The Finished Line

Past their prime, washed up, not as good as they used to be. Their early stuff was influential but now they just keep turning out mediocre humdrum just so they can make money or have an excuse to do another tour. They should have broken up after (fill in the blank). I’m talking about virtually every band and the perception that only their past greatness matters, the new stuff just doesn’t compare. One of the reasons I enjoy what bloggers write is their passion for particular artists never wanes. These writers see the value of the whole body of work from the initial groundbreaking albums to the most recent reinvention or comeback work. I personally can see both sides of the equation, especially when 2014 marked the first time that back catalog material out sold new albums. I also believe that no matter how good a classic rock artist’s newest release is, it just doesn’t sound right. Technology has cleaned up the dirty parts of rock which is a big problem but I don’t take it out on the artists. The example I always think of is when people ask me why I go out of my way to see Brian Wilson in concert and bypass The Beach Boys when they play in my own backyard. It’s simple Brian keeps putting out new material and keeps making enjoyable music, Mike Love and friends are an oldies band. Brian is in his 70’s and clearly he has more to say, so does Paul McCartney, Neil Young and many others who are still out their touring with their hits but mixing in newer material. It has to be frustrating since even these artists who have more influence in the world of rock and roll than anyone watch fans run for the bathroom during new songs so they can be back for another Beatles/Beach Boys. etc. classic. Despite the frustration with albums sales and touring these artists still yearn to say something, It can’t be the money or legacy building at this point, those things are secure as can be in this day and age. The only motivation has to be the desire to put out good music since the market for the material gets smaller with each passing year. Age also is a factor since a man in his 70’s is not the same has he was in his 20’s-30’s so songs about sexual conquests are going to be more creepy than cool. Using Brian as an example again he could talk about catching a wave or California Girls as a young man but as an older man he could talk about the loss of his brothers. If anything his more recent music would be more authentic because he lost two brothers, he never was a surfer. When the sun does set on these legends I hope people will remember their “lesser” moments as much as the material that is ubiquitous in our society because even if the whole record doesn’t feel as solid there are always special gems that make the albums worthwhile. Even if the general public continues to ignore the past few decades at least I can rely on bloggers who are keeping the fire going by expressing their passion for an art that might be on its last legs. To quote Sir Paul from That Was Me (2007) “That was me sewatin’ cobwebs in a cellar on TV yeah that was me. The same me that stand here now. When I think that all this stuff can make a life that’s pretty, hard to take it in, that was me. That was me yeah, that was me.

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