Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tea Party Broke Up Without My Official Permission

I was listening to some Tea Party songs the other day and I realized that I hadn't heard anything about any new album coming from them for years now. I decided to check out the band's website to see if there was any news of an album I'd missed over the past several years, or one forthcoming, and I came to a most troubling discovery. The Tea Party has broken up. Back in 2005. No one had notified me.


Why do all the really great bands with so much potential break up so quickly? Course of Empire, Stabbing Westward, countless others, and now Tea Party are no more than a blink in the collective consciousness. Yet Metallica is still a band. Red Hot Chili Peppers are still making music. All of the truly original and really great bands break up after only roughly a decade, yet these other bloated, self-indulgent, utterly clueless bands saturate the market with album after album of really mundane, lackluster, half-hearted attempts at musicianship and they continue to be successful because the public has just resigned itself to the notion that there is nothing else left. Mediocre artists can succeed at being mediocre because there's no one better to compare them to. Metallica, U2, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam — they don't even have to try anymore.

Of course there are alternatives who are still putting out quality music. Megadeth is nearly as old as Metallica, has put out more albums, is far less pompous, (except when Mustaine is comparing his band to Metallica, for which I'll make an exception because they deserve it), and their last two albums kicked all ass. Killing Joke is another one. They've been around since 1980, lived through several incarnations and are stronger and more prolific now than ever before. Iron Maiden reuinted with Bruce Dickinson in a huge way. Simple Minds have steadily put out some of the most inspiring and creative music in the new wave genre since their inception; even when they were criticized for being washed-up stadium rock has-beens, their music was still interesting for what it was. Yet all of these bands are underground. With minor exception, none of them gets played on the radio, and even if they do, it's never any of their latest releases. There are no exculsive tracks debuted on select stations. There are no interviews on Leno. They don't even get a blurb on mainstream entertainment news sources like MTV or E! mentioning, even derisivily, that they have a new album coming out. We've become so inundated with really crappy music that the general public wouldn't know a talented band if it came out and gang raped them.

So I guess it's no Led Zeppelin-tinged angsty goth rock for me. Granted Jeff Martin came out with a solo album and a couple of live albums, but from what I can discern so far his solo material isn't quite as good as his material with the band. I mean, it's obvious that Jeff Martin was the creative head and main songwriter of Tea Party, but his first solo outing seems to lack the power and the depth that he was able to create with the full band. This album is primarily weak, acoustic tracks. It's by far not as energetic or as powerful as the albums he was creating with the full band. It's essentially Robert Plant leaving Led Zeppelin to create an album full of "In The Mood." (I know you know the song. It's the one where he just keeps repeating "I'm in the mood for a melody / I'm in the mood for a melody / I'm in the moooooood.") So it's essentially what Robert Plant did for the rest of his career following Led Zeppelin. As long as the chief songwriter of Tea Party is "in the mood for a melody," I guess it's safe to call the band officially over.

I just wish these people would consult me before splitting up and producing half-hearted efforts on their own because I would put it in perspective for them. No, Tea Party, you're creating good music. If you want to put out a semi-acoustic album full of mediocre, insincere ballads, go join Bon Jovi. Red Hot Chili Peppers want to break up? It's about time! I was about to break them up myself, with a fucking crowbar.


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