A Soft Answer has the news that it appears that Canadian pop-rock artist Tal Bachman is using his recent break from the LDS Church as part of the marketing campaign for his new album.
A Soft Answer posts this quote from a recent news story on Bachman:
“Tal Bachman has left the Mormons! Kind of makes the usual screwed-by-the-record-company story pale by comparison, doesn’t it? Bachman plays this afternoon at 3 at the Nest on the NAIT campus — a solo ‘story and song’ gig to promote his new CD, Staring Down the Sun.”
And then says: “I don’t begrudge him leaving the Church for his personal beliefs. That must have been a very hard and personal decision. But because I would think it was a hard and personal decision I don’t understand why it is the main angle on stories where he is publicizing his latest effort.”
I completely agree. In a previous post on Bachman, I tried to cut him some slack — suggesting that his openness about his alienation from the chruch was, in part, to give fair warning to his Mormon fans. At the time, it was very clear that this was an important part of his personal life and the type of change that would be important to communicate to his most rabid fans (those that would seek out his Web site).
I find it amusing, however, that it’s become an actual part of the marketing campaign. And despite the spin above, I wonder what is really gained from it.
Yes there is a long tradition of pop artists representing ‘comeback albums’ — Bachman’s last album was released five years ago — as the story of overcoming traumas and travails, but those usually involve addictions, failed relationships, accidents, health problems, major infighting among band members, and, yes, battles with record labels. But it’s not clear to me that losing one’s faith is going to be that compelling of a story to the average pop culture consumer.
As an active Mormon, Bachman was a bit of curiousity. Now he’s just another pop musician trying to make a comeback.
I could be wrong.
After all, The whole premise of these comeback albums seems to be that suffering and turmoil fuels the creative fires and theoretically leads to intense, vibrant music. Bachman’s whole journey away from faith certainly seems to have been the type of turbulent life change that can’t help but impact one’s creative endeavors.
But I don’t know that an album that is the fruit of a personal religious struggle has quite the same verve to it. It seems too subtle — an experience more appropriate for a play or novel.
Note that I’m referring to the way the album is marketed, the story told about it to consumers, and am not making an predictions about its actual aesthetic qualities. I guess I could go buy the album. But I won’t. Not because of any backlash on my part, but because Bachman doesn’t make music that I’m all that interested in. If any AMV readers do buy or listen to it and want to comment on it here or even send me a review to post, I’d love to hear from you.
ALSO: I hate to use the whole “it’s a play on words — get it?” thing again.
Did you notice that the title of Bachman’s new album is “Staring Down the Sun”?