How many times can you forgive a band?

Last week R.E.M split up. As soon as i heard the news I did what most people do in these situations these days and made a glib remark on twitter. Something along the lines of ‘gone and somewhat forgotten’. About an hour later Zane Lowe, noticing that the news of the split wasn’t being met with the utter distraught he deemed necessary, posted a tweet outraged that people could feel this way because the band were legends. I’ve got nothing against R.E.M, I’ve never been a massive fan but I certainly don’t hate them, it just seemed that the news that a band that was once relevant had split up seemed a bit…. well, irrelevant. It did get me thinking though. Do we carry on loving bands based on their former glories? If i loved a band but have not liked their last few albums then am I still a fan? Looking at the trailers and press for the new Pearl Jam documentary ‘PJ20’ I’ve been getting really excited to see it because for most of my teenage years they were one of my favourite bands. But, with the exception of ‘Backspacer’ which i thought was pretty good, I haven’t enjoyed any of their output since ‘No Code’. Am I a fan then? If I went to a Pearl Jam gig I probably wouldn’t know half the songs. I’d be the idiot that only goes crazy to the hits and all the hardcore PJ fans would be looking at me with scorn in their eyes when i’m stood gormless during the newer songs. So the warm feeling that i’ve been getting when watching the trailer for the new film is clearly a massive dose of nostalgia. The feeling the Hollywood execs are hoping we all get when they turn another TV show from the 80’s into a summer blockbuster. I’m not really a fan then, i just feel nostalgic for a time when i was. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia except for the fact that its downright stupid. Looking back and thinking everything was much better in the past is bullshit. I hated those conversations that used to happen all the time at uni when someone would go ‘do you remember that cartoon that used to be on when we were kids?’ Why do you care????? Rock’n’roll should be relevant. It should be new and exciting. If a band can’t instill that excited feeling in you, then move on. It’s hard when a band that you still are very much in love with let you down and bring out a new album that crushes your soul with its awfulness. I’ll never forget the feeling I had the first time I heard ‘On a wire’ by the Get Up Kids. Their first 2 albums were immense, the stuff of legend. ‘Something to write home about’ was barely ever off my stereo and seeing them live at the Garage in London just cemented how amazing the Get Up Kids were. When I bought ‘On a wire’ I was living on the outskirts of London, I had heard that the album had been out in America and may be available on import in the UK. I spent a whole morning searching record shops when I eventually found it in the massive HMV in Oxford Street. It was on sale for £18!! But as I was so desperate to have it I paid, got on the tube, and went straight home. As soon as I put the CD on I was hit by a feeling of dread. ‘My god’ I thought ‘what if it’s crap?’ And it was. I forced myself to stick with it but it was always a struggle. I continued to go see them live and the next album was a step up but it was never the same. They blew it. And looking back I should have moved on sooner. There are always new bands out there making new music that has the potential to blow you away. Just don’t be lazy or rest on your laurels because without even very much effort you can find your new favourite band. I’m thinking of introducing a 2 album limit. If a band makes two shockingly bad albums, back to back, then they’ve lost me. I won’t even feel bad. There just ain’t the time to be putting up with mediocre toss. This is a warning to Jimmy Eat World. In the many years you’ve been around, in my opinion you have barely put a foot wrong. Until last year. ‘Invented’ was lame and uninspired, it pains me to say it but it was just not good. So, you’re on a caution. One more bad album and you’re off the team. Fingers crossed you turn things around.

Thanks, Alex

This is what’s been on all week.

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