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Come Back Lover Come Back
The term "Comeback" appeared in our hybrid tongue around 1889 by most accounts, probably in a sporting context.A team or player who was behind, or had become obscure achieved an unexpected turnaround or recovery of some kind. Of course this riffs off one of the oldest ideas in basic human crowdpleaser cliche drama that powers a mountainous load of bad movies, and an even larger dunghill of lazy journalism. A steaming pile of broken promises and bald faced ballyhoo, picking the pockets of the prone punters.I've had my heart hurled into a world of total horror by the promises of the cummmback joy before.As a foolish kid. I awaited The Cure's Wild Mood Swings like a callback from some mythical megamagic drug hookup.Of course, Wish seemed like a decent endpoint. Fat Bob finally getting tired of sensitive teen idolatry, coming to a literal End, personally and creatively - with the most stable Great Period lineup burning out and dissipating. A throwaway single or two, like the one on The Crow gothIDMlite soundtrack gave a desperate hint of hope, but in reality would not even have been a rejected B-side from the Wish era.So then in spun Wild Mood Swings with two risible singles - The 13th and Mint Car. I believed, I bought, and the comeback hopes went in dry and loveless like a desperate prison encounter.The whole album was a suicidal self parody. It was as if a once great chef had burnt out into a tired and lazy shadow, bumbling around a massive blingtard kitchen - jamming all his best dishes into the microwave over and over, combining them in plastic bowls and chopping them up until it all was little more than stage prop vomit.I remain a militant admirer of The Cure from the first Gatwick suburb twangings of Meat Hook until the Wish for death at the End.But this admiration recognises that for very human reasons - money, age, success, a course of good antidepressants - all can slow, dilute and compromise that fire, that drive which makes real art possible. Most artists have a predictable direction - early, a Mature style, and decline into self-pastiche or worse.By the late 70s, Fred Wesley was talking trash back to his old boss, James Brown - taking him to task for "copying people who are copying you" - a total loss of innovation and self-confidence. But the PCP and fur laden Godfather, surrounded by Yes men and gold plated leeches didn't feel anything was amiss.To be fair, sometimes the fans themselves as well as the critics and archivists around them are to blame. The concept of the comeback assumes that something has gone away, when in fact it has evolved. Evolved beyond the often fixed expectations of the mob. Bigger, better, smaller or Worse. Late and later works feel different than what was expected, and therefore inferior.The Friends of Shakespeare compiled a Folio after his death that conformed to their expectation of what was good and made sense, in order. The First Folio's plays were bookended by the youthful slapstick of The Two Gentlemen of Verona and the mature, reflective magic of The Tempest. The Two Noble Kinsmen, a remarkable later work that takes the teenage romance of Chaucer's The Knight's Tale and defecates it out through a not young, not old bitter and real perspective of the late 30s was left right out. It did not feel right, is not what is expected then or now and so is rejected and rarely seen even today.Of course the commercial and audience pressure to stay relevant is another way a comeback is created.David Bowie, who needs less introduction than the moon, may well have been a victim of being pushed too far, too fast by the crowd. Scary Monsters is a nice, neat end, like The Tempest. And to these ears, Bowie's achievements since have been inconsistent to nonexistent. Yet there is always that old hope - a return of the best in the new. The Next Day has created a shaken hive of buzz - the release of a suggestively interesting single, Where Are We Now as a 66th Birthday present to the Earth and now the first four star reverent reviews have emerged.Now I am always an afraid lover of the artist. When something new emerges I worry - will this be entry into a vortex of Suck? I remember a few silent tears when I saw Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut - the overripe softcore no score prurience and crowd pleasing plastic cast overwhelmed me with despair. Stanley had left the earth with a lesser legacy than was just.Thus far, only Nick Cave and David Lynch, who affect an indifference to critics and practice a Zen like forward forward creative discipline, have not really disappointed me. This is why I am afraid to check out the warped MBV comeback record. Surely two decades of silence and plenty of time hanging with Primal Scream and pretentious children of Hollyweird has broken through all conceivable Shields?So I was much relieved when in the service of all that is great and Ratty I listened to and watched Where Are We Now. I did not feel the tug of love I did the first time Breaking Glass crossed my soul, but nor did I feel anything like the sad horror I do now at the vision of my lost and losing 19 year old shadow, rushing to a chain store to buy Wild Mood Swings. And this is much more than one can ask from any "comeback" or else slack attempt to understand a creative trajectory.And of course you'd better not be slack this Saturday because we have a double trouble feel the bass bubble New In not to miss. Sorting and pricing it all has been so intense that Philippe has deployed cutting edge Rat brain melding technology to get it together.Hip Hop, Reggae, Post Punk and Alternative, Jazz and good old plain rock of course! So far, in no particular order, we have seen records by Girls at our Best, Vic Godard, The Smiths, Alternative TV, Josef K, Les Baxter, McCarthy, Speg, Dead can Dance, Gravediggaz, Tom Waits, Johnny Clarke, Mos Def, Kazu Matsui prject, Michael Nyman, Simain Mobile Disco, Ijahman, Nitty Gritty, Homesick James, Nina Simone, The Clash, Twinkle Brothers, Milton Banana trio, Kip Hanrahan, Archie Shepp, Doug and Jean Carn, Genji Sawai&bacon egg, Azar Lawrence, TC James...And an Oscar gallery of movie soundtracks. Plus more more more.Feel it soon.
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