The More We’re Different, the More We’re the Same

I’ve been listening to a lot of new music lately, thanks to my side gig with Jason doing The Encores Club, and Whooosh! with Simon and Katy. I’m far more up to date with what has been released, or what is due to come out. One of those new releases was The Killers album, Imploding the Mirage, which was released 8/21.

The opinions of their new work are widely varied, and I won’t bore you with my own POV. (If you’re interested, we’re filming a new episode of The Encores Club that will be up on YouTube soon!) I have to say though, fan reactions don’t change much, whether we’re talking about Duran Duran, The Killers, or even Erasure!

It’s the best ever!

These are fans who just love the new album. They can’t understand why the band hasn’t gotten more critical acclaim. Bad reviews are posted and discussed on the Facebook fan groups. “How could they have gotten it so wrong?”, they wonder. The shock and utter dismay when other fans (see group below) don’t want to cheer from the rooftops about the new album, is palatable. This quickly devolves into heated debate that typically has nothing to do with the music and everything to do with proving ones fandom. Purity tests, drama. Rinse and repeat.

The rest of the categories below are regarding mostly negative or constructive responses…but I think you’ll agree that they all sound vaguely familiar:

It’s the worst ever!

These fans seem to think the band should have scrapped it and started over. It is easy to see the confidence laced with a smarmy sort of smugness in these reactions. These people have no problem letting every other fan know that they’re silly for loving the new album. Clearly, a “real” fan, or someone who knew music, would be able to see how the new music is lacking in everything from guitarists to direction. (You’d swear I was talking about Duran Duran fans here, wouldn’t you?)

Why can’t they go back to __________ (insert album name here)?

While definitely a subset of the “Worst ever” group, these fans are a little more grounded in their opinions. They are still fans, still love the band, but don’t understand why they didn’t stick with their original sound. This bit of criticism is always countered by those who say the band continues to evolve with each album and that, of course, a true fan would be supportive.Oh yes, this problem exists with every fanbase I’ve interacted with….

When are they going to get a dedicated guitarist??

Did you really think this was simply a Duran Duran issue?? Hardly. While I hesitate to call out other bands by name (The Killers), they too have a missing guitarist. Guess what they did on the last album? They brought in collaborators like Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac, amongst a couple of others. There is quite a bit of good discussion amongst fans right now about whether or not this made for a less cohesive album. Makes me thankful I’m only that involved with one band, thankyouverymuch.

This is just a small collection of some of the responses I’ve seen to new music over the past few months, nonetheless amusing. Oddly, as I’ve wandered in and out of fan communities, gauging reactions, I’ve enjoyed feeling as though I’ve had no “skin” in the game myself, for a change. I can chat with fans, understand their sense of connection to other bands and their work, and remain unbiased enough to see familiar patterns in fandom. We might have different loyalties, but our emotional responses are remarkably similar!

-R

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