After procrastinating for 4.8 hours today (an unproductive visit to the coffee shop; a manicure; a run; shower no. 2 of the day; blow drying my hair carefully, then loathing the way it looked; wetting my hair again to curli-fy it) — I’ve finally sat down with purpose and intent. Because I realised that musical post is long overdue.
This weekend I chatted with a friend about how soul-crushing it when some of your favourite artists’ music is hijacked by commercial success. I realise that we sounded like a couple of discontented hipsters, but honestly that’s who we are. I mean how upsetting is it when assholes who take a catchy tune you loved and decide that it should go along with a car commercial or an advert for mattresses?a How dismaying is it when the obscure band you found by chance on a college radio show that only airs 2am-5am on weekdays is so overplayed by commercial radio stations that you now hate listening to it?
But of course, there’s the fact that commercial success is in fact a wonderful thing for these bands and singers. Rising out of obscurity to racking up royalties? Finally selling shows out in major cities? Becoming famous and making money doing something you love and are awesome at?
Shouldn’t we all want that for those artists who bring us so much pleasure?
It’s hard to figure out what side I weigh in on. I want the musicians I like to make money so they can make more albums, but I don’t want every other ass hat to be listening to them either. I want my fellow appreciators to be part of an exclusive group of other people who have undeniably good taste, and we can all nod to one another to acknowledge our mutually awesome musical inclinations.
One artist we discussed — a victim of her own success — is the lovely Canadian songstress Feist. And we both agreed — our least favourite Feist song happened to be her most commercially successful and instantaneously recognisable one: “Mushaboom.”
My first exposure to Feist was probably via Broken Social Scene, a musical collective, but as a solo act I first got to know her when a friend from New York, an oxymoronically soulful investment banker, included “Mushaboom”on a mix he made for me. Less than a year later, the song featured on an iPod commercial. Kind of cool, since it’s an Apple product, but it’s still a commercial.
Still, Feist should not fall out of favour. Off that same “Mushaboom” album, Let it Die, here are three great tracks that I’m regaling myself with as you read this.
L’amour ne dure pas toujours — A Francoise Hardy cover
Inside and Out — A Beejees cover