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Hardwired To Self Destruct: Rock Stars Peaking And Coming Down The Other Side


Everything is true until it isn’t true and then it isn’t, in the US there are third acts a-plenty. This year alone, Metallica returned from the wilderness with a terrific new album, Leonard Cohen has spent years on the comeback train right to a coupla weeks before his death and the Stones have, miraculously, come on out with their album since, what, 1978? However, this is about those who peaked and disappeared, so bring your handkerchiefs for heroes who are over…

Here I’m not bothering with the obvious, say 1980s stars (Bon Jovi or U2 or something), but 90s and later…

Coldplay -It has been five years since Mylo Xyloto, and the two albums since then have been turkeys dead in the water. Live, they are Bon Jovi, great for 20 minutes of hits but a drag once they delve into their catalog. Bey blew em off their own stage at the Superbowl. They know this and are well on their way to becoming a nostalgia act.

Conor Oberst – He peaked in 2009 and will always be an 00s and not a 10s phenom. From Outer South to Monsters Of fFlk, to Bright Eyes redux, to two crap solo albums in a row -decline and fall.

Jay Z – It’s been thirteen years since Hov last really mattered, and everything post-retirement,  Kingdom Come and on, has simply not been as good. Since his last album, in 2013, his wife has been ten times better and right now, he is good for a greatest hits package at Barclays whenever the mood takes him and that’s it. Tidal is about to lose Prince  (albums are already disappearing) and they will be officially useless.

Justin Timberlake – This guy hit a home run in 2006 but 20/20 1, for all its powers, was a step down, and 20/20 2, despite the magical “Not A Bad Thing”,  was two steps below that and worse than all of them was the entire horrendous Trolls enterprise. An overreach of epic proportions and the end of his run.

Laura Marling – I am still in a state of shock over this one. From 2008 – 2013, Laura went from strength to strength, the streets of the world filled to overflowing with fans in awe of her stupendous skills, all heading towards Once I Was An Eagle, a top five album in 2013. And then a bad album, a bad live performance, and a bad new single for 2016. An astounding misreading of her gifts.

Titus Andronicus – In 2010,  Titus Andronicus were in the process of making dreams they didn’t even know they had come true. Between their eponymous debut and their greatest rock opera of all time, The Monitor, Patrick Stickles was in the market to change the world and then… he imploded, a bad follow up and an all over the place follow up to the follow up, and back in the cult factor. Which is how Patrick wanted it no doubt, but it isn’t what we wanted. He was the honest roar of rock n roll having a nervous breakdown.

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