Thrice had a conundrum.
Circa 2000, Thrice was a band that thrived on pure thrash metal with quick-riff guitars and screams raging out at the billionaires who had too much power.
But time progressed and around 2005, the band too progressed. You could say they mellowed out, even though the angry howls were still there. Like a middle-aged man, the music slowed but became wiser, the driving force being Christian values from T.S. Eliot and the Bible.
So when Thrice went on tour last summer, they had to figure out how to balance the angry kids who found solace in mosh pits and the cerebral rockers who wanted to come hear this unofficial spokesperson of Christianity share his views.
The shirtless dude who found it necessary to flail amongst the crowd in a hopeless tantrum was mostly disappointed. They did the best they could to play the hits from the past, but it was consumed by the band’s growth as musicians.
We can’t live in the past. It’s why we walk when we can already crawl. It’s why we sing when we can already talk. It’s progress.
It’s fun to talk about this with music. A band puts out a new album and the cynics are quick to call it out and demand it be more like their previous work. TV shows get it too, like when “Heroes” apparently sucked after season one and gets canceled season four. If the new doesn’t fit into our little box, we dismiss it and demand it return to it’s original grandeur.
But good news, Critics. There’s an easy solution if you only like first ventures: Go back.
This is known as the Coke Theory.
Coca Cola doesn’t have these problems despite the gajillion flavors: Cherry, vanilla, lime, Zero, C2, Blak, and they could have a new one next month. Let’s say you like regular Coke but hate everything they made after that. The demand for a product similar to Coke Classic doesn’t exist because that product already exists. You crack open some happiness and go on your merry way.
Out of all the sequels (and a fourth on the way), no one cast the original Jurassic Park into extinction. I just listened to Metallica’s first album the other day, and it sounded like the exact same awesomeness as I remembered. And thank goodness we can always go back to ordinary-but-trusty cola.
So in a way, I feel bad for bands like Thrice, the ones who get the most flack for absurd reasons. People need to grow, they need to progress in their craft. Anything else becomes stale, then the hypocrites say they all sound the same. It’s not fair. Kanye had to make that 808s and Heartbreak record to properly express what he was going through. Lady Gaga is not going to throw you multiple “Poker Faces” because she, like other artists who write their own music, is not in the same frame of mind for every creation. Usually, this is where the best talent is anyway.
Referring to their new album, the lead singer of Thrice said in a video, “We’ll finally shake off the last stragglers.” He was joking, kind of. Something different is on the way and it might not be what fans expect, so they are expecting uproar. Good for them.
No one is keeping you from from the that debut album or that first season or that first film, so there is no need for complaint.