Declaring that musical reunions are merely commercial ploys for bands to top up as soon as they run a little low on their fortunes seems like an overly jaded stance to take. But in this capitalist world, where Take That’s Progress reunion tour earned the boy band over 180 million dollars, I cannot help but wonder if it’s an accurate one.
Shining a light on the staple Spice Girls reunion, however, invites the further question of whether bands reuniting after a prolonged hiatus is actually more down to the obsessively retromaniac nature of our society.
Usually what accompanies a huge reunion is a new release. Blur’s 2015 The Magic Whip is a recent example, which, in the moments when it does sound like a Blur album—and these are far and few between—at best seems somewhat forced. If reunions are predominantly driven by acute feelings of nostalgia, instances like these compel many to wonder what the point actually is.
Sure, there is the undeniable fact that through these get-togethers youths get to experience bands they thought they’d never get to see live in a way that far surpasses listening to any record, however good the sound system.
Thinking back to the euphoria felt by many of my friends upon seeing the Stone Roses during their massive comeback tour last summer quickly undermines any negatives. Yet what about all the veteran fans, and their feelings of a youth that is permanently lost directly tethered to Ian Brown and co. smashing it at these live shows—is there not a cruelty or sadness to these prolonged moments of nostalgia?
Then again, God help us all when One Direction suddenly decide that they all miss each other and would like nothing more than to spend the better part of a year learning dance routines and perfecting their lip-syncing skills together. Such a constant rehashing of the past is just not necessary and, I for one, believe that music needs to move forward—as far forward as is possible from the likes of One Direction at least.
With such high expectations almost always falling short, it seems that all that continually pushing for reunions amounts to is an ultimately disappointing search for bands who will never again reach the heights of their greatest hits.