Largely, letting unqualified people choose things is bad. That's how you end up with a polar research vessel almost named Boaty McBoatface (the name was eventually given to a submarine instead because come on). That's how you end up with deeply mediocre and somehow almost identical-looking white men winning British X Factor year on year. People simply cannot be trusted to a) approach anything with good taste; or b) not make everything into a joke.
So, with this in mind, I would like to ask: why in all that is good are TLC asking their fans to name their new album? Their manager Bill Diggins recently updated the crowdfunded album's Kickstarter page asking fans to leave suggestions: "We need your help…", he wrote. "Let's hear your suggestions for the album title! Tionne and Chilli are still undecided so looking to you for inspiration."
I guess considering the hand fans had in getting the album made in the first place, it does follow to some degree to ask for their help. But equally it feels like a shaky move to let people who have literally no clue about the content of the album title it. Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are two quite separate ideas. For one, it doesn't matter what you think is tasteful or funny or interesting: if you have the cash in your bank account and are willing to direct it at whatever creative project your fave 90s girl group is working on, that's great. But crowdsourcing, and the premise of putting out into the ether an artistic choice? Whew, that's when you start to lay yourself at the mercy of the mood of the people from who you're asking for help. As just about any social media manager now knows, giving "the people" creative license can haunt you … at least for a few weeks.
Presuming that TLC fans are probably less the "guys with 271 Twitter followers who say 'epic' loads" type (ie: the sort of people who voted for Boaty McBoatface) and more the "sincere 30-something ladies" type, it feels like the inevitable title will probably be very heartfelt, well-meaning and literal. I'm going to put £20 on Rebirth and remain confused about why T-Boz and Chilli just didn't think of something themselves. But hey, chances are they'll just use their own version anyway, after making the fans feel closer to the process with the crowdsourcing move. Fair play, ladies. That doesn't make us any less excited to hear what they'll sound like on the album.
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(Image via T-Boz on Instagram)