Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop (Week 37)

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Sex, Drugs, And Bubblegum Pop is the most outlandish column on UTG. Written by Mr. Jayce, vocalist for Secret Secret Dino Club and all-round funny guy, this column isn’t as much about the music as it is the experiences people in the music industry have.

WARNING: This column does and will continue to contain content some readers may find offensive. If you don’t have a sense of humor, this column is probably not for you.

It seems to become increasingly more difficult for me to get into a band’s new album. Most of my favorite bands still put out new music, which I should find exciting, but I really don’t. Lately I’ve been really thinking about this.

Statistically, a band’s first album is their most popular. There are definitely some exceptions, but if you look into the numbers, the first album is generally the one with the most sales. First albums are new, exciting, fresh, and take a long time to make. They usually lack a complete focus or direction. You can feel the angst and the on-the-fly-ness in the recordings. The famous quote is “you have your whole life to write your first album, and then a year to write your second”, which is true. What happens to bands and artists over the years that makes them create music that you no longer like? Or is the music the same, and just the fans that change?

Having written a lot of music in my lifetime I can tell you that I have certainly changed over the years. It is almost painful to listen to my first album now. It is hard to comprehend that at one point, that is what I thought was cool. Sure there are a few shining moments that I’m proud of, but as a whole it is tough to listen to. If someone with a lot of money came to me today and asked me to make another album that sounded exactly like my first, I don’t think I could truly do it. I don’t have any of the same influences. My creating process is completely different. Nothing in my life is the same as it was then. The only thing I can do is try my best to make something new and hope that people understand where I’m going.

To go online and trash a band for changing and not sticking to their roots is insane. Imagine you wrote an essay in high school 10 years ago. Would you take that essay and post it on your Facebook today as something you believe in? Odds are you wouldn’t. In fact, you would discard that essay, hope no one ever saw it, and pretend you never wrote it. It takes a lot of courage to continue singing songs you wrote in a completely different point of your life. There can be moments of nostalgia where it seems cool, but it’s not good for anyone to live in the past.

Including myself, we need to let bands grow and become the artists they need to be. Don’t suffocate them by telling them how much better their old music was. Let them keep trying. If your favorite band’s new album isn’t good, it doesn’t take away anything the created in the past. Continue supporting them and hope they create something that you can appreciate again. Or just buy their old albums on vinyl.

Mr. Jayce

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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