Tag Archives: Florence and the Machine

Is the Future of Music Good Enough?

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In a world where technology makes music more convenient, will we end up remembering much of what we heard?

After a handful of days of tinkering, I’ve found iRadio nothing if not easy.  Pandora-esque in its passivity, the only thing you need to do is press play and walk away.  And, perhaps because of the data it has silently scraped from my iTunes, there are even fewer fast-forward moments than I’ve found in Pandora.

Last night, I listened to iRadio for the bulk of two hours and didn’t have to expend any effort whatsoever.  I also don’t remember one song that was played.

In 2009, there was an article in Wired entitled “The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple is Just Fine.”  Looking over innovation after innovation in technology (flip cameras, Skype, even Predator drones), the article concluded that good enough was taking over aspect after aspect of our lives.

“We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect. These changes run so deep and wide, they’re actually altering what we mean when we describe a product as ‘high-quality’.”

Music was a featured example of the good enough economy.  The advent of the mp3, and all of the ease that the file format entails, have all but eviscerated the sonic fidelity of the music we own– even for audiophiles such as myself.  Even though I own a fancy stereo system, for years now 90% of the music I play through said system is made up of mp3s.  It’s like serving up a frozen dinner on fine china, but I do so because it’s so easy… and it’s good enough.

Now, as streaming services are sending mp3s the way of CDs, music is being transformed by another “good enough” revolution.  The core promise of the Pandoras and Spotifys and iRadios of the world is that your listening experience will be just fine.  You’ll get a steady diet of music that is pretty much like the music you already like, and the entire experience will be entirely automated.  You’ll seldom be surprised because, well, that’s the entire point. Continue reading

That Voice

In a world shaped by Adele’s 21, powerful female vocalists are on an unprecedented ascent.

One of the best of the recent bunch is Janine and the Mixtape.  With a vocal flair reminiscent of a stripped-down Florence and the Machine, this is what Lana del Ray would like to be.

I’m holding you back to the Soundcloud stream because this is her first-ever single and it’s definitely worth your 99 cents.

Stepping Up to the Sophomore Challenge

As artists and athletes of any kind will attest, the sophomore effort is the trickiest.  Life as a freshman is all surprise and momentum; you’ve arrived without notice, you’ve come without baggage, and everything is upside.  But when you return, especially after a big splash, you know you are going to face a realm of questions that are completely expected but no less challenging.  Will you sound like your last effort?  Are you just going to sing insufferable songs about how hard it is to get so much success so fast?  And, the toughest question of all (and the one that is always thought of even if it’s not spoken): after that first record, do you have another in you?

Florence and the Machine is one of those bands who snuck up on the world and made an enormous splash with their first album.  And, in response to all of the questions above, here’s their answer.  They’ve taken the anthemic, percussive vibe of “Dog Days” and kicked it up another notch.  It’s songs like these that are made to close out sets at outdoor festivals.

Shake It Out, Florence + the Machine

 

 

Summer in Chicago Mix 2010

With back-to-back dinner parties this weekend, I of course had to spend a good chunk of time obsessing about the proper soundtrack for said soirees.  The answer I came up with is the collection presented here: 19 food and family friendly tracks you probably haven’t heard but will want to.

For loyal readers of this blog, this CD will serve as a nostalgic tour through the mellower tracks that have emerged as my favorites over the last year or so.  For the newbies out there, feel free to search the artists’ names on the blog so that you can learn more about them.  And do track down their commercial releases: there’s not a band on here that’s not worth the price of admission.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the track list and the link to the music. Continue reading