99 PROBLEMS AND THE BAND IS ONE
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 23:11
I always go through a foolish cycle of emotions when an old band gets back together, just like when most band members walk into the same room, it’s hard for ego-related drama not to ensue.
First I get excited when I hear it from my friends before I even read it. Before social networking I was usually the one to report music news to everyone, but now everyone knows before I even wake up at the crack of noon.
I get excited because vivid memories of listening to the band’s songs flood my mind. I get pumped, euphoric, and I’m bouncing off the walls—maybe that was all those jelly beans and Mountain Dew, but still.
Second, I start absentmindedly dropping words and sentences of doubt into conversations: “Yeah man I’m excited, I hope their new album sounds good. I can’t wait.” But at this point I can wait, because it’s impossible to recreate those same moments when I was much younger with a different mindset. I’m older now, with millions of music listening hours influencing the way I think.
Comebacks are always hard for a band because the members are older, playing in a time where the popular sound has evolved, while their own sound hasn’t changed. I always hesitate to listen to a comeback album. I’m scared of it sucking when I should just fucking listen to it instead of flinging myself into a mental soap opera.
I also hesitate to listen to bands that also get more famous with each album. I still haven’t listened to The Black Keys’ album El Camino: Six months later the vinyl record sits untouched collecting dust.
The older the band gets, the less impulsive and emotional they get, and the more strategic and planned their music sounds. Music shouldn’t be completely devoid of emotion. I beg older artists to play more with their hearts and less with their minds. Older bands try too hard to make an album that lives up to their older albums. They should just forget about this and make music like it’s their first and only chance, like their first album.
It shouldn’t matter if albums from older bands, like Soundgarden’s King Animal, suck or not because I’m still going to like them for all the good music they’ve made. And if they don’t have the skills to make a good album anymore—Jane’s Addiction—it’s a shame, but it doesn’t make their older music any less brilliant.