I was raised in the era of ‘albums’. But now, we live in the world of ‘singles’. Get over it, they say. I conceived of Positive as one ‘thing’. And the running order mattered. It had this ‘arc’ to it (I can’t even write that sentence without sounding like some snotty theatre major, but it’s not my fault the language got co-opted by posers.) Wow. A meta-apologia! Anyhoo…
Marketing 101: Nobody Has Time For Your Record
But every guy I submit to for reviews does the same thing. And they admit that they do the same thing: they jam in the CD and listen for about fifteen seconds. If it catches their ear, they give it another thirty seconds. And if that goes well? You get five minutes.
As little as five years ago, reviewers would at least feign interest in ‘the album’ when sent a CD. They never really did listen to the whole thing, of course. Back in the day, however, one placed a sticker on the album jacket indicating which tracks would be of interest to the DJ. If you wanted to place your record in several genres/markets, you created several different stickers with different track choices.
Nowadays? Don’t even bother. What you get from every reviewer is a needle drop on Track #1. I’m not saying I resent it—although I guess I do—but what I am saying is that this is the reality and the original order, with Commitment starting small and the album generally gathering steam with each track… so cleverly devised… is not only wasted, it’s foolish. I had to start with a track that made an immediate impression of what the record is overall.
But how does one do that? The biggest gripe I used to get when I shopped my wares to conventional record companies was that there was no ‘focus’. (And don’t bother mentioning groups like ‘The Beatles’ with a great deal of diversity because, to paraphrase that famous election debate snark of years ago, “I knew the Beatles. And pal, you’re no Beatles.”) Positive is nothing if not the most ‘eclectic’ of my records.
So I gave up on the ‘arc’ thing and tried simply to select an opener that had the broadest appeal.
I settled on This Time for the most base of reasons. As Lenny Bruce famously replied when asked why he told a particular joke every night, ‘Because, hey, chicks seem to dig it.’ For whatever reason, I get more notes about ‘This Time’ than any other song I’ve ever done live. So I figured, why not go with something that people respond to. Well… at least half of the people. And as Honest Abe said, if you can fool half of the people, some of the time… er… maybe you can sell some records in 2010.
I also chose it because it the comments I get on it typically have epithets such as ‘Pat Metheny-ish’ and ‘calmer than your usual stuff’. And how can ya lose with endorsements like that?
And then I followed up with Mr. Parker for another childish reason: I like it. It doesn’t get enough attention. And it’s peppy—in a profoundly disturb kinda way. 😀
From there on, the running order is the same as the original, starting with Commitment, then The Zen Song, Paul Sees The Light, etc. until the big, smash finish of ‘Coda’. I listened to it during the mastering process and this order struck me as ‘getting to the point’ a bit faster while not seeming to ruin the overall effect I intended ten years ago (as if I can remember back that far!)
So Now What?
You’ll be glad to know that we’re still on schedule. I took ‘er right down to the wire (boy did I take ‘er right down to the wire), but for the first time in three or for records, you’ll be able to order Positive 2010 on 15 November and get it delivered to your door in time for Thanksgiving USA. That right there is sign of a serious personal economic recovery… or at least that I’m finally getting the hang of scheduling this stuff.
The last stage before release is getting new samples of all this material on the web site. I think you’ll be quite surprised and pleased with the ‘before/after’ clips we’ll have for you to sample.
More Good News: The Return Of Nice Cuts
And on another happy note: You may have noticed that the ‘Out Of Stock’ images have been removed from Nice Cuts. We’re now taking fresh orders of my fantastic compilation album and if you order now, those too will be at your door in plenty of time to listen to over turkey.
If that’s what you like to do over turkey. 😀