Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Your Favorite Band Is Dead

What's the opposite of a "shout out"? An internal murmur? If it is, I want to give an internal murmur to the people who have "favorite bands."

Your favorite band exists nowhere but in your head. In real life, they've changed since they made the music you like. They'll make some more music, and it will be different, because they're different people than they were before. Maybe you'll like it, because your interests coincided once, but maybe you won't, in which case they don't owe you your money back. This isn't "Strange Brew," where Bob and Doug will give you their dad's beer money if you complain that their product sucked. They don't have to make the same album for the rest of their lives; in the words of Buddy Holly, "If memories were all I sang / I'd rather drive a truck."

That being said, let me review the new Weezer album, known as "Weezer Red," which, as the Homeland Security Department would say, is a severe risk of a Weezer album. (The scale also works for "Weezer Green," which was a low risk of a Weezer album. Having the guitar solo be the melody that Rivers was just singing, and doing it with EVERY SONG ON THE ALBUM, does not make for interesting rock. Maybe if they would've mixed it up some the album could've been yellow or maybe even orange.)

I like the new album. The lyrics seem more creative and the music more experimental than in the past. I don't mind experimental music. Again, I don't expect them to continually record the blue album for the rest of their lives. Maybe if they all go to hell that will be their Sisyphean punishment, but while they're still alive they can experiment all they want. There are some songs that, right now at least, strike me as clunkers, but even the blue album has its clunkers (I'm looking in your direction, "Holiday.")

Instead of looking at Weezer as a single band that is or isn't my favorite, they are really six different bands, some of which are among my favorite bands.

  1. Pinkerton
  2. Blue
  3. Make Believe
  4. Maladroit
  5. Red
  6. Green

Competing with the Weezer that made "Pinkerton" for my "favorite band" would be the version of The Postal Service that made "Give Up," the U2 that made "Zooropa," the version of The Rentals that made "Return of the Rentals" (even though "Naïve" sounds so much like Cat Stevens's "Father & Son" that I can't listen to it without getting distracted), the Echo and the Bunnymen that made "Reverberation," the REM that made the second half of "Monster," and the version of The Hives that made "Tyrannosaurus Hives."

1 comment:

Nathan said...

Radiohead is my favorite band. Period. Most of the members of the band are a year or two older than I, so we're aging together. They are the soundtrack of my post-mission life.

I've liked most everything they've done as it came out. "Lurgee" from the Pablo Honey album helped me get through my first serious break-up; The Bends and OK Computer were favorites when they were current. I don't like some of those songs now, but I love everything on In Rainbows, the band's most recent release. KID A surprised me, as it did many others, but I liked many of the songs and Amnesiac was a delight for the year I was in Poland doing dissertation research (2001).

But here's the kicker. After Radiohead had a lag (2001-2003) and Coldplay seemed to have slipped into that void, I heard a new song on college radio in 2003 that I instantly liked so much more than any Coldplay song. The rhythms were more sophisticated and I found that familiar grin creeping up the sides of my mouth. When the DJ said it was the new Radiohead single ("There There"), I already knew who it was and why I liked it.

I have some old favorites, but I tend to listen to the current stuff much more. In other words, the band has changed (as you point out), but so have I (as you seem not to acknowledge). Some infatuations pass; others are lasting relationships that age beautifully. . .