So I've been kinda silent for a while because I'm trying to think about how to formulate my feelings toward the song and everyone's reactions (I've also been fighting off a cold that's making my head feel like a rock and a balloon, alternately.)
First of all, don't apologize if you're not a fan of the song. It's completely cool to me; you don't like what you don't like. Deciding which artists to follow down their respective career paths is always a tough deal. I like all the Jethro Tull or Black Sabbath up to a certain point, and they lost me. Then again, I've followed Ben Folds, People Under The Stairs... hell, even the TV show X-Files... when other people gave up. It comes down to what you like & what you don't like.
Face it: Consumers are really in a sh*tty spot right now: as much as you think you can yell at them for not doing more exploring or crate digging or supporting artists or anything else, I really don't think it's fair to take it out on them at this point. The technology that was supposed to make dispersing all the good sh*t easier has now turned way sour because it's now easier to control by the music Powers That Be. Diss on iTunes and Spotify and Pandora and everyone else all you want, but they are the quickest, easiest sources for music, and they are now the well the public goes to to drink.
Bands like People Under The Stairs are at a really weird point right now: they are having to learn to game that system because their usual method of "ignore everyone else, we're going to do what we're going to do" is becoming unsustainable. They can't book shows, they need money for physical vinyl releases, CDs and cassettes are basically DONE, and if they just throw out a digital release in the current, easy-download market, it's a drop in the bucket. For all the mass, will.i.am-consuming public knows, PUTS is a local L.A. DJ group that does weddings.
Niche markets used to be a way to sell your credibility, a way to differentiate yourself, etc., but now, niches are just a way to group your internet radio playlists, and so the consumer who used to be the real, "alternative hip hop"/"Golden era hip hop" dude just presses a button on spotify and now he can listen to a playlist thrown together by someone else or by trending hits... so he may get "The Humpty Dance" and "Alphabet Aerobics" and "What's Golden" and everything else, and he's got his day made.
(I have never had an account with any of those services. I still have a 120 Gb music player, and I try to update it to keep it fresh, and when I do, where do you think I go to get music? I either buy it cheap, rip it from vinyl, or download it from somewhere. But I'm a fading breed.)
So, if you're an artist that has maintained a listener-ship that's never really blown up or gotten Grammys or anything (like PUTS), you have to find a way to stay relevant to even pull the interest to book those shows or maintain a fan base that won't bleed off to Kendrick Lamar or whoever else. That SUCKS *SS. Authenticity BY ITSELF isn't going to make that happen anymore. Pride in your sh*t is one thing; keeping it real is one thing; not selling out is one thing... but "the bottom line is the dollar sign" when it's your livelihood.
And I'm thinking PUTS is in a bit of a squeeze. Thes did the 24-bit HD AAC last time. He made some CHOICE vinyl (the sleeve, the weight... everything was awesome). They did two YouTube spots, a tour, they've played festivals, they've still got vitality, Thes' production/music studio knowledge is legendary in L.A... and Highlighter still got reviewed less than Fun DMC and Carried Away did... how's that for maintaining relevance? Personally, I thought the album was great too (and I know some of us may differ on that point)... It had SOLID songs for a lot of it's length.
It probably seems like I'm setting this up as some big excuse for 1 Up Til Sun Up to not meet my expectations. Not really. I just think that People Under the Stairs took an "anti-risk" and reigned in their usual experimentation this time around to see what they could do about finding some middle ground. I think it was the same thing with touring with Mac Miller (who I'm not a fan of) for the last album: get a following in this new digital age and with a newer fan base. Sort of meeting the pop sensibilities halfway, like "We know you like this party vibe, 'kids want to have fun' stuff... well, we've been doing that for YEARS, and if you want us to ease you into it, here you go: we got retro video gaming samples to go with that t-shirt you're wearing, we got some beats more rooted in adrenaline, we know you like 'funky drummer', we got a slick new video... we've taken our spirit and done a track more suited to your liking... TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Oh and by the way, LISTEN TO OUR CATALOG."
I don't think they've compromised their integrity or belief in the music at all, they've just taken the parts of their catalog and interests that are the most likely to make a connection and put those out there... Sorta like there's a big Venn Diagram, with one circle as "Current trends in popular music" and the other circle as "PUTS", and they've used the items in the tiny bit of overlap to make their next single. It's a hand out to those people, not a concession.
I don't know. Maybe that's just me. I hope that the rest of the album has a breadth to it that takes it beyond that overlapping section, but it's still well within the road I'm willing to travel with PUTS.
D*mn, I sound like an apologist. I'm sorry if I come off that way, and like I said... feel free to disagree!!