post brought to you by: dyson
I always bring up the question: Stones or Beatles? We all know that The Beatles decided to bow out after a landmark album (Abbey Road) but the Rolling Stones decided to carry on. Was it worth it?
The Stones have probably made a lot of money off of continually touring, but is it hurting the legacy they will leave behind? Are enough people saying: Give it up already!?
The Beatles made more money on 9/9/09 than they did during their whole time as a band. Why? Because the legacy they left behind is one that rivals Beethoven and even Einstein. They will go down in history while still overcoming an impossible accomplishment of remaining current.
But we are in a new age of music. And 2 bands come to mind and make me wonder what they should do. Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire.
Arcade Fire blew up the indie music scene with their release of ‘Funeral’. That album was (and still is) breathtaking from start to finish. It has passion, fire, and something indescribably intense driving the songwriting and performances.
And then they waited 3ish years to release an incredibly eagerly awaited follow up. ‘Neon Bible’ was the outcome. Yes, the album had been leaked and the anticipation to hear it was driving me in. But I waited. And what I got was an album of great songs. But did it hold a candle to ‘Funeral’? Not even close. There are some AMAZING singles on ‘Neon Bible’ but it left out so many things that made ‘Funeral’ an album to remember from our decade. (to their credit, they still remain one of the top live performances I have ever witnessed)
So should they have thrown in the towel with ‘Funeral’? That would have been crazy. Right? But think about the legacy they would have left behind in the indie world. It would have been like dying. People would cherish ‘Funeral’ like it was John Lennon’s gravestone or Kurt Cobain’s shotgun.
Fleet Foxes are a different story. They have been around for a little while but have only recently gained incredible recognition with their self-titled ‘Fleet Foxes’ record. And SHIT what an album it is. But then we have ‘Sun Giant’, an EP which really could have been slapped on the front of ‘Fleet Foxes’ and it would have worked. Like it does if you buy the vinyl… (and thank god they made that EP because it all gave us one of the best songs of all time, Mykonos)
So what if they throw in the towel now? I don’t know if I could deal with that! But would they leave a lasting legacy behind worthy enough of the impact Arcade Fire could have done? Who knows?
This is why bands can only roll the dice and hope it all works out. Or, they can take a more strategic approach and try to analyze what made their success and continue on that path. But I’ll be damned if I ever find an artist capable of pulling off that. Good luck to anyone who can. Copyright that recipe and release it only to those worthy.