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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

First Reactions to Tarkan's Last Strike

Analysis by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK

Well, it happened. For five minutes Turkey and radio listeners everywhere held their breath to see what Tarkan was going to do next.

In what was an unprecedented marketing ploy for any Turkish music artist, national radio stations - probably for the first time in their history - united to all play the same thing at the same time. Tarkan and "Love's Last Strike".

Listen to the first radio play of Tarkan's song as it happened >>

That was an event unto itself.

Celebrity portals pick up news of Tarkan's latest song

A day before the event - with Tarkan fans across the Turkish nations everywhere counting down the hours - celebrity portals had started writing about the unveiling of Tarkan's much trumpeted comeback.

And taking a search through the tweets for Tarkan trends before the song hit the radios - as has now become customary for any self-respecting journalist - the buzz slowly began to grow to the approaching fifth hour of the second half of the day on 11 May.

Radio stations - boycotting Tarkan's first song releases in recent years until the album moved forward on its own steam - have almost adopted the song as their theme tune, it is being played so continuously (especially at Kral FM, but no surprise there if Tarkan is going to sing it at their 16th VMAs this year). But this is straight across the board.

Another event in itself.

It seems that the fallout has been one of Tarkan having come back dented from his recent crisis - which is how a good musician should be. Dented, emotional, at his most melodramatically painful - Tarkan has pulled at the heartstrings of millions. As always, the notes deepen on every recurring play. The production is polished, if not a little tamed by its professionalism - but it's what we've come to expect.

Not just using Twitter (which have been averaging twenty tweets every five seconds), but taking a look at currently one of the biggest internet communities in Turkey with over 160,000 users, Ek$i Sözlük - "Sourtimes" as it is also referred to in English - there is another interesting trend to spot.

The collaborative hypertext dictionary, built up on user contributions, saw nearly 40 references to Tarkan's song in the first few hours, but what is more interesting to note is that the usual vitriolic comments are nowhere to be seen, with the general consensus being one of praise.

Of course there will be (and have been) naysayers - some have come to the fore from those tweeting to Tarkan ex-employee Rahşan Gülşan, who after having written a glowing account of one of Tarkan's Istanbul concerts at the Harbiye in the summer of 2006, had become one of Tarkan's most loudest critics.

There will be those that say the choice of song has been carefully selected, playing on the nation's soft spot for late lyricist Aysel Gürel's legacy - a staunch support of modernism and women's rights - and that it plays on the sensationalism of Tarkan's drug case, where many will see the lyrics of a "death-blow" to separation in the track as echoing Tarkan's sucker punch of a song when everyone thought he was out for the count.

Read the English translation to the lyrics >>

But why not? It shows the strong support behind Tarkan and the new album, and the underlying aim to hit another first with Tarkan - for what else can be the aim but to score a million seller Turkish album, the first one in nearly half a decade?

The good, bad and ugly; Excerpts of tweets
The good, bad and downright
ugly; excerpts of tweets
trending on Tarkan after
the song's airplay today
There will be those who will say they will not give their money to a drug user, but a free verdict expected to come soon will soon quash that. There will be those alternatives that baulk at the uniformity of praise from the radio DJs. There will also be those that say the song is too slow for a first release - although rumours have it that it isn't a first release at all.

It's an interesting point to note. Looking at the recent tweets from Tarkan fan and female pop singer Demet Akalın (who has also just released an album), she's tweeted today that Tarkan's teaser song isn't the first official release from his 2010 record.

If rumours leaking out from fan forums and the tweets are anything to go by, and it's true that this song is not a single or a first release, then it's just a taster of things to come in the album.

If it is true, then it's another good marketing ploy and shows that the singer is leaving nothing to chance to get a million seller.

If the song's cover design, by talented graphic artist Emre Erdem - who it's rumoured is also working on the cover for the album - was specially prepared for radio DJ samplers, then it's no secret they will become highly sought after collectibles if a single isn't released.

UPDATE: Teaser view of 2010 Album sleeve art >>

And if this song is just a taster, then I lick my lips with anticipation at the goodies to come in this Tarkan's seventh Turkish language studio album. I wonder if this is track number seven on the album?

Because it looks like seven is becoming a very lucky number for Tarkan, and that the singer's "last strike" is hardly even his first punch at the Turkish music charts.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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