Sunday, 19 October 2008

'Oi Oi It's The Paper Boy'

I checked my emails today. I thought I would get into some sort of regular habit, because the last few times I logged in I clocked 568 unread messages in my inbox, and 1,327,822 unread messages in the spam folder. And that's not the one.

I trawled through shit in abundance, but an Amazon flier for Wiley's latest album, See Clear Now, intrigued me enough to have a look. The title changed from the last time I heard it, which was 'I See Clear'. It's out in less than a month's time.

The title seems a bit odd, moving from the personal 'I' to instead some sort of larger statement, and could be seen as a bit of an insult to over-sensitive grime fans that catch feelings over not much. If anything I would argue that he's not seeing clearer now, and that he could have introduced a music that he's a pioneer of in a mellower form, and to a wider audience, on the back of Grime Wave.

I suppose we have to see what the tracklist is saying first. Wearing My Rolex was planned for Boy Better Know's album VIP, but it must be on See Clear Now, because otherwise that's a fail on massive proportions. Also, the planned trilogy of Rolex-like tunes to get a Boy Better Know album deal took a bit of a bashing, what with Skepta's Rolex Sweep debuting at #92 on the itunes digital download chart.

Summertime is probably on the album as well. The label rightly got slagged off for the October release date of a track named SUMMERTIME but, given the album should be available approximately 3 weeks after the Daft Punk tribute, it seems to make a bit more sense. A third single could be something along the lines of She Glows, which is planned for release on November 24, a week after See Clear Now hits the stores.

The only definite track is the Mark Ronson collaboration Cash In My Pocket. It's ironic that the song title just about sums up this whole 'See Clear Now' business. The heart skips a further beat with NME reporting that Lily Allen and Hot Chip will also come along for the pop-orgy.

The article gets even more disturbing, with Wiley apparently being quoted as saying that 'it's pop all the way from here'. The affirmation hides behind an honourable guise of wanting 'to push boundaries', but he could have done that by making grime music over his current beats, with good lyricism and musicality that others would undoubtedly have appreciated while pushing the genre on its own terms.

Wiley's served his time, and has every right to make some of that mainstream money, but I wonder about the consequences of this album. Wearing My Rolex showed that the scene has a fair amount of followers and if this album sells well, which on the evidence it probably will, then it could set a benchmark and even a blueprint for others to follow.

Wiley has built his own legacy through making ground-breaking music, and being at the forefront of the scene he had a vital part in establishing. It's a real shame that, in the space of a few months, he could damage his musical legacy beyond repair.

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