Monday, November 9, 2009

The Album Is Dead! Long Live The Album!

Blogging. I will blog. I promise to blog. I am blogging. There. How hard was that, now? Lately I’ve been enjoying the brevity and occasional intimacy of Twitter and Facebook updates over the more detailed endeavour of blogging. I’m sure it’s largely out of sheer laziness; the sight of the blank page of a new Microsoft Word document can sometimes be daunting, but I also enjoy the feeling that I’m text-messaging a whole bunch of people out of the blue. It’s like releasing a single every few weeks rather than waiting for an album to be completed, marketing plan established, and shops to be stocked. They DO say the album’s dead, don’t they?
And that, friends, is why I am, most morbidly, nearing completion of my first real solo album (2005’s The Vanity Project, which will eventually be rebranded under my name, was recorded initially as a record with Stephen Duffy). I’ve been working in Los Angeles, Ontario, and in the basement of my Central New York home on this album for the past few months and I’m truly excited about it. I’ve been working mostly with producer John Fields (Paul Westerberg, Bleu, Semisonic, Jimmy Eat World, and, um, The Jonas Brothers), and it’s been a blast. Before I started recording, people would ask me what kind of record it was going to be, and I really couldn’t answer. I never know what an album will sound like until I’m making it. Maybe it was going to be an album of downtempo folk songs reflecting on the inner and outer tumult in my life the last few years. Or a cabaret-style album of perverse art songs. Or some kind of screaming noise catharsis.
Turns out, it sounds a lot like Steven Page: Power-pop, gay disco, big band swing, acoustic ballads. It seems as eclectic as the the best BNL albums were, but I guess I’m biased that way. Songs were written with Stephen Duffy, Craig Northey, and on my own. Guests include Pete Thomas of The Attractions and The Impostors playing drums on most tracks, vocals from Esthero and Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket, cello from Kevin Fox.
Who knows what the world will think of it. I’ll have to wait until it finally comes out, some time in 2010. Then, a tour will be mounted. As will my horse as I ride by LIKE LADY GODIVA.
Will the album be truly dead by then? Will this collection of songs seem like a quaint relic of a simpler time? Or the out-of-step ramblings of a crazy man? Perhaps once this album’s out of my system, like the baby in Alien, I’ll move on to a more rapid succession of singles and EPs, or maybe I’ll still do both. If Twitter is the single, is the Blog the album? I hope not. Music is better than either.