one hit wonders. they come, they go. such is the way with singles and thank god for that cos it's their only saving grace. a single is there to be used by artists who accept the fact that they've written one good, catchy, radio-friendly song admist a diatribe of appalling piss-poor songs that, if all released as an album, would insult the common decency of humankind. there's no shame in this, if you get lucky enough to churn out just one song that makes it big and is loved and respected by millions then you can die happy. one-hit wonders that spring to mind include the likes of eagle-eye cherry. the song 'save tonight' was an anthem for the summer of '97. i think he released one other single that was laughable before disappearing from the music scene entirely. he came, he left quietly leaving behind an alright radio song that i occasionally remember. good on 'im. of course it doesn't work in every case. to me chesney hawkes is the musical equivalent of donkey fucking.
you can get away with releasing a one-hit wonder as a single. it's one-hit wonder albums that are starting to grate at my brain like an industrial sized pneumatic cheese grater. i read an article in a sunday magazine the other week talking about how fucking super-duper oh golly amazing it was that kaiser chiefs were actually releasing a second album. at first i thought the journalist was just retarded until i thought about it and realised that so many 'it' bands release one album that does incredibly well and then the second one sort of arrives but not quite, no one buys it anyway and the band fade into the realms of background pub music. i'd almost feel sorry for them if they weren't shit. i'm talking about the likes of the darkness, the hives, 50 cent, the datsuns, the strokes, sean paul, fratellis (trust me on this), and many others that i can't remember because they've slipped through the mysty veil that is my memory and into obscurity. some bands occassionally release second albums that sell well but it's never as good as the first one and it's always the same damn song from their sodding first bleeding album that was meant to be so bloody amazing that you keep effing hearing in the stupid pub. (i was going to use 'fucking' for all the swear words in that sentence but i thought that was a bit crude).
it doesn't fare much better for the bands that endure beyond that initial difficult five year period. just take a look at any dreaded 'best of' collection. first off, 'best of' albums are generally abysmal and no self-respecting artist should ever release one. but for those that do, most of the good stuff is from their earlier songs, or a short three/four year period sometime in their career. it's difficult for a lot of bands to stay creative and innovative for a sustained period of time. of course it is, they're only human. but look at the bands that do keep going for centuries: rolling stones - did some good stuff in the 60's... never got better. the who - should've died with keith. pink floyd - got the middle right, shame about the beginning and the end. ac/dc - hit it big with back in black, all their songs sound the same. eric clapton - post cream was a downhill descent on cocaine mountain. oasis - at least noel has the testes to admit that everything post what's the story? is sub par crap. metallica - have been rubbish for 2/3rds of their musicl career. even led zeppelin - if bonham hadn't have died they would've gone mouldy; just listen to 'all my love' and tell me i'm wrong. the point is that for most of these artists their best albums weren't their first ones. the ones that last are those that have at least enough talent to learn and improve over their first album. then they loose the magic and start churning out mediocre balls like everyone else.
it's not entirely the band's fault, beyond the fact that they can only write three consistently good songs in their entire careers. no, the blame lies more with the mass-hype bollock machines that are record labels, commercial radio and most of the music press. it's their drive and desire for the next big thing and the money that comes with it that means these bands are the biggest thing in music one minute then entering the eurovision fucking song contest the next. i don't mean to sound like a whining hippie bitch trying to rebel against the man, man. everyone's got to make money, it's always gonna be an important aspect of the music industry but come on, this much? so much money is poured into such a narrow aspect of the music world that it's obscene. i know it's absurd to expect everyone in the music industry to suddenly turn around and say, 'enough! we're done backing this generic, mediocre money-spinning bullshit excuse for music! from now on we shall find as many interesting, diverse and talented bands as we can to promote! (according to richard's tastes of course!)' but a guy can dream.
what to do then? well there are bands out there who are talented enough to innovate and stay on top of the game. i've recently started listening to the melvins and may i say what a pleasure it is too. they've released about a gazillion albums in their long musical career and each one is different. even on the albums themselves the song vary wildly in style and sound. they can go from happy rock, to heavy doom via hard rock stopping off for some brief psychadelia, alternative and plain bizarre, all within three songs. it's inspiring stuff. but if you're not into rock then there's plenty of amazing stuff in every genre. you just have to look hard and ask around. and if you're a musician you're safest bet is probably to kill yourself at 27. everyone loves hendrix.
ps. i've also fallen in love with this site. it make funny.