In December The Flaming Lips announced that would create a song a month in 2011. This would lead to a staggering total of 12 songs released in the year. Amazing…
In 2009 Robert Pollard released 6 albums and 4 in 2010. Assuming he only releases 3 albums this year he will still be on an average of over 4 albums a year. His albums often have 15 to 20 tracks, but even if they only averaged 12 songs an album that means he releases something like 50 songs a year on average. That is more than 4 songs a month, every year.
So, the feat of releasing a song a month isn’t that impressive, and it isn’t even original. In 1992 The Wedding present released a single every month. Each single came out on limited edition 7″ vinyl and featured a cover version as a b-side. The singles all had accompanying videos and each one made it into the charts. This meant that they equalled Elvis Presley’s record of having 12 hit singles in a year. Which means that releasing 12 songs in a year dates back to 1957.
So, unless you are Kevin Shields, releasing a song every month of a year really isn’t something to shout about.
One person who has more right that most to be a bit miffed by the press that accompanied the Flaming Lips announcement is Darren Hayman. The former Hefner font-man (and Neon Filler favourite) is currently heading for the half-way point in his January Songs project. This project involves writing, recording and releasing a song every day in the month of January. That amounts to 31 songs in one month, which is a lot more impressive than The Flaming Lips January target of one song.
When Hayman started the project he said “They won’t all be good but some might be”, in reality the standard has been very high and the songs surprisingly varied. A range of instrumentation, collaborators and styles has made it an extremely enjoyable project to follow.
All the songs and videos (including daily video diaries) can be found on the website http://januarysongs.tumblr.com/. The songs are free to download for the first couple of days and will be available to buy after the project is completed.
A friend of mine (ok, technically he’s an acquaintance, but his sister is a good friend) who, at any given moment is a member of 5-10 local Chicago bands has been releasing a song a week since, I believe, 2008. You can check it out at http://jonsteinmeier.wordpress.com/
Yet another artist to put the animal suited Flaming Lips to shame.
I don’t think that they are claiming that they’re the first and only people to do this. I think that it is sort of unusual for a major act like them to do something like this, but whatever they do would make the news. You can’t blame them for trying to change up their routine. I also don’t think that the rate at which someone releases music has anything to do with how good the actual music is or how good of an artist/group they are. Plus they are working on another movie/score to the movie, probably touring nationally, and might have a broadway musical in the works, so there’s that stuff keeping them busy too.
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