Uncharted: Don't Call it a Comeback
In which it is 100% a comeback
Uncharted is a weekly column on mostly musical ramblings.
Tegan and Sara kicked off the year of the comeback with Heartthrob, which I admittedly haven't listened to yet but SHEI writer Miriam Akervall says it's great. 2013 was already set to be a big year for music (I say that every year) with lots of promising debuts (On an On, Solange, FIDLAR, Widowspeak, and Atlas Genius come to mind) but the newbies are facing some steep competition from their veterans. Also let's be real the Coachella line-up is filled with bands you didn't even know were still around. So here are some thoughts on come-backs and sophomore efforts, ranked from least literal to most literal comeback.
The Not-Even Comeback: Local Natives, Hummingbird
I've debated writing about Hummingbird ever since I first heard because I have pretty much no objectivity on the subject. I love it. I think it's fantastic and reminds me why I loved Local Natives. Released four years after their debut Gorilla Manor, it's not a exactly a come back (because they never broke up or went on an euphmestic hiatus) but it's certainly a return of some sort. Four years is enough time to end up in the archives of blogs and have your record go from constant-rotation to worn but retired favorite. There's just too much music being released. So while this doesn't count as a comeback in the traditional sense of the word, it's a comeback of my attention and heart. I told you I couldn't write about it like a real person.
The 10-Year Anniversary Comeback: The Postal Service
I'm not entirely sure the Postal Service are really releasing anything as part of their comeback. I know Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello will be going on tour and they're releasing a fancy anniversary re-issue of Give Up with two new songs and a handful of b-sides and rarities. But does that really qualify as a comeback? Should they even do a sophomore album? I would refer you to a fantastic think-piece (I'm all about think-pieces) about the appropriateness of the first Postal Service "moment" and it's irreproducibility, but I can't find it at the moment. Instead, here's one of their new tracks. If I'm being totally honest, I'm not really into. I do like Jenny Lewis (who doesn't?) but I'm of the belief the greatness of Give Up lies in its entirety and so I'm not completely satisfied with a single.
In related anniversary reunion news: Fleetwood Mac. That is all.
The Comeback, Part 2: The Strokes
Since I'm about to reference them anyways, the Strokes staged a comeback last year with Angles. I would argue it was mostly successful and the album favorably received, but they still aren't quite the darlings they once were. And we've already been graced with a preview in the form of "One Way Trigger" from Comedown Machine, to be released in March. All I'm going to say about that is that it seems like someone forgot to remind Julian Casablancas that this is the Strokes and not his solo project. I'm into band development and all, and anyone who denies musicians their creative flexibility doesn't grasp the concept of art, but rein in the electronics a bit, gents. It's obviously a part of their sound now and was mostly well-done on Angles but "One Way Trigger" is just less well-done. Poor choice for a preview. Better choice for a preview? "All the Time." Classic Strokes.
The European Comeback: Daft Punk, Phoenix, the Knife, Lykke Li
Well, this is happening. Let's start with the French. Daft Punk. I imagine every ticket to every one of their shows will be sold out in what is scientifically known as a hot sec. They have sorta kinda been releasing stuff (Tron: Legacy soundtrack, the mix for a Yves St. Laurent fashion show), but really they haven't toured since 2007 so this is a pretty big deal. Also they're knights. Who wear helmets. That light up. Phoenix is another exciting comeback, more in the vein of the Local Natives comeback, but as a follow up to the massively successful and breakout Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, this is kind of a big deal.
Moving swiftly up to Sweden, the Knife have been more or less MIA since 2006 and prefaced their comeback with an arsty short film that is also part of a feminist porno collection. This surprises no one considering the electronic duo has stated both David Lynch and Trailer Park Boys as sources of inspiration and anything they do is bound to be over your head. Still, this is the comeback you will want to be able to speak educatedly about. I don't have any details about Lykke Li's next album, but she's my girl and has been leaking songs on stages all over the place last year so it's coming.
The Genre Comeback: Fall Out Boy, Cute is What We Aim For, Pop-Punk Everywhere
This terrifies me. But only because I'm roughly 98% less angsty than I was the first time around. Fall Out Boy was the sound of eighth and ninth grade. Obviously blink-182 was a part of it, and the Strokes too, but Fall Out Boy was like, super cool. People made their AIM icons FOB logos to show that, yeah, they're fans. Anyways, pop-punk was huge at my school. I'm going to make the wide-sweeping claim that pop-punk was huge everywhere in the mid-aughts. But anyways, maybe my taste has just changed or people aren't into highly produced Rock with a capital R anymore, but I'm worried about these comebacks. I still love these guys' back-catalog but it might not physically possible for me to appreciate them the way I once did, and that makes me sad. They don't deserve that. What they do deserve are the serious and sincere think-pieces on their work over at One Week / / One Band. And maybe the adoration of an entirely new generation of teens.
It should also be said that Fall Out Boy's first "comeback" show was at the beloved Chicago dive bar Subterranean (so we're talking like 150 people), and if that's not a tip of their hat to the early days, I don't know what is. The stadiums can wait.
Also This: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I didn't really know where to put this so here it is. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are also releasing new material this year. And judging by bootleg videos of live shows, it's gonna be awesome. Plus, Karen O.