Reunions, reunions, reunions. They’re all the craze. Whether it’s My Bloody Valentine or Fall Out Boy, our favorite bands are coming back in bigger and bigger ways, and our excitement seems to never hit a ceiling. Friend to the site, Adam Pfleider, who is a freelance writer and works for Sargent House, took the time to write up an article about the recent reunions we’ve seen, the excitement, the wait, our crave for nostalgia, and much more in a new Perspective. Give it a read below and let us know your thoughts!
New My Bloody Valentine album? Awesome.
Crashed the site? Awesome.
Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Check iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Fuck.
Refresh. Refresh. REFRESH. FUCK THIS! I’m going to get some food.
Two hours later, I purchased the new My Bloody Valentine record that’s been “in the making” for 22 years now. Though we were prepared a few days prior, the album was (eventually) available for the world to hear. With the follow-up to the band’s 1991 masterpiece, a lot of expectation was on the line, from the most casual of listeners to die-hard fans who experienced the 15-minute wall of sound that followed “You Made Me Realise” during the band’s reunion tour some years back.
If you’ve never heard Loveless, I suggest you give it a spin before even listening to a single track from mbv. The core of what makes an album like Loveless stand above that of records made by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Guided by Voices during the same era of heavy pedal effects is how close the frequencies of sound teetered the line of noise and beautiful pop music. It’s a Slowdive record with the gain turned up too far, yet still pleasurable to the ears. There is a lushness to Loveless that warms itself around your senses like the best thread count audio can produce. Have you heard the re-mastered version?
Still, there is a generational gap. I wouldn’t have even heard of My Bloody Valentine if it weren’t for my early knowledge of some of Sonic Youth’s catalog and growing up on the alternative station, listening to Nine Inch Nails and The Smashing Pumpkins. In fact, I never came to understand an album like Loveless until my later years of college - but I remember hearing “Only Shallow” many a time way back when. That generational gap varies in degrees of fans that have moved on and new fans that have come along in their adolescence of music discovery. Tack on frequency puppeteer Kevin Shields’ re-mastering of the band’s back catalog last year and most of the world once again became familiar with My Bloody Valentine as a band that not only helped reinvent the “wall of sound,” but nearly bankrupted a label in the process of doing so. Saturday night, they ended up bankrupting their server.
But it’s here. While everyone will have an opinion on the record (especially the overall cost), I believe mbv lived up to expectation, if not exceeded it. Vocalist and guitarist Belinda Butcher’s voice is “white light” heavenly. While the layers are a bit more polished and less muddled this time around, there’s something new to pick up with each listen. One has to wonder: if this were to be released 21 years earlier, would it sound the same, and would anyone care as much as they do now?
2012 seemed like the year for reunions. At the Drive-In. Refused. A new Godspeed You! Black Emperor record. Jeff Mangum playing intimate shows on the road when his following and legacy can collectively fit within the confines of Madison Square Garden. Dude, Moss Icon ruled. Just short of Mike Kinsella actually playing a small show of a few select American Football cuts, getting drunk during The Promise Ring’s “at the brink of dusk” set made for an amazing year. Coming into 2013, the only reunion I seemed to give a shit about was Unwound. (With their LP catalog getting the reissue treatment after their self-released Live Leaves album at the end of last year, one can only hope.)
Many of you have probably scrolled up to see the latest The Story So Far tour dates by now, because you have no clue about most of the bands I’ve mentioned so far. So let me shift the conversation to Monday’s news of Fall Out Boy’s grand reunion, tour and new release. Fans (myself not included) have been waiting for this moment since the band decided to call it a day less than four years ago. In the short decade the band existed, they were the fucking Green Day of a new generation. (Or is Green Day post-American Idiot the Green Day of the new generation?)
Now, I’m not attacking Fall Out Boy or comparing them to the aforementioned, but why do you want a Fall Out Boy reunion? Why do I want an Unwound reunion? Why are there so many Black Flag reunions at once? Why are so many people excited to see The Postal Service, a band that released one (albeit amazing) record that was crafted between two laptops? Are we looking for a savior? Is music that bad now that we need someone to come back and show everyone “how it was done” before Spotify made us lazy consumers and allowed us unlimited access to all the radio rap we could handle?
Nostalgia is nothing new. I rediscover bands several times a year. Sometimes that rediscovery is brought on because of reunions and reissues and new music from artists of old. It’s not a bad thing. At some point, even The Rolling Stones are going to have to give it up. Think about this: the number of cover bands a year that gain a small town crowd or short touring circuit of shows because groups of people “can’t give it up.” It’s great to be a part of a time or a legacy of something deemed special by a minority, or even a majority depending. No matter the popularity, the formula always stays the same: Artists with any sort of notoriety will sell more during their death and upon their return.
Understandably, age difference and musical growth play a large role in that. But have you ever thought of how much time you put into an artist while they were active, compared to when it’s the last chance to see them go or the first chance to see them back? Hitting refresh to try and get a limited vinyl of an album 22 years old or trying to score tickets for that big hometown reunion and/or tour are really the same thing. What new music did you explore this weekend while you were clicking refresh? There are plenty of great albums out there, and it’s only been the first month in.
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