The new artistic freedom

Hi all! I haven't blogged in a while so I thought I would throw some of my ponderings into the cyberwind. I have been doing some listening lately to the new music that's been coming out and I have to say that there is some good artistry out there. Musically I am really liking bands like The Gaslight Anthem (their new record is American Slang) and I really like David Grays record "Draw The Line". My favorite new record right now is Peter Gabriels "Scratch My Back". At first I didn't totally get it, but after listening to it repeatedly I am completely drawn in. My favorite track on the record is his cover of Paul Simons "Boy In The Bubble". I never really paid attention to the lyrics until now, and now I agree with Mr. Gabriels assessment the these are some of the best lyrics written in the last 25 years. I can't wait for the follow up record "I'll Scratch Yours". Given Gabriels track record for long production schedules there's no telling when we could see that one. Something else I've noticed about a lot of the new records coming out is that there are fewer records with close ups of the artists faces on the front cover, thank God! The Gaslight Anthems "American Slang", for example, features a cover and booklet with great pictures of NYC. Truly classy. Peter Gabriels "Scratch My Back" features a cover with a great picture of two blood cells, and at first glance it looks like a rose. The only exception out of the three records I mentioned is David Grays "Draw The Line". There is a photo of him on the front, but not a cheesy close-up of his face. I only mention the front covers because I grew to hate the cookie cutter that was the artists face on the CD covers of the albums that came out in the 90's and early 00's. I am so glad we are moving beyond this. There used to be so much good album art (ala Boston, Yes, even Xanadu with Olivia Newton John...) but the last couple of decades it seemed as though record companies were so afraid that you wouldn't know who you're listening to unless there was some big goofy pic on the front. Now, that being said I have been disappointed by some of these indie bands that put great paintings on their album covers only to be turned off by the music. I can think of a couple of examples like The Silverspun Pickups, Casting Crowns, and most of the hip-hop/rap/Lady Gaga style artists out recently. Now, why am I obsessing over album covers and new artists? Because I love music. I love to write it, play it, listen to it, record it, mangle it, and I remember a time when you could go to a record shop and flip through these amazing looking record covers and find some amazing stuff. So, are those days over? Or is the best yet to come?

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