Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros earned the Stamp of Herb, bestowed on bands the columnist feels compelled to discuss.

Herbie texted: “Dad, have you heard of this group?”

He sent a musical link on which I could click.

The name of the group was Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The song was called “Home.”

I see myself as somewhat of a gatekeeper in the world of music. A gatekeeper and a tastemaker. If music doesn’t flow out of me, it flows through me and after it flows through me, I put the Stamp of Herb on it, which means it’s ready for the uninitiated, the unwashed and the unloved. The Stamp of Herb means it’s good. The stamp means you’re going to like it. It means you’ve gotten in at the beginning of the song’s popularity rather than in the middle or the end.

My people like early. They depend on early. They set their musical clocks on early.

Later, I listened to the song. What a song. What a find. The song had everything I loved. It was loose, free, had a catchy chorus and a sense of humor. It was everything music should be and once again, I was early to the party.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Talk about coming out of nowhere. If they kept making music, they might go somewhere. They’d have to play their cards right and let the tastemakers do their jobs, but if I had anything to do with it, and I’m sure I would, they had a future.

For awhile, I just sat there. I enjoyed the warm glow of discovering something that was really great. It was all mine but soon everybody would benefit from this All Mineness.

I email people when I get fired up about something. I start forwarding stuff. Do what gatekeepers and tastemakers do. Get it out there and making average lives, bearable.

Meanwhile, for research purposes, I went on YouTube to check how many fans the song had. I generally like my hot new finds to be in the 3,000 to 20,000 range. That’s how many people have listened to the song. That range means they've found an audience and they could really blow up.

I typed in “Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros,” and the song “Home” and dialed up the official video.

The song had been released in 2010. Eight years ago, OK, I was a couple of years behind. I had been busy. Tastemakers have a lot to keep track of.

The song had 54,705,185 views. That had to be a misprint. Fifty-four million people had listened to the song before I had?

That wasn’t all. A friend to whom I had sent the song emailed, “Ditto, great song — also has 271 million listens on Spotify.” Spotify was another music service. Add the two together and that was about 330 million people who were there before the Stamp of Herb.

“Yes, they’ve been playing it a lot in the last few months,” wrote another.

I have a hot tip. They’re called The Beatles. Have you heard of them? I’m thinking they might be good.

Herb Benham is a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or (661) 395-7279.

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