Wednesday, June 02, 2010

a marketing man's wet dream?

Please say that one of you out there is as equally offended as I am by the most insanely bullshit driven reinvention of The Like?

http://laist.com/attachments/la_joshua/36990184_l.jpghttp://blogs.knoxnews.com/brown/archives/TheLikesmall.jpgthe-like-band-style-los-angeles-5a.jpglaena-geronimo-the-like-band-style-los-angeles-6a.jpgthe-like-band-style-los-angeles-1a.jpg

I'm no die hard Like fan, I love June Gloom and Too Late and have always admired their style (especially Tennessee Thomas who I would like to direct the following negativity away from as she seems to have stayed somewhat true to herself.) but am otherwise not a pro when it comes to their back catalogue. But this transformation from cool alt-rock band to fluffy sixties pop fare doesn't sit well with me.

They were incredibly cool as it was and aesthetically they favoured floaty 70s dresses and bed hair over incarnating Edie Sedgewick. Responding during a
Refinery 29 interview to who their musical influences are, their answers sound contrived. Citing Motown and 60s Girl Groups is fine but in this case it feels like they are simply namedropping references that suit their new look. What about their own upbringings? Tennessee's Father was Elvis Costello's Drummer with Z-Berg's Dad a Guitarist and Producer whose love of the Rolling Stones I could see having more of an effect on The Like's sound than The Supremes.

True, the band have been changing since last year's line up rejig but over the last month with an influx of The Like press releases in my inbox and sexy jingles on Spotify this overhaul reeks of a marketing man's wet dream. They've been around for 9 years and are suddenly being promoted as a new and upcoming band. I'm all for a band receiving a helping hand of a stylist but when the case in point is The Like who are loved for their unique look I can't help thinking of the phrase Cash Cow.

29 comments:

S.Elisabeth said...

I've never heard of them before, and these pictures are lovely, but I definitely see where your anger is coming from. I googled their old image and I would definitely be pissed! And Cash Cow fits it perfectly. It's like they want fame and now they're changing who they are to get it =( Maybe they'll see how wrong they are and change back!

indigo stars said...

this is fantastic! i thought i was the only one thinking this!
it's so true that they have only just 'turned all 60's' and also very correct that atleast tennesse hasn't sold her soul for a shot at fame.

ooothundathighrevo said...

sometimes you need to make the cow sing in order for you to get your music across. not saying that it's the best way but that's how business is. i was actually just liistening to them last night and even though i wasn't floored I do have a soft spot for motown influenced/60's pop vibe so i was content with their style. maybe after hearing some of their previous work things will change.....

Also just wanted to say HI.

noise-and-ambition.blogspot.com

CC said...

Marketing is key, right? I suppose people are willing to do anything to get where they need to be. It seems like a "Get rich or dye trying" thing. 'Tis sad, really.
Xx

ingrid said...

wow, the first four pictures bear an almost scary resemblance to au revoir simone promo shots. they've been sporting that exact innocent, romantic look with their floaty dresses and long wavy hair for years. someone's clearly been "inspired"...

Miss Woo said...

The Like's new makeover seem to be a rip off The Pipettes minus the polka dots dresses. Maybe it go with their new Mark Ronson produced 'image', but I still prefer the old shaggy haired Z.

Sharing your love for Tennessee though, that girl is consitently adorable!

Patrice said...

I totally agree with you Stevie. My first response upon seeing the new Like promo photos, was "WTF." What happened to The Like I used to know. Definite cash cow syndrome here.

Passport Smiles said...

I understand what you are saying, and it is disappointing when this happens if you've been following for them for a while. But from a new perspective, I like their new stuff and new look even if it is a little "fluff" and a "Cash Cow." But to each his own.

sarahhartsu.blogspot.com

A La Mode said...

Wow this is so awful! I can't believe it.

Fio said...

OMG the dress in the second picture!

Isabel said...

Hmm yes, their new look has certainly changed but they are still super cute!

Anonymous said...

CONSIDER THIS PERSPECTIVE. WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG AND INFLUENCEABLE YOU THINK THAT ALL KINDS OF GIRLS ARE ALL KINDS OF COOL. AND THEN YOU GROW UP A BIT AND REALISE THAT MAYBE YOU DIDN'T REALLY KNOW WHAT COOL WAS. BECAUSE THE LIKE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A BIT TRAGIC. THE REFINERY 29 INTERVIEW DOES NOT SURPRISE ME; A FEW YOU TUBE VIDEOS WILL SHOW YOU HOW IMPRESSED THEY ARE WITH THEMSELVES. IN ONE INTERVIEW TENNESSEE GOES ON ABOUT HOW TIRED SHE IS OF PEOPLE OBSESSING ABOUT HER FATHERS FAME. HER FATHER IS THE DRUMMER FOR ELVIS COSTELLO'S BAND. HARDLY A BEATLE. I HATE TO CRUSH YOUR DREAM, BUT SHE IS ACTUALLY THE WORST.

Catherine said...

I know what you mean, their new look does seem incredibly contrived, it looks as if they are jumping on the vintage/retro band-wagon. Some of the clothes are just awful, the sort of bright nylon sixties dresses that you'd find in a fancy dress shop. If they were going to go sixties, it would have been better to have only used the era as inspiration rather than looking and sounding like a Shangri-Las tribute band. Like you said, Tennessee appears to be the only one who hasn't had too change too much, although she does now appear to be wearing that black and white Charles Anastase dress constantly. It is a beautiful dress though so I can't complain.

Jesson Balaoing said...

nice post, keep blogging... have a happy week...

Anonymous said...

Z's had a total makeover! it's so obvious and quite childish.

Anonymous said...

What the HELL are you guys talking about? Tennessee looks exactly the same, z looks like she did when the ban first started, and they have TWO NEW MEMBERS. It's a totally new band, they don't use stylists, and what on earth are you guys so mad about?

tonimacaroni said...

I was disappointed when I saw their new look. Their old look was one of my faves ever. Money eh?

Anonymous said...

Is it cash cow syndrome? Is reinvention as an artist wrong?
Evolution of style?

Rose said...

personal style changes and evolves, people develop new tastes and there is such a time gap between the two albums, change was inevitable, who can say that they dress exactly same as they did 5 years ago.They are not the first band to go in a new direction and seeing as their first album didn't get them a lot of recognition it's a bit harsh to turn around and critisise them for trying to make a more succesful second album

pia said...

i agree, the old like was so much better!

Miller said...

Hmm I agree. Watched Frock Me the other day (wondeful programme, ha) and they were introduced by Alexa Chung as a 60's girl group or something. New hair and make up is a bit dress-up...



blog.kaamilah-nahaboo.com

Cicely said...

Agreed, loved the Like, not impressed at all with the new look or sound.

WendyB said...

Will it make you happy or sad to know that I've never heard of them in any incarnation?

Fabi Pina said...

No, no NO. Not happy about this...I have the second picture glued to my old closet, in my old home. I'll keep that fresh in my memory forever and will delete the last three. =( I won't judge them for whatever it is that they're trying to do (aherm, sell more albums) but I definitely won't be looking them up for style inspiration anymore. Darn it.

lovelymae said...

As an actual fan of the Like, who has followed the girls since 2002, I have to disagree with you and all of the naysayers.

In early days of the Like, the girls constantly said that their influences were British rock and roll bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Zombies, etc. The girls still cite these bands as their influences now, along with the inclusion of the 60s girl group vibe. Is the interest in the 60s girl group a new one? Not so much. A few years ago (2007), the girls started playing shows with new music. The songs were more rock n' roll than ethereal and shoegazing. The lyrics were more direct and made a statement. The beats were uptempo and poppy. Then they went into the studio with Youth. We get to hear a snippet of "He's Not A Boy" produced by Youth in a YouTube video. It sounds like a mix between their old sound, and their more recent sound (the album produced by Ronson). The Like were obviously going for a certain sound, and should they be penalized for that? Hell no. They're artists.
Z has said in interviews that when she first started out, she was not keen to girl singers/bands/etc. She wanted to play with boys. But once she started the Like, she became more interested in women artists. It became the music she was most interested in listening to. I think that an interest in the 60s girl group era would come naturally (especially with Tennessee's influence).
So the Like have set out to make music that they want. A cross between the 60s girl group and the britsh rock invasion type band. And I think they succeed.

As far as their style, Z has said in interviews that the band made a concious decision to find a certain aesthetic for the band and stick to it(and they did not use a stylist. I think the blogger forgets that they are now on a smaller label and it doesn't seem fitting that a band move to a smaller record label to get the means to become a "cash cow". You gotta put in the money to get the money.). So naturally, the 60s look was in. The Like's style has pretty much always harkened back to a different era in their promo photos. Being a fan of theirs and seeing their style outside of the CD jacket, you know their style was a bit scatterbrained and the fact that they plan on sticking to to a certain aesthetic is more shocking than the clothes (which are cute as fuck).

I don't even know what my point was...oh yeah! I disagree.

lovelymae said...

And also!

Z said in a recent interview that the Like is a new band. She would have named the band differently, except she liked the name so much. Even on their Myspace blog, they call themselves the Like 2.0. Meaning this is not the same band.

Claire said...

I totally agree with you. I too am no Like veteran, but I liked 'too late' a lot, and I actually thought this version of The Like was a different band altogether?! I understand progression, I understand experimentation, but completely changing their image? Why?

Claire @ Jazzpad

Anonymous said...

As I've heard they needed to change to renew their record label's interest in them.

They made a second album years ago as the original trio but no one (read: their record label) liked it and they basically gave up. Then Mark Ronson asked Z about the band one day and they let him hear the album. He then took it back to their record label demanding that he re-do it for 15 thou. The rest is history.

it's a shame that Mark Ronson always = 60s girlgroup throwbacks though. It really did make me lose interest in this band.

SummerTeeth said...

agreed. i never really put two and two together until you put these photos against each other. but for sure their new look seems a bit... off. maybe they're just older and feeling more sure of their sexuality? the new look definitely feels sexed up. hm.