Growing up is hard to do.
Some older hard rock fans overcritiquing for the wrong reasons.
In this article, prominent webmaster the LL Kid (www.defleppardsupersite.com) argues that rock fans should allow their favourite bands to change styles as they choose.
You could say the Internet came at a perfect time for fans of hard rock music. In surfing the Net, you would think that the rock of the 80s never went away. Diehard fans of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Van Halen and co. would populate the web with more devoted, more enthusiastic, and more popular web sites than fans of newer artists/groups.
The population of the internet fan communities for these artists were also large, and becoming the only means of keeping in touch with news that otherwise wouldn't be reported by MTV, NME, Rolling Stone, and the rest of the "hip" media outlets.
However, with this initially quick uniting came an equally quick division when these bands began releasing new material in the mid-90s. Lines were drawn harshly; those who felt the change in direction that accompanied those albums was a sign of required maturity of the music, a fresh change, and a masterpiece, and those who felt the changes were disappointing, and that their favourites should have stayed on the same direction as on the classics.
Disappointing CD sales for all of these acts only fuelled the fire in these debates, sparking animosity that revives itself with every following release. The negative vibe started dominating the landscape of the conversations, with second-guessing at every turn. In fact, a first glance at any of these mailing lists, message boards, and a visitor might think they stepped into an anti-band forum.
After a near-decade of seeing all the arguments and debates, I've come to the conclusion that all the fuss is not so much about the music. The fact that their latest CDs haven't gone multi-platinum is not a sign they were not good, especially in today's fickle market of "here today, gone tonight".
Most of the nay-sayers are people of my age, my generation, the "me generation" of the 80s. It was us as teenagers who grew up buying and listening non-stop to Hysteria or Appetite For Destruction or Number of the Beast. It defined our youth, it accompanied us through the good times and the bad times. We loved that music, we idolized that music. It's the reason we became diehard followers.
But since Nirvana's Nevermind and the rise of rap, those of us who raised our fists to rock have felt like outsiders in the music scene of today, and that is a lot of what is bothering many of us enough to be this picky and negative with our favourite bands. Heck, 80s hard rock was an unwanted child even back in the 80s, but the success probably made us feel we belonged, like we were in tune with the other kids. Even if we didn't want to feel in tune, we could proudly boast that us "outsiders" were the majority.
Today though, we are not kids, many of us have no idea who half the new bands are, and we don't have as much time to devote to follow music like in our youth. Therefore, when it comes to "our bands", we hope they make a dent in the charts so we can feel like we felt back then, that we feel we're still in touch with what the kids like today, and that we don't feel too old.
At times the music reflects the songwriting maturity and diversity of the artist. For better or for worse, these bands want to do something more reflective of their songwriting influences today. Sometimes it appeals to the new audience, sometimes it
It's simple; if you don't like the new music, don't buy it. If you don't want to be a fan anymore, than don't be. If you want to hear their classics, that's why you have their past albums. Every music decade will bring young lions ready to take over from our old lions. That's the way it has to be.
That doesn't mean our bands should just fade away. They still feel they can offer something of quality, so they still fight the good fight. So like it, or don't, but don't hang along for the ride like a defiant child on the way to the dentist because it is just pointless in the end. Just put all the unnecessary thinking aside, you might find it can still be a pretty good ride.
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