a word on the new U2 album…

a word on the new U2 album…

Starting to notice U2 is getting some backlash for releasing their new album “Songs of Innocence” as a free gift to iTunes users. If you have an iTunes account the album is already available in your purchased music page or in the cloud if you store your music there.

I’m not the biggest U2 fan out there, but I do enjoy and respect their work. I haven’t listened to the new record yet, but I have to say I think it is so crazy backwards people are starting to complain about getting something for free from one of the biggest bands of all time. Whether you are a fan or not, you were just given a gift and it’s something to appreciate and say “thank you” for. You don’t hand back gifts to your friends and family and say “Um, not a fan of this, I didn’t ask for it, and how could you even dare think I would want this!?” No, no you don’t. You politely smile and say “Thank you so much! I really appreciate this.”

I think it’s hilariously sad that people want to remove the album from their library and/or iCloud account, and that Apple is now having to handle these requests… as if it’s taking up some kind of physical space in their home environment. U2 didn’t deliver a giant ugly couch to your house. They gave you the gift of music. Did we forget that anything digital doesn’t even physically exist? Nor does “The Cloud” – Yep, for the unaware it’s actually just a big floating “nothing” out there in infinite space where all our digital “nothings” are stored. It couldn’t possibly intrude on your life other than the unbearably action of having to see an album in your music library that you’ll have to scroll past when you come across it in your library (likely to happen every now and again). I can only imagine the horror of “Oh no, there’s that damn U2 album again! Gotta flick my thumb on the screen one more time so I don’t have to see it!” I mean dang, Apple & U2, how could you do that to people?!?

There are those reviewing and critiquing the album with a certain pompous tone, again with “I didn’t ask for this, so let me dissect and try to destroy it with my very special and very valuable opinion.” The truth is it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of the album, even if you are the biggest U2 fan who ends up not liking it. You know why? It was a gift, it was free. The band wasn’t trying to sell you on buying the album and you have no personal investment in it. It was a piece of work they deemed worthy of sharing at no expense to their fans.

There are also those acting shocked, as if their privacy has been invaded, pretending to be angry that iTunes “hacked” into their iTunes account to give them something for (dare I say it again?) FREE. Oh, please… your privacy is invaded every second online, don’t act surprised or creeped out that a U2 album magically appeared on your computer one day (Nickelback, maybe). Personally, I think these guys who are upset about invasion of privacy are the same guys that rock out to Pantera but are afraid somebody will find out there’s a Celine Dion track in their music library… NOBODY CAN KNOW!!

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment and say I think it’s pretty cool one of the biggest bands ever has made this move. If we all went out to our mailboxes today and U2 sent us a physical CD of their new album we’d probably all be like “Hey, that’s pretty cool!” Instead, paranoid and irrational internet is taking over this generous situation and has begun to over analyze and destroy it. That being said, just remember that musical tastes change over time, and even if you don’t enjoy the album today, or you might not be a fan of U2 at this very moment, down the road you may want this record, and heck, you may even really appreciate it.

– Brad


Back In The Saddle

Studio RoomToday is the first time in well over a year I’ve had a mic set up in my room with Pro Tools running ready to record. I suppose you could say this is officially day one of making the next Five Times August record. I’m looking forward to finally doing another FTA album. I really haven’t released an entirely “brand new” album since 2008’s Brighter Side, so that’s kind of a big deal when you think about how long it’s been. Since then, the only full lengths put out have been “Life As A Song,” which was a collection of re-recorded songs from the two albums prior to it, and I also did a second installment of “Acoustic Sessions” in 2011. Oh yeah, not to forget the exclusive double-length anthology “Rare, Live, & Unreleased” which was a fun project to piece together, but exclusively released via Bandcamp. But all those releases mainly featured songs already released as different versions, so it’s going to feel good to put out a collection of all new material again. The “Where Did I Go?” E.P. released earlier this year was 6 new songs, but that was a side-project with a different sound. I’m sure I’ll do more releases for Music By Bradley James down the road, but until then I thought it time to “get back to my roots” as they say.

When I began writing and recording the very first Five Times August songs I had just turned 18. My approach was simple and quick and homemade. I’d write a song, usually in about 3 hours or so, record a few takes soon thereafter, overdub additional guitar parts, mix it and considered it done – all in my bedroom. It was rough but it was honest and that’s very much how I intend this next album to be, rough and honest. I’m going to get back to basics and essentially limit myself to my room,  the gear I have, and my own creativity and knowledge of record production. That’s not to say my knowledge is limited, but I’ve worked with and relied on some amazing talent over the years, and this time around I have decided to take that luxury out of the equation, just do it all myself with the education I’ve consumed from working with them. It’s going to be a challenge but an exciting one at that.

So I just wanted to drop in and let you guys know I’m back in the saddle again. I’m ready to create some new tunes and see what comes out of this little room.

Talk to you soon,


The Future Before The Internet


I wrote and posted this a week or two ago on my Facbeook but now that we have a new official blog I thought it deserved it’s own entry, so here you go…

Here’s an interesting thought – if the core of your childhood took place in the 1980’s or early 90’s you are among the last generation in history to envision a future without the Internet. Remember what that looked like? We were going to have hover cars, people living in space, molecular transport tubes that sent us across the galaxy instantaneously, and everyone was going to wear cool shiny silver jumpsuits. Now, I will admit, most of how I imagined the future as a kid was based heavily on a variety of family vacations to Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center between 1986 and 1996, as well as the movie Back To The Future Part II. Still, let’s all agree that by now we should definitely have a few hover cars sitting next to us in traffic on the way to work.

So what happened? Where are the shiny suits? The transport tubes? Delorean Time Machines??? Anyone??? Well, in exchange for that tired cliché vision we dreamed of for so many years we got the Internet instead. Sure, the Internet is great, amazing, revolutionary, yada, yada, yada. But, I think it’s a very anticlimactic future for our generation. The mere idea of “The Year 2000” was once synonymous with science fiction, but all we got in the end was Y2K and Napster. Thanks Internet, I guess. We used to look up, out into space, and conceptualize a world beyond our own. Now we’re constantly looking down, conceptualizing a world within our laptop. That’s the future we were waiting for? iPhone apps and games for social networking? “So and so invited you to play Candy Crush??” Ah man, what a let down. Pretty far from space the final frontier. Think about it. We have a rover on Mars right now, a planet we’ve never been to before, but nobody seems to really care. When was the last time your Facebook news feed was inundated with educational pictures of space rocks? Who cares about life on another planet? Like, am I right? On the other hand, have you seen that trending Buzzfeed article “21 Things “The Goonies” Taught Me?” It’s totally so true OMG!!

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I wouldn’t feel let down if we were using the Internet to better our minds and not numb out on what is mainly pointless drivel. Cat pictures, food pictures, porn, Facebook stalking, stealing music, peopleofwalmart.com, and arguing; Generally speaking, these are the “great” advents of the Internet. We literally have an endless amount of knowledge at our fingertips at all time and THAT’S the information that means the most to us in cyber land. I guess it’s entertaining, but, I don’t feel any smarter or educated for having the Internet. I just find things out instantaneously and most of the time the information doesn’t stick to my brain anyway. I think that’s why we clutch to our smartphones so much. They’re beginning to think for us so we don’t have to. That’s why if someone asks us an educated question we most commonly reply with “I don’t know, let me Google it.”

Our future did not include the Internet until it just sort of appeared and took over. For most of us it showed up in the mail as a CD labeled “500 Free Hours of America Online.” That frantic dial up static noise not only connected us to the World Wide Web for the first time, it connected us to our future. The Internet came in and said “Move over hover car, rocket boots, zero gravity housing on the moon, you’re not in the cards for these people, I am.”

So, our vision of the future flipped and became introverted. That once big infinite black universe surrounding Earth shattered into a million smartphone screens that now reside in the palm of our hand. Sitting, starring, ignoring one another, tapping on a small plate of glass… I have to ask again, this is the future that was waiting for us? I’d rather have a house on the moon than Twitter, I’m just saying. #futurefail