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MUSIC? The cheese factor;
By Josh Hall


Years ago, if a song was released there was one version: the album cut.

The analog and manual recording days are far behind us now and technology is at the front of the music revolution. Songs can be created and recorded in hours and the whole album produced in weeks with fifteen different remixes of one song. So how does this affect us as the fans? How does the industry decide what to exploit and what to leave on the burner or even the cutting room floor?

This brings us to the issue of cheese. What is cheese you might ask?

It really depends on the person doing the labeling of the black flag "cheese" label. Some people deep in the world of music will label any song overly produced cheese. Others might label any song in the mainstream public consumption cheese. Its absolute definition is hazy and very unclear to say the least. Often times a once deep underground tune will achieve cheese status by crossing over to mainstream play. This is inevitable especially if it is a catchy anthem or hook. This happens quite often in the club world. Most recently, as an example, I sight the song Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation. Though the original is a bit watered down and underplayed, the remix is a certified hit.

Over a year ago, on the norm, this song was pumped at after hours and the hottest clubs. About four months ago, mainstream U.S. clubs really started jamin this song all the time. Now we hear it at ball games, in commercials, and almost every single bar or club will play it at least once, maybe twice a night if the DJ has a weak selection of music.

So here's the question: is Kernfraft 400 now cheese? Clubheads and some DJ's might say yes because it is played everywhere, but a year ago if you weren't bangin this track out, you wouldn't be spinning too long. How does this happen? It's actually quite simple.

There is so much music out right now, everyone is accommodated, no matter what you like. The club crowd, for the most part, is your 18-26 year olds, the target audience of almost every marketing agency on the planet, and they adhere to a pretty strict formula of selling their product. Music. Sex. Violence.  These three ingredients make for a nasty bowl of cheese soup. Producers and marketing agents alike have the same goal: move your product! So they'll do whatever is hot in the club scene to get the attention of there demographic. Music producers know if they create a track with a megastar like Whitney Houston and pump out a few remixes by top name DJs it will achieve club play, and eventually hit the radio. If lucky enough and a high enough crossover status is achieved, commercials and other options will open for the musician, which means one thing: royalties. Unfortunalty for us, the patrons, we live in a consumer spoon-fed world;everything is delivered to us though the media circus. Whether  it is news or music we rarely go searching for things to enlighten us. We wait till it's delivered to our doorstep in a nice, easy to read package.

So what does this have to do with music being cheese or not you might say? It's a basic question of what you like. No one person can label a song cheese like it was a type of music. They might think it's cheesy and lame, but someone somewhere is loving it.

The radio will continue to play what they want us to hear, and MTV will play the videos that pay the most placement fees. The clubs aren't the only place to hear new music though, so if you are not old enough, don't despair!  The internet offers plenty of new music sites and you can get the club experience right at home with sites like and a list of others. As far as the DJ perspective; it really depends on your venue. If you are at a deep underground club, cheese might be the vocal tracks by people like Christina Auguilera or Amber. Some places thrive on the vocal tracks by them.  People love singing along with these divas. That will never change. There's always going to be an argument over what's good and what's bad.  As always we really have no control over what is fed to us through local media, so it's up to you to get out there and explore new music. Try not to label it. If a track is good, that's it. Our views are solely our own and really shouldn't be forced onto the rest of the world. So the next time you hear a track that is a bit cheesy in your eyes;remember, someone somewhere is going nuts to it and swearing it's the best thing since sliced bread. Don't let some one else be your selector.


"Radio plays what they want you to hear, tells you its cool. I just don't believe it"

-reel big fish

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