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Where Did the Expression "My Album is Dropping" Come From?
Thousands have artists have uttered this phrase, but what does it mean?
Is it a metaphor for a BOMB, a FORCE OF NATURE, a GOOD POOP, or a FALLING PHALLUS?
My New Album is "Dropping"
from the sky? from my butt? from the Enola Gay?
Ever since Macy Gray wore an unfortunate self-promotional robe to some awards show (the robe announced in gaudy glitter that her new album would be 'dropping' on some imminent date), the use of the verb "drop" to signify an album release has become almost as ubiquitous as the verb "check out" to signify visiting one's website.
But where did this slang originate and for what reason?
As if this terrible fashion risk weren't inauspicious enough for Macy Gray's dinosaur-killing sophomore effort, her album ended up being released the Tuesday after 9/11.
That is some BAAAAAD luck if you're Macy Gray. There's no way she could continue to do promo interviews for the album and, with a straight face, argue "This album's what America needs righs now."
The connotations of an album "dropping" seem initially negative. When something drops it is often either the result of an accident or the cause of something injurious.
Perhaps the original use of an album dropping was supposed to be metaphorically related to a bomb dropping - granted, detonating explosives are typically a hazard people avoid, but if an album were to "blow someone's mind" or could be described by the artist as "da bomb album", then using the verb "dropping" is only one level removed from the essential purpose of the metaphor, which is to convey that an album is an explosive entity.
Another common connotation of "dropping", however, is that of "droppings", i.e. scatological evidence, i.e. a bucket of poop balls. I find this use of dropping still metaphorically apt in terms of an album release ... after all, most music out there is shit. But more to the point, the relief one feels after excreting a toxic mass is somewhat akin to the catharsis an artist undergoes after expunging his/her psychic indigestion in the form of 10-15 songs. There is, in this use of the "album dropping", a rather unsavory implication of the artist telling the public exactly when he/she plans to shit all over them.
A third, but less common, sense of "dropping" would be that of a meteorite plummeting to earth. Since many artists like to fancy their muse as being something "out there in the cosmic aether", this interpretation accords well with the notion of music as an extraterrestrial gift from the heavens. However, an "album dropping" in this sense is more of a cosmic accident than it is the result of an artist's guiding intuition. And, by extension of the meteorite metaphor, SOMEBODY'S album (possibly Jesus's sophomore effort) killed the dinosaurs.
Similarly, the action contained in the normal sense of "dropping something" is really just letting go, relinquishing whatever force is trying to counter gravity and allowing an object to follow its natural path towards an object of greater mass. I rather fancy this sense of an "album dropping", because it conveys (somewhat like the shitting metaphor earlier) the idea that an album naturally wants to be released, and when an artist finally surrenders his/her grip on it, it can "drop" towards an object of greater mass, that being the public.
Finally, and I don't add this to be gratuitously profane but only because I really am struck by this connotation, the verb "dropping" conjures an image of an erect penis becoming flaccid again. (even though "drooping" would work just as well, but it sounds alien to say one's album will be drooping next month) In the sense that an album is comprised of an artist's emotional ejaculate, and that there is typically a refractory period of at least eight months before the next album boner is solidified, I can also make peace with the applicability of this metaphorical usage of an "album dropping".
So thank you, Macy Gray, and everyone else who has helped popularize this colorful expression. And whether, to you, my album dropping is as incendiary as a bomb exploding, as 'regular' as a smooth & satisfying bowel movement, as exotic as a meteorite crashing to earth, as effortless as one of the fundamental forces of nature, or as laughable as a shriveled, useless, post-orgasmic penis, I hope it drops a li'l bit all over your heart.