When I was a blossoming teen I, like most teenagers, thought music was my life. I thought I would die if I didn't have music in my life. Even if most of the music I listened to was whiny boys singing about their broken hearts, girls bellowing tunes about being awkward and never getting the one they wanted, or tortured souls wailing about how tough it is to be a grown up. The point is, this music got me through some good and bad times and really is the reason I am the person I am today--as cliche as that sounds. I met friends, boyfriends and frenemies through the music and concerts of the music I listened to. Friends I keep today, boyfriends that became ex, and frenemies that linger.
And now that I have moved on to some more evolved sounds (or so I like to believe) I still like to revisit my old CD collection of Saves the Day, The Get Up Kids, Rilo Kiley, The Postal Service, The Strokes, Death Cab for Cutie, etc., etc. The only problem is that these bands didn't leave their music in what I (and most fans!) believe was their prime. They continue to release album after album "reinventing" their sound in a way that makes me sad and quite honestly spoils my nostalgia!
For goodness sake, you gotta know when to walk away from a good thing. Oh Postal Service, I don't want your reunion, because I know it's never going to be as good as it was in the beginning. When you're served an amazing piece of cherry pie you don't then top it off with key lime. Who does that?! Do you even remember how bomb that cherry pie was? Okay, now maybe I'm just talking about pie. But seriously, what gives soundtrack of my teens?
What led me to feel this way is the unfortunate release of The Strokes new single (soon to be followed by an album). You guys, it's bad. I mean really bad. Like what the heck is going on here? Why didn't you just stop at album #3, even #4! I liked the old you, can't you see? Nothing was wrong with the old you! In fact, the old you is what had me declaring you were the best band I had ever seen live. The old you had me feel something. The old you had me a believer. But now, it's all spoiled. You blew it.
I think a reviewer for pitchfork put it best when he wrote: "The White Stripes-- who faced off against the Strokes in a friendly Coolest Band Alive competition for a few years in the early aughts-- officially broke up after a hiatus on February 2 in order to 'preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.' Meanwhile, fellow wry New Yorkers LCD Soundsystem will wrap up their run April 2 at Madison Square Garden. As it happens, that's just one day after the Strokes will play the same venue to kick-start their second life. Everybody wants to quit while they're ahead. Some actually do it."
But The Strokes aren't the only ones. I will never forget when my favorite whiny boy collective, Saves the Day, put out their album In Reverie. It was an album that left all their fans saying "wait, what's that now?" An album that literally left my friend/biggest STD fan crying on railing of their concert where they only played song from this terrible album. It didn't make sense and it was bad. You're not seriously singing about coconuts now are you STD?!
And listen, I get it. Musicians first loyalty is to themselves and to their art. And all of them say that they would rather release something their proud of than something that is inauthentic. Blah, blah, blah. I get it. But really, why couldn't you just quit while you were ahead? Leave your fans with something great to savor, rather than something sour and spoiled?
I revisit old albums now, not because I'm feeling nostalgic but because I want to erase the horribleness of the music you have recently released. Your music might not be the most deep, meaningful stuff out there, but its the songs that got a lot of us now twenty-something year-olds through awkward phases and first kisses. Its the music we put on mix tapes for sleepovers and pimply crushes. The music we played in our garages while growing up with our friends. It was the music I swore existed deep in my heart. But now, you're just breaking it.