Music Blogs

Reunions: An Unsuspected Evil?

  • By allgravy9
  • 25 August 2011

Ready to bury my head in the sand amid a flurry of reinstated Union Jacks and the second reunion of The Libertines, my final patience with the once great band had seemingly left me for good. I was therefore delighted to hear Carl Barat and Management of The Libertines come out this week and deny any possibility of such reunion, perhaps giving me a small ray of hope that music hasn't lost all sense of sanity.

Since the turn of the Millennium, a culture within music has developed where no longer can bands split and retire gracefully. It seems to be a compulsory requirement in todays world for once deceased bands and artists to return baring chainsaws and machetes, ready to destroy legacies made of lighter stuff than paper. Naturally, The Libertines are a target for the re-unionists of this world, and unfortunately for me, I feel it is a matter of when and not if for the Indie icons after their initial reunion at last years Reading and Leeds Festivals.

There are few that truly benefit from these gimmicky reunions if you really think about it. I am of course not counting the pyrotechnic and stadium enthusiasts of this world, who resurrect their glow sticks and binoculars from the cupboard in ecstasy. Oh, and of course, the cheeky buggers in the bands pocketing a healthy sum of cash themselves. When you take out the smokescreen of it all and the fact that yes, they love the fans, and yes they love the music they wrote 10 years ago in a tiny basement etc, etc, there's a filthy little undertone that essentially we all miss when rushing online at 9am to get our tickets. In our sometimes crazy desires to return to times gone by, we are placed on the metaphorical juicer of sentiment and squeezed dry of our sweet, sweet juice… And by juice, I mean money. 

I would challenge anyone to quote me a band solely looking to reignite old memories with their fans, showing that they have a great deal left to give to each other. There is nothing wrong with this, and I'd love to be proven wrong. There is however something sickening in the fact that on top of the negated sentimental values of these reunions, very rarely are they any good. They are often even very disheartening, as previously treasured memories are tarnished. 10 years past decline, substance abuse taking its toll, quite often we are given the old, 'you sing it back to me' jobby. Nice.

I will grudgingly accept that Take That have managed to buck that trend, to the point that volatile lynch-pin Robbie Williams was convinced to return from his oh so time-consuming career of UFO watching, and listening to Rudebox on repeat to join the fun. Credit to them. Writing new chapters, instead of reciting old ones is the key here to making it worthwhile and in a sense, commendable. For most however,  once the tour is over and we've all had our fun with ticker tape and fireworks, the artists fall quicker than they once reignited themselves. Enter in Boyzone et al. The sad thing is that now, when reunions are announced say for example in the case of Pulp, or indeed The Libertines last year at Reading, whilst it is greeted very favourably, there is no excitement to it anymore. As if sitting in the standby section of an airport waiting for a seat on a plane that isn't quite full, artists are itching to return, and so, the romantic notion of it is totally soured and diluted. 

What I find so irritating is the way in which artists attempt to disguise their monetary desires. There's something almost applaudable to an artist simply coming out and saying 'you give me what I want, and I'll return the favour' instead of picking the first line they can find out of a dummies guide to love and crudely publishing it to their adoring fans. I am of course not saying that fans of artists that return shouldn't be excited or pleased, but there are massive dangers for artists and indeed their fans when instigating a reunion tour, that ultimately, can end in tears.

So what'll be guys? An immaculate reputation or a very rock and roll second home in Spain? 

Perhaps we should ask John Lydon over at Country Life butter.