My Bloody Valentine did one thing very right this weekend and another thing very wrong these past 22 years. The wrong: IT TOOK 21 YEARS FOR KEVIN SHIELDS & CO. TO RELEASE A FOLLOW-UP LOVELESS, a respectable pick for the greatest album of the 1990s. But that’s not what the “My Bloody Valentine Model” in the headline is referring to.
My Bloody could put out new music every week, and every song would be equally adored. Mbv — excuse me mbv…make that m b v — is astonishing. Whereas Loveless is a can’t-look-away tsunami of noise, m b v is a wave. It never hits as hard, but it’s more majestic, while still keeping a frightening edge to it and the way it was released to the world is what the music industry should start doing more often. That’s the My Bloody Valentine Model.
Here are a few reasons why.
1. You feel peer pressured to buy the album, which isn’t such a bad thing
It’s OK to admit it: you rarely, if ever, buy music anymore. “Why should I,” the cheap monster inside all of us says, “when I can just download it for free on The Pirate Bay. Good point, me.” It’s only in the rarest of occasions that you feel the NEED to plop down $16 for non-live music, like when an album by a favorite band is surprisingly released and you get caught in the social media hype and you have to listen to it NOW, goddammit.
Think of this way: let’s say HBO puts the season premiere of Game of Thrones on iTunes for $5 right now. You could either wait until the episode airs in March, or, because everyone else is going to be talking about it ASAP and it’s not available in torrent form yet, you can spend the cost of a Whopper and download it immediately. It’s a win-win for artists, who also benefit from not having to stock physical shelves in a Best Buy and they reap in the profits from shipping costs.
2. The fear of leaks is reduced
Leaks are both the best and worst things to happen to music fans. Pro: yay early music! Con: it takes away some of the fun of music, to say nothing of the financial hits bands take because of them. The “fun” aspect is covered below, but, from a purely music nerd perspective, leaked mp3s are often inferior sounding than the intended final products; plus, they may contain songs that the artist in question doesn’t want you to hear. They’re the experts, not us. If an album is announced and release out of nowhere, like m b v was, we’ll be experiencing (sorry) the music exactly how it was intended to be listened, precisely when we were supposed to enjoy it.
3. It makes Album Release Day an event again
Waiting in line for a midnight movie is cool in theory, but awful in execution. It seemed like a good idea when you bought those 12:01 a.m. tickets for The Hobbit in July, but when the day of the screening arrives, you can’t recall what the f*ck you were thinking. Well, it’s because you’re a human, and therefore, you like being able to yell FIRST, whether literally or figuratively, and taking on the role of the guy in the office who’s seen the pop culture event of the week before your coworkers and can let them know if its worth their $15. A REAL TASTEMAKER.
That feeling exists for movies, but not music, really. Not only do albums leak ahead of time, as previously mentioned, but music listening has become such a passive activity, what with the iTunes and the iPods and the crappy headphones, that most people rarely listen to the music anymore, man.
The My Bloody Valentine Model could change that — a label or artist, as a way to build excitement, could announce that their next album is going to come out at exactly 12:05 a.m. on Wednesday morning. I’d stay up until then if, say, I could hear the Wu-Tang Clan reunion album at exactly the second it was made available to the world. Best of all, with music, you don’t have to wait in a line, surrounded by cosplayers with butter dripping off their faces. Unless you want to, that is. No judgement.
4. It levels the playing field between fans and critics
Whenever I read a tweet from a well-known critic watching an episode of one of my favorite shows weeks before said episode actually airs on TV, I get pissed. Well, maybe not pissed so much as jealous, which eventually turns into pissiness which turns into resentment which turns into dented walls. (Admit it, you hated seeing those tweets from the TCAs about new Arrested Development footage. I did.) There’s a sick pleasure in knowing that Mr. Music Critic #1 is hearing “she found now” at the same time as you.
There are a million other reasons, too, but the main point is: it was cool to see My Bloody Valentine trending on Twitter, all because of a surprise album announcement. TV shows have season premieres and movies have scheduled openings — albums have release dates, too, but so often, the entire thing is illegally available online that by the time, say, June 29th comes around, everyone’s been sick of the album since June 11th. m b v, and The King of Limbs before it, felt like events, something that rarely exists in music anymore. If more bands did what My Bloody and Radiohead did, maybe people would feel the same way about new music as they do October 19th.