Spotify Suggestions

Spotify Suggestions

“Come”
Jain

This has 44,634,669 streams on Spotify and 66,937,245 on YouTube and you’ll think there’s nothing special until you hit the chorus/hook and then you’ll find you’re hooked. Two minutes and forty seconds of specialness. Maybe we’re returning to that era, a pullback from the seventies ethos where acts wanted to be able to stretch out to a full album side, as long as they cared to. But a lot of those extended plays were dreck, whereas today if you’ve got somebody’s attention you want to deliver, immediately, make your mark and leave.

This isn’t in French, but her accent is so heavy it’ll take you a few plays to realize she’s singing in English. (Or is she..?)

Furthermore, it was released originally nearly two years ago.

And there was a TV push, she was on Colbert earlier this year, but we’re no longer living in the nineties, when being on Letterman was a badge of honor and made a difference, it’s nearly irrelevant these days, grants you a video at most, no, you’ve got to make it on streaming services and Jain has, just not in America, but now since “Despacito”…

Granted there are a lot more Latinos then French people in the U.S., but have barriers been broken, has the definition of a hit single broadened? Put Bieber on this and it’s Top Five, guaranteed. You can’t listen without moving your head, it just makes you feel good, whatever it means.

Meanwhile, Jain is charismatic/adorable, check out the video, it’s French in a way that is entrancing, all about minimalist style. The video put “Despacito” over the top. Today, when tracks take so long to build could “Come” still make it?

I think so!

Jain – Come – YouTube

And she was excellent on Colbert:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – Jain Performs ‘Come’

“Letra (feat. JC Ramirez)”
Sweet

That Sweet?

I have no idea, on both Spotify and iTunes they’re crediting the old English band, is this a sample, even though I don’t hear it, but I couldn’t find anything whatsoever on Google, it’s a black hole. But if you let this play in the background you’ll find yourself nodding your head, despite once again being unable to understand what they’re singing about, unless you speak Spanish.

This stood out in my Discover Weekly playlist.

“House of the White Rose Bouquet”
Ray Wylie Hubbard

As did this. I had to wake up my phone to see who it was. And I’ve always heard Ray’s name, but never been hooked.

But this time…

The production is superior to his voice, but Ray’s telling a story.

This is the essence of not only country, but music, it’s what truly bonds us to an act, when they leave a little blood on the saddle. You’ll either get this or you won’t, but if you do…

“Woulda Left Me Too”
Ryan Griffin

This is not a hit, but the song is. Yup, like in the days of Clive’s Arista, when he asked prospective A&R people what unrecognized/unheralded songs when covered could be hits.

This is a great line, “woulda left me too,” like the old days of country, it’s the twist that closes you.

A ready-made hit for a non-writer star in Nashville.

Letterman On Stern

We underestimate talent.

Used to be we were looking for the unique voice, now me-tooism reigns. Maybe it’s the millennial ethos of fitting in, where boomers were all about being square pegs in a round hole, letting their freak flags fly.

And technically, David Letterman is a baby boomer.

Now most people leave TV and are instantly forgotten. Did Jay Leno really host the “Tonight Show”? And does anybody under forty even know who Johnny Carson was? And to tell you the truth, I was addicted to Dave at 12:35, but ultimately lost interest at 11:35, the show was slicker, less wacky and more formulaic, but then Dave retired.

And grew a hillbilly beard and morphed into a cantankerous grandpa that we just cannot get enough of, even though we know so little.

And I’ve stopped watching late night TV all together, except for Bill Maher and John Oliver on HBO, the former because he’ll speak the truth, the latter because he goes so deep, and Maher’s “New Rules” is far superior to “Weekend Update” and Oliver created a new formula and that’s what late night talk shows have become, a formula.

But they weren’t when Dave took over. Or at least he shook them up. He turned late night into a comedy show, with bits, but now he’s into interviewing like his predecessor and mentor Johnny.

But I don’t need to repeat Dave’s CV, his history, other than to say he’s signed a deal for six shows with Netflix. Netflix stole comedy from HBO and Disney is delusional if it believes we’re gonna pay a separate fee to view their wares. In music we have everything in one place for one small monthly fee, in TV/movies it’s like being pecked to death by ducks. Hell, I’d cut the cord if Spectrum didn’t charge me almost as much just for internet, it’s a racket I tell you.

And Howard gets overeager with these big celebrities, he wants to get all his questions in, but Dave hung back, didn’t interrupt, waited for calm to appear, and then cracked one funny joke after another.

Well, not that quickly. It wasn’t Rodney Dangerfield rat-a-tat-tat. He waited for his moments, and then without set-up, without announcing he was gonna drop one, he came out with lines so funny I burst out laughing, even though I was listening on headphones and no one else was there.

Howard brought up Dave’s mother Dorothy’s death. Letterman said she died at 96. That she was playing racquet ball just the day before.

You almost believed him. After all, she seemed so young and healthy on his show.

But of course it wasn’t true. And the way Dave revealed this was both self-deprecatory and hysterical at the same time. As if you were in the basement with your teenage buddies and your friend had gotten you with a joke.

This was not brief.

That’s why Dave said he wouldn’t go on talk shows. Because the producer would say he had to fill eight minutes, with previously delineated stories, there could be no holes. Whereas on satellite, which I listened to via the app, when I wanted to, on demand, Letterman could stretch out.

He didn’t want to leave.

A pro knows when to go. After eighty minutes Dave took his exit. But you could tell this was the highlight of his day. Performers like to perform. And we like to be with people, even if we are famous.

And being famous…

Friends come to visit the Lettermans in Montana. And at the end of the day, Dave, his wife Regina and son Harry do a post mortem, oftentimes asking each other of recalcitrant guests…WHEN ARE THEY GONNA LEAVE?

That’s family, those intimate moments, when you share truth, when you’re all on the same page.

And yes, Dave denigrated guests. Talked about taking up skiing at 63. And the changes in his personality.

Which Howard seconded, talking about himself. One learned more about Howard in this one interview than we do in a year’s worth of shows.

Jerry Seinfeld comes over regularly. Billy Joel too. Howard’s part of the club, and you didn’t lament your loss of status in the gutter with him as much as want to be included in this group.

Howard and Dave both testified about Jerry. How he’s always doing something, breaking the mold. And this was inspirational.

And Howard and Dave talked about Dave’s dinner with Steve. You had no idea who they were talking about, and then Dave said his wife enjoyed it, but didn’t think she could do it again, she felt inadequate, because Steve was so ESTEEMED!

It was Steve Martin.

And there was this great story about going to Jack Paar’s house and realizing the host had gone to bed when Dave and his producer Hal Gurnee were still at the dinner table.

It was old Hollywood. As in an era when our entertainers were much more interesting than our business people. When it was less about wealth than access. When you believed if you could just gain status you too could be graced by the words and jokes of these household names.

Howard and Dave earned their status. And neither of them partake of this access that often. They feel uncomfortable. That’s right, if guests come to your house do you have to entertain them? Do you have to contribute comedy at the dinner table? These guys were just as anxious in social situations as you and me.

But they were talking about it.

You won’t learn how to be famous. There are not a plethora of anecdotes. Dave is a bit hoarse from just flying back from India. But in these days where we’re connected but isolated, typing to each other in front of a screen, it’s a revelation to just hear two people talk.

Especially when one is so skewed and so experienced that he can throw off punch lines that get you squealing.

Yes, these are maladjusted people. You come away believing that Dave really hates himself that much.

But on some level, DON’T WE ALL?

Billy Raffoul

Billy Raffoul – Dark Four Door

If this were the nineties, he’d already be a star.

That’s the power of video, that’s the power of a monoculture.

You won’t get it if you listen to the new single “Driver” on Spotify. You won’t even get it if you listen to the version of “Dark Four Door” on Spotify. But if you watch the above video, you’ll be closed!

Oh, I know, I know, some of you will say it’s manipulated, it’s over-dramatic, but somehow Billy Raffoul’s performance is the antidote to everything popular today. It’s simple, it’s one man and his guitar, singing from his gut, there’s an authenticity emerging from his soul.

But maybe it’s because he’s Canadian.

Canada is different. It’s harder to be gigantic, but it’s easier to get noticed, and the government supports you, such that there’s a broader swath of music making it, not just hip-hop and pop.

So you watch this video and want to see Raffoul live. A guy who didn’t bother to change his name to “Keys” or “Legend,” there’s no fakery involved.

And if you’re in the target demo, and I mean under the age of 25, if you’re not jaded, having seen it all, Raffoul speaks to you, and embodies the part, i.e. the girls want to get next to him and the boys want to be him. Never ever underestimate the power of one person and a guitar. If you can convey your story sans effects…

Now you’ve got to credit Frank Ockenfels, who shot this clip. Everybody’s got a camera today, but few know how to use it. And without the swirling images too often employed in this supposedly short attention span era, you can’t take your eyes off of Raffoul, he’s all there is.

Now Raffoul may enter through the side door. He’s the featured vocalist on one track of Avicii’s new EP. And I won’t say it’s blown up, but in one week it’s had greater play than that of any of Raffoul’s cuts which have been in the marketplace longer. And the truth is today, anything that starts hot usually fails, not that Avicii’s EP can’t fail either, but now it’s not about bludgeoning the gatekeepers but penetrating the public consciousness, getting people familiar with a song/sound and having them spread the word and listen until it blows up.

So, it used to be the label pushed the button and you were a star. Or didn’t get off the starting line and failed miserably. But we knew your story, we knew you were coming.

And the truth is we still know hip-hop artists are coming, there’s a whole culture there.

But it’s nonexistent elsewhere. It’s like after a war. Bombed out, people numb, unable to pick up the pieces. Everybody but hip-hoppers and popsters missed the streaming memo.

But will acts like Billy Raffoul emerge in the aftermath? Acts you want to see not to clip your coupon but to bond with the emotion of live?

Time will tell.

But Billy’s a secret today.

He should be more than that.

Avicii – “You Be Love” (feat. Billy Raffoul)

The Vice Video

Nothing happens fast anymore.

Last week Vice was a news outlet for youngsters, not the prepubescent set the music industry caters to, but the late teens to thirtysomethings with a brain who like to stay informed, who like to mull over issues and form their own opinions, absent the ravings of dictatorial oldsters who believe they know better, these same personages who called the election wrong, who marginalized Bernie Sanders and dismissed Donald Trump, heard anything about Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently?

Today, Vice is the purveyor of note, the breakthrough news service, the one with the embedded reporter letting the right wing protesters speak for themselves, but standing up to them when they show no remorse and get the facts wrong.

We’re used to journalism grads. Coiffed and pampered, people looking like robots who read the news sans emotion, told that no opinion should be exuded or expressed. And that’s how we got into this mess, false equivalencies in the media.

Or else we’ve got the bloviators, believing their opinion is correct, yelling over anybody who dares to interrupt them.

And now we’ve got this young woman who looks like the audience allowing the perpetrators to tell their own story.

I heard about it from Felice first. She’s addicted to the HBO show, she watches it every night, but she doesn’t tell me about it every night, but this time she did. That’s the essence of today’s society, you have to create something that ignites word of mouth. And too many lowest common denominator players believe that means train-wreck content, that which gets you to drop your jaw and stop. But train-wreck doesn’t last, it’s seen for what it is, candy, and you can’t live on candy, you need protein.

Then Jake called me from Toronto. Had to iMessage me the link. It was that powerful. And Vice didn’t advertise it, didn’t take a victory lap, but it did post it to YouTube for all to see. Just like with Spotify, while oldsters and the ignorant are bitching they’re getting ripped-off, upstarts use the new tools to get ahead. That’s right, while rockers were bitching about getting paid, rappers were posting their content on Soundcloud and Spotify and suddenly hip-hop became the sound of the nation. Not that any news outlet picked up on this, they were too busy repeating the protestations of the oldsters. Come on, when was the last time David Lowery had a hit, impacted the culture?

So the Vice video was lying in wait, for people to see it. Once again, the enemy is not nonpayment, but OBSCURITY!

So I watched it. Jake was so passionate about it. Not only do you respect the opinions of friends, you want to be a member of the club, you want to be able to talk intelligently, discuss what you’ve seen.

And you cannot watch the Vice video without feeling like you’re being pulled into an alternative reality that was somehow not depicted in the mainstream media. We got the usual story. ABOUT something instead of the real thing. But watching the Vice video you were truly in the belly of the beast.

And when I watched it the Vice video had under a million views. Was this truly possible? Had the counter not just caught up?

So I tweeted about it. Because I couldn’t help myself, I was that moved. And I e-mailed Tom Freston, who shepherded MTV into the stratosphere and now helps guide Vice. Because you give kudos when due.

And then I got in my car and every news outlet was talking about it.

That’s right, I listen to the news in my car. On the satellite. That’s one reason to sign up for Sirius in these challenging times. They’ve got Fox and CNN and MSNBC and more, and I flip between them to get the different viewpoints, to get the lay of the land.

And they’re all mentioning the Vice video.

There was no promotion, the print media was far behind, hell, the L.A. “Times” app didn’t even feature the Trump story, half a day after it had happened.

This is how the modern world works.

You labor in obscurity for years, unable to break through, and then you get lucky. It’s not like the Vice majordomos sat in their office and rubbed their palms and declared this was gonna be their breakthrough moment, this is what they do, every weeknight on HBO, all over their websites. But they got lucky.

I know, I know, it’s hard to employ that term in the midst of a national crisis, when three people died, I still haven’t gotten over how Heather Heyer perished, never mind those two state troopers in the helicopter. But what touched me in my Twitter feed today was the GoFundMe for Tyler Magill, who suffered a stroke as a “result of blunt force trauma to his carotid artery after he was hit with a Torch on Friday night.”

Tyler’s Stroke of Genius Recovery

And in one day, $66,240 has been donated.

And now 2,245,310 people have watched the Vice video on Charlottesville.

People are mislabeled, they’re seen as somnambulant, self-centered pricks who just don’t give a damn. But this is untrue. Think of all those people who donated to Tyler. Think of all those people who just had to watch the Vice video.

Nothing stays the same. We thought after the fall of the wall tyrants were done in Eastern Europe. Hell, after the treaty we believed that nukes were on the wane.

We thought network news was forever.

But then the screw turned.

News turned into an on demand item, constantly available. And although Al Jazeera failed in America, after mountains of publicity, Vice has started to gain steam, by doing it just a little bit different, telling the stories people are truly interested in, at length, because people have time for all that is riveting, and while you’re railing about talking heads on cable you’re gonna miss the takeover of the news by this upstart who has been there for years, but whose time has come.

Yesterday Vice finally had a hit. And in today’s world, one hit makes you a star. Most acts can’t follow that hit, there’s no there there, but not with Vice, it’s been making content for years, there’s more where that came from, all eyes are on Vice today.