In the past month, two of my favorite bands — Yellowcard and Green Day — released new albums. Both of them came out with major CDs in my early high school years (“Ocean Avenue” my freshman year in 2003, “American Idiot” the following year), and I’ve been hooked on both ever since.
Ever willing to show my true age of 54, I eschewed the iTunes store and picked up physical copies of the two albums in an actual place of business (I know, I’m old-fashioned). I was ready to power through them multiple times in one day and iron out my list of favorite songs.
One problem: Both albums were unbelievably disappointing. Yellowcard’s “Summer Air” sounded like almost no effort was put into changing up the style of their comeback album (released in 2011, which probably should have set off the warning lights). And “¡Uno!” by Green Day might have been worse, though that’s largely because the band has a deal with ESPN to play “Let Yourself Go” over seemingly every highlight montage. Other than that, the band seemed to get away from the poignant lyrics it had shown in its previous two albums (admittedly, both of those were rock operas, but that’s no excuse for boring songwriting).
This development has left me stunned. Could it be two of my favorite bands have gotten washed up? Or is it that I’ve grown out of enjoying their music? One of my big issues with both these albums is that, even with the decent songs, the bands had already done them better in previous years. I can still listen to their old songs — the ones I fell in love with — over and over again, but I can’t be sure how much of that is simple nostalgia for the days of yore.
My musical tastes have definitely evolved since my high school days. I’ve gone farther away from the pop scene and more into modern rock and bands like Muse. I’ve never really been up-to-date on music, but I’ve been able to hear of more new bands now than I did — it used to be “new” for me was a song that was 2 years old.
With these changes, I feel like I’m going through a kind of musical awakening, or maybe a rebirth. I do hope that I’ll be able to pick up future Yellowcard and Green Day albums and realize they’re still capable of producing music that hits just the right chord with me, just like the good ol’ days. But I’m getting the feeling that, whatever the reason, those days might be gone. Here’s hoping my new musical loves can fill that void. (I think they’ll be just fine.)