Once Around The Sun Is Nothing: Legacy preservation in the new century
This coming Wednesday, October 21 2015, is an auspicious day.
It is the day that I turn 35.
Best wishes can be sent to my twitter account.
Now anyone who knows anything about anything will tell you that October 21 this year is a special day for another reason alltogether.
It is the day that Marty, Doc Brown and a knocked out (and different looking) Jennifer arrive from the year 1985 to help save Marty and Jennifer’s future kids.
Since the 1989 release of Back To The Future Part II, people have been waiting in anticaption for their damn hoverboards and self-drying jackets. Some things have sort of come true. Pepsi are releasing a limited edition Pepsi Perfect, Universal put out a cheeky trailer for Jaws 19 and maybe, just maybe, the Cubbies might win the World Series.
A quarter of a century since seeing this glimpse into the future, the three things that have stuck with me are:
- Elijah Wood still looks like an 8 year old.
- Flea’s performance as that jerk Needles could be the sole reason I care very little about the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- That we are blessed not to have a fourth instalment or a reboot of the Back To The Future series.
Many people will say that Part III puts a stain on the series. Those people are idiots and deserved to be cast into the fiery pits of hell.
It is true that Part III is the weakest of the trilogy but was necessary to complete the story. If the only redeeming feature of Godfather III is this scene, then surely Back To The Future Part III gets a pass for the commanding performance of Thomas F. Wilson as Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen.
The only stain related to this series is how this tour de force never resulted in an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Whilst Universal have found others ways of squeezing dollars out of the original films (another anniversary release anyone?) we have thankfully been spared, what would almost certainly be, a groan inducing addition to a great series.
Talk about sentences you would never have expected to one day read.
Having broken up back in 1983/84, Chisel reunited in 1998 to answer the prayers of young men and women all over Australia who were too young to see them live the first time around. Since that time they have toured the country a number of times as well as recorded three studio albums of new material.
It is strange to think that more time has passed since they reunited than the period when they were on hiatus. And that felt like forever.
The Perfect Crime is a strong companion to The Last Wave Of Summer (1998) and No Plans (2012) in that it further defines their creative output during their second act.
Whether that creative output was absolutely necessary is up for debate.
Given the envious collection of memorable hits and anthems that they produced during their first run in the late 70s and early 80s, no one would have been disappointed if the lads had reformed just to play the classics each and every night.
But such a repertiore of songs gives artists the license to go back to the well and give the audience something new.
These last three albums have been consistent in both style and structure without any of them being as memorable as their mid career peak of East (1981)and Circus Animals (1982).
A brief an unimportant side note: ‘No Good For You’ from Circus Animals is one of those great ‘should have been a single’ tunes. I feel it is only deserving that it gets an airing right now.
The origins of the post-reunion albums can be found in their 1984 swansong Twentieth Century. Despite the appearance of classic singles like ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Flame Trees’, Twentieth Century is a fractured and bloated album by a band in the throes of breaking up. I have this vision that the sequencing of the record was done not by the band members but their legal representatives.
In a way, the last three albums suffer the same characteristics: too many songs, not enough Ian Moss on vocals, and a number or two that sound strangely like a Jimmy Barnes solo tune (yes there is a difference).
The Perfect Crime, like the other two albums since 1998, is not terrible by any means. The title track is another strong chapter in the outlaw tales they have been crafting since their debut album. Elsewhere, ‘All Hell Broke Lucy’ brings in some tasteful brass and some Stones swagger.
Chisel’s decision to continue to release new albums has thankfully not been a case of legacy burning. That said, there has been scant evidence of any sort of legacy building since 1998.
Sometimes the silence is the better option.