The typical emo 2007 era bands, such as All Time Low, Panic! at the Disco, and All- American Rejects are still together. As of 2017, they’re continuing with touring, producing records, interviews, and autograph signing. This is something that may come as a surprise to many. (Fallout Boy doesn’t fall under this category – their newest album went platinum.) Music listeners will often ask themselves if the fact that the bands are still together comes as a surprise to them. Does this indicate a lack of success on the musicians’ part? People love to refer to these type of bands as guilty pleasures, often making fun of themselves and shrugging their shoulders when they admit they still listen to them. This makes it difficult to pinpoint where their success lays. Is their fan base truly smaller, or are the fans just less pronounced and quieter?
A popular phrase to describe these bands is washed up, a term that comes across as very callous and harsh. For example, even though Panic! At the Disco theoretically hit their peak eleven years ago, 2005 with their notorious single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (a song that now has achieved a cult-like status) the group actually performed in Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago, which is an opportunity that most musicians would die for. Another added benefit to a group continuing past their peak is that even though the fan base may be smaller, they are more devoted and honest. Seats at stadiums will be filled with listeners who know all their lyrics by heart and have been listening to them for years,with a much deeper connection. This contrasts to ten years ago when listeners most likely came just to hear the band’s few popular songs that were played on the radio. This possibly makes it easy for members of these types of bands to brush off comments such as, “I didn’t even know that they were still together!” or the tendency for everyone to only bring up their older, more popular work, which is invalidating for any artist to hear.
A look at the MMC Community gives insight when it comes to the way listeners honestly perceive their throwback groups. When asked what typical emo bands they used to listen to, when, why they gravitated towards them at the time, and if they still listen to them, Cyrus Adams, a Theatre Arts major at MMC, says, “I listened to Paramore because I felt like it pulled me towards experiences that I hadn’t felt yet, probably because I was so young. I still listen to them today, both for the nostalgia and because these days, I can actually relate to what they’re saying.”
“The All-American Rejects came around a time in my life when I really needed to feel that special connection, and when I finally heard Dirty Little Secret for the rst time, I knew it was okay to tell someone my dirty little secret. And I like their angst-y tunes.” Says Aaron Weatherly, a freshman at MMC, when asked the same question.
It is clear that many current listeners are choosing genuine admiration for these bands’ music as opposed to pure nostalgic purposes.
There aren’t many other types of careers outside of music, or the arts in general, where a peak is common. It is important for music listeners to have a non-judgmental definition of success when it comes to how they perceive their favorite musicians. If a teacher’s success isn’t measured by how many students they have, why should an artist’s success be measured by how many albums or tickets they sell? Similarly, if a doctor’s success isn’t measured by how well known they are, but how effectively they treat their patients, why should a musician’s success be perceived by how often their songs are played on the radio? To combat this unfair perception, nostalgic music listeners should simply turn up their seventh grade anthem, shamelessly wear their hot topic t-shirts, and continue to give these artists the respect they deserve.