I’ve been thinking about this alot, particularly with respect to the new season of Arrested Development. What does art owe us, when we have preconceived notions of what it should be?
Moreover, forget about what artists owe us, what specifically do we owe to art itself? Respect? Focus? Attention?
I dont know
My band now has fans who’ve followed us for 35 years and for 35 days, who are 70 and 17. On our recent tour, I met kids who’d just seen us for the first time, along with folks who’ve been to hundreds of concerts over three decades. With the exception of age, they’re more similar than different. And every night at eight o’clock, it’s those faces jammed up to the front of the stage, smiling, singing, living every note of your song, their song, taking every breath with you, or dancing in the rafters that continue to fuel your rock and roll passion. A passion reaching all the way back now to the small bedroom where you sat young and alone, clumsily playing, singing, writing, hoping, dreaming of…this exact moment…of your fans.
Here’s to the diehards.” —Bruce Springsteen, in the introduction to Diehards, Erin Feinberg’s terrific photography book featuring the fans of rock and roll
Jon Pareles, NYTimes
Good writing never goes out of style
what the above quote does not take into account is that, maybe, maybe, Love Will Tear Us Apart is the greatest song ever written.
But if true, doesn’t that change the analysis?
Of course this begs to question, do the Blue Album and Pinkerton rock less simply because everything Weezer has released since then sucks? Maybe? When was the last time you thought “Man I want to listen to that awesome Bad Religion song!” probably not since ‘92. But what if No Control was the last record they ever put out? It might be a lot more often. What if Red Hot Chili Peppers broke up after The Uplift Mofo Party Plan? Would you want to die right there on the spot anytime a DJ says he’s playing one of their songs next?
But who’s to say Joy Division would have started release half assed songs? When The Mars Volta and Sparta rose from the ashes of At The Drive In it was pretty damn obvious where the talent was and wasn’t. But New Order’s catalog (especially the first 10 years or so) suggests that the all songwriting genius didn’t die with Ian. We lost his lyrics of course, but he was a pretty morbid fucked up guy to begin with and I think it’s a stretch to suggest if he’d lived he would have cheered up somehow. I mean, Rivers Cuomo is a weird guy too, but come on now, does anyone think there’s a world where Ian Curtis could have written the equivalent to ‘Heart Songs’ or ‘We Are All On Drugs’ or ‘Cold Dark World’ or named an album something like Raditude?
See also: the peak-end rule:
Aka “go out with a bang not a whimper” rule.