Tuesday 25 October 2016

The Corrs... Forgotten, but not forgiven

They sold millions of records, but now The Corrs are reuniting, no one cares

Published 13/06/2015 | 02:30

Bland on the run: Will The Corrs still be boring when they return?
Bland on the run: Will The Corrs still be boring when they return?

The news that The Corrs are to reunite after a decade in the wilderness will come as a surprise to many - particularly everyone who had managed to forget the Dundalk folk-popsters had broken up in the first place.

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Though terrifyingly popular in their prime, The Corrs are one of those bands that erased themselves from our memories the moment they ambled into the sunset - we can dimly recall their being all over the radio a long time ago but, press us further, and we draw a blank. They truly did seem to disappear without a trace.

Indeed, with hindsight, it is astonishing that The Corrs could shift 30 million records even as they only vaguely intruded on the public consciousness (have you ever met a hardcore Corrs fan? - no you have not). Fifteen years or so after the fact, their biggest hits have coagulated in our collective recollections into one sticky, saccharine mass, aside from their agreeable cover of Fleetwood Mac's Dreams (successful in that it didn't depart from the spirit of the original). You may also vaguely remember their lovely hair and gleaming smiles - or was that B*Witched?

Another explanation as to why a Corrs get together is so underwhelming is that their split was devoid of drama. The final days of The Corrs were not enlivened by backstage brawls, crockery-hurling or Gallagher-grade bickering - and, more's the pity.

"We emerged after our lives going in different directions - babies and all that," Andrea Corr told the BBC this week, outlining the logic behind their return (they are to play Hyde Park in London in September). "We're in the process of making a new record, so feels just right to do this. It's exciting."

Hmm Andrea - we're not sure 'exciting' is the word. Perhaps 'predictable' or 'crushingly inevitable' would be more accurate? In addition to reminding us bland, bloodless music was a thing before The Script and Ed Sheeran, the rebooting of The Corrs is evidence of just how devalued a cultural commodity the band reunion has become.

There was a time when your favourite warhorses patching things up constituted a real turn-up. The Eagles 1994 reunion was a proper eye-opener - with so much bad blood swirling about, fans genuinely thought they would never see the craggy rockers share a stage again.

Nowadays, in contrast, band reunions are so matter of fact it is a bigger surprise when a group DOESN'T come back together. Can we, for instance, agree to stop pretending that an eventual Oasis reconciliation is in doubt?

Noel and Liam will, no doubt, continue to dutifully sling barbs at one another in the press for the next several years. And yet the idea that they will never again belt out Supersonic side by side is preposterous. You might as well claim that Westlife are never going to put together a comeback tour.

The reason band reunions have become workaday is that, with record revenues plunging, comeback tours are the only means by which veteran musicians can earn a crust.

Talk to anyone in the music industry that they will tell you that album sales are nowadays so negligible that, unless your name is "Taylor Swift", they contribute zero to your bottom line. If you want cold hard cash you have no choice but saddle up and take your music on the road.

This has, over the last decade, given rise to a new phenomenon, the obligatory comeback nobody much cares about. The listlessness that can result was on full view when, in 2012, 90s darlings The Stone Roses played Dublin's Phoenix Park - the gig was so underwhelming that not only did it leave many in attendance stifling yawns, it retroactively ruined memories of why The Stones Roses were special first time around.

Ditto the Spice Girl reunion of 2008, such a non-event that few were troubled as it petered out two thirds of the way through.

What's to be done? Perhaps we should stop pretending to be besides ourselves every time a band from the annals announces it is heading out for one last payday (sorry, one last opportunity to connect with their fans). It's a charade we ought to abandon - except in the case of one of those rare bands that seemed to really mean it when they said they would not be returning (this is a very exclusive club, that includes Talking Heads, The Smiths and REM and few others).

Artists have a responsibility too - to make their reunions more than dreary box-ticking. We can, for instance, all imagine precisely what The Corrs record is going to sound like. It will be soft at the edges, gooey in the centre. Fiddle solos will feature.

Why not mix things up by delving into thrash metal or happy-hardcore, or roping in Keith from the Prodigy in as guest vocalist? That would be a surprise worth making a song and dance about.

The worst musical reunions ever

The Beatles: Or should that be 'The Threetles?' In 1995, the three Beatles then alive, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, wrote some music to go with an unfinished John Lennon demo, Free as a Bird. It was evidence that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to.

The Doors of the 21st Century: It is often claimed that the mercurial, enigmatic Jim Morrison WAS the Doors. With this 2000s reboot featuring The Cult's Ian Astbury as stand-in vocalist the matter was settled once and for all.

Queen: Shrugging off the passing of Freddie Mercury, Queen have continues to tour with a variety of replacement vocalists - none a patch on the iconic Mercury.

The Spice Girls: We all suspected they were a bit rubbish - but it was the height of Britpop so our standards were low. But when Scary, Sporty, etc regrouped in the late 2000s there was no getting around the fact that they were basically All Saints without the tunes.

Irish Independent

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