As I sat in the office wondering what to write about for today (at the time it would have been considered the next day), and nothing had hit me for awhile. A “review”? No, I don’t really want to go down that avenue. A piece about some of my favorite artists? No, too hard to narrow down. So what?
Well, it hit as I was driving home from work last night. I was tired admittedly, and while I don’t often like to turn on my radio these days, I needed it to stay awake. So I flicked the dial – just kidding, in this day and age it’s “pushing a button”, and what song played? The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two”, and then I thought to myself, “I’ve got an idea”.
There have been numerous thinkpieces citing the Band Perry’s almighty fall from grace, and I’m late in covering all of that, but that’s not what this is about anyway. Really, I just want to have a place to say, “I miss you, Band Perry”. As someone who enjoys a good rootsy country sound, this band was providing something different from the mainstream when they arrived onto the scene. “Hip To My Heart” wasn’t all that special, but the remaining singles from their debut album all had a certain flair to them that was unique. Moreover, it showed a band with a ton of promise.
2012’s Pioneer seems to draw ire from the traditional crowd (and even some hardcore Band Perry fans). Personally, I found that the added pop-rock textures contributed to their signature roots sound instead of detracted from it. The title track may have been one of my favorite songs of 2013, and “Better Dig Two” had such a creepy, malicious tone to it that I couldn’t believe it was a huge hit in 2012! It also goes to show how far country radio has slipped away since 2012, but that’s another discussion for another time and place.
It wasn’t even like the music was simply good, they were also having some tremendous success with it as well! One might argue that their cover of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind” hindered their success by peaking at #30 on the Billboard Country Airplay charts, but come on, that was a song merely intended to draw promotion for the I’ll Be Me movie. The point is, this band was red hot.
And then “Live Forever” happened. It’s sort of like when your child, a promising architect decides that he’s happy working forever at the local 7-11. Yeah, you’ll go far with that Bobby. Way to let Mom and Dad down. Jokes aside, it wasn’t that the band wanted to push their love for Pop even further. After all, we all got a taste of that on their Pioneer album. It was admittedly disappointing to hear the direction the band wanted to go in as a fan, but still, I didn’t want to begrudge them any success they desired.
But then it became more than just the music. That changed, yes, but so did their attire, and worst of all their attitudes did as well. It’s no surprise Scott Borchetta didn’t want anything to do with them. They were completely off their rockers.
Ever since then, they haven’t been the same at all. “Comeback Kid” was an incredibly offensive double set of middle fingers towards their fans, and their new song “Stay In The Dark” isn’t terrible, but it’s so lifeless.
As I sit and type this, I’m listening to some of my favorite songs of theirs like “Pioneer”, “Better Dig Two”, “All Your Life”, and especially their cover of “Gentle On My Mind” and wondering what happened. They went from a family band to looking like the Simpsons, and now it seems they’re in their goth stage. Again, all of the best words about this band have been said by others. This is just another letter from a former fan.
I’m not angry as I type this. Again, I don’t begrudge anyone their success. I’m just disappointed as a fan, because while we’ve had artists we all love fall from grace, normally it’s because of label politics. It’s rare that the band kills their career all by themselves just as the Band Perry had.