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When a Once Great Band Gets a Forever Pass

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Chris DeVille, writing at Stereogum, talks about how since Arcade Fire released great music in the past, they have become to big to fail:

    The mighty would have fallen by now, but their reputation is propping them up. That’s how it goes when your rock band becomes too big to fail. You grab enough people by the heart when they’re young and impressionable, you get to be a big deal forever, whether your moment of excellence lasted well over a decade (like U2 or the Rolling Stones) or just for an album or two (like Weezer and the Strokes). Call it brand loyalty, wishful thinking, whatever. It’s a fact of the music business. Creative death can’t kill the world’s biggest rock bands — only actual death, and sometimes not even that.

    I’ve only heard a couple songs on the new Arcade Fire album, so I can’t comment on that directly, but I do think this is an interesting phenomenon in general. When an artist’s prior work creates an unstoppable gravitational force of fandom.

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  2. Tim Fitzpatrick


    see also: Radiohead
    Brent and Serenity Now like this.
  3. or Blink, if you're me.
    suppyguppy and Raku like this.
  4. This is such a common phenomenon. I think it also explains why people flock to those huge cover bands like Led Zepagain and Queen with Adam Lambert. Some things need to know when to roll over and die.
  5. Steve_JustAGuy Jun 2, 2017
    (Last edited: Jun 2, 2017)


    Arcade Fire think pieces and hot takes are my least favorite think pieces and hot takes. Writing like this is so tiring.
  6. Muzick


    Is this implying their new song is not good? It's fantastic.
  7. Muzick


    Completely disagree with Radiohead, but I'll say: U2. There, I said it!
    Dan O'Neill likes this.
  8. Chuck!


    I like the new song more than most of Reflektor
    Brent and fenway89 like this.
  9. SEANoftheDEAD


    I feel like Brand New gets a forever pass too. They put out 4 memorable releases and have left us hanging for what feels like "forever"!!!
  10. SuNDaYSTaR

    Regular Prestigious

    Love the song too, but it could have easily been two minutes shorter.
  11. Bayside 182

    Wolverine Supporter

    I'd say this is fairly common. I mean its insanely difficult to churn out one great album after another. If a band I like has two really good albums and a bunch of other decent ones I'd be happy.
  12. Spenny


    I wasn't a massive fan of Reflektor, but really enjoy Everything Now (the song). Maybe not quite as big of a high as some of their past highlights (think Neighbourhood #3, Wake Up, Keep the Car Running, We Used to Wait, Sprawl II, etc.) but still a great track.
  13. Ska Senanake


    mattfreaksmeout likes this.
  14. Ska Senanake


    Raku likes this.
  15. somethingisme


    Sadly, this is the case for Say Anything.
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  16. CarpetElf

    douglas Prestigious

    Radiohead can't have a forever pass because most of their best albums are their newer ones.

    Article itself is hilarious. This guy think he discovered nostalgia.
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  17. suicidesaints

    Trusted Prestigious


    although I like their entire discography personally, and Hardwired is a very good record.
    Chuck! likes this.
  18. JM95


    If the next Radiohead album is mediocre though, do you think it would get panned?
  19. Bayside 182

    Wolverine Supporter

    I agree and I think maybe they realize this because when I saw them a couple of weeks ago, about 75% of their playlist was from their first album.
  20. CarpetElf

    douglas Prestigious

    I don't know, what's the general consensus on Pablo Honey?
  21. Surfwax

    bring on the major leagues Supporter

    People are pretty hard on King of Limbs?
  22. mattfreaksmeout

    Trusted Supporter

    Nope. Hebrews is their 2nd best album, and there's only been one album since then.
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  23. AshlandATeam


    I must have dreamed the last 20 years of fans pissing and moaning about Weezer not writing another 'Pinkerton.'

    Seriously, this is a strange take, because it's the exact opposite of what I see literally every day - a band being blamed for not being as good as they once were in yesteryear.

    Arcade Fire isn't even a great example, even if this were true - tons of people hated Reflektor, and critically, it was terribly reviewed compared to 'album of the year' The Suburbs.

    Unless by 'too big to fail,' the writer means 'won't stop making music because I don't like it very much,' then I'm not sure his complaint has much basis in reality.
    Dan O'Neill and coleslawed like this.
  24. mattfreaksmeout

    Trusted Supporter

    I think the point is that, despite those criticisms, and the disappointment from fans, the bands persist and never really fade away. I mean you said it yourself - 20 years of anger for Weezer's post-Pinkerton work, and they still draw massive crowds and there is always hype surrounding their new releases (although recently it's been a little more deserved at least).

    But I do agree this is just kind of a very cynical take on things. This comes down to the same argument that's been had 1,000,000 times. If a band keeps the same sound every album, the whole thing becomes boring. If they change too much, people will be angry they don't sound like they used to.
    AshlandATeam likes this.
  25. Fucking Dustin

    Please click "like" Supporter

    The Lorne Michaels phrase is "The longer you're on, the longer you're on." If you've got a wide enough appeal and can make that peak last long enough, you're untouchable because you become an institution and something familiar that people look for, even if what's coming out then isn't great.