In the digital age, it feels redundant to say print news is dead. With media outlets moving towards a fully online image, our never-ending stream of digital content is now forever connected to an area with WiFi or network service. The unification of Twitter handles and Facebook pages with live news reporters gives insight to the transparency of a never ending news world. A mere ten years ago, missing the 6 o'clock news was a travesty in my house. My parents could definitely not wait until the newspaper came in the morning to learn the current events. Today, a broadcasters report will be online minutes after it broadcasts.
With all this limitless news information at the end of fingertips, it is incredibly hard to take it all in. You would think the more available news is, the easier it is to consume, but with a refreshed news feed, some stories may disappear from from sight and mind instantly. Face it, the news can be muddled, and I have places to be. As a college student, I have enough trouble worrying about my homework, collecting quarters to do the laundry, and decoding cryptic texts about what my friends are doing later to remain as informed as I'd like to be. One thing I do remain easily informed about is music. Music constantly surrounds me in a way that is not overbearing. Whether I'm at a party, or on my way to class, music is readily available, and easily consumed, and this is what makes Will Butler's (Arcade Fire
) new musical endeavor so damn intriguing. Butler will be writing one song a day based upon a news story from the Guardian for one week, starting yesterday.
Artists have always looked outward for inspiration. Whether inspired by a novel like Bowie's Diamond Dogs
was by Orwell's 1984
, or Jay-Z's musical interpretation of the movie American Gangster
on his 2007 album of the same name, a lot of musical inspiration is not rooted in autobiography. Butler's idea to write a song a day about a news story found in The Guardian
is an innovative idea that could usher in a new era of informed masses. Writing about news headlines is nothing new, but the fast response way that Butler's doing it is. By giving himself a decided response time, what we're getting is a sort of audio documentary, an extending snapshot of February 23 - March 3.
Additionally, it's interesting to see another shift in the way that news is broadcast, and presented. Intertwining music and news has the potential to create a world where more people are paying attention. Many people fail to stay informed about politics or current events, but I'm sure that if their favorite music wrote a song about an aggressive bill about to be passed, public outcry may be able to actually make a difference.
Consider the international awareness of California's Proposition 8 once artists like Neil Patrick Harris, Jack Black, and Lady Gaga threw their creative juices behind quashing it. This is not simply societal commentary from an artist, it's deliverable engagement. Music constantly responds to the news. The night that a grand jury in Ferguson failed to endict Tink and Timbaland went into the studio and came out with the outraged state of our union track "Tell The Children."
It's the timeline of Butler's project that sets it apart. Each song may be a response to an specific story, but the project is set up to be a delivery and response in one, by virtue of the fact that each song reflects a different story. As news breaks constantly before our eyes, and new music drops every day, it was only a matter of time until someone put them together in a series.
Listen to the first track in Butler's series, "Clean Monday," inspired by an article on the financial crisis in Greece