Eves The Behavior could make it big this year. That is, of course, purely down to the fact that her music sounds pretty good. But it may also have something to do with the fact that she may have stumbled upon the magic formula that many artists strive for, the formula which reveals the key to both commercial and critical success.
The reason this would be such an achievement is that few others have achieved it. It’s such a difficult task that it has existed since the post-war beginning of popular music. Back then the challenge was highly obvious in that there was a stark divide between the singles and albums chart, with few artists appearing on both. ‘Albums’ artists tended to be seen (or perhaps, see themselves) as serious musicians capable of 1 hour long art pieces and nothing less, whilst ‘singles’ artists tended to simply sing songs that others had written for them, the songwriters being contracted to write as efficiently as possible in record label offices. It was, in other words, the first example of ‘factory produced’ pop.
The sharp divide between the’authentic’ and ‘inauthentic’ was to an extent knocked by The Beatles, who were the first band to achieve success on both charts, even in the later, more eccentric parts of their career. But it still continued in earnest following The Beatles, with Led Zeppelin barely even bothering to release any singles at all.
But when people started replicating what The Beatles had done – successfully walking the tightrope between pop sensibility and critical creditability on their singles, which then acted as advertisements for the album – there was far more unity in the two charts. Whereas the 50’s biggest selling album – Sinatra’s Song For Swinging Lovers – did not contain a single Top 40 single, by the time of the 80s the biggest selling albums (Thriller and Queen’s Greatest Hits) contained not one but several Top 40 singles.
The charts could therefore no longer be seen as a way of symbolising the divide between pop and non-pop, ‘fake’ and ‘real’ music, a divide which often feels like it goes right to the heart of popular music. Although that divide still exists – just ask any NME reader – it is impossible to deny that in taking down the album/single divide The Beatles showed that it was possible to please both the fickle pop public and the pretentious critic cliques. They also showed what was required of an artist to do so. What was – and is – required is a sound that really bites in terms of melody (in other words, great pop music) but does so without looking stupid. Think of the difference between Crazy Frog and Coldplay’s Speed Of Sound. Both were successful pop songs, released in the same week, but only one could really ever make a claim to credibility.
Eves The Behavior may well be on her way to successfully straddling this divide. Her songs are earnest without being dreary, and contain solid melodies. Furthermore they tap into the Serious Female Singer With A Great Voice aesthetic of the moment (i.e. Adele and Emile Sande, two of the few artists still making a living from sales of recorded music); whilst Eves The Behavior’s songs may be slightly more challenging than the aforementioned artist’s, they are still close enough to identify with them. If the people who bought Adele and Sande’s music agree, then Eves The Behavior could make the Powerball Lottery winners look poor.