Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Haim are number one. But now what?

HUGE congratulations to Haim, whose debut album beat part-time actor Justin Timberlake to number one by the tiniest of margins on Sunday (2,100 copies at the final count). Days Are Gone is a great record - a stroppy, songy masterpiece forged in the flames of the 1980s pop. But here's the thing: I've barely listened to it.

Why? Because by the time it came out, I already owned five of its 11 tracks. According to iTunes, I've listened to Forever and Don't Save Me over 100 times, so I never really need to hear them again. The CD is a physical souvenir of songs I loved on the internet last year.

And that's a big problem. Because, more and more, this is the way new bands are promoted. After all the buzz tracks, free downloads, exclusive sessions and chart-ineligible EPs, Haim's first album is over before it began. There's maybe one more single on it - then nothing for radio to play while they tour the album, and nothing to keep them in the public consciousness while they record the follow-up.

The same fate has befallen AlunaGeorge, who used up their best radio songs before radio was ready for them. By the time their album was finished, they were releasing You Know You Like It for the third time. Unsurprisingly, everybody who wanted the song had already downloaded it, with the result that a potential number one limped into the charts at 39, and was dropped from the latest Now album. It's almost like it never existed.

In the end, the AlunaGeorge's album charted respectably at number 11 - but now it needs a promotional push for Christmas, and the cupboard is bare. Had wiser heads prevailed, Your Drums Your Love would have been held over to this year. Instead we get Best Be Believing. Not a bad song, if you're into Paula Abdul album tracks, but a million miles from the band's best work.

I'm not sure setting the video in a "humorous" mental health clinic was the best idea, either.

AlunaGeorge - Best Be Believing

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