Here’s an old thread that came to mind as I read Townspeople’s thoughts on Weezer. We got into a few bands in some depth. I’m sure there are others that will come to mind thanks to an influx of some strong, new Townspeople over the last year.
This post initially appeared 2/6/08.
I’d like to take this time to celebrate bands who made amazing, near-perfect debuts of a quality that they were never again matched.
The prime contenders are Elastica‘s self-titled debut and The Dream Syndicate‘s The Days of Wine and Roses. Additionally, I like to think that some day, when the rubble of her subsequent mainstream bid clears, people will recognize Liz Phair‘s Exile in Guyville in a similarly fond light. Also, I predict here that Art Brut will never match Bang Bang Rock & Roll.
I laud these bands and their seemingly dubious achievements in this regard for a number of reasons. I think that rock-nerd notions of success, importance, significance, etc. are often out-of-whack. More importantly, though, albums like these speak to me very specifically. Sometimes I think there is no more noble artistic goal than to get down your special view of the world just once. Personally, I’d love to write just one book that gave at least an inkling of everything I think is wrong and right about the Way We Live Now. I’m not asking for a new career, just one medium-sized soapbox.
All four albums I mentioned above positioned themselves against the (or a) status quo. Some of them did so in no uncertain terms, basically saying “All of you are full of shit — and I’m going to tell you exactly why!” And they did so effectively, that the need for a second, third, fourth act is rendered pretty much moot.
So I hope you’ll join me in celebrating these artists’ lack of staying power, their triumph of quality over quantity. Any other examples of this trajectory?