Monday, November 2, 2015

A Ten-Month Year?

Yesterday was the first of November, or - as some corners of the music press would have it - New Year's Day. With some websites already taking votes for the best albums of 2015, it would appear that many music fans had mapped out their end-of-year lists before they'd even taken down their Halloween decorations.

Now, to be fair, I already have a pretty clear idea of what my top ten albums of the year will be. But it will be at least six weeks before I post that list online, which means that there's still a fairly large window for new albums (and, indeed, stray releases from earlier this year) to crash through. If any instant classics come out between now and Christmas, a lot of music websites - not to mention most magazines, although they at least have an excuse - are going to look silly when they all inevitably name Carrie & Lowell the best album of the year.

Interestingly, though, I've been looking at a list of upcoming releases and there really isn't much of note due before the end of the year. Aside from big-hitting pop stars like Adele, One Direction and Justin Bieber (all of whom are presumably more interested in a spot under your Christmas tree than on Uncut's annual round-up), the pickings are very slim indeed; Grimes and Sunn O))) are the only acts whose forthcoming albums look remotely likely to have gun-jumping editors slapping their foreheads come December.

Clearly, unless your album has enough legs to fill the whole country's Christmas stockings, this is a very bad time of year to release it. It will miss out on all the big 'Best of 2015' lists, it won't be eligible for any 'Best of 2016' lists, and you'll potentially miss out on a lot of sales thanks to your inter-year invisibility.

It's really a shame, because no music sounds better than the music you listen to in in November. For me, the dark evenings and the bracing weather enhance all but the most summery sounds, and I think that a lot of albums would have made a more lasting impression on me if I'd heard them for the first time in mid-to-late autumn. For instance, my favourite album of 2013 was released in November, and I didn't listen my second favourite album of 2013 until, um, November.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: low- to mid-level artists shouldn't be so reluctant to release their albums towards the end of the year, because even if they miss out on a spot in Q's top ten, they may well get a short paragraph on The Album Wall.

And I, as of last week, have 500 followers on Twitter.

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