Art Sells, But Who’s Buying?

Imani Coppola on the cover of “Chupacabra”The only downside to reviewing albums for my university magazine was that every now and then I’d discover a new artist I totally adored, give them a rave review, and then never hear of them again. Sadly, this was the case with Imani Coppola, whose debut album Chupacabra crossed my path in 1997, and found an instant home in my heart with its alternately laid-back and anxious, trippy-but-aware vibe. You may have heard the lead single “Legend of a Cowgirl”, which rather unfortunately features the line “ain’t got no shame, nobody knows my name”… I’m pretty sure I heard it used in a chick flick once, although I can’t recall which one… possibly an episode of Sex and the City? But other than that, the only proof I have that the album was widely released is the fact that it crops up in remaindered bargain bins so often. Which on the one hand is slightly depressing, because it means Miss Coppola isn’t getting her due, but on the other hand it might mean that more people will take a punt on it and be blown away by her talent, the way I was once upon a time.

Anyway, I’ve been out of the loop for a while, and incorrectly assumed that new release The Black & White Album was only her second long-player… Wiki proves me wrong, claiming that it’s actually her eighth studio venture! The intervening albums were all self-released, apparently, since Columbia Records shelved her follow-up to Chupacabra and dropped her from the label. Wankers. But she’s been super-busy since then, writing for other musicians, touring with Sandra Bernhard, and a group called Peeping Tom, who I clearly need to read up on.

Imani Coppola circa 1997I guess, if I squinted really, really hard I could see why she isn’t quite as successful as she should be… her work is pretty heavy with the quirk-factor. I consider that a solid gold plus, of course, because it adds variety and humour to her songs, alongside the darker and angrier moments. I mean, when that woman rocks, she rocks hard as granite… as proven on the punky thrash of “Woke Up White”… but I can understand how the jittery genre-twitches might keep her out of the mainstream spotlight, and deprive her of the popular acclaim which her talent warrants. Mediocrity shifts units, so why waste time trying to promote an artist with some individual style and wit? Right, right, right. GAH!!! But how can anyone fail to enjoy a song called “Keys 2 Your Ass”?  I don’t know. Feels like I’m living in The Twilight Zone some days…

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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