Opinion: On getting the band back together

Tyler Kieslich

Tyler Kieslich

Tyler Kieslich is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Of the many awesome things about Bruce Springsteen, perhaps the most impressive is his ability to continue making relevant and interesting albums decades after his initial rise to fame and artistic credibility. It’s hard enough to make just one as good as “Born to Run” or “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” so the fact that he has released literally over a dozen that have found their way into America’s musical collective unconscious is both a testament to his ability as a songwriter and to the unpretentious timelessness of his aesthetic as an artist.

This being said, Springsteen is one of the few exceptions to the rule; it’s way more hip to burn out than fade away.

Musical trends are inevitably tied to the time and culture that produce them. I seriously doubt that pop-dubstep producers like Skrillex and jocky frat rappers like Asher Roth or Mac Miller will be making the same kinds of albums in ten years, if indeed they are making albums at all.

For proof, all you need to do is browse the CD section of your local Target and sample the reunion albums of 1980s metal bands. Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses were once the coolest of cool, but the only reasonable reaction to “Saints of Los Angeles” or “Chinese Democracy” as a Gen Yer is uncontrollable and searing agony.

So when My Bloody Valentine, one of my favorite bands, announced Wednesday that it’s recording a follow-up to its 1991 “indie” classic “Loveless,” it put me in a tough spot. On one hand, “Loveless” is for me an aesthetically perfect album — one part Sonic Youth, one part Husker Du and altogether something completely new and interesting — so obviously it would be great to hear what direction the band will take its sound. But there is also a danger to adding to that resume. Part of what is so appealing about My Bloody Valentine is that the band all but disappeared after releasing an album that influenced countless bands for twenty years afterward.

We have a propensity to make martyrs out of musicians who die or otherwise disappear at the height of their artistic powers, and sometimes the mythology comes to outweigh the body of work because of it. The legacies of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur are all helped by the fact that their music never had the chance to devolve into dad-rock or general mediocrity (here’s looking at you, Wilco).

The making of “Loveless” is said to have driven My Bloody Valentine frontman Kevin Shields into a Brian Wilson-esque state of crazy. That’s honestly one of the most appealing things about the album. It is art that literally required someone’s sanity to create. Poetic, right?

But hey. early word is that the new album is “weirder” than the last one, so maybe there is still hope after all.