Friday, 19 November 2010
The Return of Duffy
But when you start thinking about it, this business of when and how to release product onto the market, is one steeped in difficulty. It seems to me that as an artist with a long term career, you are in constant danger of falling into one of two Deep Dark Wells.
Deep Dark Well One is labelled, ‘Not you again, can’t you just leave me alone? I’ve only just got used to your last album and can’t really find the cash just now’. Normally, I like to savour an album for a bit, especially if it is particularly good, and get to know every nuance and inflection. This generally takes a bit of time and the last thing you want is to find that yet another album is on the shelves begging for your attention. Record companies are particularly bad at pushing artists into seizing the moment and releasing a load of half-baked songs onto a public that are lapping up the current stuff. I know that the Beach Boys used to release about 4 LPs a year but frankly, I couldn’t cope with this.
Deep Dark Well Two is labelled, ‘Who? Where the hell have you been for the last 5/10/15 years? Sorry but I’ve moved on and have a huge roster of new artists to devote my limited time to’. This is always a bit sad, but go away and hide for long periods and you really can’t expect your public to be waiting around like a stood-up date for very long. Life’s too short and there is always another band to come along and fill your shoes. Unless you are a mega-star you really cannot get away with not producing anything for decades, can you Kate?
So what’s the solution? With the benefit of 40-odd years of buying and following bands, my considered opinion is that an album every eighteen months to two years is about the right balance and if an artist could see their way clear to releasing a new song, say as a download or EP in the middle of the fallow period just to say, ‘I’m still here’, that would be grand. This approach has several benefits. First, it allows the artist to write and refine some decent material rather than filling up with rejects from the previous effort and second, it gives the buyer a bit of a breather.
On this basis and assuming that new albums from Duffy and The Ting Tings will not be available until late 2010 or early 2011, they might just have left it a shade too long, methinks.