Dear Bands: Embrace the Past

I like bands. A lot. And I like when bands release music, because that’s what makes them popular and awesome. What I do not like about bands is when they try to get rid of their past.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of bands change their images. There’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone grows up at some point in their lives and wants to change themselves around. I’ve changed myself too. But when some of these bands change their images, they erase their past. They don’t want people to see what they used to do. They want the fans to ‘forget’ what happened three years earlier. How is that supposed to make anything better? How is that going to make you a more popular band?

I see it like this:

A band emerges from the shadows. They are titled a new ‘Disney band’. Cute boys. Clean image. Songs about crushes and beautiful girls. It works for them, and they get popular. Teenage girls love them. They update Twitter and Facebook with their favorite lyrics and go to every show in their area. The band loves being popular.

Then something changes in them and they decide, “Never mind, I don’t like this crowd. I don’t like this at all.”

First it starts with the swearing. F**k this, f**k that, they say. They insert a swear word into their usual on-stage banter. They get crazier on stage in general. They write whatever they want on social media and don’t think of the consequences. Then they announce to their fans they’re going to write a new album with a ‘different sound’. Fans like that. But then fans don’t like it when all the old, funny, classic YouTube videos are suddenly gone from the internet. And the band’s old songs are no longer on Spotify and iTunes. When the band releases their new album, it’s definitely different. And fans aren’t sure if they like it very much so they don’t listen to it. The band slowly disappears from social media. And boom, one year later you never hear from them again.

It’s been happening with more bands recently, and it makes me roll my eyes when I see yet another band gone from the spotlight because they tried too hard to change themselves. Here’s the thing:

You can’t just change every single thing about you and your image and expect your fans to still look at you with the same love and adoration.

Bands change. I get that. Every fan understands that. But if you’re going to alter your image and your sound, you can’t make us forget what you sounded like three years ago. We’re still going to listen to the old music and reminisce and love it, because that’s how fans became fans in the first place. If you try to tell us to forget that song you wrote about saving the world or that dumb video you uploaded on YouTube to get attention, it’s going to be impossible. Bands should be embracing their past. They should look back and say “Yeah, that was kind of stupid, but look what we do because of it!”

The past is what got you where you are today. If you didn’t have a silly song that made you popular, you would have never been popular. Keep the past. Groan at the sight of it, but remember that your fans loved you then, and they’ll still love you now even when you do change. Think of what you’re doing now, and thank yourself from five years ago.

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