Did the Internet Kill the Debut Album?

Lana-lana.jpg
Lana Del Rey, suspected debut killer
See also: Old records are outselling new ones for the first time

Remember Lana Del Rey? It's OK if you don't, but 10 years from now, we might remember her for a different reason: the death of the debut.

I know, technically Born to Die wasn't a "debut." But her manufactured reinvention and the unwavering hype train that furnished her ascension would seem to suggest otherwise, so allow me to use Ms. Grant to prove a broader point. This we know for certain: The Internet is drastically changing how artists, specifically newer, "buzzier" artists, release music. What are the repercussions of this sea change? How will this affect how we consume music in the long term? The truth is that we're already seeing these effects, and for music purists and LP enthusiasts, the prognosis isn't good.

Each of these artists' full-lengths were titanic disappointments: Twin Sister, Light Asylum, Memoryhouse, Teen Daze, Washed Out, Warpaint, Tanlines, Black Kids, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. The list goes on. But what else do they have in common? They all were subject to the mounting pressures of hype and the expectations that come joined at its hip.

tanlines.jpg
The story goes: Buzz Band A self-releases a promising EP or string of singles on their Bandcamp, then Buzz Blogs A, B and C really like Buzz Band A and proceed to hype the shit out of them. Buzz Label A signs Buzz Band A as the hype continues to mount, while Buzz Band A's every move comes under intense microscopic scrutiny. In the end, Buzz Band A couldn't live up to the strength of their singles, succumbing to the pressure of unreasonable expectations and public skepticism.

There are, of course, notable exceptions to this rule. Fleet Foxes blew minds with their Sun Giant EP in 2008, only to sustain, if not improve, upon its promise later that year with a full-length (although technically the album was recorded prior to the EP). This year, prominent hype-worthy acts Purity Ring and Lemonade transcended the too-big-to-succeed phenomenon with respectable full-lengths. But the industry's tectonics are shifting in an era where the freshman slump has superseded the sophomore slump.

purity_ring_approved_mini_300x300.jpg
Just ten years ago, it was harder for an artist to get exposure, yet now we're inundated with so much music it's become damn near impossible to dedicate the necessary time and effort to fully appreciate every deserving artist out there, much less a 40-plus minute body of work. Instead, we rely on that all-important first impression. And I get it -- we're busy folks. We download music en masse. But with the rise in quantity we've also seen a decline in quality -- or, at the very least, curbed artistic progression.

So who's to blame? Well, ultimately the consumers are. In the age of GIFs and 140 character limits, our dwindling attention spans have become either overly submissive or unreasonably dismissive, depending on the beleaguering sway of popular opinion -- typically dictated by the all-important musical tastemakers. Yet, attention deficit disorder and groupthink are hardly novel concepts, so deriding human nature isn't completely fair. It's the so-called tastemakers who ought to know better -- we consume new music through their prism. And, unfortunately, sensationalism and hyperbole are infesting their dialogue.

Thankfully, the LP format isn't completely dead. In fact, album sales are doing well in the digital age, but the purist in me hopes this trend is merely an anomaly, and not an indication of some broader transformation. As it stands, we may never see another coming out party quite like Murmur, The Velvet Underground & Nico or Funeral. Instead, Lana Del Rey could become the norm, and born to die the maxim.

My Voice Nation Help
14 comments
kittylitter
kittylitter

Jacket models will mostly give cotton display,[url=http://www.polo-shirts-outlet.com/] cheap polo[/url] accents and also sublimation embossing.[url=http://www.polo-shirts-outlet.com/]ralph lauren polo shirts[/url] Therefore im an expert in t shirt bedrukken and provide you top quality t shirt bedrukken through tshirtdrukker. [url=http://www.polo-shirts-outlet.com/]cheap polos[/url]Firstly, determine the appropriate shirt you need to use for your occurrence. So , regardless of what you choose to list, be sure you simply obtain the suitable cheap polo t shirts drukken gadget.www.polo-shirts-outlet.com/

kittylitter
kittylitter

Shoe shopping makes a lot of girls tired but they never stop to have a rest. [url=http://www.toms2012.com/]Toms shoes[/url]I always go window shopping to find what kind of shoes I like then I will shop online. [url=http://www.toms2012.com/]Cheap Toms Shoes[/url]Those true stores will sell shoes at a high price because their real cost is more than online shops.[url=http://www.toms2012.com/]Toms Shoes Outlet [/url] Online shopping has developed a lot. Many websites could assure their quality and after service. Small online shops have to gain customers' trust to expand their company. So we could choose the shops which has good comments.www.toms2012.com/

Rand Duren
Rand Duren

Well, Ocean's will be mainly number one for the huge "marketing' move he made the week before to the release.

Ben Oliver
Ben Oliver

There are 2 true sentences in this article: "This we know for certain: The Internet is drastically changing how artists, specifically newer, "buzzier" artists, release music" and "Thankfully, the LP format isn't completely dead."

Ben Oliver
Ben Oliver

this article will be revised after Frank Ocean is #1 next week

Benjy Oliver
Benjy Oliver

this article will be revised after Frank Ocean is #1 next week

just sayin'
just sayin'

20 bucks says this guy whacks it to pictures of Lana Del Rey.

bob
bob

Del Rey's album was fine - I played it more the first month I had it than I normally play a new album - but she was poorly handled by the press, and at some point she has to take at least PART of the blame for that - she's odd, simply put. I honestly doubt we'll see a follow up album from her.

Michael Seltzer
Michael Seltzer

Industry Rule #4081: There's no such thing as bad press.

Aaron Darc
Aaron Darc

Um. Wow. If I ever want to read articles from a bunch of older writers who are completely and utterly disconnected from modern culture but write hilarious articles that scream that disconnection - yet written ever-so-seriously, as if offering valid analysis - I'll know where to come. Here. Its initial vehicle is wrong, as it is. Del Rey's debut album (which it was - she had an old unreleased indie album she had tried - unsuccessfully - to get released - it simply leaked on the internet.... you know the internet... it's that thing all the young people use) went number one around the world. Her singles continue to generate attention, fans and sales - though it is the single model that has changed the most and is now not to drive single sales, but drive youtube/online awareness of filmclips that drive the over all brand. Del Rey is so at the forefront of this, she produces many clips that have no traditional single release accompanying them at all. Partly, they push where most sales are made in post-piracy digital life... touring. Del Rey has been on the road for four months now, all mostly sell-out shows. She currently has an incredibly controversial clip (for a single release from that debut album!) that is one of the most talked about releases of July. And from there, the article never recovers... it goes from blatant cultural ignorance into a waffle of analysis that doesn't hit a single nail on the head. Even more bizarre, it mentions a "couple of exceptions to the rule" which I'm guessing are really just subjective affections of the author. I prefer Foxes to Del Rey (though like them both) but their sales and media attention have been nowhere near as high or consistent as Del Rey's. A complete waste of time.

LogiRush
LogiRush

Lana Del Rey was massively hyped. I don't seek out new music and I saw her at least twice on TV. I never even heard of the other bands with "titanic disappointments," although I have heard of Dale Earnhardt the racecar driver. Del Rey didn't help herself with her cadaver-like presence on broadcast performances. The SNL gig definitely received attention, but after seeing her on another broadcast (maybe the Leno show) I realized that's just how she is - SNL wasn't a bad night for her. I seem to remember seeing a report that she's hanging out with Axl Rose. That can't be a good influence.

Yosef
Yosef

I feel there's a genuine point and maybe even validity to what you're saying here, but I'm having trouble getting past your list of "titanic disappointments" when half of the records you list are actually quite strong.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...