Kate Bush

Despite all the hype, "Aerial" only sold 22,593 copies in its first week of release, and 10,492 its second.  It debuted at #48 and fell to #129 in its second week.  Kate was even beaten on the chart by that great musical talent Regis Philbin.  Then again, Regis is on TV every weekday.  And Kate Bush can be heard almost nowhere.  That’s the crisis in today’s music business.  Not burning, not P2P, but EXPOSURE!  Or, lack thereof.

Got to tell you, I didn’t give "Aerial" a good chance.  It didn’t immediately grab me when I inserted it into my CD player (which I can do on a Mac, unlike a PC…and, did the recall hurt second week sales…quite possibly, but that’s a shitty debut number nonetheless).  Not that I could really blame the record.  I just wasn’t in the MOOD for Kate Bush, I was a bit too amped up, one has to be relaxed to enjoy the music of the high-pitched chanteuse.

But driving back from the Valley last week, I heard her on XM’s Cafe, on a show entitled "The Nude Music Review".  They were playing a song "Joanni", the second to last cut on the first CD, which I never got to.  After all, these albums don’t come with instruction booklets, which track to play first, to get hooked.  After all, these albums are supposedly works of art.  To be digested in their entirety over time.  But in a world where the history of recorded music is available at one’s fingertips for free, one needs an introduction, one needs to be shown the way, it’s not like the old days, where you spent fifteen bucks and PLAYED the damn album, since you had so much invested.

Then again, that’s what Sony wants you to do.  And I’d defend their position if 100,000 people had popped for "Aerial" the week it came out.  But, looking at this piss-poor sales number, it’s clear that something’s wrong with the paradigm.

Do you know "Don’t Give Up" from "So"?  Sure, that’s a Peter Gabriel cut, but its magic can be attributed to Kate Bush’s vocal.  "Joanni"’s got that same feel.  When you’re home alone.  With more lights off than on.  When you’re resting on the couch with the newspaper.  When you’re all by yourself after ending a relationship and needing something to comfort you.

I immediately retrieved "Aerial" when I got home and played "Joanni".  It worked.

Starting the album at the top, I still wasn’t hooked.  But then, "How To Be Invisible", the track BEFORE "Joanni", mesmerized me.  And I liked "Coral Room", the song after.

I figured if I played "Aerial" enough, maybe I’d like the first four cuts.  But, before I spun those again, I decided to play CD 2.  Which turned out to be FAR SUPERIOR!  Good throughout.

I feel like a member of a secret cult.  Who’ve had "Aerial" unfold before them.

Obviously, print media didn’t penetrate the public.  There was a story in every publication known to man.  Turns out the old record label saw is true…nothing promotes music like radio, like the ability to HEAR it.

We trusted the deejay.  We counted on the deejay.  It was his job to pick out the good tracks.  And, if we liked them, we bought the album.

This game died in the nineties.  When we purchased albums based on one track and found out they were complete trash.  A whole bunch of people resigned from the record-buying marketplace.  And then, trying to reach who was left, the major labels forced OBVIOUS stuff down our throats at Top Forty.  And the margins…they disappeared on radio.  The whole scene inverted upon itself and sucked itself down the hole in the center.  We need someone to reach down into that hole, at the center of a long playing record, at the center of a CD, and pull the music back out.

I heard another band on the Nude Music Review entitled Winterpills.  Go to their Website, http://www.winterpills.com/ (click on "music" and launch the player), and listen.  They’re a slightly more energetic Elliott Smith.

I love new music.  I love the kind of stuff that doesn’t get played on terrestrial radio.  Not the kind of stuff you dance to, not the kind of stuff that hits you in the face, but the kind of stuff that PENETRATES you, and changes your life.

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