"Filler" and Brian Free's Philosophy of Song Selection

"Filler" and Brian Free's Philosophy of Song Selection March 15, 2012

During an NQC interview with BFA, Brian was asked how he goes about choosing songs for an album. This was his answer:

We don’t pick “filler” songs. A lot of groups will pick 2-3 good songs and then… they’ll need 7 others to fill the album. We don’t do that. I don’t want a filler song. I will not stage a filler song. We try to pick ten singles, knowing that any one of those songs could be a single. And if you don’t do that, you’re shorting the people, number one, when they buy a CD, ‘cuz you get a couple, three good songs, the rest of it’s junk. And besides that, we want to be able to say something. We want the message to be the whole CD, the whole project. And we have to choose carefully.

I for one applaud Brian for this approach. I must confess that even though I may prefer how some other groups in the industry sound (not that BFA is anything to sneeze at in that category by a long shot), BFA stands head and shoulders above virtually everyone else when it comes to consistent, strong songs.
Do you agree or disagree? Is Brian’s evaluation of the rest of the industry pretty much spot-on in your view? If so, what do you think of his choice to break from the pattern?

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  • I agree Brian Free always has consistent songs.And I agree with him not putting filler in songs .I know when I pick up a BFA CD it will always be good and I will enjoy it.Not all groups can you say that .Some songs that other groups do on their cd’s have no spiritual lyrics at all and you are thinking this song is pointless and therefore you skip it.

  • Completely agree! BFA does a great job picking songs! Some groups stand out to me more because I like the songs they sing. The song to me matters more than the group who is singing it. I think when groups pick the “filler” songs that’s what leads to more and more people just digitally downloading one or two songs from the album instead of buying the whole CD.

  • The funny part is that, in many instances, it has been the “filler” songs that became hits. You never know….

  • K. Payne

    I agree with Brian on this. I tend to skip songs after hearing an intro and the first few lines. I like to hear stuff that grabs me right from the start, although that doesn’t always happen. Earl Weatherford used to say that if it took longer to explain a song than it did to sing it, the song wasn’t worth learning. Sounds like good advice for groups looking for material.

  • Beverly

    God will Bless BFA for this decision. I, myself, have given a BFA CD to a Friends who lost their only daughter, Specifically, for the song, ” Save Me A Seat”. Many in the family were unsaved and hope all the other songs on the CD may help them.

  • Well, that’s probably sound advice as far as southern gospel songs go (though of course many great songs have been written with a meaning that isn’t immediately obvious).

  • Well, then that leads to a whole ‘nother discussion, doesn’t it? 🙂

  • quartet-man

    If tomorrow all the songs were gone
    I’d heard most all my years
    And I had to learn again
    Songs from groups such as the Speers
    I’d thank my God above
    to be living here today,
    ‘Cause CDs here are bountiful
    and they can’t take that away.
    And I’m proud to be a musician
    who can play as well as sing,
    And I won’t forget the ones who taught
    me each and every thing,
    And I’ll gladly crank up
    the stereo and re-listen every day
    ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love the groups
    Such as the BFA
    From “God So Loved the World”
    to “Long as I’ve Got King Jesus”,
    They’ve been known to pick the songs
    that are very sure to please us.
    From “I Believe God”
    there is no filler here
    Why, “If It takes a Valley”
    should’ve won song of the year.
    And I’m proud to be a musician
    who can play as well as sing,
    And I won’t forget the ones who taught
    me each and every thing,
    And I’ll gladly crank up
    the stereo and re-listen every day
    ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love the groups
    Such as the BFA
    😀

  • quartet-man

    By the way, that goes with the melody to “God Bless the USA”. 🙂

  • Someone had a little too much free time I see… 😀

  • quartet-man

    Well, between being sore and not real mobile, my shows being preempted and getting inspired, I took a shot. :p I thought for sure you would either mention liberties I might have taken with the number of syllables or the rhyme of “Jesus” and “please us”. :p

  • I like that rhyme, but you did take a few liberties with the syllables. 🙂
    Sorry to hear you’re sore… what happened to you?

  • quartet-man

    Yeah, I had to the second verse (at least to do what wanted to do). Just working in the title “Long as I Got King Jesus” sent it over the edge. 😀
    Thanks. I just was on my feet on a hard floor for almost 8.5 hours straight among other things today. I should be okay tomorrow. Thanks.