Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mineral is Reuniting and I Wish They Wouldn't

I started to listen to emo in 2002. I was too young to go to shows at that point, so I just had my CDs. I've had depressive disorders since around the age of 10, which has always made me a very sensitive and emotional person. I was drawn to emo because of its high contrasts between pure joy and abysmal sadness, and because it felt like the people making the music may have brains that worked like mine did. No one takes a 12-year old seriously when they say they're depressed, so while I suffered in silence, emo was one of my only comforts. Many of these bands had all ready went their separate ways, but as time went on, the few that remained slowly started to disapear. By 2007, virtually all of my favorite bands no longer existed, and I'd gotten to see less than a handful live.

I spent a lot of energy wishing these bands would come back, and a lot of time writing e-mails and letters to former members, begging for just one concert, one night, anywhere. One day, i got a reply from Chris Simpson, a member of my favorite band of all-time, Mineral. He thanked me for my support and admiration, but explained to me that Mineral and its music were a time and a place, and that time and place are now gone. I didn't understand what he meant back then, but in retrospect, it all makes sense.

By 2009, a lot of other people in my generation of the scene had caught on to the genius of these older bands (or at least caught on to the fact that dropping their names seemingly gave them more credibility). In any event, these bands began to notice the social media rumblings, and many reunited. Between 2009 and 2013. it seemed like any and every band from the "old days" was planning a reunion show, reunion tour, or even a new record. At first, I was thrilled. I was able to see the Get Up Kids live, and it was incredible. But, as time went on, I started to wish a lot of bands would have just stayed apart. Their live shows were tired and worn out, and their new albums seemed forced, and lacked the same magic as the old songs. I began to understand exactly what Chris Simpson meant. The reunions seemed to do nothing but cheapen the original music and turn it into some kind of novelty.

Today, when Mineral announced a series of reunion shows, I wanted to be excited. i wanted to cry tears of joy and run up and down the halls in my office..but I just couldn't feel it. If anything, I felt fear. The idea of seeing Mineral in a big room in 2014, with a crowd full of people who weren't even alive the last time Mineral played a show, makes me uncomfortable. These are people who never had to grow up with the stigma of being an "emo kid". The entire time they've been a part of the scene, emo has been a cool, retro trend that all of the most respected musicians endorse. They will never know the actual isolation and unpopularity that those of us who were around th first time remember. Back then, being "uncool" actually meant a person was not cool. Being socially-awkward didn't mean you were cute, it literally meant you didn't have friends. Being emotional actually meant being emotional, not having "feels". I truly don't believe many original fans of the band will even attend these shows, considering most likely have families, jobs, and other obligations. Even if I still lived in the US, i couldn't attend - every show is in my third trimester. Though, if I did go into labor at a Mineral gig, it would give me a good excuse to call my child Gloria.

Emo really was a time and a place for most of its original fan base. It's been 20 years since  records like Diary and the Power of Failing were released, and the world and music scene are nowhere near what they used to be. i want to keep these bands in that place.  if they feel they have to reunite, I wish they'd all do it under different names.

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