Friday, 13 June 2014

Some thoughts on the negative reaction to the new Pixies album

Because I'm more broadly interested in all aspects of the ever-changing recorded music industry.

Pixies released their first album in over 20 years a few months ago, called Indie Cindy. It's a good, but not great addition to their recorded works. Yet, it has been widely criticised by everyone with an internet connection and a keyboard. Pixies are one of those bands you can believe in, and it is upsetting to see them crash and burn in this way.

Now, whether or not you like the album and the songs contained within is of course entirely subjective. For my money, at least half of the album contains really good songs and if I went to see them live and they didn't play some of them, I would be disappointed. That's a reasonable measure of a 'good album', and any world with new Pixies songs in it is a better one as a result (fact).

With my hand on my heart, I cannot say that Indie Cindy is a great Pixies album, but then again, neither is Bossanova. There are some amazing songs on the new album, plus a few that miss the mark or seem designed to conjure up 'old Pixies'. But on balance, it's a perfectly acceptable 2014 Pixies album and one of the most exciting releases of the year to date - I have no issue with the more polished sound than on previous albums.

Anyway, my interest in the criticism from others however, is the fact that the album contains all of the songs from their three recent 4-track ep's. I have read many comment that this was a purposeful move to trickle the songs out to try and cushion the weight of expectation from a new full-length release. If this was the case, then I believe that Pixies have failed. The central point of the negative commentary from various agents on Indie Cindy is that the album is not an album, but rather the collected works of their ep's. This interests me.

Smashing Pumpkins' planned 44-song 'Teargarden by Kaleidyscope' project is designed specifically to follow the format above (conceived some years ago now) by releasing 11 4-track ep's to showcase the process of recording an 'album' as well as the eventual product. A recent lp as well as two planned albums of new material due for release in 2015 suggest the project has been abandoned.

Such observations lead me to ask the question: What is the contemporary relevance of the album?

And it is to this question that I will turn in a future blog entry in the coming weeks.

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