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Marcus King

Marcus King

Marcus King (Sterling Munksgard)
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The track is “One Day She’s Here.” It’s funky!

Did you watch the Chiefs beat the Texans?? I didn’t, I don’t think I’ve watched an iota of football this year, but I’ve read about Patrick Mahomes, I’ve been following him ever since he broke into the league, you see he’s revolutionized the game. The ground attack, the gut it out play of yore, is history, now it’s all passing, and Mahomes gave it the final push. The Chiefs were down 21 after the first quarter, looked like it was over, who can come back from that, especially in a playoff game? Well, Mahomes moved the ball down the field for 28 points in the second quarter. I would have liked to see that!

Reminded me of Steph Curry. An unknown, at least to me, and then he scored 54 points in one game against the Knicks back in 2013 and I had to tune in, I had to see what all the mania was about. Curry changed the game completely, with his 3 point shots. He’s been a marvel to watch. I’d given up on the NBA after wasting too much time watching back in the nineties, but Curry pulled me back in.

This is what we’re waiting for in the music business, an act that comes along and revolutionizes the game. That attracts the attention of not only those paying attention, but those who are not. We haven’t had that spirit in music for a very long time.

Maybe the last time it was Lady Gaga. Well, although uber-talented, most people became aware of her antics, the penumbra surrounding the music, and one can argue that she didn’t make music that appealed to everybody until the remake of “A Star Is Born.”

Before her, or contemporaneous, depending on how you calculate, was Adele. She was a phenomenon, sold literally ten times the number of albums as her closest competitors. Everybody knew her name, she permeated the universe, she put a dent in it, at least with “21,” and what have we had since?

The Beatles exploded the music business. Nothing like them had been seen before. Frank Sinatra did not write his own songs, he didn’t push beyond traditional genres.

And after the Beatles… Well, we had the British Invasion. And then for years, decades, we had a plethora of great acts, drawing attention across the world. And sure, today your music can be heard worldwide, but it’s hard to draw attention to it, it might end up going unheard. But if there’s mania, something great, the sky is the limit.

And it is not “Yummy.”

The story of today is how Justin Bieber tried to manipulate the Spotify numbers. If only it were a better record. His previous work stood out. Yup, you didn’t have to be a Belieber to love “Sorry” or “Love Yourself,” they rose above all the rest of the crap on the hit parade.

Now breakthrough acts don’t come from nowhere, they’ve always paid their dues for years before they become a phenomenon. Then again, what we’ve got today is social media phenomena, it’s so much easier to do that than to make great music, to play you’ve got to PRACTICE! Marcus King has been playing since he was 3, almost always off the radar. And prior today I never got him.

Now if you read the BuzzAngle report, you’ll find “Chris Stapleton’s ‘Traveller’ album was the biggest Country album over the past five years with more than 1.3 million album sales and the fourth most purchased album over the past five years.” The music didn’t sound like what was on country radio, and when Stapleton broke through all his contemporaries testified, loved when he won awards, because not only did they acknowledge his talent, he was a giant middle finger to the country music establishment, especially radio, you didn’t have to do it their way to succeed!

And those who normally don’t pay attention did. Stapleton was even on Howard Stern.

So Marcus King is playing music derivative of sixties electric blues. He’s not really breaking any new ground, but astoundingly the material on his new album is more than serviceable. It always comes down to the song, Clive Davis was right about that. And it seems like a lost formula. So many acts, especially rock bands, have skill, but they’ve got no songs!

So I was reluctant to listen to the new music. And the fact that Dan Auerbach co-wrote and produced…I saw that as a negative, as I’m not really a Black Keys fan, and he’s the flavor du jour, but you can’t put lipstick on a pig.

But stunningly, the Marcus King cuts that have already been released from “El Dorado” all resonate.

How can this be?

This music is far from the Spotify Top 50. We’re told every youngster wants to be a rapper or a DJ, but Marcus King is only 23.

Not that King is unknown, assuming you’re deep into the “Relix” world. But none of those acts seem to break out of that ghetto, no matter how lucrative it might be.

I mean listening to Marcus King is like being transported to back when, and he doesn’t sound like a remake, or a copy. Sure, he’s not pushing the envelope, but if you like this kind of music you’ll listen to the songs and be dancing around the house, you’ll be elated.

Hip-hop won the internet. But that was years ago. Now everybody under thirty is on the same page. They’re not attached to CDs, they’re not bitching about streaming payouts, hell kids in today’s Army weren’t even born when the Twin Towers came down! Yup, time keeps passing.

Now in the limited, pre-internet world, sales made sense, the rankings made sense, because the scene made sense. But today, with Bieber asking his fans to put his music on endless repeat, what chance does a non-hip-hop/pop track have to break through? Essentially none.

Which is why it’s gonna take a long time for different genres to gain traction. You’ve already got to be a fan of this music to come across Marcus King on a playlist, which means there’s little of the virality that breaks acts today.

But there could be.



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