Debbie Harry Talks About Disappearing Music
Everyone has an opinion on the music that is being released these days. And it isn’t just about the new music from new bands either. Often, it’s the music coming from veterans, people who have been at it for quite a long time. One of them is Blondie.
In a recent interview with Debbie Harry, that beautiful model of a woman from the late ’70s, who enjoyed a number of hits, and still tours successfully, she said something that made me think all weekend. The topic is not new, but to hear what rolls through my head from the mouth of a professional, especially one that we all know and respect, seems to add a little validity to the question of longevity of today’s music.
When asked about the title of Blondie’s upcoming new album, Debbie Harry supplied it along with an explanation. Here’s the cut ‘n’ paste version of the Tom Cowell interview with Ms Harry published on The Village Voice from NYC (and a link to the original article):
“The tentative new album title–“Ghosts of the Download”–sounds ominous.
It’ll be interesting for a moment. But the record will have a digital lifespan. It’s predictable that it will soon be obsolete, and become even more ghost-like. Maybe that’s just a bunch of metaphysical claptrap, but things move very quickly now.
Things live forever because they’re digitized, but it’s our attention that gives them life. And people are always making new things, making old things obsolete. That’s a powerful idea.
I’m sure I’m not the one to originate it.”
In this answer to the first question, she mentions the fact that new music have a “digital lifespan”, that is, new albums come, then quickly disappear, unlike the “old days” where classics formed and still hold sway over many people.
It’s an idea of fast moving and “forgettable” gems that bother me. Long time readers know that I’m bothered by the fact that we no longer develop great albums, that they seem to be here, then – “POOF” – gone!
Debbie Harry seems resigned to this fact. I’ve long ago resigned myself to the fact that this happens although it still perplexes me that it does. I’m disappointed that attention spans are compromised by the great amount of released music, and not whole albums at that. Now, you and I might be in love with complete albums, but most people seem to have a qualified love for songs, building ever-changing playlists that move those songs, and often, those artists, to obscurity in a rapid period of time.
So, when Debbie Harry says what I’ve thought about for quite some time, I know that times really have changed.