Beyonce. Kanye. Frank Ocean.
Surprise drops. Video albums. Super Bowl mash-ups. Tweets about album titles. Tweets about changing album titles.
On the simple pessimistic hand, it's PR in overdrive. A highly-curated sequence of marketing to remind people to consume music.
But more interestingly, it marking what the world has transitioned to over the decades. As said consumers, it seems to be an absolute deluge of media being produced today.
There isn't a feeling or narrative that you can't seem to get in your preferred dosage. Want to laugh, or be scared, or feel joy? Sure, in 90-minute, 60-minute, or 30-minute increments? On the go? Grab a 15-minute podcast. Not enough time for that? Here's a 6-second Vine (well, for now at least.) Do you want that in video, in song, in a book, or maybe VR?
It almost feels saturated in those formats. So I wonder if music today is inadvertently pushing the attributes of the media.
Suspense, horror, comedy, happiness, sappiness--all fairly available these days. But what about surprise?
Eight episodes at 60 minutes equals eight hours. A film is 75-90 minutes. Youtube, maybe 5-15 minutes sure.
But what about months? Or even years? (Books can get there. I'm looking at your R. R. Martin. And serialized television, but how many stay rosy fresh? Ahem, Friends?)
Anyways, I found myself fascinated by the Kanye experience leading up to the release of Pablo. It was something I couldn't get with just House of Cards. Or Harry Potter.
It was a twisting winding path inside a brain that was firing in real time. Maybe some was premeditated, maybe to build "brand." But overall it was enjoyable. It was believable to see him work through album titles. It was fun to see everyone else take guesses and try to dissect the psyche in real-time.
The sporadic SNL appearances. The ever-changing track list. The songs that were maybe going to be on the album, and then turns out it was just a random song. (Anyone remember Paul McCartney?) Heck, even the random changes on his website were fun.
It was multi-platform (I would have called it "multimedia" back in the 90s) in a way that was surprising. Would he show up on TV? Twitter? Someone else's Twitter? Music festivals? Fashion shows?
A TV show at its finest is still mostly inside one rectangle in 30-60 minutes spurts. Ultimately quite familiar.
A Kanye at his finest fires everywhere from rectangles to real life in spurts that are as long as his temperament allows. It's a new rhythm that I just haven't heard yet before.