OPINION: In defence of the non-banger

We had an interesting discussion on Twitter the other day, following the release of Disclosure‘s new track Bang That. It seems that a lot of people were a bit disappointed with the Lawrence brothers, proffering the now-predictable complaint: “yes, but it’s not a banger.”

It’s a charge we’ve seen levelled at the new Little Boots track and most famously at Rihanna‘s FourFiveSeconds (though RiRi’s troubles are an entirely different matter – we’ve written about those here). As we’ve discussed before, there’s an increasingly worrying display of fan propriety that’s emerging on Twitter – give us more of what we expect, and expect our wrath if you deviate.

This relentless demand for a short-term fix can’t be good for an artist. Granted, buzz singles aren’t meant to match the chart assault of a lead single, but it’s getting to the point now that even a taste of new material is being met with myopia. Using that Disclosure song as an example: objectively, it’s a great song and very worth of their catalogue. To the denizens of social media: how dare you give us something that isn’t White Noise or F For You.

It’s no surprise, then, that people are talking about the death of the album. That’s something we strongly disagree with, but it’s hard not to see the justification of that argument when people are constantly baying for their next big hit. In this short-form mentality, artists like Disclosure and Rihanna might be discouraged from experimenting and – God forbid – allowing their sound to blossom into something a bit different.

It feels like dangerous territory to us. Imagine if Beyonce stuck to the traditional buzz campaign for her self-titled album. We get the feeling that people would be writing off tracks like Haunted so quickly that a label might not even give us a chance to hear a Drunk In Love or Partition. For all our grievances with labels for not taking risks, we’re not exactly encouraging them either.

Don’t get us wrong, everyone loves a bit of chart recognition – hell, that’s what gets these acts to this position in the first place. But is that the standard to which they should be held to for the rest of their career? Did we become so fixated on quick-hit ‘bangers’ that we’ve forgotten to take the time to appreciate the bigger picture?

Of course, it’s always worth remembering that a banger only becomes one after its release. At the moment, we’re piling expectations of bangers on to things that haven’t even been released yet, making that disappointment all the more pronounced compared to the times we’ve kept an open mind.

So next time a pop star releases something, maybe think twice about using the b-word to express your disappointment. Except maybe when it comes to Florence + The Machine because, let’s face it, that song was fucking dull by all accounts.

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OPINION: In defence of the non-banger
OPINION: In defence of the non-banger