I'm doing a couple of things right now that involve the terrible sacrifice of going back through YouTube and watching several decades of past performances from bands I'm kind of fond of. Terrible task, I know. There's quite a lot to go through. Bowie was actively performing for thirty-some years before health problems forced him to stop. Joan Jett started with The Runaways in the late '70s and is still active. L'Arc~en~Ciel had their 25th anniversary concert a couple years ago, Placebo is just past twenty years, and even Tokio Hotel has been together for fifteen.

Never read YouTube comments if you want to retain your faith in humanity. If you do anyway, it's shocking how many of them are 'they changed, they suck now'. It's especially prominent on acts that started out young and grew up in front of the cameras. Some part of their audience is very upset that the members of the band no longer sound like angry, lonely teenagers.

I always wonder, why you would even want them to? Back when you were an angry, lonely teenager, these people gave you something: They expressed things that you couldn't. The things you couldn't seem to get out right. They wrote things, and they sang things, and they did things on stage that you felt like you couldn't quite pull off. But you wanted to, because it would make people understand how you were feeling. They got up in front of microphones and cameras, and they spoke both to you and for you.

They gave you something to identify with. You were a person who really got their music. When you spotted someone else wearing a band t-shirt, you figured they really got it, too. You went to concerts and stood in a crowd of people, all shouting the words to the same song, and you shouted right along. You traded every scrap of information you had about the people in the band. You talked endlessly about all the little ways they seemed to be like you, and all the ways you wished you were more like them. Maybe you tried to dress like they did; maybe you even succeeded.

They dug things out of the depths of their own heads and put them on display for you. This is an incredible amount of work. Even more so when it's commercial, no matter how much disdain you have for people who "get lazy" and "sell out". It's exhausting when people expect you to be "authentic" all the fucking time. It's grinding to go on tour for six months, nine months, a year, two years at a time. You go a little crazy. They went a little crazy for your benefit. A lot of them still do it. And a lot of them still do it because they like you.

Why would you want life to reward them for this by making them angry, lonely teenagers forever? Don't you want them to grow up to be happy? Don't you want to grow up to be happy? Don't you want to grow up?

It's okay if you don't like where they've gone musically. You don't have to. It's okay to not be interested in their latest stuff. Taste in music is 100% subjective. But if you get really frothingly furious, to the point where you feel the need to yell at other fans about it, you might stop to consider the idea that maybe you're not angry because they've changed since you were in high school. Maybe you're angry because you haven't.


  1. Thank you for expressing that.
    I came for the fleebwanger metaphor, but stayed for the rats, the eclecticism,and (most of all) the clarity. You are a shiner of light on to dark and obscure things.


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