One of my newest “virtual” friends is a young woman who describes herself as a Tori Amos fanatic.
I told her that while I really enjoyed Amos’s first two CDs, Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink (from 1992 and 1994, respectively), I was disappointed by her subsequent releases, and I’m clearly not alone. Her third disc, a trifle called Boys for Pele, was the beginning of a long creative slide, and I noted with some despair that Rolling Stone magazine gave an alarmingly mediocre notice to her new CD this week.
My fanatical friend informed me that her personal favorite Amos CDs were more recent efforts, and that I hadn’t given her enough of a chance.
Spoken like a true fanatic.
Maybe I should give Tori’s albums from the last 10 years another listen. Right now, though, I’ve got the new album by They Might Be Giants in the stereo. I used to be quite a TMBG fanatic, but in recent years, I have noticed that they, too, have experienced a backslide in musical creativity. They seem just as prolific as ever, following a popularity resurgence that sparked with “Boss of Me,” the theme to the popular TV show Malcolm in the Middle. Lately, though, they seem to be focused on writing music geared exclusively for children. Back when I discovered the Giants, even their “adult” work was quite accessible to children. Oddly, it was only when they started to release music specificially for kids that I began to lose interest in their work. The new CD, Here Come the ABCs, is certainly their weakest collection of songs (with the possible exception of their last CD for children). I can’t believe there’s a kid in the world who would be interested in listening to throwaways like “Pictures of Pandas Painting” or “Fake Believe.”
Enough kid stuff, John and John. They aren’t buying albums. I am.
Is it inevitable that our musical heroes are destined to fall back on weak material?