What goes up must come down! I recently got into a discussion with a work colleague about bands that continue past their sell by date. A band that has achieved legendary status and could do nothing better than break up. Imagine if you will Nirvana had Kurt not been a suicidal junkie or Sublime had Brad not been an irresponsible junkie. Both bands that are legendary and both bands that would undoubtedly suck balls by now if their careers hadn’t come to an untimely and abrupt end. I truly believe that sometimes the best thing musicians can do for their legacy is break up the band. These are some of those bands…
Everything since “The Black Album” was a mistake. No doubt there is a school of thought that believes TBA was part of that mistake but in my opinion that was their Magnum Opus. It was the climactic transformation of an ugly duckling into a beautiful white swan. A noisy thrash metal band who’d made a name for themselves with blisteringly fast sonic attacks about war, drug abuse and other harsh realities of life revealed there were more strings to their bow when they delivered some genuinely tender and moving songs like the chick-friendly ‘Nothing Else Matters’. Dropping the curtain right there and then would have been the smart thing to do. Every move the band made since has been like watching a slow motion train wreck. Amazingly the slow motion train wreck continues.
The Pixies had rightfully earned and forever secured the status of “fucking legendary”. All of this changed with the release of their 2014 album ‘Indie Cindy’ when they rightfully earned and forever secured the status of “that fucking legendary band who broke up and then released another album a few years later that didn’t quite cut the mustard and sullied their once flawless run of excellent musical output”.
Things happen for a reason. Tom Delonge leaving Blink 182 (the first time) was the universe’s way of saying, your 15 minutes of fame are up it’s time to fold your hand. And they listened… for a few years. In 2008, spurred by the near-death experience of drummer Travis Barker, fences were mended and they began the public flogging of a dead horse. They reformed and put out a mediocre-at-best album. Tom, clearly having wised up after his 3 year long lapse in judgement, jumped ship yet again only to be replaced by Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio. At this point the band has become the musical equivalent of an accident scene – you don’t want to look but you just can’t seem to tear your eyes away.
Pearl Jam’s first 2 albums were absolute classics. Pearl Jam’s 3rd album had a good song or 2. Pearl Jam’s 4th album was lackluster. Cut to their 10th and most recent album and what you’ve got is a collection of songs with about as much flavour as a box of rice cakes. Watching these guys continue to limp along is like watching Leonardo DiCaprio being reduced to starring in some shitty prime time sitcom just to make ends meet. Would somebody please take this old dog behind the barn and put it out of its misery.
Some people say that all punk music sounds the same. While I don’t agree I do think that all Pennywise albums sound the same. The only difference being that each one is a little worse than the one before. ‘About Time’ was the album that saw this band exhaust it’s very limited skillset. It was the album that showcased them doing what they do best, everything since has been a rehash. Like bubble gum you’ve been chewing for 3 hours straight this shit lost it’s flavour ages ago.