Quit while you’re ahead

By Peter Boskey

While browsing the Internet, I found an interesting tidbit of information. Phil Collins is giving up touring due to hearing loss.

Now, I am sure a majority of the DeKalb campus doesn’t really care. I don’t really care, either, but the subject caused me to think of something bigger — old groups that just don’t know when to give up.

Granted, I am sure there are a slew of Phil Collins’ fans that are disappointed and I feel for you. But think about it. This man would not give up until he physically hurt himself. There are a few artists that I hope do not wait that long to give up: Aerosmith and Santana.

Let’s start with Aerosmith. When will they stop? I would like to say they should quit while they are ahead, but that time is long gone. The songs they put out now don’t sound like the “real” Aerosmith they used to be. Instead, all their songs now sound the same. For instance, listen to “Crazy.” Then, listen to “Cryin’.” They are the same song! Sure, they aren’t the exact same song, but they are very close — close enough that for a long time I thought they were the same song. Personally, I think that the only reason Aerosmith were around long enough to make that song should be accredited to Run DMC. If they didn’t redo “Walk This Way,” Aerosmith would have been long gone. Enough of Aerosmith, let’s move on.

Santana. When I used to think of him, I thought of tracks like “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.” You know, songs that actually had feeling. Now what is he? A sellout.

What put the nail in the coffin is the new single he released with Michelle Branch, “Game of Love.” Wow, is that track the opposite of what Santana used to put out, or what? Santana used to be about full Latin percussion circles, wicked guitar solos and drugs. Now he is singing with Michelle Branch over a song that sounds very familiar to the New Radical’s “You Get What You Give.” I can’t wait to see who else appears on the album. I hope it is as stellar as the “Supernatural” line-up he had, which included Pepsi spokesperson Wyclef Jean, the overrated Dave Matthews and the one-hit wonder Everlast. Needless to say, I am not a fan of that album, either.

Are you noticing a trend with Santana? He doesn’t do anything anymore. He plays a few guitar solos on every song and that’s it. Record executives do everything else now from producing his songs to pulling in big names to be featured on the album to help it sell. All his songs are pop music, and it is depressing to see someone that had such a good sound lose credibility because of the necessity of appealing to the modern crowd. He’s another one that can’t quit while he’s ahead, because he has been too far behind for a while.

I’ll be the first to say that, if I were a record executive, I would try to milk these groups for everything I could get out of them. But these groups need to worry about their dignity. Had they quit earlier, I would still respect them.

Now, they just seem to be selling out.