METAPHYSICALLY, the question stands toe-to-toe with the “one hand clapping” conundrum: can you launch something that already exits?
For many months, the intrepid, musically-obsessed scribes here at The Weeklings have gushed about albums, playlists and artists who stoke their hotboxes. The “Power Trio” series, for example, continues to incite wild, outrageous debate out in the bloody fields of social media, as fans and geeks lather, fume and rant about their top three this or that.
And yet, with today’s post, we at The Weeklings proudly, officially, formally and irreversibly launch our new music section: Music Saturday.
Sort of has a ring to it, doesn’t it?
It is my immense privilege to step on board as Music Editor and to ensure that your ears and minds receive the proper care and feeding with a steady diet of new music, compelling features, and, of course, lists. Lots and lots of lists.
In addition to a team of regular writers, we have lined up a parade of musicians, authors and other nefarious characters to contribute their own features, lest you begin to tire of hearing a certain music editor effuse about the majesty of Black Sabbath Vol. 4.
It has become clear that readers enjoy recurring themes and to that end, we have convened, brain-stormed, fish-bowled and spit-balled to come up with a spectrum of features that we as music fans, would love to read. As Music Saturday grows, readers can expect recurring installments of the following features:
A time once existed when purchasing a new album required far more than the lazy click of a mouse. You drove (or in the case of certain music editors, took the bus), to the record store to sift through the alpine stacks of vinyl. You selected one or two and then hauled home twice as fast to commence the spinning of the turntable. As the needle’s diamond head slowly descended onto the shiny black disc, you fell back onto the bed, record jacket in hand, and read the lyrics, one song after the next. Lyrics seemed to occupy a greater place in music back then, and while today’s lyricists are no less vital, the appreciation of the song beneath the song has unquestionably diminished through time. With this feature, our writers will re-visit those moments of poring through lyrics and offer long-form, carefully-considered essays where they break down the meaning or intent of a song.
2. Power Trio
You’ve already seen this feature, which ranks as one of The Weeklings’ most popular recurring pieces. Our writers will have at a random grouping of three tunes, such as “3 Songs About Anger,” “3 Songs About Financial Insecurity” or “3 Songs That You Wish You’d Written.” Not only is this a fun exercise for both writer and reader, but like other features, we hope it will expose interesting new music to a wider audience.
3. Shine a Light
If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has taught us anything, it’s that there is no justice in the music industry. For every Justin Bieber, there are a thousand Seasick Steves.
With this feature, we will deliver an incisive look at an artist or album that has withered in dark obscurity, despite substantial artistic merit. Part love letter, part essay, it is our solemn duty to shine a bit of light on these lost treasures.
There was a time when MTV played music videos all day long, and in doing so, inspired the expansion of a thrilling new art form. Within fifteen years, music videos devolved into clumsy marketing tools and quaint reminders of the Reagan years. In the heyday of MTV however, we saw some awe-inspiring, clever and often terrifyingly bad music videos. With this feature, our writer will sit down in front of one of these postcards from the past, and break it down frame-by-frame.
5. Mix Tape Nation
An expansion of the “3 Songs” theme, we’re going to compile an archive of mix tapes built around various themes (“Break Up Songs,” “The Ultimate Speeding Ticket Mix,” etc.). Because we adore each and every one of you, we will create the list on Spotify and make it available for you all to enjoy while you ignore the guy slurping on a Frostie in the cubicle next door.
6. Never Mind the Mainstream
Nearly every musician who has granted an interview has fielded the question of influences. Yawn… We want to know what’s turning them on now, so we’ve lined up some musical guests who are going to talk to us about the new music they’re digging. Specifically, this feature will afford established musicians the opportunity to discuss five songs they love that have been released in the past year.
7. Bands on Books
The servers of the Internet ache from the weight of authors making playlists. We all do it because of course, we’re all music fans. Show me an author who doesn’t like music and I’ll show you a guy who writes spec manuals for Texas Instruments. Turning this on its head, we’ll ask our guest musicians to tell us about a favorite book, which may or may not have anything to do with music.
We originally called this feature “2 A.M.” but focus groups found the title both obscure and pretentious. So we got rid of the focus groups. We at The Weeklings have all found ourselves gathered in someone’s living room at the tail end of a long night out (or for some of us, the halfway point of the evening), mired in a thorny musical debate that has no obvious answer. To participate in such a robust exchange of ideas is an aspect of the human experience that must not be missed. With this feature, we bring the debate to you: two authors go head-to-head, taking sides on great musical debates such as “L.A. versus New York,” “The Stones Before or After Brian Jones” or “Public Enemy vs. N.W.A.”
Guest authors dish on their musical firsts, from their first album, to their first concert, to their first great obsession. Ruthless candor and unwavering courage is required of the contributor, many of whom will be forced to reveal records and concerts that fall well outside of their current milieu.
10. The Rest
Beyond the features above, expect interviews, album reviews, musical memoirs and other features that turn us on.
See you next Saturday.