Week’s Ledes Awards

Kevin Parker speaks to Flagpole from the future.

Don’t anybody say they’re not intrigued, cus it’s got to be a lie. The lede continues like this:

While we’re still wiping the sleep from our eyes, Parker is enjoying a night out with friends he “hasn’t seen in years” in his hometown of Perth, Australia, some 13 hours ahead. He’s amiable and open despite the interruption, putting his social life on hold to discuss the painstaking, solitary creation of his band Tame Impala’s latest release, Lonerism.

(Michelle Davis, Lonerism“, Flagpole)

It explains the first sentence, taking the graf to a less intriguing stage than it began at, but is well written enough to make me want to keep reading. Well written because for one, the information is obviously coming from a phone interview, but Davis is still able to characterize her subject, Kevin Parker. The man himself seems a cool guy, doing an interview while hanging out with friends. This could be good.

The lede also serves its purpose, by giving a general idea of what the piece is going to be about, the creation of Tame Impala’s “Lonerism” album. Even if the topic is not going to interest a reader, “painstaking” and “solitary” still promise a good story.

This is just one of a number of pieces I read recently. Some others that are kind of interesting, with their ledes, in order of preference:

Athens Business Rocks (Athens Music Junkie)

Once again we find ourselves at the end of January. Naturally, that means it’s time for every mailman, fry cook, copy dude and lawyer to strap on a guitar, find that weird guy from Accounting that plays drums and rock out for Nuci’s Space.

Toilet Circuit (Guardian Music)

The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town in north London is, in music-business vernacular, a “toilet venue”, where the stage can just about accommodate a four-piece band, and the dressing room contains a solitary grubby mirror. But the term does this place a real disservice, both in terms of the ornate Victorian splendour of the main bar, and in the roll call of names who have played in the 150-capacity back room – among them Coldplay, Pulp, PJ Harvey, Muse, Blur and the Manic Street Preachers.

Elton John helps HMV (Guardian Music)

HMV could be thrown a lifeline by Sir Elton John after it emerged that the singer plans to perform in one of the chain’s stores. He has suggested that big artists could play a role in keeping Britain’s last major music retailer on the high street by playing a series of in-store gigs.

Tuesday Night Confessional (Flagpole)

It’s in the middle of downtown Athens, but Nowhere Bar’s moniker has at times seemed oddly fitting. A haven for the over-40 townie set, the nondescript Lumpkin Street hangout’s selling points have long been sports on the screen and pool cues in the corner. The occasional cover or jam band has provided a fine, if forgettable, musical backdrop, but it has not been known as a primary spot for those seeking out live entertainment.

The award for worst lede in this list goes to Mark Mulligan writing Daisy Potential (Music Industry Blog):

Beats’ codenamed Daisy subscription service has been getting a puzzlingly large amount of coverage for a service that isn’t even launched yet. Beats’ Jimmy Iovine has somewhat smartly positioned Daisy as a challenger in a dysfunctional market in which the incumbents are portrayed as flailing around, unable to even understand what the big issues are, let alone try to solve them.  Discovery, transparency, reporting, these are all great issues that do need addressing but they are also the exact issues Spotify et al are all busy trying to fix right now. The fact they haven’t points to the complexity and scale of the problems, and also the limitations of what any one music service can achieve on its own.

First off, it’s a block of words that makes me think of a huge boulder suddenly fallen across my favorite hiking trail. And there’s even slimy-slippery moss on it in the frame of big words like “dysfunctional” and “incumbents.” This doesn’t look like it’s going to be fun.

True he’s using an essay lede, but who says essay ledes translate to boring ledes? I’ve got through this much and just do not have the energy to plod through more. ‘nuf said.


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