#3. Major Label Rejected
Here's a deceptive little number that should be implemented in the recording industry immediately. It would benefit everyone! On the one hand, it would be a convenient way for a record label to release something they don't necessarily want their name attached to without really attaching their name to it. On the other hand, when an established act has an album rejected by the label that has loved them up to that point, it's usually a pretty good sign that it's the best fucking album ever. An easy way to identify that kind of stuff without reading sob stories about dealing with The Man in Rolling Stone first would be a treat indeed.
Should Apply To:
Pick your poison. Fiona Apple and Wilco both had some of what turned out to be the best work of their respective careers shot down by dipshit record executives before it ever saw the light of day.
Nirvana's In Utero wasn't completely rejected, but there were rumors that it was going to be on account of it not sounding as much like a Tiffany record as the one that came before it, but it's a way better album if you ask me, which you should, because I'm already here talking about it and whatnot.
In general, record labels just tend to make shitty decisions in this department. A little selective labeling might go a long way toward helping us reap the benefits of those shitty decisions.
#2. Not the Original Lineup
I mean, if you're even sort of a fan of any band, you should just know when they stop being the original lineup. If you're getting hornswoggled into buying Lynyrd Skynyrd albums in 2014 because you think Ronnie Van Zant is still the lead singer, you're probably beyond the kind of help that reading words can provide anyway.
Nevertheless, people who make this kind of mistake do exist, and sometimes, thanks to deceptive album covers and such, the consumer can't even be blamed for their mistake.
Should Apply To:
Well, did you know the lead singer of Journey is a Filipino dude? There's nothing wrong with that, obviously, unless you were buying the Journey DVD pictured above. It's the one in the middle. It's barely distinguishable as a Journey product at all, much less one featuring the lead singer who replaced the lead singer who replaced the original lead singer.
If you were buying that as a gift for your baby boomer dad because you knew he was a big fan of Journey in the '80s, there isn't a whole lot there to tip you off to the fact that the band's original frontman, Steve Perry, hasn't been around for ages.
Of course, it's ultimately your dad's fault for having such shitty taste in music, but still, a label would be nice.
#1. Obligation Now Fulfilled
Nothing brings out the worst in a creative type like being forced to do something. Even if it's something they would typically enjoy doing, like a musician making music, for example, once it becomes something they have to do, you're likely to see far less desirable results than if you were to just let the "magic" happen on its own.
That's natural enough, I reckon, but it also presents a huge problem for the record-buying public. How in the hell are we, the consumers, supposed to know if a musician is only giving half their usual effort because this particular album was recorded as a condition of their parole or some shit? It's almost impossible to tell; that's why we need the label.
Should Apply To:
Well, it's almost impossible to tell. Willie Nelson made the point pretty clear when he released an album called The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories? to pay off a gigantic tax bill. Then again, that's Willie Nelson. He's been talk-singing along to the exact same guitar for so long, he's literally worn a hole in it. You generally know what you're getting when you buy a Willie Nelson album, no matter what the inspiration for recording it might have been (I'm assuming it's usually weed).
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment
At least he can smoke with it now.
You'd think a youngster like Justin Timberlake would still have a lot of musical adventures left in him, but there are rumors to the contrary, surprisingly enough. A recent Hollywood Reporter story claims that he was forced into recording his most recent album, The 20/20 Experience, solely to fulfill a contract obligation, presumably one that called for him to finally release one truly awful song before he hangs it up.
The "hang it up" is the concerning part of the story, because he apparently wants to do just that as it pertains to music, and would have a long time ago if business didn't necessitate one last trip to the studio. He has been saying for a long time that he wants to focus mostly on acting. Will history someday prove that his first truly award-worthy role was convincing the world he cared about music one last time?
I don't know, but that was a great fucking sentence.
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should listen to on Soundcloud and a live stand-up comedy show of the same name that you should come see sometime if you're in the Los Angeles area. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.