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The Lefsetz Letter: Human

Why isn't this a hit in America?

The Rag'n'Bone Man track is #1 in eight countries right now, it's been to number 1 on iTunes in 25 countries, it's #2 on the European Airplay chart and is even #4 on worldwide Shazam (thanks ROTD for the stats!), but in the States it's like it doesn't even exist.

It's a two listen get. First time you're interested, the second time you're hooked, and then with every hearing thereafter you get deeper into it.

Start with the Spotify version, because music really should be heard not seen, even though we keep hearing we live in a visual society, the truth is music when done right goes straight into your brain, bypasses your vision, which might be why Stevie Wonder is such a great artist.

But then pull up the video on YouTube, because it's got its own gravitas, separate from the sound, the images make you believe this is important and that young people have their finger on the zeitgeist and musicians speak for society, when they shoot for that, when they see their art as primarily being about expression as opposed to money.

Then click on the live version from Jools Holland. We want to believe you can do it without the trappings, without the studio wizardry/trickery, that you've got the essence in you.

And at first Rag'n'Bone Man is underwhelming, he's quiet and then his power builds and you're convinced.

This is the way it's always been, we can't get enough, we want more, every version.

"Some people got the real problems
Some people out of luck"

Ain't that the truth. Remember when musicians channeled our pain instead of boasting?

What a refreshing revelation.

"Don't ask my opinion, don't ask me to lie Then beg for forgiveness for making you cry, making you cry"

We don't know. We've got more questions than answers. We're all struggling to get along, to get through. But if you push us we'll say something, something untrue, something you don't want to hear, but there will be consequences, there are always consequences.

"Human" was released on July 21st, by Sony Music, it's been hiding in plain sight, this is not some indie track bubbling in the backwater, why hasn't this song gotten a chance in the United States, especially now, in an era where the country is divided, it's hurting and we need healing.

We live in a global village, but with so many marketing messages even the good ones can get lost, they need a push.

Who is failing to push the button in America?

Did Sony drop the ball? Is it waiting for the right time? Waiting is passe, set-up is history, when you've got lightning in a bottle, you go for it.

Or it is radio? Stations could own this track, they could play it immediately, the phones would light up, people would need to hear it again. And again. And AGAIN!

Or maybe Spotify could put "Human" on the homepage, seed it in playlists, make it a hit all by its lonesome, but the streaming service is afraid to piss off the labels.

"Human" has got 46+ million streams on Spotify.

It's got 44+ million on YouTube.

Which means "Human" is getting more spins on paid streaming services, especially once you mix in Apple, Deezer, Tidal, Napster, et al… Is YouTube really the problem? People seem to be gravitating to other services because they're most user-friendly, with their playlists, mobile utility…

"I'm no prophet or messiah
You should go looking somewhere higher"

None of us know, none of us is better than anybody else. But we keep hearing people tell us they have the answers.

But they're only human.

P.S. And now listen to the acoustic version on Spotify, whew!

P.P.S. "Human" is gonna be a monster hit in America, it's just a matter of when. You heard it here first.