The other day, fightclubsandwich pointed something out to me during a conversation about music elitism. She said “Ripper, you’re pretty non-elitist, because you don’t go off a band when they release something new.” It’s not an entirely true statement – My Chemical Romance are a no no since The Black Parade, but maybe it’s their fans I hate more than the music – yet she makes a good point. It’s rare that I start to dislike a band based on their latest efforts.
Admittedly, in some cases, after years of glory, bands go shit. It’s the sad, but honest truth. New Found Glory, although one of my favourite bands, are a good example of this. From ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’ to ‘Catalyst’, NFG released nothing but pure pop-punk gold. And then ‘Coming Home’ came out. It was okay, but nothing special. It didn’t make me jump around my bedroom like a five year old on a sherbet craze. However, I never stopped loving New Found Glory because of those earlier albums. My favourite band, AFI, have released a series of ‘okay’ albums since they crossed over to major label territory, but no matter what, I’ve found something that I love about those albums. They sure ain’t punk any more, but who gives a shit, it’s still great music! It’s really rare that a band is going to produce a perfect album every time – it’s totally possible because Jimmy Eat World have done it, but I find that’s probably Jim Adkins’ non-changing haircut that probably has sway over that – but no matter what, there’ll be something good in there.
Like the introduction states, no matter how much of a tangent I’ve gone off on, I tend not to go off bands when they release new records, like a lot of fellow music aficionados that I know. More importantly, I actually tend to prefer new material that others shun. The best example of this is probably my love of ‘Good Mourning’ by Alkaline Trio. It’s one of their darkest albums in terms of demonic metaphors, but is lacking the edge of some of the older material. However, it completely makes up for it in subtlety. There are so many hooks and lyrics in it that totally knock you by the wayside and you don’t even realise first time round. And that’s a pretty awesome quality in an album. It really kind of shocked me to find out that a fair few hardcore Trio fans actually don’t like ‘Good Mourning’ very much, nor anything afterwards. Alright, I didn’t like ‘Agony and Irony’ very much, but if we follow the ‘Less Than Jake Theory Of Awesomeness’ – which is, if we take ‘Hello Rockview’ as the starter for LTJ and ‘From Here To Infirmary’ for Alkaline Trio, awesome album, awesome album, awesome album, sucky album, awesome album – then the Trio have a lot more to offer.
Also, just because something has a more poppy sound or slicker production doesn’t make it instant sellout material. For example, whilst Against Me!’s ‘New Wave’ doesn’t sound as raw as ‘Reinventing Axl Rose’, the message hasn’t changed. If anything, Gabel’s trying to reach more people, which is something that I’ve found fans really don’t respect. I know that joy of finding a favourite band, and I also know the irritation when it gets played on Kerrang! TV. But, music’s meant to be universal, right? So we shouldn’t be selfish with our favourites if it helps the band be even more successful…
…that said, I’m not telling ANYONE about Cobra Skulls. No way.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you love a band, don’t stop just because they’re not ‘yours’ any more, and appreciate the fact that bands can and will move on because let’s face it, it’s kind of boring to play the same kind of stuff over and over. Well, if you’re not Rancid, anyway.