Don’t you hate when an artist drops such a live album but leaves much to be desired when it comes time to drop a single and shoot a video for said single? Yeah, it burns my biscuit as well. Sadly, I see this happening to three artists in particular and it makes me sad. Let’s hash this out because something needs to be done:
Drake’s Thank Me Later: Released on June 15th, you would think that Drake’s initial excitement for his debut album would have driven him to keep the momentum going his first two singles started in the spring and summer. True, “Miss Me” dropped and a video followed but it noticably got a lot less play than “Over” and “Find Your Love”. It was obvious that would be a single because of Wayne’s feature but they had WAY more options for singles including “Fancy”, which had a video but Drake didn’t like it. That’s all well and good but that setback definitely halted the TML train and it looks like he has no interest in trying to rectify it, sadly.
Of course the fans suffer at the end of the day. I always saw a video for “Unforgettable” and he seemed excited to bring that to life as a personal ode to Aaliyah, but we’ve heard nothing else about it. Time will only tell but I can already tell you how this story will end: in about three months, we’ll be hearing a new single from Drake’s sophomore album Take Care. I’m not a pessimist; I just tell it like it is.
Trey Songz’ Passion, Pain & Pleasure: So the Petersburg native picked up where “Say Aah” left off when he released “Bottoms Up” as a first single off his fourth album. I guess that was a wise choice; I’m not a party song person so it made me no nevermind one way or another. Following up with the slower “Can’t Be Friends” was definitely a decision I supported and I saw big things for this single. I actually was shocked when the song — and the album, for that matter — was shut out of the Grammy nominations recently announced. Anyway, if I were an executive at Atlantic (Lord knows they need to call me…), instead of choosing the sexually charged “Love Faces” as the follow-up to Trey’s summer hit, I would have picked something slower and more meaningful like “Please Return My Call” or my personal favorite “Made To Be Together”. We get that the mainstream portion of the industry only know of Trey because of his image as a budding sex symbol but why can’t we dispel this faction by showing the public that he’s about more than slapping skin and grinding pelvises? That shit is getting ancient and he’s putting himself in a box he does not need to be in. The songs I picked are sound choices that could go over well on radio; they both boast mature sounds that could get him steady play on the urban adult contemporary stations and once you’ve cracked that market, you’re in there. It’s as equally influential as the young urban market that everyone’s trying to get into.
Why the hell is no one listening to me? I swear, Atlantic ruined what made Ready so great by putting out songs like “Neighbors Know My Name” over album gems like “Black Roses”, “Jupiter Love”, “Love Lost”, or even “Holla If You Need Me”. What the fuck were they thinking? I have no earthly idea but they need to get it together. I knew “Love Faces” was going to be a single and I scoffed when I read the official press release announcing it. This shit is all wrong and what’s even worse is that they waited so long to put it out in the first place. “Can’t Be Friends” dropped in the summertime; why is “Love Faces” just being announced as the next single in December? I’ve yet to hear it on the radio which means that a video hasn’t even been shot for it yet. Anyone with sense knows that an album typically has a public life of about nine months, or a year if you’ve sold ridiculously high volumes of the disc. Passion, Pain & Pleasure dropped in September and about four months has passed between the singles. They’re so wrapped up in tours and endorsements over there that they’re abandoning the music that put them in this position in the first damn place, which shows how the music industry is all about business and nothing about the music anymore.
Trey’s never had a soft single since “Gotta Go”; why can’t he play that role once instead of this sex Adonis whose sole purpose is to pleasure every woman on the planet? I may be one of the only women out here who doesn’t think with her vagina every time Trey enters my brain because that shit doesn’t entice me. I want his label to peel back some layers and show this boy’s soul sometime. What use are the songs he records and puts on the album if he keeps putting out shit with the same subject matter over and over? Miss me with that bullshit.
Rihanna’s Loud: It’s actually pretty early to get on Rihanna about her single choices at this point because “What’s My Name” is JUST starting to die out finally. However, when I heard that “S&M” was a strong contender as the follow-up single I had to comment.
Like, for why?
I get she likes the song and it’s raunchy and all that good crap but I mean…for why? If I was the Bajan songstress, I would put out either “Cheers (Drink To That)” for its jovial good time subject matter (and I would have done this just in time for New Year’s – come on, that shit is the perfect song to sing at the bar) or go for the sure thing with “Raining Men” and call Nicki up to shoot the video. That would be a fun video, actually, even though I don’t love the song as much as I love the others.
After that, I would throw “S&M” out there if I had to but I’d keep going in the opposite direction and go with “California King Bed” or “Man Down”. Actually, I’d do both those songs and cancel out “S&M”. “Man Down” would be an epic ass video; she needs to film that whether it’s gonna be a single or not.
My issue with Rihanna, her people, and Def Jam is when it comes to her having hit albums and everyone loving her songs, they don’t capitalize on that. Dating all the way back to Good Girl Gone Bad, her label’s been fucking her selling potential all the way up. After “Hate That I Love You”, something either bouncy like “Sell Me Candy” or slow and cute like “Say It” should have been released. “Rehab” was a cool way to end the album…but I would have traded that for a “Sell Me Candy” video. Sorry.
With Rated R, I can’t even find the words to explain how much they fucked that one up. “Rockstar 101”? Really? “Te Amo”? For real? FUCK outta here! I would have scrapped them both and gone with “Fire Bomb”. If you ask anyone who owns the album, it’s guaranteed that they’ll say “Fire Bomb” was one of their – if not their absolute – favorites. Shit was just epic all around: her voice sounded great, it was an awesome concept, and the video would have murdered ANYTHING that dropped in the final quarter of ‘09, if filmed correctly. It showed vulnerability and told the story of every woman who’d ever had her heart broken by someone, including Rihanna herself. Why wasn’t this put out?
Notice how all three of those artists I just named all have endorsements with Kodak, among other companies using their image to sell you shit. Coincidence? On my part, it actually was but still. You see, labels have forgotten the main purpose of music: shit is a healer, it saves lives, it tells a story. Why would you water down an artist for the sake of a dollar? Who was the genius who said that this process labels follow was effective? All it’s doing is pissing me off. I can’t believe there are enough mindless drones out there who actively follow this formula but it frustrates me even more that consumers buy into this shit. You’re telling them that it’s okay to feed you bullshit and not listen to what you want like it’s okay and it’s not. YOU drive these artists’ careers so you should have a say in how shit goes down. Don’t let these eighty year old executives control what you, as a twenty something music savvy individual, see and hear.
The time to take control is now and these artists are even more brainwashed than the buying public is because they convince themselves that the label is leading them right or are sacrificing their voice for the sake of a check or potential control at a later date. I got news for you, honey; they don’t care about you and they’ll shit on you in the end so take your career in your hands and don’t let them take your integrity, sense, and voice away from you.
I’ll just continue to sit back with my Power-C Vitamin Water and watch as it dwindles.