Spotlight: Breaking Up With The Band

A band you dig does something you don’t—is it time to go, or can we stay and work it out? Depends. Some detours are forgivable. Some are not. There’s a pretty thin line between celebrated progression and misguided digression, and much of that has to do with personal taste (“It’s not you, it’s me”). Sometimes we simply grow apart. Other times there’s an immediate rift. Below are some of those breakups, complete with post-fan (ex-BF) commentary (ranting):

[BoxTitle]Bloc Party “I Still Remember”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo]

A collegiate crush perhaps, there was something pretty gravitating about Bloc Party’s 2005 debut—somehow raw punk and emotional brit-rock at the same time. It made them quite popular, quickly. And like all bands here, popularity isn’t the reason for our split, but rather, what they chose to do with it. Sentimental 2007 mega hit “I Still Remember” announced they were back, a bit glossier, and that’s fine, but somewhere in the revamp, the fire was put out, an edge lost. Sampling Youtube just confirmed: nope, still not there.

[BoxTitle]Clap Your Hands Say Yeah “Satan Said Dance”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo]

CYHSY…typing that acronym still sends me back to some good times. They were a classic love at first sight—out of nowhere self-released debut sweeps the internet and wins over the entire indie universe. That first album was a perfect cross of carefree pop and smart eccentricity. And to their defense, it was also impossible to follow. Yet their effort in 2007 (Some Loud Thunder) felt more like a stubborn side-step to all expectations, admirable in one angle, but frustrating from most others. The magic was gone. And then finally this year came LP number three, Hysterical…let’s just move on.

[BoxTitle]Vampire Weekend “Cousins”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo]

It was endearing at first. The ivy-league wit really charmed. Those first few blog hits were undeniably catchy; rhyming about Peter Gabriel, Cape Cod, Commas, wearing those khakis and polo shirts, sounding like Paul Simon. If anything the second album, Contra, was probably an improvement musically from the first, but the novelty of their shtick had worn off.

[BoxTitle]Coldplay “Speed”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo]

Not afraid to say it: Coldplay was once a great band of hope, with long term relationship potential. Remove what we know today: the lyrically vague ballads, the self-aware over-acting, the multicolored military dreamcoats, the Gwyneth, and the last two albums or so, and we’re into some convincing, and humble, atmospheric rock. After 2004’s A Rush of Blood to The Head, they could have taken any creative chance under the sun…maybe pulled a Radiohead. Instead they fluffed up their formula, filled that open space I had liked so much with sappy hooks, and aimed bigger and broader…successfully pulling a U2.

[BoxTitle]M.I.A. “Born Free”[/BoxTitle] [MusicVideo][/MusicVideo]

Her next move will determine if we are over. She’s not there yet, but she’s flirting. M.I.A.’s often likable, pseudo-political antics have always been balanced with infectiously fashionable beats, but on her last pass she leaned too far on the message and seemingly ignored the vehicle. Like her previous Clash-borrowing hit, “Paper Planes“, the lead single on // / Y / re-purposed a legendary Suicide note—no problem there, except the result was some angry noise that probably didn’t make many party playlists (and then the ginger massacre of a video pretty much cemented this statement in a rather unpleasant department of our subconscious). Her bold use of a global platform should be applauded, but shockpop with no pop simply wasn’t where I wanted our love to go.

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