Years ago, if a
song was released there was one version: the album cut.
The analog and
manual recording days are far behind us now and technology is at the
front of the music revolution. Songs can be created and recorded in
hours and the whole album produced in weeks with fifteen different
remixes of one song. So how does this affect us as the fans? How does
the industry decide what to exploit and what to leave on the burner
or even the cutting room floor?
This brings us to
the issue of cheese. What is cheese you might ask?
It really depends
on the person doing the labeling of the black flag "cheese"
label. Some people deep in the world of music will label any song
overly produced cheese. Others might label any song in the mainstream
public consumption cheese. Its absolute definition is hazy and very
unclear to say the least. Often times a once deep underground tune
will achieve cheese status by crossing over to mainstream play. This
is inevitable especially if it is a catchy anthem or hook. This
happens quite often in the club world. Most recently, as an example,
I sight the song Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation. Though the original
is a bit watered down and underplayed, the remix is a certified hit.
Over a year ago,
on the norm, this song was pumped at after hours and the hottest
clubs. About four months ago, mainstream U.S. clubs really started
jamin this song all the time. Now we hear it at ball games, in
commercials, and almost every single bar or club will play it at
least once, maybe twice a night if the DJ has a weak selection of music.
So here's the
question: is Kernfraft 400 now cheese? Clubheads and some DJ's might
say yes because it is played everywhere, but a year ago if you
weren't bangin this track out, you wouldn't be spinning too long. How
does this happen? It's actually quite simple.
There is so much
music out right now, everyone is accommodated, no matter what you
like. The club crowd, for the most part, is your 18-26 year olds, the
target audience of almost every marketing agency on the planet, and
they adhere to a pretty strict formula of selling their product.
Music. Sex. Violence. These three ingredients make for a nasty
bowl of cheese soup. Producers and marketing agents alike have the
same goal: move your product! So they'll do whatever is hot in the
club scene to get the attention of there demographic. Music producers
know if they create a track with a megastar like Whitney Houston and
pump out a few remixes by top name DJs it will achieve club play, and
eventually hit the radio. If lucky enough and a high enough crossover
status is achieved, commercials and other options will open for the
musician, which means one thing: royalties. Unfortunalty for us, the
patrons, we live in a consumer spoon-fed world;everything is
delivered to us though the media circus. Whether it is news or
music we rarely go searching for things to enlighten us. We wait till
it's delivered to our doorstep in a nice, easy to read package.
So what does this
have to do with music being cheese or not you might say? It's a basic
question of what you like. No one person can label a song cheese like
it was a type of music. They might think it's cheesy and lame, but
someone somewhere is loving it.
The radio will
continue to play what they want us to hear, and MTV will play the
videos that pay the most placement fees. The clubs aren't the only
place to hear new music though, so if you are not old enough, don't
despair! The internet offers plenty of new music sites and you
can get the club experience right at home with sites like
www.skoolhouse.com and a list of others. As far as the DJ
perspective; it really depends on your venue. If you are at a deep
underground club, cheese might be the vocal tracks by people like
Christina Auguilera or Amber. Some places thrive on the vocal tracks
by them. People love singing along with these divas. That will
never change. There's always going to be an argument over what's good
and what's bad. As always we really have no control over what
is fed to us through local media, so it's up to you to get out there
and explore new music. Try not to label it. If a track is good,
that's it. Our views are solely our own and really shouldn't be
forced onto the rest of the world. So the next time you hear a track
that is a bit cheesy in your eyes;remember, someone somewhere is
going nuts to it and swearing it's the best thing since sliced bread.
Don't let some one else be your selector.
what they want you to hear, tells you its cool. I just don't believe it"
-reel big fish
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