Monday, January 21, 2008

Old Fish: Artists that have lasted way beyond their expiration date

The B-52s Finally Dust Off Their Instruments

Sometimes it hurts to say goodbye. But nothing's more painful than watching your favorite band slowly fade into oblivion. It's not easy for the fan or the artist to realize that the dream is over.

But taking the high road and quitting now is a better alternative than becoming a complete, burned out parody. These artists should take their final bow and let us preserve our memories of what once was.

David Bowie

As a fan, it is painful to admit that the Starman hasn't done anything of much relevance since his 1982 smash hit "Let's Dance" album. Oh he comes up with an interesting musical idea once in a while but nothing that rivals his earlier work.

Even getting back together with producer Tony Visconti for a recent album couldn't help. Countless rehashed "greatest hits" packages from the last 20 years contain pretty much the same thing: the biggest songs from Bowie's first 10 years of popularity.


3 hit songs to show for a 25 plus year career. That's less hits than The Spice Girls had on their first album. Not that KISS hasn't tried but bombast, pyrotechnics and spandex does not always translate into compelling music. These guys make the career shortened output of Kurt Cobain look positively prolific by comparison... and still they refuse to go away.

Credit Gene Simmon's marketing acumen for their continued popularity and the fact that as a group, KISS has unashamedly whored their likenesses out to license more merchandise than anyone.

B- 52s

The band that made kitsch cool has overstayed their welcome. Their 1989 hit, "Love Shack", was a one off, filler song that was recorded on a lark. It should have been their swan song but turned into their biggest hit ever. The fluke spurt of popularity instantly revoked the "do not resuscitate" order on their careers.

To show their appreciation, they released 1992's ironically named "Good Stuff" album (see if you can remember a song from it) and not much else. The B- 52s first studio album in 16 years is due out this March. It took them that long to think of something new to say?

The Rolling Stones

The "World's Greatest Rock And Roll Band" is as irrelevant as your first pager. Not that since 1981's "Tattoo You" album, the Stones haven't created some interesting music. "Saint Of Me", "Almost Hear You Sigh" and "Out Of Tears" are great songs.

Unfortunately, they also burdened us with claptrap like "Harlem Shuffle", "Love Is Strong" and "Rough Justice". It has taken them 26 years to release enough good material to fill one quality album.

As a touring act, The Stones can still rock the house. Especially when they play their stuff from the 60s and 70s.

Guns N Roses

The last great rock band quickly burned out after 1991's "Use Your Illusion" campaign. Erratic behavior, drug use and Axel Roses legendary stubbornness resulted in the band's virtual disintegration.

Axel refuses to give up the ghost and has sporadically toured with a line up of replacement players. His original band members have long since moved on to other projects. The rumored 2007 release of a new album called "Chinese Democracy" hasn't happened yet. Rose, not being one to rush into anything, has allegedly been working on the "new" album for 15 years.

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