YOU CAN’T RUSH ART
WRITTEN BY CHARLES ODUGBESAN
It wasn’t too long ago that one of your favourite artists would release an album and for months that would be all you would play. There would be endless hours, endless days, endless weeks even of playback – dissecting each lyric, unravelling each story/concept, sonically letting the music resonate with you and enjoying it for as long as the moment allows. Because let’s face it, every album an artist releases is a culmination of emotions, toil and hours of dedication crammed into an hour and a half long story. Surely as fans it should take a while to be able to soak it all in and appreciate such artistry, right? Well in this day and age unfortunately not.
This is a blog of personal struggle. The sheer volume of output from artists in the music industry is frightening. This time last week there were at least 4 new albums and a mixtape circulating and picking one of them to start with was a dilemma in itself! I find it almost impossible keeping up with new releases and I often find when people ask me ‘Have you listened to this album?’, 9/10 times the answer is usually ‘no, not yet!’ Let me go a little further back and give you some perspective. Since Kendrick Lamar released his album ‘DAMN’ on April 14th, there have been a number of artists on my radar who have all released projects up until now. These artists include:
Playboi Carti – Playboi Carti
2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Love Trap Music
Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
SZA – CTRL
Lana Del Rey – Lust for Life
DJ Khaled – Grateful
French Montana – Jungle Rules
Wale – Shine
Meek Mill – Wins and Losses
Tyler the Creator – Flower Boy
J Hus – Common Sense
MoStack – High Street Kid
Dizzee Rascal – Raskit
Calvin Harris – Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1
There’s more… but this is just to name a few! So if you do the maths, from April 14th to this day, each of these artists’ projects have had a life expectancy of about 8 days before being swiftly replaced by next week’s hot topic and subsequently gathering dust in the Spotify or Apple Music library. Sorry Jay, I’m not quite ready to pay for Tidal as well!
At least 4 of those albums I haven’t played one song from yet and others I haven’t heard fully. But I have no intention of speeding up just because something new is out. I’m happy to arrive late. The next album can wait its turn. I’d rather take the time to appreciate and give sufficient time to a project before moving on. But as well as the listener, the artists themselves must face a huge problem with the fast streaming, easy access and congested music business.
Music is powerful and a musicians words carry great influence. But with the speed at which music is distributed these days, how can a musician expect their art to be as influential and impactful as they intend it to be? Do they feel the pressure to ‘keep up’ so to speak? And will that pressure compromise the quality of their output? Rushed work is often not the best work and we see even today that there are artists who have already sacrificed quality music for quantity just to keep up their market share. If so, my issue pales in comparison. I’ll happily take my time appreciating the great music we’re given even if it means I’m always behind on the newest drops. You can’t rush art!