2007 Reunions: Should They Record?

2007 is shaping up to be the year of the one-off reunion. The Police. Genesis. Van Halen (for a glorious 18 minutes). Rage Against the Machine. Squeeze. And that?s just off the top of our heads. These once (and still) beloved bands have patched up their differences, dusted off the groupies, and climbed into bed with Ticketmaster. Smart money says they?ll go all the way and actually record some new material. But should they? Can they approach their creative peaks, or should they be content to cash in on nostalgia? Here?s our take on four upcoming reunions.

The Police
PROS: The Grammys showed that these guys aren?t afraid to rip, remix, and rebuild. And besides, after the Lute fiasco, Sting owes us big time.

CONS: They broke up at their peak, and aside from the misguided “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86” (they were actually supposed to record a whole album of remakes, but Stewart choked the hell out of Sting), they haven’t marred their catalogue at all.

WE SAY: No! We love ‘em as they were, not as they are. Though we’d definitely be curious and would probably buy it anyway.

PROS: Combine the 1970s, Peter-led Genesis (great), with the 1980s, Phil-led Genesis (ever better — sacrilege to say, but you know how we feel about Phil), and you get a Tarzan-writing, prog-rocking, easy-listening monster.

CONS: In 1997, a “re-formed” Genesis recorded the worst album of the decade with the lead singer from Stiltskin(?!). You can watch the video for “Congo” and see the disappointment in Mike and Tony?s eyes.

WE SAY: Hell yes. Will it be transcendently awful or surprisingly good? Either way, we don’t see much downside here.

Van Halen
PROS: The “new” songs with Diamond Dave on their 1997 Greatest Hits weren’t bad. And, it’s the 23rd anniversary of 1984.

CONS: Van Halen has been unsuccessfully trying to reinvent itself since Sammy Hagar was replaced by a drunken robot, with the low point being that Gary Cherone nonsense a few years back.

WE SAY: Definitely. The world needs more real rock stars, and, for all of his idiocy, David Lee Roth (the “Panama” version, anyway) was one of a kind. Hopefully Eddie gets himself cleaned up in time to make this happen.

Rage Against the Machine
PROS: They haven?t been gone long, so they’re still fresh. Audioslave wasn?t our favorite, but Tom Morello can still bring it.

CONS: Their protest rock only seemed edgy when there was nothing for middle-class white people to be angry about. World?s a different place now, and their anti-capitalist, anti-establishment ranting might come off as reactionary — or worse yet, boring.

WE SAY: No. They need to lay low for a few more years, let this whole “global war on terror” thing blow over. Then they can come back and record an album of pissed-off songs about, say, Medicare reform.