Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Valerie June "You Can't Be Told"

It's hard to not be cynical.

Like when a superhero movie has great success, and then the next year a dozen superhero movies come out.

Or when a few cupcake stores do surprisingly well, and suddenly there are cupcake stores everywhere.

It makes you cynical, because it feels like someone is just cashing in on a trend.

This happens in music all the time.

Remember in the 90s when a couple of Big Band sounding records broke, and suddenly there were dozens of bands making swing music?

In the last 18 months, The Black Keys went from being a cool under the radar indie band, to headlining arenas.  And Alabama Shakes came from absolutely nowhere, to have one of the best, and most successful rock records of 2012.

So it's hard not to hear some record executive shouting, "Get me a chick that sounds like Britney Howard---and make her a looker---backed by a band that sounds like The Black Keys, pronto!!!"

That's what I hear in my head, when I hear Valerie June.

And I suppose it's not fair.

Of course it sounds like The Black Keys.  June's record is produced by Dan Auerbach.  So that sound/reference makes sense.

And she's been performing live since 2000, loooong before The Black Keys or Alabama Shakes were making money, headlines or even records.  So to say she's hopping on a trend isn't fair.

Yet, when I think about adding this song as a single, its hard not to be stuck in that reactive place of "this sounds too much like some other, very distinct stuff."

As a listener, could you hard this as its own thing?  Or is this just another cupcake store?

Hear the song on Youtube.

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