27 Oct 2011
Out with the new and in with the old?
It’s difficult to avoid hearing about old bands, dusting off their microphones and dancing shoes, ringing up their pals and having another pop at this crazy little thing called music. Girls Aloud have been touted for a reunion for years, and over the past week we’ve heard of Steps being chums again and the Stone Roses giving it another shot. Sigh.
Now, we all love strolling down memory lane once in a while, whacking on some music we adored from our younger years, or getting that joyous feeling when shuffle surprises you with a nostalgic treat. The power of these songs lets us escape, if only briefly, back to a certain time, a certain place – a particular moment which our brains associated with that particular song. Whether it be a happy occasion, a song you heard whilst going through a painful break up, or an album you had on repeat whilst learning how to drive – these songs tend to stay with us forever. No argument there.
However, with the news of so many bands currently reforming, we look to a certain popular singles bible for wisdom – guys, it’s called a break-up because it’s broken.
These bands took a good long look at the relationships and fans they’d built, the good times they’ve had touring, the records they’d made – they looked at the entire package of their awesomeness, and decided they’d try their luck elsewhere. And whether or not bands split to embark on other projects, expansive solo careers, or silent decades secreted in mansions, eating pies and weeping, the inescapable fact is, something drove these guys apart in the first place – and how often has revisiting a failed relationship worked out for you?
Are these retired bands capable of competing with the newer, younger, fresher, cheekier bands out there? Or are they just blog cloggers? Personally, I think these bands have had their day. They’ve sung their songs, and now they should give it a rest. Some lose credibility and respect in the eyes of the fans when they come together again, especially when they initially split because of a falling out. It makes us question their integrity, even though we’re glad they’re finally at a place where they can be civil again – Take That and Robbie being a prime example. Oh wait, Robbie has left again.
Even though there are a variety of bands who no longer tour (but that I would give my prized possessions in exchange for the chance to see them perform), I ask myself “do you want to witness that ultimate favourite of yours performed with less energy, less enthusiasm and less sparkle than you’re familiar with?” To be honest, no. I’d rather watch videos from back when they had the gusto; the passion, the desire to perform, and not a second wind that will undoubtedly last as long as X-factor finalists.
Furthermore, with the UK’s obsession with listening to ‘regular’ people re-hashing old classics (perhaps with an ill-placed rap nestled in the mix), it makes you wonder where the next generation of singers are going to come from. How much ‘new’ talent are we going to see, and how much are record labels and fans alike going to rely on tried and tested bands/songs/songwriters/formulae to keep our well-earned pennies chugging in?
The incredible young talent that we do have are trying their very hardest to emerge as credible artists, and deserve support in order to create new classics – to produce cutting edge anthems that our children are going to fall in love with, just like we fell in love with the artists our parents had on vinyl whilst we were eating crayons and writing on the walls, oblivious that the soundtrack to our childhood would leave an indelible mark on our personalities. If the big labels are spending all the money on re-packaging old content, where does that leave the newer artists?
But good luck to these bands getting back together – I hope your new (?) journey will be eventful and exciting. I, however, will not be on that journey with you. I’ll be checking out the fresh blood, and unearthing tomorrow’s anthem.