Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Other People's Tastes

Early this morning (I usually get up around 5:15), I was checking out Book Of Kills downloads/streams for yesterday (in case you're interested, I had no downloads - a pity, but I rarely get downloads now with streaming being all the rage - and 31 songs streamed, for a grand total of 12 cents) and I noticed that two songs, "Waiting on a Friend (from SAINT JUDAS) and "The Shape of Your Eyes Go 'Round My Heart" (from THE STRANGE ONE) were, by far, the most streamed songs that day (actually about two months ago since it takes Spotify about two months to report income to the artist). Now I have absolutely no qualms about the fact that somebody, or somebodies (isn't "somebody" a strange pronoun?) liked those two songs enough to listen to them more than once, because I personally like both of them (particularly "Waiting on a Friend") but neither one is the sort of song I'd imagine many folks liking enough to want to listen to it all the way through once, let alone multiple times! But I learned long ago that you simply cannot predict what songs of yours other people are going to like. It's useless to even try. But trying to write songs based on what musical qualities you think might appeal to others is a fool's errand anyway. Starting way back with BLOOM OR DIE? I made it a priority to never cater (as if I'd be able to anyway) to anyone else's tastes, be it friend or stranger. I wrote music that I wanted to hear. Just like the Beach Boys once sang all those years ago, "Be true to your muse"...or was that "school"? One of the more distressing examples of a really good musician vainly trying to be more "appealing" and commercial was Liz Phair who seemed to completely abandon the quality of her first three albums in an attempt to achieve success as a pop artist a la Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. She eventually ended up in a weird artistic limbo where her music neither connected to her old fans or potential new listeners, though I guess she did have a hit a while back with some song whose title I can't recall.

Do you like to read music-oriented books (assuming you like to read)? I LOVE reading books about music and musicians, particularly, of course, rock and roll music/musicians. I'm reading several right now (I usually read at least 2-3 books at the same time)...Neil Young's WAGING HEAVY PEACE (which I find to be kinda slow going); Nick Hornby's novel JULIET, NAKED (which somehow seems a bit "hipster precious" to me, but I'm still enjoying it); Andrew Hickey's THE BEACH BOYS ON CD: VOL. 1 - 1962-1969 (interesting); and John Luerssen's RIVER'S EDGE: THE WEEZER STORY (which is pretty good, but a little fanboy-ish).

 Oh...in case you're wondering, both "Waiting on a Friend" (a live version) and "The Shape of Your Eyes Goes 'Round My Heart" (a previously unreleased shorter version) are available on the download page.