Third-Rate Emo Band Making Us Feel Less Than Bubblicious

620_cartel.jpgBy now, you’ve probably heard about the stunt next month involving pop-punkers Cartel; they’re going to record their next album in a camera-equipped “bubble” on Manhattan’s West Side that’s bigger than most of the apartments there, and people can, presumably, watch them eat, sleep, and work out the wheedly three-chord tunes live the entire time, thanks to the Internet. While we’re pretty dubious about any claims that “rock history” can be made by copying a pseudo-event that was first done in Australia three years ago, we’re surprised that no one has mentioned another small detail about this whole thing:

By the time it launches, no one is going to care.

For those of you who may not be up on your late-night MTV watching, Cartel is a third-rate emo band that tried to get attention with a half-cute, half-insipid MySpace-gimmick video a few months back. According to the press release that announced this Big Brother-meets-David Blaine experiment and launched a flurry of rewritten wire items, Cartel is also known for a few other things, most of which revolve around other attempts to flog their album:

While ["Honestly," which was accompanied by the MySpace clip] garnered airplay on radio stations nationwide, its companion video went into rotation on MTV, MTV2 and Fuse. In addition, the group — dubbed “A Band You Need To Know” by Alternative Press — has blanketed the Internet, winning Yahoo! Music’s “Who’s Next” competition, nabbing the AOL Music Breaker Spotlight and racking up millions of streams on MySpace. In addition, Cartel performed on TRL, was highlighted on MTV’s “Discover & Download,” spent the summer on the Warped Tour, made their national TV debut on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and appear on the soundtrack to the mega-popular video game, “Madden NFL ’07.” The band will appear on an upcoming episode of MTV’s “Cribs,” and just concluded their first-ever headlining tour.

(Cribs? Really? Perhaps it’s MTV’s way of saying “Thanks for letting our cameras roll as you spend time in the ‘spa-like bathroom.’ “)

Anyway, Cartel lead singer Will Pugh told USA Today that the bubble-living “is the best thing to ever happen to us. A platform this big can show the world that real bands still exist. There’s no outside producer, no hidden magic, just us writing and recording. It beats the heck out of being in college.” Well, points on the last part, but really, did you have to get the whole “real band” rhetoric in there? The corporate-sponsor duo and ability to show off newfangled surveillance technologies is probably more important to the suits backing this experiment than any music that might result from being cooped up in the same place for a month and a half. (And who knows what’s going to happen in the six weeks between the band being released from the bubble and the album’s July release date?)

And remember, this stunt doesn’t launch until May, meaning that there are 30 (if not more) news cycles in between the initial publicity/backlash and the time the band actually enters the bubble. Will people even care then, never mind once the album comes out? There’s so much promotional-event clutter out there that gimmicks with this much lead time burn out their media saturation during the pre-launch run-up period. Unless two of the members get into a fight on camera, or the drummer picks his nose before sticking it into the bassist’s jar of peanut butter, we suspect that this whole experiment will turn out to amount to a lot of Webcam-equipped fanfare before yet another “eh” record.

The anticipation for this bubble’s deflation is already looming so large to us, we have one thing to say to bands that might want to rush in after Cartel (and we suspect Three 6 Mafia would agree): If you’re going to do something crazy and put it on TV, have it kick off before the first press release is issued. Sure, it might be hard to distract from the building of a huge bubble in Manhattan, but keeping a lid on it not only adds an air of mystery (something that’s sorely lacking from all culture these days), it shows some promotional restraint, instead of coming off as yet another publicity stunt by a bunch of dudes who have already unsuccessfully tried to move beyond their niche.

Dr Pepper and Epic Recording Artist Cartel to Make Rock History With Band in a Bubble Live Event and MTV Music Special [PR Newswire]

  • Hallux Valgus

    based on that picture, it appears that even Cartel is uninterested in Cartel.

  • twenty-four hour priapism

    at the risk of sounding dismissive, who cares?

  • NickEddy

    Maybe the “bubble,” if there is one, can be slowly filled with liquid (some extreme sports beverage, perhaps) until they all float to the top.

    I can see the CNN Breaking News thing with Wolf Blitzer intoning “Some guys are being lifted out of a bubble on New York’s west side…we think it’s Nick Carter…”

    “We’re getting word that dude second left KNOWS he looks a bit like Albert Hammond Jr, and, in fact, plays it up…”

  • Snowbrigadier

    Do they really think this is going to go any better for them then it went for David Blaine?

    I hope that New Yorkers can come up with as much interesting harassment as the Londoners. Maybe that’ll be news.

  • Jude

    @horseycraze: ding!-ding!-ding! correct.

  • chocomel

    jeez, this one really got under your skin, eh? I think this may be the longest post on the whole site.

  • Bazooka Tooth

    by the time launches no one is going to care?

    I’d say right now is before it launches, and no one cares.

  • KurticusMaximus

    Are you guys just surfing the internet now, looking for emo/pop punk bands that you can call “third rate”?

    We get it. You hate any music that could ever be featured in an issue of Alternative Press. Point made. Now for crying out loud, move the hell on. Go back to worshiping Arcade Fire.

  • KurticusMaximus

    Well, I don’t think you guys sacrifice goats to Arcade Fire or anything (I hope not at least), but you did call the release of their last album “the greatest day of your indie-rock existence.” I’m sure that was in no small part sarcastic, but still.

    It just seems so easy to hate on emo bands. It’s like kicking puppies. Who wear tight jeans. And those off-center lip rings that bug the shit out of me.

    Let’s get some challenging hating here on Idolator. Take on the Arctic Monkeys. Or, please please please, rip Jack White a new one. Seriously. Jack White is to me what Pete Wentz seems to be to every other commenter around here.

    Fight the power, and declare that the Raconteurs are even crappier than Daughtry. I endorse that message.

  • KurticusMaximus

    Alright, I don’t

  • Niles

    the arcade fire comments were sarcastic the way outer space is black or fudge tastes like chocolate. I can’t stand the arcade fire and I even thought this site laid the ‘arcade fire is sooooo overhyped’ talking point on a bit thick.

    Ripping Jack White has been done to death. He looks like Michael Jackson, he’s a phony, he’s a self-promoting shill with a poor man’s robert plant impersonation…. I feel like I’ve read every one of these on another site. Or maybe I’ve just lived with them in my head long enough.

    Anyway, there’s just something so _satisfying_ about railing on these emo bands. It’s like a stress ball or punching a pillow or something.

    And I’d really just rather forgo mentioning the arctic monkeys at all… I’d rather speak of the stereophonics.

  • Maura Johnston

    @KurticusMaximus: I guess I read too much music-related media, because this sorta-dumb story was everywhere! We even got a few e-mail tips about it. Anyway, I love a good pop tune, but Cartel just isn’t very good — the dude’s voice sounds like he did every vocal take after taking a hit off a Chuck E. Cheese helium tank.

    Also: “Worshiping Arcade Fire?” Really?

  • Maura Johnston

    @KurticusMaximus: Ahh, I see now. Maybe Brian and I were on some weird time-delayed wavelength today?

  • smackswell

    No airholes, no problem.

    On a side note, If idolator spent all it’s time knocking the performers who deserved it, they couldn’t call it idolato………….

    Dammit. More sarcasm. Then it’s just as approapriate.

    carry on.