Yesterday I heard (in full, for the first time) the Kaiser Chiefs' new single, Parachute from their long awaited sixth album, Stay Together which is due out in October. I'd seen YouTube clips of Parachute over the weekend so I had an idea of what the song would sound like but I was blown away by the dance style sound of the single. Blown away as in not expecting it but really loved it. Judge for yourselves:
How often is it that you get a fab dance track that works just as well when played live by a guitar based indie band? It's genius - catchy, great lyrics, had me dancing about at first listen, what more could you want? And the answer to that last question, at least when scrolling through tweets on the subject, was that a number of fans just wanted a record that sounded the same as the previous five albums. Actually, I don't think that any of the previous albums are similar enough to warrant that statement (I have followed the band since their first album, didn't listen for a while, around the times of the third and fourth albums, but came back to the music via front man Ricky Wilson's stint on The Voice) so I suppose what disgruntled fans mean is that they want something that offers a recognisable Kaiser Chiefs indie band sound.
So, (Ricky once said on his Radio X show that you shouldn't start a sentence with so but I do it quite a lot) I suppose the question is whether Kaiser Chiefs are trying to reach a new audience with this single or they've just written something that they wanted to? Who knows - maybe I'll get the chance to ask them one day - but I do know that it's their choice. Personally, I love it when a band goes in a new direction (and as I've not heard the rest of the album I don't know if the rest of it is the same); life's an adventure and just doing the same old thing dulls creativity or at least it does for me.
Having said all that, I think it's not surprising that some fans are not all that enamoured of the sound. Writing about Alfie Boe's music for almost three years now has shown me that although a lot of fans say they would listen to anything and everything an artist puts out, that's not actually true for a sizable percentage of the audience. Boe is renowned for endlessly changing the style of his music, having recorded eight albums, none of which (the two musical theatre based albums apart) are similar. His live repertoire is even more eclectic and not all his fans have stayed the course throughout his career (on a personal note, I could happily live without the musical theatre albums) despite originally and repeatedly saying that they would listen to him sing anything, "even the phone book". Balanced against those fans are the ones who have come to him following one of his many changes in direction proving only that there is never just one audience for an artist or their music. Change is good - embrace it and you might find a whole new world out there but that's another song entirely.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if your favourite band, and Kaiser Chiefs are my most listened to artist after Alfie, wants to try a new sound, go with it, you might find that like me, you love their new song. On the basis of Parachute I can't wait to hear the album. Roll on October.
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