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A band's creative lifespan

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A band's creative lifespan

Old 08-17-11, 05:55 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by aintnosin View Post
Springsteen (1973-1980): The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle through The River
Old 08-17-11, 10:22 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
Rattle and Hum is not a classic. In fact, it's the very definition of a streak-ending album. Their streak is from War-Joshua Tree, then Achtung Baby and Zooropa. But it wasn't a continuous thing like it is with some of these bands.
Is Rattle and Hum an album album, though? It's more of a soundtrack/live/covers album than an real U2 album.
Old 08-17-11, 10:54 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

It had new material and tied in to a documentary about the band. I'd call it an album.
Old 08-17-11, 11:44 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

I don't really think of Rattle and Hum as the follow-up album to The Joshua Tree, though. It's still a soundtrack album with live tracks and covers. Achtung Baby feels like follow-up to The Joshua Tree more than R&H.

It kind of like saying Live After Death is next Maiden album after Powerslave, or Garage Days Re-revisited is the next Metallica album after Master of Puppets.
Old 08-18-11, 12:48 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

No, it's not, because those were fully live or cover albums and weren't meant to be artistic statements the way the studio albums were. Rattle and Hum had new music that further explored the Americana the band began to mine with The Joshua Tree. That feels like much more of a follow-up to me than Achtung Baby, which has a much more European sound and explores more personal territory lyrically than Joshua Tree or Rattle and Hum.

If you want to think of it as a live album bundled with an EP then think of it that way, but it's definitely the band continuing in the direction they started with The Joshua Tree. Achtung Baby took them in a very different direction.
Old 08-18-11, 03:08 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

The difference between "Rattle And Hum" and some of the other live/EP's mentioned is that U2 promoted Rattle And Hum as "a new U2 album" when it came out. Desire and Angel Of Harlem were big hit singles and all over MTV and they had a few other smaller singles off it as well. The media didn't treat it as some "for fans only" companion sequel to Joshua Tree but as the followup album. Most live albums and EP's are put out there and mainly marketed just to the converted and seen as product to kill some time between studio albums, U2's album was marketed as the event of the 1988 Christmas season.
Old 08-18-11, 03:25 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
It had new material and tied in to a documentary about the band. I'd call it an album.
It reminds me of one of those imports that just throw a bunch of material together. Live versions of recent songs, cover versions, new songs. An uncohesive mish mash.
Old 08-18-11, 04:29 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by wendersfan View Post
Yeah, I debated that one. It's a great album by itself, but it was a product of the BitUSA sessions and a sign that Dave Marsh was having a bad influence. Springsteen was starting to take himself too seriously.
Old 08-18-11, 05:38 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

7 years set by "The Beatles" this thread can be closed now. You welcome
Old 08-18-11, 08:11 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Why not BTIUSA for Bruce? I know some fans hate it because at that moment in time "their" Boss belonged to the world, but that album was a non-stop tour de force, hell even Tunnel Of Love was excellent too. Human Touch was really the first "weak" album IMO.
Old 08-19-11, 01:12 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by nando820 View Post
7 years set by "The Beatles" this thread can be closed now. You welcome
1979-2000 for XTC. Game, set, match.
Old 08-19-11, 07:11 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by nando820 View Post
7 years set by "The Beatles" this thread can be closed now. You welcome
What game were you trying to solve?
Old 08-19-11, 08:36 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by nothingfails View Post
Why not BTIUSA for Bruce? I know some fans hate it because at that moment in time "their" Boss belonged to the world, but that album was a non-stop tour de force, hell even Tunnel Of Love was excellent too. Human Touch was really the first "weak" album IMO.
I think one of the problems people had with BITUSA is that it drew from more of a pop sensibility than his previous work. It was a collection of four-minute, radio-friendly songs that didn't stretch out and breathe like some of his previous material. A decade earlier, this guy devoted almost half an album side to "New York City Serenade" and now he was building a song (title tune of BITUSA) on the same six notes repeated over and over.

Personally, I like the album a lot. The writing is good; the themes are certainly consistent with the rest of his catalogue. But I understand why some don't like it. I'd put it as the last album of his peak, personally.

I agree with whoever said Nebraska has to be there. It's his second best album IMO. Oddly, his other album in the same mold (Tom Joad) doesn't grab me like Nebraska does. Maybe I need to go back and try it again.
Old 08-19-11, 11:33 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by Superdaddy View Post
Oddly, his other album in the same mold (Tom Joad) doesn't grab me like Nebraska does. Maybe I need to go back and try it again.
Not so odd. Nebraska was an accident, intended to be mere demos for what would become BitUSA. There was something "otherworldly" in the demo recordings that they couldn't recreate in the studio, so they released the contents of the cassette tape that Bruce had been carrying around in his hip pocket.

There ARE full band studio versions of everything on Nebraska, and I would love to finally hear them. I think Bruce should release "Electric Nebraska" for the album's 30th anniversary next year.

The Ghost of Tom Joad was a self-conscious attempt to do another Nebraska and that's why it does not work for me. The songs on Nebraska were meant to be rock songs and Bruce sang them that way. For Tom Joad, he seemed self-consciously downbeat and that seemed to suck all the life from the music. Only the title track and "Youngstown" really come to life for me at all.

I didn't include BitUSA in the creative peak years, but not because it's not a great album. It is. But I think that was the point where Bruce started become self-conscious about who Bruce Springsteen was and it shows. Tunnel of Love was also a good album, and I actually liked the "Other Band" material from the early '90s. I just think that there was a vibe running through his material from his second album through the rest of the '70s that his other music can't touch.

If I were going to be really picky, I might put the cutoff at 1978 with Darkness on the Edge of Town. If you listen to the outtakes from that era on Tracks and The Promise, you realize how much they sound like The River. I think he should have called The River "20 Songs That Wouldn't Fit on Darkness."
Old 08-19-11, 11:51 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Those are some excellent points you make, aintnosin.

I agree with you that there is a "lightning in a bottle" aspect to those Nebraska demos that isn't something that can be consciously captured. It definitely shows on The Ghost of Tom Joad.

I also agree that one could be picky about The River. It's a really good album, and the best material on it is top-drawer, certainly enough to include it in the peak years. But deep down I feel that I could probably rip it onto a computer and cut it down to three great sides, or about a sixty-minute CD, and do without a handful of the songs.

The Darkness-period outtakes on Tracks do sound somewhat of a piece with what's on The River. I have the big boxed set of The Promise and haven't listened to all the material yet, but I suspect that when I do I'll hear more along those lines.
Old 08-19-11, 12:32 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

sometimes a change in musical tastes kills the last generation. the whole blues based hair metal wave ended with nirvana and pearl jam. after a few years people get tired listening to the same music
Old 08-19-11, 04:21 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Couple of exceptions:

Dream Theater: Made it big with Images and Words in 92 and have gradually gotten bigger over the last 20 years. Their last album debuted at number 6, their highest yet.

Tool: First successful album was Undertow back in 93. They release an album every 5 years since (6 for their next album if released next year) and they are still outputting extremely creative/successful albums.
Old 08-19-11, 06:07 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

You need to include Maiden's debut as part of the band's peak... still my fav Maiden album.

Judas Priest 78-84 (Stained Class to Defenders of The Faith)
Old 08-19-11, 08:35 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Elvis Costello 1977-1982 (My Aim Is True-Imperial Bedroom).
Old 08-20-11, 04:31 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by Jacoby Ellsbury View Post
It's even worse in hiphop usually. Usually an artists first album is there best. They have 5-10 years of material built up to that first album and then their life gets very busy and they have to pump out their next albums every 2 years. It actually makes sense that Dr. Dre comes out with an album every 10 years and its been a classic both times. Some MCs can put out a decent album every year, but this is not the norm. Lots of one and dones.
I'd say at least 9 out of 10 rappers 1st album is the best, or the second album is best but there's a drop off after. They're hungry then and as you say they burn all their strong material at once.

Mf doom had a good run of 5 years or so. Curren$y has potential. I'd say wu-tang as a group had more than 5 years. There are others but it isn't a long list.
Old 08-23-11, 12:35 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

A few that haven't been mentioned

Eurythmics 1982-1987 (Sweet Dreams through Savage, We Two Are One had moments but it was definitely their worst album until their reunion album)
Donna Summer 1976-1981 (Four Seasons Of Love through the not-released-until-1996 I'm A Rainbow.... the magic was lost once she stopped working with Giorgio Moroder. She still had some good songs but she became just another female r&b/dance/pop singer)
Old 08-23-11, 02:26 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by leem6453 View Post
Couple of exceptions:

Dream Theater: Made it big with Images and Words in 92 and have gradually gotten bigger over the last 20 years. Their last album debuted at number 6, their highest yet.

.
In all fairness, while they may have gained some new fans over the last decade, I think there are quite a few people that think they have been pretty mediocre for a while.

Personally, I like Train of Thought and I have mixed feelings about everything since, but I know plenty of people that think they haven't released anything worthwhile since SFaM or SDoIT.
Old 08-23-11, 08:11 AM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Yeah, DT is my favorite band, but they've been stuck in neutral since SFaM* which was their creative high point.

That's not to say all the albums since have sucked, quite the opposite. I love them all(well BC&SL a little less), they just haven't grown much since. You could swap songs from Black Clouds & Systematic Chaos with tunes from Train of Thought and Octavarium and you'd never know the difference. The past 4 albums are all interchangeable, where their first decade of albums(WD&DU through 6*) are all unique.

It is hard to argue with their popularity like leem mentioned. They have only grown in popularity in the past 20 years. It usually works the other way around.

*6 is a weird album for me. It falls, coincidentally, right in the middle of the two decades and shift in creativity. Some days I'd put it in the first group, other days I'm like, 'eh, and would toss it in with the recent stuff.
Old 08-23-11, 03:10 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

Originally Posted by Apple Gooncha View Post
In all fairness, while they may have gained some new fans over the last decade, I think there are quite a few people that think they have been pretty mediocre for a while.
Yup. Remember the reaction here when Portnoy left? SOmeone said they needed a shakeup, but they weren't sure that was the right one. We'll see.

I definitely think their creative peak was the mid to late 90s.
Old 08-23-11, 03:24 PM
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Re: A band's creative lifespan

I'm not an expert, but I think this would work for Weezer as well.

Weezer - 1994-2001 (Blue-Green)

Not exactly 5 years, but they did have a break for a few years between #2 and #3. In my friend's opinion, once Matt Sharp left it was downhill.

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