Sat | Jan 19, 2019

10 treatments redefine song market targeting

Published:Thursday | March 8, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/ Gleaner Writer
Producer Gussie Clarke (right) and Kevy the Artist at last month's listening session for the 'Even a Gangster Falls in Love' EPX at Anchor studios, Windsor Avenue, St Andrew.
The packaging of the 'Even a Gangster Falls in Love' EPX.

A few years ago, I encountered a particularly despicable cretin who enjoyed using a firearm analogy in opining on advertising job concepts. For those who he felt lacked focus, he said it was like using a shotgun where a rifle was required; blasting away in an effort to maximise coverage when pinpoint accuracy was required. However, putting the person aside, the principle does apply to an assessment of Even a Gangster Falls in Love by Kevy the Artist, for there are 10 different treatments of the same song.

Note the word 'treatment' as opposed to 'version', as producer Gussie Clarke (who operates the Anchor music recording facility on Windsor Avenue, St Andrew) has gone the whole nine yards plus one in doing the song in 10 different styles. The first one done (and which also starts off the EPX in which Even a Gangster Falls in Love is presented) is reggae, and it goes all the way through to a jazzy remix instrumental, which features pianist Alex Marten-Blanken. Along the way are Afrobeat (produced by David Dayorault from the Ivory Coast); dancehall (by Lenky Marsden, featuring Sky Juice); jazzy remix (featuring Pam Hall); reggaeton (by Danny Browne, featuring Shaggy and Sky Juice), pop (by Steve Francis, USA); and gothic (Browne again) versions and a soundtrack by Richard Rodwell (Canada). Selector Boom Boom puts them all together in a mixtape.

It is a lot, but not too much, as Clarke has combined the shotgun approach - covering as much of the target area as possible - with the rifle's accuracy, hitting the segment each is focused on squarely. Of course, this would be all for nought if there were not a good melody and lyrics to begin with. The premise of Even a Gangster Falls in Love is neither novel nor exceptionally striking throughout. The title line, which begins the chorus, is followed by the observation that "everybody needs someone..." . But then, there are the inviting "my life is a book, baby read a chapter" and the protective "I circle your life like a real protractor". Plus, there is a Victoria's Secret line that puts a smile on the face. Kevy reworks his delivery to suit each rendition of Even a Gangster Falls in Love, so there is appreciation of his vocal versatility even as he gives each take individual treatment.

Of course, this shotgun-cum-rifle approach runs the risk of giving the consumer that most dreaded of things - too much choice - that causes purchasing paralysis as well as cannibalism of the song upon another rendition of itself. Time will tell. In the meantime, I have a preferred style of Even a Gangster Falls in Love from the initial listening party during Reggae Month that has been reaffirmed by listening to the EPX. It is the gothic, which sounds like it has a healthy dose of dancehall.