Santigold, an innovative alternative music artist who shot to prominence in 2008 with her self-titled debut album (under her then moniker of Santogold), has a new single out, “Big Mouth”. It’s a funky, fresh slab of crackling alterna-pop.
Almost simultaneously, Sam Sparro, who enjoyed massive success with his second single, “Black and Gold” way back in the dim dark days of early 2008, has also just released his first new music in some time, “Shallow End”. It has his trademark soul-influenced style, along with grooves so compelling it’s hard not to tap your foot clean off the ankle while you listen to it.
What these two quite different artists have in common, apart from enjoying massive success with their debut releases, and releasing new music almost four years later, is that they have both chosen to take whatever time was needed to craft new music. They didn’t rush out new music just for the sake of it, frightened that the fickle masses would forget them the instant they weren’t ubiquitously present on any and all forms of media. They preferred to concentrate on their artistry and let the fans find them again when it was time to release their new music to the world.
That may not sound such a radical thing to do unless you think about the fact that our digitally frenetic age moves at a such a frighteningly fast clip that four years may as well be a century in terms of the public’s attention span.
Events move at such breakneck speed now that a person can be mourned and then have people move on with their blurred lives in a matter of hours (Whitney Houston being a recent example), memes can come and go so quickly you don’t even know they existed, and Twitter hashtags fill up with new tweets so quickly that you can get a headache watching them pour onto the feed. Nothing seems to stay still for long, and the conventional wisdom now seems to be that if you don’t march to this exhausting frantic beat, that you will be left behind, forgotten and unloved, yesterday’s object of fascination, unwanted by the masses looking for the next bright shining star.
But the thing with conventional thinking is that it can all too quickly be turned on its head, especially if certain individuals such as Santigold and Sam Sparro choose to ignore it and play by their own rules. That is the want of many creative people – to forge their own path, and not feel bound by the expectations of others. It fires their artistry and makes them stars. They continually confound expectations and that’s why we love them.
And if Sam Sparro and Santigold have proved anything by forging their own paths, it’s that setting your own agenda doesn’t mean the masses will forget you. Both their songs have been received to great acclaim, and the fans, who have followed them closely over the last four years, gouging out any morsels of news they could uncover, seem no less enthusiastic than they did then.
If anything, the very mechanisms that have created this ADHD world of ours – social media, instant news and the like – are in fact the very thing helping even radical individuals like Sam Sparro and Sanitgold stay in the race, and in the affections of their fans.
Irony you are the monarch of this harried digital age.