Bands are like supernovas. They swell, they explode, and just like that, they’re over. As ludicrous as it may sound, a group of people that we don’t know personally deciding to part ways can have a profound effect on us. We watched these bands grow, and in turn, they allowed us to grow, so it’s hard seeing that come to a close. In the words of the late Kurt Cobain, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Maybe so, but that still doesn’t numb the pain.
Paul - Crystal Castles
Much of Crystal Castles’ allure would undoubtedly not have existed without Alice Glass, the often-pastel-haired chanteuse opposite of producer Ethan Kath, who added her vocal charm and enigmatic personality to an already-volatile concoction of lo-fi beats and synths. Even more appealing was the band’s simultaneous disregard for — and attention — to details. Their third album cover features a powerful photograph of a Yemeni woman holding her injured son after a violent street demonstration. The band’s social commentary was always perfectly timed rather than excessive, making it even more impactful. Fanfare aside, I became mildly concerned mid-2014 when I noticed promotions for separate DJ sets by Glass and Kath on the band’s main Facebook page. “Of course, band members need room to exercise creativity outside of the band,” I would tell myself. Ultimately, the consoling voice in my head could not console the inevitable. On Oct. 8, 2014, Glass finalized her farewell from Crystal Castles on her Facebook page, talking about her inability to approach her work with “sincerity, honesty, and empathy towards others” by staying with the group. She has hinted at pursuing a solo musical career, and though Kath assures fans that Crystal Castles will live on in spite of its dramatic loss, I’m skeptical of a successful future without the shouts, chants and melodies of Alice Glass.
Maria - Noah & The Whale
When British band Noah and the Whale announced last week that each member was going their separate ways, I was heartbroken. There are several reasons to be upset when your favorite band breaks up. For one, you won’t see them perform live again, unless they possibly have a reunion tour. Two, you won’t hear new music from them again. No more anxiously waiting for albums, music videos or singles. I was disappointed for all of those reasons, but most importantly, I was mourning the loss of what I think is one of the most honest bands, and a band that I admire and love. The reason I praise Noah and the Whale so much, other than the fact that they truly have unique and brilliant music, is that they don’t sugar-coat things. Their lyrics and songs revolve around the fact that shitty things are probably gonna happen to you, but it’s your responsibility to make a great thing come out of a terrible situation. I’m truly excited to see what each member will go on to do, but I’ll always yearn for one more concert, one new song, one more thing for me to latch on to. As they say, “Blue skies are coming, but I know that it’s hard.”
Bryan - Foxy Shazam
You know “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”? Where a ratty old pair of jeans bonds four girls together even when they’re thousands of miles apart? Foxy Shazam is my traveling pants. When I moved to Austin, my best friends back home and I would geek out over them together, snatching up tickets as soon as they went on sale to catch them over breaks. And so, you can imagine my excitement when I set up an interview with lead singer Eric Nally for their November show at Red 7 in Austin. Even though their highest-charting album only peaked at No. 115 on the Billboard 200, I was starstruck. I was about to talk to one of my favorite singers in the world, and get into their show for free to boot! Then, on Oct. 27, they posted a three-paragraph breakup letter on their Facebook page and promptly canceled all remaining tour dates. Devastated doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt. Yeah, it sucked that I was losing one of my favorite bands and an incredible interview opportunity. But more importantly, my friends and I lost one of our greatest connections, one of our greatest sources of bonding. To put it simply, we lost our traveling pants. Although their future is uncertain, Foxy said they “plan on someday returning more powerful than ever.” I’ll be waiting.
Belicia - My Chemical Romance
On March 22, 2013, My Chemical Romance shattered hearts in less than 100 words as they announced their breakup on their website. The band that provided the soundtrack to my childhood was over. They had been there for me through breakups, growing pains and the stereotypical belief that no one truly understood me. My friends and I bonded over them, screamed their choruses at the top of our lungs when we first learned to drive and cried our hearts out to their songs when our hearts were broken. The ending of the band meant the ending of an era in our lives. The simple piano intro at the beginning of “Welcome to the Black Parade” still evokes nostalgia and brings tears to my eyes. Sure, I make fun of my “scene” phase now, but the band helped so many of us deal with our confusing teenage years and cope with all the emotions that come with growing up. The band, the memories and the childhood may be over, but we can always revisit those days by staring at the ceiling and blasting “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.”
Emily – The White Stripes
I knew it was coming. They hadn’t released new material in years, and both members seemed to be in a weird state of tension and their frontman had moved on to his side projects. Still, I never lost hope that Jack and Meg White would drop a flawless album and tell us that all the bullshit was just for dramatic effect. I held onto that hope until February 2011, when The White Stripes formally announced their breakup on their website. “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want.” I was a sophomore in high school, just beginning to discover what good music was. I bought “De Stijl” on vinyl and adamantly argued that Jack and Meg weren’t siblings. I read the letter over and over, looking for any indication that they were joking. “Well, I’ll give the White Stripes back to Meg and Jack if they will make me some more music,” I said. That music never came. And I still can’t watch their “Under the Great White Northern Lights” documentary without remembering the glory days, when there was still a sliver of hope that new White Stripes tunes were in store for the future.