December 18th, 2002

abstract butterfly

in search of the magi

"Differences put on one side, inhibitions switched off in a genuine attempt to connect with something beyond it all, some essential essence and goodness. The music and candlelight and trembling attempts at vocal harmony move me. That we human beings, capable of such destruction and darkness, can lose ourselves in this fragile tenderness is a kind of miracle. For all the harshness of the times, Love is still a precious and rare treasure. And tolerance and self-awareness and compassion. Slow down, take time to breathe...."--Bill Nelson

"Here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi".--O. Henry

Collapse )
  • Current Music
    Jeff Pearce, "Daylight Slowly", in my mind
abstract butterfly

Bands change (or, we'll pay you 3000 dollars to reunite, and you can give Ringo a lesser share)

Today the internet is abuzz with the "news lite" that Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries may record a solo album of "world-music" influenced material. The Cranberries themselves had to post a message on their official website that they are not breaking up, notwithstanding this momentous development.

Let's skip over whether one loves the Cranberries or hates them (I personally like their work, but am bemused that the Cranberries became the "famous" band with their sound, while the Sundays, whom I liked better, were rather less so). But isn't it curious the attachment which people feel for particular formulations of particular bands?

Not all band departures are bad things.
It's my opinion, for instance, that both Peter Gabriel and Genesis benefitted when Gabriel left that band right after The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (I might qualify that statement to say that Genesis benefitted for roughly two albums, the best two Genesis albums, until Phil Collins rediscovered his lost love for silly Motown songs, ending Genesis' creative career but enchancing their radio play).

But we gain attachments to our musicians. They are products we buy, CDs we own. In some way, we come to see artists and bands as people who must stay in the same mode forever, or betray us.
In some instances, such genre bands can be brilliant. Jethro Tull made only fine tuning for years, and actually came to be appreciated after decades of playing to only fan approval.
Certainly, it would have been hard to imagine Madness changing from a ska/pop band into the Bee Gees.

But isn't it strange how fans make musicians into commodities? It's okay that some musicians' effort at creative evolution flops--that's just life. People get so invested in stasis, though.

The Cranberries have been in the public eye for a solid decade. Why should anyone much care if their lead singer wants to go solo for awhile?
Pop music is still so much about the starmaker machinery. People want their formulae--the right band, the right songs.

But I must admit I do feel sorry for the "other" member of Wham (Andrew Ridgeway?). Imagine this--one day you're on top of the charts. The next day you're the lesser former member of a bubblegum band.

I wish Dolores and every single Cranberry well, alone, or in unison.