Last week I posted up a "demo day" post for our Thursday Discussion -- and you would be pleased to know that all of us on staff, and from the other sites, are pouring through the submissions to find the best of the best. Hopefully soon we'll have that completed and can move on to the next stage: voting. I'll let you know when that's ready. So, for this week I've decided to focus on one of our favorite AP.net arm-chair quarterback discussions: the bands that shoulda/coulda/woulda blown up.
There's not a day that goes by that you don't read in a news post someone claiming, "this band is about to blow uppppp" or "this band is going to be hugeeeee" or "I miss Midtown." Ok, that last one doesn't really fit, but you get the idea. We love to proclaim a band is about to be huge. Most will probably deride the same band if they ever achieve this success, but during the climb, the commenters love to be on board. The fact is that most of these bands will just never explode in that way. Most of the community loved "next big things" won't become the next fun. or Fall Out Boy. The stars will just not align perfectly for the cross-over to happen, and we'll be posting "I miss..." comments in the next 5 years or so ... but that doesn't mean there aren't some bands that SHOULDABEENHUGE. And, with that - today I want to highlight some of those bands I thought were going to explode, and never did. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well, and, as always - maybe you haven't heard some of these gems. If you haven't -- you should! So check them all out.
If you were following my twitter post last night, I'm assuming you'll guess my first one. Days Away. Here's a hypothetical for you: Fueled by Ramen released the band's classic Mapping an Invisible World. If they release that exact same, Neal Avron produced, album today ... right after the success and sound of fun. -- do you not think that band has a legit shot at being all over the radio? At the very least do you not see a Days Away/Fun tour that would draw all kinds of new fans? I mean ... talk about wrong time/wrong place for a band and album.
Hmm, should I mention Midtown? Should I mention Midtown? Should I mention Midtown?
I think this thread will sufficiently provide the evidence that Acceptance should have been huge. They're basically the go-to example of a band releasing the wrong first single, and an extremely early album leak -- playing a role in a band with an album that good just never picking up the steam needed.
Butch Walker's pretty big, right? I mean - he's known for his other band, and his production/song-writing skills more than his solo work. But he's got a pretty decent following ... a good mid-level artist career. If we're being honest with ourselves though ... those American Idol haircuts are on a whole different level of success. Butch's albums shoulda been huge.
To this day I don't know what happened to this band ... and I've been trying to figure it out for a long time. So, if anyone has any info., drop that in the replies and let me know. But there's got to be a few people that remember Liam and Me. Remember that album There's a Difference? I still remember the first time I heard it ... and having that "oh, yeah - that could be a hit" feeling. Um, what the fuck conspired against these guys?
I get sentimental about Letterkills. There's something about that album that gets to me. There's something about that band seeming to be at the right time, at the right place, and still not being huge ... that I don't get. And right up there with those guys is Matchbook Romance -- those two bands I thought would be where The Used and My Chemical Romance ended up going. Umm, see, I can admit to being wrong.
I can't type "Matchbook Romance" and then not think about The Matches. I get salty eyes missing The Matches.
While a bunch of other crazy slick pop bands were seeing some good success. And Owl City's and Nevershoutwhatever's were getting crazy record deals and all kinds of hype ... I always thought My Favorite Highway and Mercy Mercedes got over looked. Yeah, I know it wasn't groundbreaking ... but I thought the songs were stronger.
As I scroll through my iTunes I see a bunch of other bands that just three years ago people were saying were going to be the biggest bands in the world ... and it just never panned out. I see bands that released disappointing follow-up albums, got fucked by record labels, or saw band drama split them up. I see the dreams of the bands, the dreams of their fans, and the ghosts of what-could-have-been caught in between the pauses of each song. I may wish they had seen the greatest success a band can see. I may wish that they had been around a little bit longer. But I can't help scrolling through my collection and know that they meant something to me. Each and every one of them. And while I would have loved nothing more than to still have a bunch of these bands making music, selling out arenas, and being talked about on everyone's tumblrs ... it didn't happen. And every once in a while I need to take a step back and look at the current music scene we get so caught up in and think about what's actually happening right here, right now. The bands that are in the mix of a similar cycle. I need to ignore the hype and the dreams and the possibilities ... and just listen to the music right now. Because that's what matters. The music. And regardless of what path these band's careers take in the future, those that stay together, those that break up, those that explode - and those that fail: their music is what we will take with us. Their songs are what we'll have to remember them by. When I think about it in that way ... they're all legends, and they're all part of my story.
I'm ending this with saying: The Gaslight Album better be huge. I'm arm chair quarterbacking this one the rest of the year.