This week, Blur bring their reunion full circle by releasing their first album in 12 years. Recorded on a whim, in the midst of a 40-hour jam session during a stopover Hong Kong at the end of 2013 as the once-fragmented band finished up their international reunion tour, The Magic Whip does something that not every musical comeback achieves: it moves beyond nostalgia.
By the most cynical estimation, the recent rash of band reunions is, in some part, driven by the payday of nostalgia-driven touring — a rare bright spot in the music industry. Legacy bands who are willing to play their big hits and most iconic albums in full after years away stand to make a lot of money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a different kind of reunion than the bands who want to exist again in a creative sense, adding something new to their discographies. The fundamental differences between these two approaches to band reunions are one thing, but when you factor in how shamelessly money-focused the former can become, you start to get a wide range when you talk about “band reunions.” It’s the taste level of Sleater-Kinney’s return to music earlier this year versus, say, the Pixies’ most recent incarnation of their decade-plus reunion efforts involving multiple tours playing classic albums, a documentary, the replacement of a key founding member, and an elaborate roll-out for a new album.
In light of Blur doing it right, we’re taking a look at those who also did, and those whose thirst and shamelessness is downright palpable. They’re ranked from most to least egregious.