Ok, I plead guilty to Boomer Bias.
I’ve been berating the quality of modern rock/pop for years now—especially in contrast to the rock pioneers (like, of course, The Beatles) who seemed to draw from a bottomless well of imaginative songs that appealed to both head and heart. But something strange is happening in the world of popular music today (especially in Indie Pop and Adult Alternative). The airwaves are suddenly overflowing with intelligent, heartfelt music! Exhibit A:
Two outstanding NY singer/songwriters, Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino, joined forces in 2012 to form A Great Big World. They’ve already had one big hit, “Say Something” featuring Christina Aguilera (in one of her best—and most understated—performances). With the 2014 release of their first long-playing album—Is There Anybody Out There?—they’re about to find the answer to their question.
This duo displays a tail-wagging earnestness and innocence in their writing and singing that can appeal to the kid in all of us. Their wide-eyed, if quirky, idealism shines through in tunes like "I Really Want It," "Everyone Is Gay," and "This Is the New Year" (see video below). "We're all just trying to feel connected," they say. In a great big world of course.
Meanwhile, here's a few obvious business lessons to learn from this team. Easier to identify than implement, however.
1. Start off with a catch-fire killer product. AGBW's first EP and LP have a trove of great songs, beautifully sung, with state-of-the-art production.
2. Be original. In rock-and-roll-land that means having a unique appearance and sound. This nerdy looking, two-part harmonizing, passionately performing duo has a very distinct signature.
3. Think big. These guys got vision. (And a light but gigantic heart, as shown in this next clip—which you don't want to miss.)
Stay tuned in the coming months for more examples from this new tide of rock/pop.