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What goes up… is an entertaining (but oh so cynical) Guardian article about the rise and fall of “Firework bands” (aka one hit wonder indie bands) complete with a timeline and a PDF of the career trajectory of The Thrillers, a fictional firework band.

This paragraph on music fans is amusingly brutal:

Anyone who does manage to become genuinely successful faces stratospheric expectations for their next record. Consider the Music, the Vines or the Polyphonic Spree, all of whom delivered more-of-the-same follow-ups to a withering lack of interest. Music-making has become a kind of gladiatorial combat, in which bands battle for attention while record-buyers casually tilt their thumbs up or down, forever craning their necks to examine the next contestant hovering at the arena entrance.

It’s true that there’s an awful lot of this going on — the turnover rate for new exciting bands appears to be accelerating. Though at the same time it seems like most of those bands and labels over-spend to achieve something that was never meant to last, so what did they expect?

Posted on - May 1, 2005 [at] 5:21 pm by Brad
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2 Comments on this post

Erik on What goes up
May 2, 2005 at 4:03 pm

People on the selling side of music want to push something that’s NEW! NEW! NEW!!!! so what you get is a bands whose main selling point is that they sounds unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. When it comes time to make their second album, you can’t really say that you’ve never heard anything like it before, because you’ve heard a whole album like it before.

It seems to me that rap stars understand “career mapping” alot better than rock stars do. Like Eminem will drop an album, then just do like one guest vocal on someone else’s record, then do a movie, then another solo album, then a album with his group, then ummm, stop. Or something. But like 2 Eminem albums back to back and everyone would not want to hear anything from him.

JB on What goes up
May 4, 2005 at 11:55 am

Yeah but I wonder if the turnover is any greater now than it has ever been. We’ve always had one and two-hit wonders. I can think of plenty of bands whose first album I loved and who subsequently flopped. The Breeders. Dinosaur Jr. Meat Puppets. Quiet Riot. Men at Work. Men Without Hats. I dunno how much more prevalent this is today.

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