We recently asked you to tell us about your worst breakups – not with romantic partners, but with artists. The response was swift and uncompromising and inspired us to devote this week's All Songs Considered to the topic. (Look for it tomorrow).
What used to be right is wrong.
For some, the breakup came when their favorite acts fell in with the wrong crowd – like The Avett Brothers after they brought on Rick Rubin to produce 2009's I and Love and You. Commenter Kathryn Colohan writes that Rubin "stripped away all the screaming and the raw emotion and polished the sound to be too shiny, too happy, too clean."
Others felt that they and their beloved artists had simply grown apart — like David Warshauer, who says he hasn't been moved by Elvis Costello since the late '80s, when the original "angry young man" ditched his band The Attractions, signed to Warner Brothers, and kicked off an eclectic new chapter in his career. "All of [Costello's] genre exercises show off his record collection, but the personal voice that spoke to me isn't there," writes Warshauer." Maybe because he really isn't angry anymore, and neither am I."
A few people actually met their idols in person, and were mortified by what they found. Beth Schmidt shares this particularly harrowing tale:
"When I was in college in 1977, I was concert committee chair at the University of KY. One of my favorite artists, Jimmy Buffett, came to town, and I couldn't have been more excited. I was working stage crew when he showed up to assess progress. He took one look at me (the only female there) and let loose a whole string of expletives about how he didn't want a ?$*#@ woman touching his stuff. He went to our faculty supervisor and had me pulled off the set-up. I went straight to the dorm, broke my Buffett albums in two, and have never listened to him again."
There were, of course, a few usual suspects. R.E.M fans told of how nothing's been the same since drummer Bill Berry quit; Radiohead fans expressed their frustration at one too many experimental detours. One that's dear to my heart: A dozen fans of Weezer's early albums explained that 2001's self titled "Green Album," 2002's Maladroit, and 2005's Make Believe basically amounted to three strikes – you're out. Cristina Miller says that when she listened to the last of those, she pulled the aural equivalent of a double-take:
"I listened to it in its entirety, and then again a couple days later. I had my husband listen to it just to make sure I hadn't lost my mind (I hadn't). And then I sold it. I was so pissed off I couldn't even bear to keep it in the house."
At the end of the day, though, there could be only one champion – one artist who'd left a trail of broken hearts longer than any other. Who's the king of the bad boyfriends? Would you believe...the biggest band in the world?
So many of our readers have broken it off with U2, at so many points and for so many reasons. Here's my favorite, from Joseph Rose — a longtime fan who still hasn't quit, even though he knows he's not in love anymore.
"Things started to fall apart with All That You Can't Leave Behind. The relationship has become predictable and boring. I've stopped listening to them for months at a time, spending more time with new bands such as The National and Mumford & Sons or old friends like Pearl Jam and Neil Young (hoping Bono and the boys might, through some act of telekenetic grace, take a hint). They take more than they give. Yet whenever they come to town or release an album (pretty much the same album over and over since 2000), I'm there, buying it on vinyl and paying too much to go see them live. Maybe it's time to say adieu — after I see them one last time in Seattle in June, of course."
Thanks for the great stories, everyone — we feel your pain. But lest we get too caught up in the relationship metaphor, Mark Zepezauer offers this closing bit of perspective:
"Your favorite band isn't like your spouse or your lover, whom you court ardently, then break up with if irreconcilable differences appear. For me, my favorite bands are like my pals who I enjoy spending time with. And over the years, while I may spend more time with one or more of them, I drift away from others. But I never really 'break up' with my buds. I still like 'em just fine, and I wouldn't mind hanging out now and then. It's just, you know, I'm kinda busy, man."