Comebacks… Are they actually that good?
As I sit here on the eve of my 21st birthday, eating a pretty mediocre bowl of spaghetti and sipping on a fruit flavoured cider drink, I find myself cynically pondering musical comebacks (specifically Michael Stipe’s impending return). I mean sure, there have been success stories in Kate Bush’s marvellous and triumphant return to the stage after a multiple decade-long hiatus and AC/DC’s career reviving 2008 release ‘Black Ice’ served as a reminder that the old-timers weren’t ready to hit the retirement home just yet.
The truth is that reunions or comebacks can happen for a vast amount of reasons. Sometimes performers miss the feeling of being on a stage in front of a crowd of avid fans who love what they do and sometimes they want to give something to the fans to say “thank you” before finally hitting the lights on their long career, such as Black Sabbath‘s farewell album ’13’ and subsequent farewell tour. But sometimes there’s a much more cynical, financially inclined reason for it – the quick cash grab.
But how do you tell which is which? And is a tour to thank the fans even a good idea to begin with? I mean, just look at Meatloaf: a man so dedicated to giving his all to the fans every night, he’s collapsed on stage multiple times. He would do anything for love, except retire and live a healthy life with his family.
You can usually tell when a band is back for a quick dip in the proverbial honey pot. Tell-tale signs are usually a noticeable decline in quality of art and effort. Look at Busted’s upcoming release ‘Night Driver’ for example. The band haven’t been around for a decade and haven’t even tried to hide that this album is obviously the drizzling shits. From the incredibly horrible Kaiser Chiefs impersonation on lead single ‘Coming Home’ it’s obvious why estranged frontman Charlie Simpson thought he’d get back with the rest of the boys (who’re now actually fully grown men!).
The record industry is a cruel, and loyal fans will continue to unknowingly be taken advantage of and will happily facilitate half-arsed musical comebacks for years to come, which to me is incredibly sad. The Strokes are my favourite band, and even I know that when they returned in 2011 with their album ‘Angles’, it was probably something that shouldn’t have happened. Their effort and work ethic is practically non-existent and the members don’t even really get on anymore, having publicly said that the reason they don’t tour anymore is because of “fights on the road” and “creative differences disrupting their friendships”. But they know that because of fans like me there will always be money in whatever they release and this trend has become a bonafide business strategy in the music industry.
I hope this opinion piece was somewhat thought-provoking. Feel free to disagree with me though.
Thanks for reading.
Originally published on 15th November, 2016 at www.ryanahagan.wordpress.com