In Praise of (Mostly) Triumphant Returns
By Whitney Weiss
Whoever said there are no second acts in American life was clearly not familiar with pop music. Upcoming tours and one-offs from Fleetwood Mac and Prince prove that in an industry where artists are designed for obsolesce, it’s possible to neither burn out nor fade away, but to age gracefully instead while singing songs about doves and infidelity well into ones 60’s. Here’s a quick breakdown of some pop icons enjoying new life in the 2010s…
While it’s fair to say that Fleetwood Mac’s success began in earnest in 1975, we’re still including them in this list. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes (and cocaine residue and subsequent benzos addiction), Stevie Nicks got back into her groove towards the late 1990’s and her energy during recent tours, which have included the debut of brand-new songs that don’t suck, has helped the band transcend its ickier 90s moments. 2013’s way-successful tour—which included a show at Jones Beach last summer where Nicks made an entire amphitheatre want to become her best friend—prove that the Fleetwood Mac is solid and relevant once again.
The recent wonderful news that Christine McVie is finally on board again means that Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming fall jaunts will be the first in a long time where you can hear Little Lies and You Makin Lovin’ Fun and Everywhere. So basically, it will be perfect (not to oversell, but seriously).
From gaunt, blonde and on loads of drugs to gaunt, blonde and costarring with Tilda Swinton in his videos, David Bowie has also overcome missteps of past decades to solidify his status as still-relevant pop icon.
His most recent crafty move: enlisting James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem/aspiring coffee magnate fame to rework Love Is Lost, a track from 2013’s The Next Day, into a 10-minute burner appropriate for contemporary dance floors. This is almost enough to forgive David Bowie for recording a song for The Rugrats Movie soundtrack in 1998.
Oh, Madonna. You were so relevant for so long, like when you schooled John Oates at 1984’s New Music Seminar by preternaturally understanding the importance of music videos.
But everything since 2002 has been a real stretch (and Instagramming pictures wearing costumes from Game of Thrones hasn’t helped matters, either). However, your tours sell out and you still made Like A Prayer and Like a Virgin and Borderline and Lucky Star, so you’ll live on in our hearts and on our dance floors, though maybe circa the 1990’s at best unless something changes soon.
At the opposite end of the spectrum there is ethereal singer/songwriter/otherworldly being Kate Bush, who managed to take a 12-year break from releasing music, because it’s better to be silent than to be mediocre, and still remain iconic once she started up again. This year, she proved that extreme patience is a virtue by announcing her first shows since 1979, all 22 of which sold out in 15 minutes. If your Facebook wasn’t flooded with tales of infinite woe from those who didn’t snag tickets to her upcoming London dates, count yourself among the fortunate.
And then, then there is Prince. Even renouncing his more suggestive songs and deciding to duet with Zooey Deschanel cannot dissuade the outpouring of love and devotion he continues to inspire in a surprisingly diverse cross-section of the population. Calling boys with guitars boring, recording a brand-new album with an all-female band, and playing cheap shows there was no chance in hell of you getting into without waiting in line for 14 hours are his latest moves in endearing himself to fans forever. Musically speaking, Breakfast Can Wait is actually sexy…
…And Da Bourgeoisie where Prince’s girlfriend leaves him for another woman, is funky without being embarrassing.
And at 55, his mere presence still leads to a level of awe best expressed by (the unfortunately slightly homophobic) Sherri Shepard on The View in 2011.
Also here is the best description of Prince EVER…
Did you first think Prince was gay?
Lisa: He was little and kinda prissy and everything. But he’s so not gay.
Wendy: He’s a girl, for sure, but he’s not gay. He looked at me like a gay woman would look at another woman.
Lisa: Totally. He’s like a fancy lesbian.
Wendy: I remember being at that ‘Sexuality’ video shoot and him on stage with that little black jacket and that tie thing around his neck and his black pants with white buttons on the side. And we looked at each other for the first time and I thought, ‘Oh, I could so fall in love with that girl easy.’ It doesn’t matter what sexuality, gender you are. You’re in the room with him and he gives you that look and you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m done. It’s over.’ He’s Casanova. He’s Valentino.
For more by Whitney Weiss visit her website: www.whitneyweiss.com
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