And we’ll break hearts break hearts…
It’s been a rough old week and there’s probably a lesson for us all that we can’t sit back and let things happen. No matter what the polls or predictions say, a race is never over until it’s over and many of us woke up to annoying news and a sense of what might have been this week.
Yes, despite a valid fight that saw them sitting at number 33 at one point close to the end of the week, Honeyblood eventually claimed number 50 in the UK album chart. Due to tradition, our brains are wired towards the Top 40 and your gut reaction on hearing about the 50th spot is probably “damn”.
The omnipresent Michael Buble
That would be completely wrong though and it’s important that there is a positive slant placed on the initial chart position of Honeyblood’s second album. For one, about 25 of the albums above them are by Michael Buble, so if you discount them, the band is flying pretty high! We may be in mid-November but the charts have already been commandeered by the Christmas market and the heavy hitters that set the tills of Asda jingling. Talentless buffoon Robbie Wilson sits astride the pile just above the dream-team of Michael Ball and Alfie Boe. FFS. Elvis has snuck back in the top 3, then its Buble and Bon Jovi. Even the comedian from Pointless has a record in the Top 10 this week…and that sums the situation up in a more concise way than I could ever attempt.
(And yes, Michael and his family have had a rough week, best wishes to his kid and the family in their battles ahead but c’mon record buying public of Great Britain, give someone else a chance and listen!)
I’d like to say that this was a big change from the standard album charts but let’s be honest, who really checks out or cares about the charts anymore? It’s only when a band you like and follow on social media mentions them that you actually remember the charts exist anymore. File the rankings as something nice to have and achieve but ultimately pointless in a measurement of what matters.
If you’re looking for points of optimism in the placing, only 6 new release albums ranked higher than Babes Never Die, and one of them was a compilation. They also came in a place higher than Lambchop…another act who should be looking at the lists of “artists” above them and find themsleves wailing and railing at the injustice of it all. But that’s life for an artist..it’s better to do what you believe in than churn out lyrics like “I am wonderful, I am magical, I am me, I love my life” which hail from the nation’s top selling album of the week.
Jetlag can kick harder than whisky
You also certainly can’t fault the band for giving it a go and their work-rate in the past week should be commended. High-tailing it out of America as the world changed was probably a smart move but rather than succumbing to jet-lag and a sense of bemusement, the group hit the road for a couple of in-stores in the hope of hauling the initial week sales even higher. A London in-store at Rough Trade was followed up in Glasgow at the HMV Argyle Street store.
The promotional aspect of in-store performances is discussed here but as these things go, it was a good show. Bright lighting may aid the shopping ambience but they aren’t conducive to rock n roll and even though Thursday may be the late night opening, 5.30pm is still a tad early for a great musical performance. Alright, the act may not have known if it was New York or New Year after their travels but it all adds up to a slightly surreal showing….perfectly summed up with the slight derailment of the album’s title track.
As for the album itself, it’s good. It’s good musically, it’s good lyrically and just as importantly, it’s a call to arms. It’s a record with something to say and if you’re not energised, motivated to do something (or if you’re of a slightly older age) pleased to see that the kids are still taking matters into their own hands…you’re not going to care about the bands that aren’t selling well in the supermarkets anyway. There’s also a Scottish element with some of the tales and whether its a line about catchment kids or reckless boozing, there are plenty of connection points to grab onto on Babes Never Die.
As we all know, bands aren’t making money on record sales anymore these days, so the chart placing isn’t about the money, it’s about raising awareness and giving more people the chance to hear about the act. And we can’t leave that to the charts…but there’s plenty that can be done about it. Again, we all know that there’s more important things to do with our time these days if we want to make a difference, but still make the time to go and see bands and recommend music to others.
Honeyblood are hitting the road this midweek across the UK and the tour’s going to last weeks, culminating in St Luke’s in Glasgow. Even better, they’re bringing the fantastic PINS on tour with them, so that’s two great bands for your money. Ignore the charts and go and see/hear a band for yourselves.
A focus on in-store promotions formed part of a wider look at promotional activities in the current music industry and this can be found here.