Musicians on Hiatus - Should We Care?

At last, here we are again at a classic celebrity crossroads: The Grand Hiatus. This path in an artist’s career usually follows one of two events: massive, mind-blowing success, or a total and very public breakdown. Of course, one cannot have a public breakdown without actually being successful enough for people to care (Or crazy enough. Amirite, Brit-Brit?). So, here are some of the best and worst music hiatuses, even before Sherlock made it cool. 

Eminem: 2005-2008 (ish)

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After releasing Encore in 2004, there were many rumours swirling around that Eminem was quitting the scene. During this time, he released a greatest hits album, usually a sign of a backsliding career, aptly named Curtain Call. Although 2005 was a rough year for Eminem in the media and press, he scheduled a tour which was eventually partly cancelled so that he could enter rehab. After a few years of sorting out “personal things,” Mr Mathers got back into the studio to release 2009’s Relapse. Eminem currently has a song sitting comfortably at #5 on the Hot 100. I’d say he came out alright.

John Mayer: 2009-2012

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(Umm, yes I totally used this gif because I love them together and would it be so hard just once to invite me and my boyfriend on a double date with you two I mean c’mon)

I think we all remember the infamous John Mayer interviews in Rolling Stone and Playboy. I think we’re all glad that he moved to Montana and sorted himself out (and grew up a bit). However, I’m not sure we were all prepared for just how much cowboy-ness would be involved in his comeback. Even though Born and Raised was not the commercial success of 2009’s Battle Studies, Mayer showed a versatility that was refreshing, if not a little too Western. Also, he switched out Taylor Swift for Katy Perry. 3000% upgrade, well done, John!


Adele: The Fakiatus 2012

It’s pretty understandable that Adele would be hesitant to do another album so quickly after blowing up with one of the biggest albums of all time that also singlehandedly (well, with a little help from Gotye) kept the music industry afloat in 2012. However, saying you’re going off the grid for five years and living on an island is a bit much. Thankfully, the GRAMMY-award winner backpedaled on her decision and went straight back into the studio. 

Since then, we’ve seen her active with “Skyfall,” for which she won an Oscar (anyone else feeling very talentless right now?), and she also collaborated with Wiz Khalifa on his 2013 album. Her next record is supposedly coming out soon and will be named 25. 

And Many, Many More… 

Justin Timberlake, Fall Out Boy, The Civil Wars (who sadly broke up before they could come back from theirs), Jonas Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink-182… And these are just recent ones. Led Zeppelin, Rush, The Grateful Dead, and even Mozart and Beethoven took hiatuses! 

So, should you be massively worried that your favourite artist is taking a hiatus? Well, I guess it depends on what caused the hiatus.

- Massive success: Well, the artist needs time to rest creative muscles. We don’t expect olympians or ironman athletes to turn around and do it all again right after they’ve stepped off the podium. Creativity is difficult work, and those muscles need rest after a massive spurt of energy. 

- Public breakdown: Judging from the past, I think you can be pretty sure that the artist will at least TRY to come back. Whether they’ll succeed is up to past fans and current tastes, but at the least, you’ll get a few last-attempt songs out of them before they finally move on to another career. On the bright side, many artists have seen massive success after a breakdown and subsequent hiatus, especially if they cleaned their act up while on hiatus.

- Band rift: If your favourite band went on a hiatus after a huge rift in the group, I think maybe you’d better start looking for a new favourite, just to be sure. In many (not all) cases, emotional problems are the hardest to repair in a group. Although some bands are able to replace a problem member and move on, many cannot function after a rift. The most recent, and still freshly painful, case was the sad split of the Civil Wars. One look at the comments on their fan page shows just how upset everyone really is over their final breakup after many months on an indefinite hiatus. 

So next time a famous musician goes on hiatus, know the signs and consider the situation before you go into Twitter hysterics (here’s looking at you, Beliebers).

Remember, hiatus does not always mean bye-atus.

lydialovesmusic music hiatus eminem musicblog music blog john mayer katy perry adele britney spears justin bieber the civil wars jonas brothers justin timberlake the grammys gotye fall out boy

Standout Supervision Moment - Castle 2x13 - “The End” Pearl Jam - Supervisor: Tricia Halloran

This placement left a huge impression on me - and not just because I had my mind blown when I found out that Pearl Jam have a soft side. 

The calm sorrow of Pearl Jam’s “The End” acts as a striking foil to Beckett’s struggle to come to terms with losing another piece of her mother’s unsolved murder. The public breakdown of Beckett, a very rare occurrence, is a powerful visual that needs careful music supervision to amplify the moment in a non-intrusive manner.

What were all those dreams we shared those many years ago? What were all those plans we made now left beside the road?

The song weaves perfectly in and out of Castle and Beckett’s touching conversation, a seminal moment in their friendship. I love the attention to detail when the lyric “It’s my fault now…” plays softly just before Castle apologises for overstepping Beckett’s wishes. 

This song takes an important scene and makes it so emotionally powerful that it is still one of my favourite scenes in the show. This song is an amazingly emotional work as it stands, but as a soundtrack to this visual, it is transformed into a tangible feeling that allows the viewer to experience Beckett’s struggle in a way that does not happen often on screen.

Give me something to echo
in my unknown future’s ear

My dear…
The end
comes near…
I’m here…
But not much longer.

Castle tv music Music Supervision tricia halloran castle 2x13 pearl jam the end abc nathan fillion stana katic kate beckett richard castle

Firstly, let this be known as “The Semester That Lydia Didn’t Exist Because She Thought She Could Take 20 Hours of School, Intern, AND Have a Life, The Greedy Little Bitch.”

Secondly, remember when I posted about Bastille eons ago? No? Okay, well I promise that I did. In the past year, Bastille have absolutely blown up, both in Europe and America. Proud of you, Dan et all *tears up*.

Now, I’ve been obsessed with Chris Mollere’s music supervision throughout the lifetime of The Vampire Diaries, but one moment stood out to me above all others: Chris’s use of Bastille’s “Oblivion” in the 4x9 scene when Stefan finds out that Elena is “with” Damon. I love the synthesis of one of my favourite bands in one of my favourite shows.

Not only is it just a beautiful song, but somehow the melancholy beauty of the music just makes Stefan’s anger that much scarier. It kind of reminds me of when they made Harry’s scream silent when he sees Sirius die in The Order of the Phoenix. It’s not so much the more-is-less philosophy as it is the complementing-not-matching one. If Chris had actually gone for a classically angry song here, it would have cheapened the moment. As it is, the song weaves in and out of the changing scenes, somehow enhancing the emotion of every different plot line.

Are you going to age with grace? Are you going to age without mistake? 

I especially enjoy how out of place but poignant the main lyric is in a show about vampires.

Brava, Chris. Music supervision perfection.

TVD The Vampire Diaries Chris Mollere stefan salvatore damon salvatore elena gilbert damon x elena Bastille oblivion music supervision music nina dobrev ian somerhalder paul wesley

How to Change Your Brand but Retain Your Fans: Or, The Child Star Crisis

We’ve all seen those Disney-starlet careers-gone-bad. You know, those singers that are splashed across the front page of every tabloid, just to feed society’s morbid fascination with human train-wrecks. I’m not going to name any names, mainly because I’ll be doing plenty of that later. 

At some point in the life of the “child” star, probably around 18 or 19, it becomes painfully apparent that longevity, rather than market saturation, should be the ultimate career goal. If this young media-magnet has operated under the classic child star pattern, they will still be, at 18, upholding the ideals and image that got them fame and success in the first place, probably many years ago.  

What is so wrong about that? If it works, it works, right?

In this case, No. Humans are in a constant state of change and evolution. Even before the supposed speed-change-age that many attribute to technology, change was still a major part of the careers of artists. When you think of Shakespeare, the first work that comes to mind is probably either Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, or Hamlet. From 1589, William Shakespeare was known as a playwright for his comedies and histories. He did not start writing tragedies, considered some of his finest works, until 1608, well into his career. Shakespeare was able to change and still find success because although he changed his genre, he stayed true to the writing style that had led crowds (if not all the critics) to fall in love with him at The Rose Theatre. 

Now, to use a perfect foil to Shakespeare: Miley Cyrus. A few years ago, when she realised she was staring at a life of washed out Disney, Southern Belle-ness, Miley panicked and did a full 180 degree flip. Although the now very adult (almost annoyingly so) star seems to be doing well enough, with her new single “We Can’t Stop” slowly climbing the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, only time will tell whether Miley’s complete change in image has alienated too many fans for her to maintain a career. 

The modern pinnacle of successful career change is, of course, Justin Timberlake. So, what did JT do that took his brand in a more successful direction than that of Britney and Miley?

Justin brings his past with him. He evolves, building on past versions of himself. By doing this, he is able to retain current fans as well as gain the new ones that are attracted (Who wouldn’t be attracted to Justin Timberlake?) to his new evolution. Justin has been able to break out of the “boy band” mold and turn himself into the head of a genre, the face of a generation, and the comedian of popular culture. Does he try to shirk his past as the ramen-haired, cheesy N*SYNC member? No. Instead, he thanks his fans from that era and invites them to join him on his journey as he changes at a normal, human pace. 

So, reader, what does this have to do with you? 

If you’re a young artist, this is especially relevant to you. Adolescence is the stage of life where change happens most quickly and is most fickle. Once you’ve targeting a fan-base that relates to your brand, do not completely change and alienate them. What you can do, however, is evolve with your fans. Don’t be afraid to grow up, especially since that’s exactly what your fans will be doing. Growing up is inevitable- don’t take your brand to a place that doesn’t allow for growth, and don’t be static. Be dynamic!

If you’re an older artist, there is still a lesson to learn from all this. Life doesn’t stop changing when you hit thirty, and neither will you or your fans. By this point, you probably know what works for you and what doesn’t. If you feel like you’ve been dynamic for too long, experiment. Target your values, then evolve within those values. If your music and image is about having fun and living life, as long as you use those as your base inspiration for any new aspect of your career, your brand can remain coherent while undergoing a healthy, much needed update. 

Don’t just change, Evolve.

Build upon your Past.

Stick to your Values.

Originally written for 12South Music, 26 July 2013.

Justin Timberlake JT Brand Music Blog music lydialovesmusic Miley Cyrus Shakespeare William Shakespeare branding

Jury’s Out On July: Chansons de Juillet

 

I hate that Spotify won’t let me disconnect and reconnect Tumblr. Sorry for once again having to reblog this from my “geekery blog.” 

1. “Holy Grail” JT and Jay Z. Thank goodness Jay Z didn’t let Kanye convince him to do Holy Grail with him instead of Justin Timberlake. 2/2 on the sexy collabs, guys. KEEP IT UP.

2. “Wires” Athlete. So I know (now) that Wires by Athlete is ancient, but please let me enjoy my belated discovery in peace.

3. "Miss Movin’ On" Fifth Harmony, or “That One Time One Direction Turned Into Girls”

4. "Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight" Amos Lee. This Amos Lee song just makes me feel realigned. It’s simple, beautiful, nostalgic, and hopeful. Also, he’s delightfully ethnic (totally my type). 

5. "Best Song Ever" One Direction. Go watch the video for “Best Song Ever.” You’re welcome. But in all seriousness, this is one of the best written pop songs they’ve recorded yet. One listen, and you’re stuck with that chorus for about a week. Beware.

6. “The One That Got Away” The Civil Wars. I liked this song so much it made it into my track reviews. Read it here.

7. "First Time" Jonas Brothers. I’m glad to hear this track after the failure that was “Poms Poms.” Now, I love me some JoBros, but that first single made me very apprehensive for the album. Thankfully, they’re back on track after this one. 

8. "Scarecrow" Bridie Jackson and the Arbour. Wow, talk about a haunting song. It’s definitely more a story than a song. Definitely deserves a listen.

9. "Royals" Lorde. Okay, this NZ native is only sixteen! What am I doing with my life…

10. "Beauty Queen" Foxes. Legitimately obsessed with this tune. Her vocals are spot-on and the message is much needed right now. 

11. "My Spirit is Broken" Champs. Duo of brothers. I like how old-school this song is. Also, you can get it for free on their website here. 



(Source: timeandrelativedimensioninmybed)

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