We all know the type. Some would call them prolific, others would say they’re relentlessly creative, others might say they’re honing their craft and being extremely generous with their audience. I, for various reasons, would say they need to slow down. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing (or a bad thing. You can definitely have too much of a bad thing). Anyway, whatever the argument – and I’ll try to give a good reason for each – here are my top ten acts that need to slow down and release less music.
To demonstrate how endlessly fair I am, I will start with a band that I absolutely love. Dogrel was a masterpiece. A Hero’s Death might have been even better. And while Skinty Fia had lots of really good moments, it also left me a little concerned because of how many lulls there were among the bangers – could this album have been a lot better if they’d taken a breath, another year’s gap between album 2 and album 3? I definitely think so.
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizzard
This band need to slow everything down. Even their name. Just stop it. I feel like they have a new album every week and, while this might be admirable in some way, I just don’t understand how anyone is meant to get a proper hold of them as a band, how anyone can get to know the nuances of one release before the next one comes screeching around the corner. Imagine going to see this band and hoping for your favourite song live – they must have released 40,000 songs by now. They need to chill.
I was as excited as the next person when Black Is and Rise came out. Who were this mystical, unknowable act writing powerful protest songs and talking so openly about the black experience? This was something really new. Then they released an okay album, a bunch of instrumentals, an album that disappeared if you covered it in invisible ink (or some such nonsense). Now, they’ve just released a song that my fellow Picky Bastard James described as ‘the reggae musical nobody asked for’. I’m not even going to listen. To me, it feels like Sault went from exciting to pretentious in a matter of minutes. Hopefully they’ll slow down and get back to what was so riveting in the first place.
Come on Billy, mate. Be fair. I am just discovering you this year. I feel like I could be a massive fan. Athiopes is enthralling as hell, weird and fascinating and an album that is going to take months and months to fully absorb. And then you go and release Church, before you’ve even given me chance to go back to your earlier albums. Not to mention you were all over the Elucid album this year too. And then there’s all your Armand Hammer work. Jesus mate. Take a rest, will you? Get some shut eye. (But also, your music is amazing and you need to keep making it).
Lana Del Rey
Lana feels like she is trying to rival King Gizzard these days. Another day, another album. Or, to be more accurate, another day, another collection of poems that I’ll charge you £40 to buy on vinyl. That’s enough thanks, Lana.
While Crawler felt like a return to form after the hugely underwhelming Ultra Mono, I have barely relistened to it since my initial excitement. I think the reason is clear. IDLES burst onto the scene like a juggernaut, so much potential and raw power – I think even they were surprised by their success. And then it got to their heads. They tried to capitalise. After two storming albums, they had run out of ideas – but they kept releasing music nonetheless. Each release shows some steps forward, each release also shows some pretty big backslides. If they take their time over the next one, they can be amazing again. I just hope they do.
I feel like I could like Ty Segall, but I don’t think I’ll ever get chance to really know. With at least one album every year since 2009 (and three in 2019 alone) his discography feels impenetrable. Maybe it’s because I listen to music in a particular way, liking to spend enough time with each individual album before moving onto the next, but there is just too much Ty Segall music for me to ever get close to him. Which seems a shame, as some of the songs I have heard are great.
When did Taylor become so relentless? It feels like she has always been there, but in a way that you could once ignore if you wanted to. Since the massive releases of folklore and evermore she has become ubiquitous in a way that feels slightly oppressive, releasing new albums and reissues more often than the postman comes to my door. I get that there were issues with her label, and I respect her reaction to that, but as someone who isn’t a ‘swifty’ her domination feels a little much. Add to this the new album, coming out next week, and it’s 3 million coloured vinyl varieties in everything from ‘midnight green’ to ‘swirly chocolate’ to ‘the colour of belly button fluff’ and it is hard not to feel that this is an artist who needs to slow down and think of the impact on vinyl pressing plants and her fellow musicians.
To be fair, this one is not the artist’s fault. David, otherwise known in my head as ‘the best musician of all time’, was very careful and considered about what he released in the later years of his life. A decade between Reality and The Next Day and then the final masterpiece in 2016. What a way to close a career. Then, since his sad passing, there is a new RSD exclusive, a new greatest hits, a new album of songs he never wanted to release, nearly every day. Leave the bloke, and his amazing legacy, alone.
Okay. I’m out of ideas now, to be honest. But Coldplay need to slow down, right? Slow down or stop? Yeah. Stop. Coldplay can stop. NO MORE COLDPLAY.
Words by Fran Slater