Add in failed artist Aloe Blacc and you end up with a track that’s selling faster than “Blurred Lines” in the UK.
You know, the song of the summer (or is that “Get Lucky”?), Robin Thicke only managed to sell 175,000 copies of his new album this week. And you know about debuts…it’s down, down, down from there. Seems nobody’s a fan of the artist, only the fan. In other words, Robin Thicke is this year’s Carly Rae Jepsen. Going from obscurity to history just that fast, with a moment of mainstream pop visibility in between. Is this any way to run a business? Especially when the hit was essentially a rip-off of a Marvin Gaye track to begin with?
Now if you find an oldster who claims to love EDM, he’s got a ponytail and a seventeen year old girlfriend. Nobody hates electronic music more than baby boomers, who believe they control the media and the last time anything good happened in music was 1969.
Not that it wasn’t better back then, it truly was. But there’s a chance EDM is another spark, another British Invasion so to speak, when we heard Herman’s Hermits we could not envision Cream, hell, when we heard “For Your Love,” we could not envision Cream, but that’s what we got, along with a plethora of acts so inventive they’re still plying the boards today.
If you told me a year ago, just a few months ago, that this year’s summer EDM smash would be cowritten by a rocker from Calabasas and sung by a black guy and sound closer to the country-like songs of Queen than Skrillex, I would have laughed you out of the room.
But that’s what “Wake Me Up” is.
Not as instantly infectious as “Get Lucky,” if you give “Wake Me Up” thirty seconds, you can’t stop playing it, at all, you put it on endless repeat, forever.
The acoustic guitar intro would never indicate you’re hearing the latest work of a world famous millionaire deejay. It sounds closer to Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” than it does mindless repetitive drivel.
But at 1:11 when the song explodes with electronics, you’re not only surprised, you’re thrilled. I don’t care if you’re six or sixty nine, you can’t help but move your body, you feel the joy of life, something that only music can do so well.
And when the track quiets down again at 2:00…you think maybe we’re returning to the introspective singer/songwriter days of the seventies.
You know what a hit song is…
Not something that looks good on paper.
Not something you need to hear ten times to get.
Not something you need to be dunned into listening to.
BUT A TRACK YOU GET THE FIRST TIME THROUGH AND CAN’T STOP PLAYING!
So how come everybody in America doesn’t know “Wake Me Up”?
Because the music industry in the USA has blown its chance, it’s burned people out, selling them mediocre, me-too again and again. Whole swaths of the public have tuned out tunes. They haven’t got time for them, they’d just rather watch television.
And the solution is not apps with Samsung. It’s not wall to wall television promotion. It’s a simple formula, just do something so new and different that it’s indelible, that you eat like chocolate and you share like marijuana.
Now “Wake Me Up” is not “Get Lucky.” It’s not a stone cold, certified classic. But unlike “Blurred Lines,” it makes you want to hear more, to see what Avicii is up to. It’s the HBO effect, gain our trust and we’re open to everything you wanna do.
If you’re not throwing your arms up in the air and stomping your feet as this plays, you’re a quadriplegic.
P.S. There are no brand mentions in the lyrics, no cliches, no ho’s or rims, just an expression of the human condition, which is one in which there are more questions than answers. That’s what music used to be, a key, that opened a door…into your mind and the universe.
P.P.S. This is already a stone cold smash in a double digit number of countries. It’s America that’s lagging. Yes, the self-satisfied U.S., where we claim we’re number one but we’re reluctant to change.
P.P.P.S. Be sure to check out Aloe Blacc’s “I Need A Dollar,” almost as good as “Wake Me Up,” it never reached international consciousness, unfortunately.