If you haven’t drunkenly sung along to The Cranberries’ “Linger,” there’s room for improvement in your life. With that being said, a Cranberries’ comeback—although smirk-worthy—is probably a few years too late. As excited as some people claim to be, are you really looking forward to this? You saw the video right? It’s not that we wouldn’t love to see the Cranberries make an epic comeback. It’s just highly unlikely. It’s much more likely that you’ll continue to love singing along to “Linger” when it randomly comes on the radio and that will be the extent of your relationship with The Cranberries.
The Crannies aren’t the only ones staging a comeback. Fiona Apple, Black Star, De La Soul, and Bloc Party are all getting ready to drop new material after a long leave of absence. It’s all good, the more the merrier, right? But the timing of these comebacks just never seems to be right. It’s always hyped up in an artificial way, half-convincing you to be excited about something you used to like—half-convincing you that you could like this thing again. But it’s never the same. As much as we love the idea of pogs, slap-bracelets, and The Cranberries, these things are part of the past, and bringing them into the present is awkward and shameful. Trust me, you’ll realize this when you try to throw a pogs party. It will be fun at first. People will laugh. But you’ll get too drunk, and as people start to shuffle out, you’ll be left alone with your pile of pogs, each one a token of your past mistakes, unrealized dreams, and tragic missteps. The night will end badly. Trust me.
But don’t lost hope. Comebacks are possible. It’s all about the timing. Some bands came along at the right time, conquered, and retreated. Other bands simply came and left too soon, or left some unfinished business on the table. These are the bands that are ripe for a return.
Here are 10 bands that we want to see make a comeback.
1. The Cardigans
Their name alone is perfect for 2012, but there’s another thing: they are Swedish. Miike Snow, Lykke Li, Peter Bjorn & John, Icona Pop, and roughly 35% of the rest of the indie pop world comes from this great Scandinavian country. They had one huge hit with “Lovefool”—enough to prove their worth, but not enough to leave us so stuck on their past work that we can’t accept their new material. I know Hoodie Allen agrees with me on this one.
2. Violent Femmes
Believe it or not, the band broke up because of some bullshit drama. Lead singer Gordon Gano allowed Wendy’s (yeah, the fast food chain) to use “Blister in The Sun” for their commercials. The rest of the band was not happy. The band fought. They broke up. The Violent Femmes were always a solid group, but today’s acceptance of the off-beat, left-field, and oddball musicians sets a perfect stage for these guys to make a return.
3. Cannibal Ox
R.I.P. Def Jux. Their debut album was their last, and the El-P-produced opus was an underground classic by almost all standards. El-P has explicitly stated, “There won’t ever be a Can Ox album produced by me again and that’s a fact.” Facts schmacts, right? Our sense of hopelessness would only make another Can Ox album more amazing. #KeepDreaming #Reach4TheStars #YOLO Return Of The Ox sounds like a good title.
Note: If El-P isn’t on production, don’t bother.
4. Talking Heads
Another band that went through some friction, a Talking Heads reuinion is very unlikely. But David Byrne is a motherfucking genius, and he’s a man that doesn’t seem to get any less creative as he gets older. Still, there’s magic in a band, and anything he does post-Talking Heads seems to be somehow less meaningful. It’s unfair, but it’s true.
What happened to Live? In 2009, the band announced a two-year hiatus. This hiatus turned into a permanent break-up when it was revealed that lead singer Ed Kowalczyk wanted a $100,000 bonus just for being the lead singer. The rest of the band decided that maybe they’d just go ahead without him. Good idea, guys, because everybody wants to hear those “other” members of Live. Give the man his hundy thousy G’s and get this comeback cracking.
6. Blues Traveler
“Hook” is one of the best songs of the ’90s, if you ask anyone who knows anything. The band’s bassist died of a drug overdose in 1999, and a few years later they were dropped from the label, with lead singer John Popper’s struggle with obesity cited as one of the reasons (this is maybe racism, or something?) A few years ago, rumors circled that John Popper had died. It was not true. John Popper lives. We’re waiting. The band is planning to drop a new “Best Of” album with a tour, and is apparently going to be recording new music.
7. Primitive Radio Gods
You can call them one hit wonders, but when your one hit is “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand,” you deserve better. They had something special with this one, and it could have just as easily been released in 2011. Instead of trying to ride on the wave of success, the band chose to follow up this gem with a song called “Motherfucker,” which—for obvious reasons—got little support from their label. From there, the band fell hard. Their 2010 album, Out Alive, was offerred on their website. 35 copies were made available. Come on, guys. You can do better. We know you can, because you made “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand.”
Here’s another group that got lost in the ’90s, but if you bought their debut album of the strength of “In The Meantime,” you know that it was a strange, awesome piece of work. They had the typical ’90s rockers thing going on at times, but they also had a weird poppy side to them, and if they could hone in on that aspect—and mix in a little ’90s flavor for nostalgic purposes—we’d welcome them back with open arms.
9. The Verve
We know, we know: “Bittersweet Symphony” was awesome. As beautiful as it was, it was certainly bittersweet. With a hit like that, a band can be tossed into the colorful ball pit of one hit wonders that we all like to dive into from time to time. But The Verve does not belong in this pit. Their catalog was solid, and songs like “The Drugs Don’t Work” may not be household names, but they are just as beautiful. They’ve broken up and gotten back together multiple times, but never managed to pull off a righteous comeback. It’s time. Fuck The Cranberries.
10. Ben Folds Five
It’s been said that Ben Folds Five is best in small doses. Sometimes the quirky enthusiasm is a little too much, but it’s hard to believe that it’s been over 10 years since they’ve put out a full-length album of new material, and once we realized that, we realized that we kind of miss these guys. The good news: the band is in the studio now, and just announced last night that they’ll be releasing a new album this spring.