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Fresh Beats: a look back at band breakups

Fresh Beats: a look back at band breakups

Fresh Beats: a look back at band breakups
October 20
23:57 2014

Matt Wood / Senior Staff Writer

Breaking up is hard to do. Bands parting ways is certainly an inevitability, as is the eventual descent into a mediocre solo career before a potential reunion tour. Regardless, it’s a trying time for fans when the bands they love cease to exist.

In honor of these potentially lost albums, these unattended shows and the regrettable solo albums, we’re here to do an autopsy on recent band breakups.

Death Grips

This one was always going to be weird. Calling Death Grips experimental is a severe understatement, combining elements of hip-hop, electronic music and punk rock into a mind-bending mixture of critical acclaim. With terrifying music videos, brutal live shows and a bewildering personality, it was a bit of a let down when Death Grips broke up with a whimper in the place of a bang.

In July, a letter was released declaring the end of the group. Scribbled on a napkin was an explanation that it wanted to quit while it was ahead, and it was still going to release an album it had finished. This also meant canceling a tour with Nine Inch Nails and performances at Fun Fun Fun Fest and Pitchfork Festival.

For a band not typically known for being stable, it was a fairly unsurprising ending. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor tweeted in response to fans, “sorry everyone… why would I have ever thought those dudes could keep it together?” That about sums it up.

My Chemical Romance

For most 20-somethings, there was some point in the trajectory of adolescence when you were a secret die-hard MCR fan. My Chemical Romance was the epitome of the “emo” genre for years, wearing black eyeliner and skinny jeans all along the way. This was a band that basically had its own t-shirt section in Hot Topic, and always appealed to anyone’s inner social outcast.

Flash forward to the band’s breakup after the announcement of its last album, a collection of singles. The statement said there was no ill will between band members, and thanked fans for 12 years of an incredible ride. Very shortly after the breakup, lead singer Gerard Way posted a solo demo on SoundCloud. Too soon, Gerard. Too soon.

The Civil Wars

Americana folk pair Joy Williams and John Paul White served a surprisingly short six-year career as The Civil Wars. The duo formed beautiful harmonies over simple, traditional instruments that felt like the ‘80s and ‘90s never happened. The two pulled straight from traditional folk influences and provided a new shine to it. They are from Nashville, after all.

The Civil Wars created a haunting brand of folk that garnered the praise of many critics and earned four Grammys, even though it only managed to put out two albums.

The breakup, like many, was complicated. For years prior to the split, only Williams would appear to talk to the press while White remained out of sight. In August, out of nowhere, The Civil Wars announced a parting of ways, citing “irreconcilable differences,” as the cause. Both musicians thanked their fans, and the pair released a cover of “You Are My Sunshine” as a parting gift. The final utterance of “please don’t take my sunshine away” as the song fades draws an incredible last breath of emotion from the pair. Although it might not be practical for all bands, this track is the kind of closure that music fans crave when their favorite band goes kaput.

Featured Image: Lead singer of My Chemical Romance Gerard Way performs in front of a crowd at the Big Day Out Festival in Australia in 2012. The band announced that they were breaking up in 2013. Photo courtesy of Stuart Sevastos – Wikimedia Commons

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