Shhh… It’s a Secret

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Melissa Sikes, Cactus Staff Writer

Can you keep a secret? Well, today’s top artists can! A recent trend is popping up among musicians, and 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the “secret” album. Whether it’s a simple market­ing tactic or a publicity stunt, who is to say, but it seems the secret album is here to stay.

Musicians, across all mu­sical genres, are jumping on the trend, from pop to hip-hop, and even alternative artists; it seems that soon everyone will have taken it for a spin. As of now, artists such as Beyoncé, Michael Cera, the Wu-Tang Clan and Taylor Swift are having success with their sur­prise releases.

Beyoncé was the first to release her self-titled “secret” album, Beyoncé, on Decem­ber 13th, 2013. As one would expect, Beyoncé’s album was welcomed with open arms by her fans. The album features collaborations with artists; Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, Drake, Pharrell Wil­liams, Timbaland, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland.

Michael Cera surprised his fans with an 18-track album, True That, released on August 12th, 2014.

Taylor Swift went about her release a little differently. Swift released bits of informa­tion about her album, 1989, to the press, while keeping the overall project shrouded in se­crecy.

The Wu-Tang Clan seem to be the experts when it comes to secrecy! They have been working on their “secret” dou­ble album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, since 1997.

With today’s microwave mentality, the release of “se­cret” albums seems to be gathering more support from musicians’ fan bases when compared to traditional al­bum releases. Beyoncé’s previ­ous album 4, released on June 24th, 2011, went through the typical album release process and received less publicity than her surprise self-titled album. This is not to say that her work is unsuccessful; Be­yoncé’s 4 went platinum in the United States in 2011, while Beyoncé, the surprise release, went platinum twice. I believe the double platinum is a result of the overall excitement she gained from her unexpected release.

I believe breaking the tra­dition and releasing “secret” albums is not only beneficial to the artist, but is also giv­ing the musicians’ freedom to record what they want, when they want. They are able to take artistic liberties with their work — instead of build­ing up the hype for an album that may or may not be decent in order to meet appropriate deadlines — you surprise your audience with a masterpiece. It is a refreshing take on an album release and one that is not getting old any time soon.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);