June 27, 2006

Sleater-Kinney retire

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at June 27, 2006 4:44 PM

Or rather, go on "indefinite hiatus". As I've mentioned before, this was the band that got me into indie rock, so it's especially sad news.

I'm now really glad I decided to see them instead of Bloc Party at Coachella. (I also saw them play last year at the Warfield.)

sleater-kinney

Tags: Music
Comments

Most bands need to not exist forever. Most bands only have two (at most) good albums in them. If a band errs on the side of caution and retires early, it's possibly for the better.

(Lesson learned as mental focused switched from careerist metal bands to ephemeral indie bands)

Posted by: NL | June 28, 2006 10:16 AM

This is true. Sleater-Kinney had a good run and their last two albums were great, so by retiring now we're spared the inevitable decline.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | June 28, 2006 1:07 PM

Actually, I would prefer the bands I like to continue recording new things. There are times when I may not like it as much, but if even one songs I really like comes out of it, I can handle a lower ratio of good/bad. I can just choose not to listen to the stuff I don't like.

I can certainly respect a decision to quit while on top, but I've always been of the school to keep plugging until nobody will let me do it anymore. If there's something I really love (which I imagine is true of making music for most of these bands) and I still love doing it, then it's much better to keep going even if the quality may not be the same as before.

Posted by: Mason | June 28, 2006 3:34 PM

NL: If a band errs on the side of caution and retires early, it's possibly for the better.

Totally disagree with you on that one. Bands fight hard enough to get their work out there to begin with. To be cautious when you're at the top of your game just because you don't think you can do better than you've been doing is cowardly. If every band just decided to quit because "Hey, we have two albums that people like now", then there'd be a lot of good music that's not out there. To keep taking risks for the creative process and expressing oneself, whether or notthose risks are successes or failures, or whether or not one's own expression alienates original fans even, is what makes art so worthwhile to begin with.

Of course, if someone feels fulfilled in a particular purpose and ready to move on, then more power to them for following their own heart. But I doubt you'll ever hear me say, "Good. They decided not to try anymore."

Posted by: Josh | June 28, 2006 6:59 PM

I'm not saying it's a decision that is easily made. It's just a decision that I wish many bands had made. This is the perspective of the consumer, n'est-ce pas? Not to individually quit forever, which would indeed be cowardly and not-artist-like, but to reform, revitalize or at least fuckin' rename. The concept of careerist rock seems to confine artistry.

Of course, as a content-producer rather than -consumer, I probably would agree that given the struggle to get name recognition, bandmates you like, and a fanbase which is dedicated, moving on in the name of artistic integrity would be difficult. Yes, this probably makes me a hypocrite...

Sleater-Kinney's decline might not have been inevitable; they could very well turn into the...no example comes to mind...but would one really look forward to a future where one might have eight Sleater-Kinney albums? I find it much more palatable (and likely to produce good music) to see work from former members working in new milieux.

Posted by: NL | June 29, 2006 12:42 PM

I want to contribute to this debate but I can't decide which side I'm on.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | June 29, 2006 3:03 PM

I'm with Josh, but don't really have any constructive comments to make other than that. :)

Oh, thought of one. Green Day's album American Idiot. It's their tenth (I think) album, and while i've liked individual songs from the previous ones, I immediately fell in love with the whole album upon hearing it. It feels like a different expression than previous albums/songs, and i'm extremely glad they've continued to refine their work. :)

Posted by: Zifnab | June 29, 2006 3:46 PM

I think we agree on similar points here overall, honestly. What I disagreed with in what you said was your preference that the band "err on the side of caution and retire early."

If they honestly don't think they have any more good to come from their being together as a band, then I have no problem with it. They should do what they want, how they want to.

But I certainly don't think that a band should consider a certain "term limit" of albums before they officially grow old, and to "err on the side of caution" is pretty much the opposite of what rock is about. The point is to take risks, and I think that a lot of the reason people dislike the careerist music is that it's erring on the side of caution in and of itself.

On the other hand, just because AC/DC has made the same album 20 times doesn't mean that the next CD is going to make me punch things and scream out "Fucking AC/DC, man! They're making money off of that! That makes me sick!" Sure, I won't buy the CD, but if they're having a good time making their music, let them. I'm not physically or emotionally hurt by it. And those that still buy the music will still enjoy it. And as Zif said, sometimes a CD will come along and surprise you after years and years.

Then again, I'm not the sort of guy who starts to feel betrayed by a band if they start losing touch over the years. There are a lot of pitfalls to be had in long-lasting music careers, whether you keep the same image and seem stale to half the fans, or change your image and seem like a sell-out to the other half.

Fact is, everyone's gonna want it to go a little bit differently if they were in charge, but I for one am really glad that David Bowie never erred "on the side of caution."

Posted by: Josh | June 29, 2006 7:54 PM

I greatly prefer the bands I like continuing to make the music I like (with several bands having many, many albums I like---certainly much more than 2 each) and feel that my morale/life would be much worse if I had less of their music to enjoy. (I can just not listen to any of their songs that I don't like.) The whole idea of a band making

Posted by: Mason | June 29, 2006 11:30 PM

I wanted to cite My Bloody Valentine as evidence either for or against, but then I realized that they really tried for years to make a follow-up to Loveless, and only disbanded because their label stopped funding them, which is a little different.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | July 1, 2006 11:31 PM

i have at various times thought the Rolling Stones should break up and reform as the Rolling Stones Cover Band. Similar for R.E.M. It would spare the original brand some embarassment, and we'd keep getting live shows.

Posted by: shep | July 2, 2006 6:34 AM

Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed several songs on REM's most recent album.

In terms of all songs of a band (or all albums of a band) sounding the same, I have been remiss in not bringing up Wesley Willis. :) Some people I know think he's "awesome," but I think a better description is memorably awful.

Posted by: Mason | July 2, 2006 12:47 PM

Josh nailed the notion of art for art's sake. Totally nailed it. Artistic fulfillment is its own reward.

Once that is understood all that is required of one is to make peace with obscurity.

And go back to making art your own way.

The crowd either goes along or it doesn't. Over that the artist has no control.

Posted by: JSpur | July 2, 2006 5:17 PM
Post a comment