Stars Forever is the next Momus record. A pop album of portraits.
The portrait album is a new form in pop music. It's something no recording artist has systematically explored. Imagine Andy Warhol's portraits rendered into song.
Song portraits have been made (David Bowie's 'Andy Warhol', for example), but no pop songwriters ever had the idea to return to the days of patronage, the system under which Velazquez and Rembrandt produced some of the world's greatest art, and make song portraits to order.
The Who did spoof commercials between tracks on 'The Who Sell Out' and Sigue Sigue Sputnik did the same in the 80s, but as far as I know no-one has ever done a series of musical portraits, which prospective sitters could buy just like you can an art portrait.
To have a Momus song written about you is, for longtime admirers of Momus, the stuff of dreams. Like booking a place on the space shuttle, or being painted by your favourite artist, it's beyond price.
Here's the deal, and how you can be involved in this unique one-off record.
The first thirty people to pay $1000 dollars to the Momus Stars Forever Fund will be 'painted' in song. If the work of Momus is remembered, having a Momus song written about you will be a direct line to posterity. You will be a 'star forever'.
Lyrics will be based on a description of each sitter: good and bad points, the most interesting or unusual anecdotes from your life. (If you need some questions to get your autobiographical sketch started, click here.) You will have the right to approve the lyrics before your likeness is recorded. You can also order a song portrait to be made of a friend or lover.
How did the idea come about? In this case, as so often, necessity was the mother of invention. Momus and his label Le Grand Magistery were careless enough to run up some serious legal bills in 1998, for reasons we're not allowed to talk about. If we don't pay them, Le Grand Magistery faces bankruptcy.
That would be a great shame, and it's not something we're willing to contemplate. Stars Forever is our solution.
This is the only time Momus will write this type of song. All your Stars Forever portrait money will go towards those astronomical legal costs.
There will be thirty songs on the Stars Forever CD, each song approximately two minutes long. Each song will bear the name of the sitter as its title. You may also have a song written about you if you are a company.
The songs will be in a similar style to those on The Little Red Songbook: short, composed, epigrammatic lieder or 'chamber pop', using harpsichord and colourful analog beatbox and synthesiser sounds. Analog Baroque, in other words.
All thirty of the songs have now been reserved. Unless anybody backs out, I'm afraid the list is closed now!
*Mika Leigh Akutsu
Beppe 'K' Ferrari
*CMJ New Music Monthly
*The Minus 5
Some of the patrons may opt out, leaving places free over the coming weeks. Here's a list of those who'd like to replace them. As before, these standby portraits will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
John-Robert W. Howell
This, then, will be patronage pop. Not just necessity's invention, not just a new genre in pop music, but also, we hope, a bloody good pop record!
$1000 (US) per song. (Or, if you prefer, 850 Euros.)
Pay upfront: the song won't be written until the cheque is cleared!
There will be no negative songs about anyone. The songs will emphasise the creativity and uniqueness of the person portrayed.
You will have the right to approve the lyrics before the song is recorded.
The record will also contain the winners of the 1998 Karaoke Parody Competition.
Cheques should be in US dollars or Euros and made payable to 'Momus Stars Forever Fund'.
Entrants must sign a short agreement saying they give permission for their name to be used.
Release date: late spring / early summer 1999.
Territories: US, Britain, Europe, Japan.