BANDS THAT ARENíT AS GOOD AS THEY USED TO BE DESPITE
SELLING MORE RECORDS THAN THEY USED TO
Thereís a profoundly
worrying trend emerging within the music market. There
are certain bands - which would have once been labelled
"Indie" bands (and still are by The Sun) -
which are selling ridiculous amounts of records, despite
their more recent work being considerably more rubbish
than their early tunes. Whereas, say, Blur are now one
hundred times more creative now then they ever were in
their Country House heyday (despite the popular press
decrying them as tuneless experimentalists), their
contemporaries seem more content to peddle the
middle-of-the-road in order to maximise commercial
potential. This is a bad thing. Read on.
MANIC STREET PREACHERS
may have been absurd "urban glam terrorists"
in their early days, shackled to a manic depressive
anorexic, but at least the Manics had an edge. Clearly,
their raucous third album, The Holy Bible, burnt the
anger out of them once and for all, and their subsequent
work on Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me
Yours has been weak, watered-down banality. Their lyrics
may be as obscurely intellectual as every, but musically
the Manic Street Preachers are edging ever closer to the
comfortable, over-produced melodies of Texas. Compare a
song like Motorcycle Emptiness, or You Love Us to You
Stole The Sun From My Heart, and tell us they havenít
sold out. No wonder Richey James went mad and
KEY ALBUM: Generation Terrorists.
They went crap the minute
Bernard Butler left, and have been peddling a poor
imitation ever since. The early Suede had a certain
special, otherworldlyness about them which the
subsequent, fan-filled version has sought to capture,
but never succeeded. Admittedly, the band needed
lightening up - things were getting very dark - but
Brett Anderson has taken things to a ridiculous extreme,
becoming a virtual, Prozac-fuelled parody of himself.
Their last two albums have practically been
indistinguishable, while simultaneously rewriting the
singles from the first two albums (frankly, it was the
album tracks which stood out). Asphalt Word or Elephant
Man: isnít it obvious which is the better song?
KEY ALBUM: Dog Man Star.
may have shifted huge numbers of their second and third
albums, thanks to the hype and the marketing, but there
is at least the consolation that everyone knows
theyíre not as good as they used to be. Whereas
Definitely Maybe showcased short, punchy punky,
singalong-a-pop tunes, Noel Gallagher has become
obsessed with re-writing Hey Jude, with almost every
song on Whatís The Story (Morning Glory) and Be Here
Now clocking in as a six minute-plus epic. Noel
Gallagher may have worn his influences on his sleeve,
but at least for the first album. Oasis were an honest
rock and roll band. If he wants to emulate The Beatles
he needs to experiment. By Rubber Soul their influences
had become diluted. It was their musical innovation
which transformed them into the most important pop group
of all time. Unless something special happens with Oasis
album No.4, the Gallaghers and company will forever be
known as a good pub band who got lucky, and little more.
KEY ALBUM: Definitely Maybe.