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VARIETY

A key to success in a wide range of styles is for almost anyone to be able to find at least one song they like on every album. They probably will not like all the songs, but how often in today's music do you find such an album?

This does not at all mean we will produce good drug songs or the like.  Rather, that we want to make songs in a wide variety of styles.  The number of styles is small relative to the number of subjects, which is virtually infinite.  In some ways, the ideal is to use a style you like to communicate a subject you had not previously thought about in depth.

Each song needs to be as strong as it can be, both because for someone that could be the one song they would really like, and because our Lord deserves no less. There are too many styles to be addressed to waste space on a filler song without the quality it takes to be anyone's favorite. To paraphrase Robert Hunter, every song must be an outstanding example of its style.

One of the realities of musical variety is that you cannot please everyone with every song. People who only like heavy metal will find everything else 'too soft'. People who only like ballads will find everything else 'too hard'. In general there are three reactions to this situation.

1. Abandon people who like hard rock to please those who like soft music.

2. Abandon people who like soft music to please those who like hard rock.

3. Abandon both groups by steering down the middle of the road.

The first two reactions produce strong music, but alienate much of the population. The third reaches more people by eliminating the extremes, but tends to produce music that is neither hot nor cold.

A fourth reaction has been to make entire albums either hard or soft. This too is a flawed solution. Hard rock fans will buy one album, find its all soft, and never buy another of that group's albums. In like manner the soft music fan who enjoyed the first album will buy the second, find its all hard rock, think the band has changed styles, and never buy another album. Wild swings are a recipe for progressively alienating segments of the audience until no one is left to listen.

We believe the fifth solution is for a band to establish themselves from the beginning as producing both hard and soft rock on the same album. This avoids a reputation that guarantees half the audience has forever written you off as utterly "not my style", thus making it impossible to grow without also losing the half of the audience you originally kept.


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