Gerry from Plastic Yellow Band 2There are two types of artists out there. The ones who truly understand their talent and the current industry that their art fits in. The dreamers. Then there are the ones who create art just to create art. The hobbyists. The problem is, sometimes people think they belong in one category when they should be in the other. An amazing artist hiding behind their hobby when they should be showing it off to the world. The dreamer who believes his work should be shown to the world when really, it should be kept in his private collection. Unfortunately, the ones who are falsely living in the dreamer category are the harder ones to convince.

When a musician invests money into a project or a band to get heard, you should have the talent and knowledge to back it up. I see so many bands spend thousands in the studio on an album that is, for a lack of better words, terrible. I wonder what the big picture is in their head. Are they thinking that their music is going to be on the radio one day? Are they hoping to play to sold out arenas? Yes, some musicians can make a decent living playing little gigs every night to their handful of friends, family and fans. Sure, it is nice to have a CD to sell at these shows. But if you have been playing to the same group of people for years, that is a pretty good indication that your music isn’t catching on. In my opinion, if you are going to make such a major investment in your music, its a good idea to get an outsiders perspective. Or at least try and take a step back and think to yourself, “Will people like this?” or “Can I imagine myself going to my own show and enjoying it?” or better yet, “Is this any good or am I just fooling myself?”

Of course, this is just my opinion and we all know what they say about that. I am am the type to give all music a chance…sometimes several chances. But if it doesn’t melt in my ears and have me smiling throughout the songs, there is definitely a problem. When I review an album, I listen to the entire production at least once all the way through. Some become instant favorites and they get added to my playlist to be enjoyed for as long as I live. Others are a bit harder to wrap my heart around. I will take a break from it and come back for a second time around but usually my first impression is right. When I was given Plastic Yellow Band’s new album “Above Gravity”, I took the time to listen to it, like always. I just couldn’t get into it. I was confused by it. It has a very Beatles feel to some of the music, but it is missing so much. Just when I think I am enjoying his voice, I realize that it just doesn’t fit with most of the music. I decided to stop and come back to it another day. It is rare that I am not able to find something good about every album I review and so far, I had nothing.

I popped the album back on today. It had been a couple weeks and I couldn’t remember why I didn’t like it in the first place. I was hoping that I was just having an off day. I wasn’t. As each song played, the confusion set back in and I was left almost mad at this album. Each song reminded me of different song from famous musicians who recorded them 40 years ago. Dated. Mimicked. Not a single song stood out on it’s own two feet. I gave the whole album a solid listen…all the way through till the end. I shook my head as each track passed. I do know that I am going into this review with only the information sent in their press release and the actual music. I have never spoken to the artist. I have no idea what they are trying to accomplish with this album. The songs are uncomfortably arranged. The topics are strange or just not the type of topics one would want to write a song about. Every song sounded different, but not in a good way. Almost like it is a bad compilation of several artists and not just one.

Then there is the dreaded 21 minute long musical journey called “Starlight”. I tried. I really did try to get through this entire song but it just wasn’t happening. I think I made it through 8 minutes and just had to turn it off. I get the sentiment. An ode to all those that left before us. But when people hear that a song is 21 minutes long, or even 8 minutes long, they cringe. Regardless of how good it is, it’s still 21 minutes long.

I really hate giving bad reviews. I always try to find something in every band I listen to because I know that the artist has put his heart and soul into their work. But this album just couldn’t give me anything nice to say. Maybe there is a niche for music that sounds like really bad versions of songs recorded 4 decades ago. Maybe I am missing the whole point of the record. Maybe I am wrong, but in all honestly, I doubt it.

 

Extended Plays is an ongoing music series written by myself and my partner James. We listen to music, go with our gut and spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. We hope you take the time to check out the artists we review for yourselves. We tend to believe that we are always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that our opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but ourselves.

 

 

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