Have Alt-J Become Too Commercial?

Yesterday, Alt-J released their second music video for their upcoming album. ‘Left Hand Free’ already had controversy surrounding it after claims that the band wrote the song in 15 minutes after their record label told them they needed to write a more catchy song which could be played on the radio. Alt-J have of course denied this claim, but it was not hard to convince people of the rumour, when the song was so different and mainstream to anything Alt-J have ever done before. Therefore, when the video was released, it seemed that it might help some of the fans understand the reasoning behind the single.

 

However, many fans have been saying that Alt-J have lost their creativity and innovation after this video was released. The music video depicts a typical summer day in southern USA, with young people having fun and presenting the perfect summer. It undoubtedly looks like a vapid advertisement for beer or a holiday and disappointed a lot of people. It also undeniable however, that it fits exactly with the song and sparks the same discussions. This video clearly reflects how the song is typical and fairly meaningless, mirroring popular culture. Alt-J haven’t lost their creativity, they are making a comment about the music business and also just having a bit of fun. Interestingly, Alt-J placed a ‘1’ after the title of this video. It may have just been a mistake, but it could also mean this video is the first of many.

This band were clever to not lose their fan base by first releasing ‘Hunger of the Pine’ which was still a new direction, but it stuck to their old methods and sound. The video for ‘Hunger of the Pine’ is again an accurate reflection of the song.

 

It is simple, and puts across a clear image to it’s audience. The complexity of the song and video is obvious, but it is presented in an intelligent and enjoyable way. ‘Hunger of the Pine’ proves that Alt-J still deeply care about their music, purpose and the meaning behind these tracks. Of course Alt-J haven’t become too commercial. They are doing things how the want, the way they want and yes, they may lose fans, but they will also gain new ones as well.

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Hunger of The Pine – Alt-J

Alt-J dropped their new single, Hunger of the Pine, from their forthcoming album, ‘This is all Yours’ on June 18th. It was premiered on Zane Lowe’s show and is the first track to be released so far. On listening to it for the first time, I was both impressed and intrigued. This track feels fresh and exotic, and clearly shows how alt-j have matured since the first album. ‘Hunger of the Pine’ still has the trademark muted, delicate vocals and aesthetic rhythms of ‘An Awesome Wave’ but it somehow is more tribal and enticing. The sample from Miley Cyrus; ‘I’m a female rebel’ may be a cause for division amongst fans, but I actually thinks it works well and contrasts with the relaxed atmosphere of the song, giving it a nice edge. It’s great to see the band evolving and trying out new sounds, like the smooth, heavy beat and jazz vibes. This track promises great things for the highly awaited album, and ensures that it will not disappoint.

‘This is All Yours’ will be released on 22nd September and is highly anticipated, not least by me. Pre-order the album here