Don’t stick to the Status Quo

OJ Watson vents some anger about tossers who can’t appreciate musical diversity.

boston square Busted charlie simpson Corn Exchange deaf havana fightstar Music

I hate some people. You’ll know these people. They’re the people who say they don’t like a band’s new album because it isn’t like their old stuff. Tossers.

Let me set the scene. It was last term and I was waiting outside the Corn Exchange to see Deaf Havana; a six-piece band from Norfolk touring with the success of their most recent album, Old Souls. They played a great set starting with their anthemic opener, Boston Square, and playing a stonking cover of The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love. Now they’ve had their ups and downs; they’ve notoriously disliked touring and playing the same songs each day, and perhaps have lost faith at times after 8 years, 6 albums with 2 record companies, and the departure of their previous vocalist. Nonetheless, they were having a great time on stage; playing such a range of great songs and ending a cracking night that earlier saw Charlie Simpson (of Busted and caterpillar eyebrow fame) also loving the freedom to be his own musician.

Deaf Havana – Boston Square (seriously those vocals make me orgasm)

So it was a great night, I had a good sing-a-long, and felt inspired to go back and pick up my guitar. It was great. So why am I writing? Well in efforts to extend the known depths of procrastination, I came across a review only yesterday of the night by another student paper. I wish I hadn’t, I really wish I had the perfect memory of the night but no – it was soiled like Dr. Dick‘s many hats.

Their main criticism with Deaf Havana’s performance was their “lack of musical direction”. On first glance perhaps this is fair; their set material does cover a range of genres from pop-punk to anthemic-rock with some folk-esque aspects. But does this take away from their performance? Of course not. Does this, however, take away from their success as a band?

I mentioned earlier that Charlie Simpson had put on a stellar attempt to reincarnate himself only earlier that night – what better example could I have of why musical diversity is so important? Many would say Charlie Simpson never enjoyed playing in Busted. I’m not saying that he didn’t enjoy his time with them; the experience taught him immense amounts and has given him the platform to pursue his musical interests. His musical interests, unlike the rest of Busted/McBusted, had moved on, however. His follow up post-hardcore project Fightstar certainly left the hordes of female Busted fans a tad confused (check out Palahniuk’s Laughter for an example). His most recent solo career is again another change in direction; one that I feel charts how his musical interests and personality have matured. On the night in question, Charlie Simpson and his band put on a good show, opening with a crowd favourite, Parachutes, from his debut album Young Pilgrim.

Charlie Simpson and his infamous eyebrows

Charlie Simpson and his infamous eyebrows

Charlie Simpson was a teenager when he joined Busted and the founding members of Deaf Havana came together at school. It’s not surprising then that in the last 10 years their musical tastes have changed. I would argue it’s not a lack of musical direction but simply a changing love of musical styles – a love that is an asset. Charlie Simpson may have achieved greater fame with Busted, but his true passion and diversity led him to Fightstar, who gained huge respect within certain circles in the noughties. In the same way, Deaf Havana may have finally found their big break with this new album, but it was their pursuit to find music they felt happy playing that ultimately led to their success.

Charlie Simpson – Parachutes (grab your parachutes now before you “fall” in love with this track)

These bands will probably not change the music we listen to, but you don’t have to look very hard in history to find examples of musicians who did; musicians I’m sure whose directions were questioned in their own time. Miles Davis was instrumental (no pun intended) in the extension of most major developments in the jazz world, but was criticised for starting and leaving projects so quickly. Also simply put – The Beatles; such a range of musical styles that undoubtedly cemented them as the greatest and most influential band of the rock era. And recently I heard someone say they didn’t like Daft Punk’s latest album as it wasn’t like their old stuff. As I said earlier – Tossers.

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Just my opinion, but I think anything that can expand the world of music and change what we listen to must be a good thing. So let’s please get rid of The Lion King remix in Cindies. Please.