not more, fundamental than the ability to chew your own food, being a young artist is infinitely feasible. There’s no substitute for playing shows and spreading the hype through the outdated vehicle ‘word of mouth’ but is that really the most effective means of getting yourself heard? Any tween with a Youtube account and a piano can make themselves an international superstar in the time it took me to get a D in Physics A-Level, look at the rise of the Justin Bieber empire. Successful youth shouldn’t be capitalised on but respected since being a young artist is becoming such a frequency in 2013 and, lets face it, at the age of sixteen you weren’t breaching the territories of award winning music you were, just like I was, in a field drinking vodka out of Lucozade bottles on warm summer evenings, oh to be young and wasteful.

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