Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Mainstream According To Bob Lefsetz

Van Halen brought arena rock to the masses
Read more into mind of Bob Lefsetz

"People hate when their record is not a hit. Or the one they're working. Or the one made by their favorite artist. And what's on the radio, what's successful, sucks.

I get it. You're frustrated. You wish the world were different.

But it's not.

Now I'm not saying everything that's popular is fantastic. But I am saying it's rare that that with little traction would be loved by everybody if it just got exposure.

In other words, records are hits for a reason.

Primarily because they're good.

And god forbid you do something good in this world. Oh, that's right, I've gone on record that good is not good enough. God forbid you do something great. Then the whole world is gonna rain down on you. Both positive and negative. You'll be in the center of an unforeseen maelstrom that almost no one can understand.

Kind of like Taylor Swift. She thought she wanted to be successful. She had no idea what came along with winning. Every move, every action is scrutinized. You think since you're posting on Facebook or Twitter everybody cares, but they don't. Hell, just look at the Twitter followings. You've got to get into the hundreds of thousands to get true traction, do you think it makes a difference what you say if you've only got double or triple digits?

But you keep doing it. Not for yourself, but to get ahead. Everybody's trying to get ahead. And criticizing those above them.

The guys who run the record labels! They're idiots!

I've known all of them. They're not. In fact, they're very smart. Rawly, and they know how to play the game. That's right, if you can't get along, you're never going to make it to the top.

And staying on top? That's a skill too.

Am I saying those ruling the world are the only ones who can do so?


But I am saying stars are irreplaceable.

There was only one Steve Jobs. Apple hasn't been the same since. Could end up being something great according to Jony Ive's vision, but it won't be the same. The same way Sammy Hagar Van Halen wasn't the same as David Lee Roth Van Halen, and that's one of the only bands that replaced its lead singer and continued to have recording success.

It doesn't matter that you hate the stars. Doesn't matter that you think you can do better. Because most of the people don't agree with you. Most of the people are just fine with Rihanna and Katy Perry and the aforementioned Ms. Swift. One can argue Rihanna and Perry are niche compared to the stars of yore, but certainly not Ms. Swift. She can sell out stadiums, alone. No one else in the business can do that. Is it because she's tall and attractive and has a rich father?



She's speaking about her inner life. Certainly on the first two albums, before she went off the rails a bit. And people are drawn to that. That's a hit.

You wonder why your music is not a hit and somebody else's is?

It's the je ne sais quoi, that something different that's hard to define and articulate but resonates nonetheless.

Don't ask me to explain Alanis Morissette's "Hand In Pocket." All I know is when I listen to it I feel like I'm the only one, and I'm empowered, it squeezes all the b.s. out of my mind.

And yes, I know there are Beach Boys harmonies in AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," but that doesn't account for all the magic, it's the's the way it makes me feel!

Same deal with Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."

That's music. It's hard to explain.

Can I tell you that my favorite track of the year is Katy Perry's "Wide Awake"?

Maybe it came out last year, I don't know. But the sound, the way it makes me feel. I don't care that it was written by committee, that Dr. Luke was involved, all I know is I want to hear it again and again and again. That I only had to hear it once.

Stuff is mainstream for a reason. BECAUSE MANY PEOPLE LIKE IT!

Decry that all you want, but now, more than ever, when something breaks through and sustains...

It deserves respect."