Another year, another flurry of band reunions. Some have been very welcome (MCR, RATM, Hole and – for the terminally emo among us – Bright Eyes); others not so much (not even JLS can be that excited about JLS getting back together). Band reunions are one of the few certainties of life, whether we want them or not.
It got us thinking: which bands do we really, really not want to see hit the road for one last hoorah? Here are eight acts we would rather not witness burying the hatchet any time soon…
Such is the cut-throat nature of the charts, pop groups tend to have a modest life span. The Spice Girls were originally together for just four years and Take That for six, so One Direction had a decent run with the five years before Zayn Malik left and the wheels started to fall off. Will they follow their aforementioned pop predecessors in reuniting years down the line? It’s not a dead cert. Sure, people occasionally eat their words (Charlie Simpson rejoining Busted being one particular case in point), but it’s going to take a lot to convince Zayn to go back to performing music he once described as “generic as fuck”.
Why it would suck: Sometimes you’re just better off apart and we really wouldn’t want to see Harry Styles trade in his bombastic Jagger-bops and accompanying flares for a Burton-suited man-band reunion.
An obvious one, yes, but for good reason. The Smiths’ break-up was particularly messy – they had already parted ways before the release of their fourth album, 1987’s ‘Strangeways, Here We Come’, amid a toxic atmosphere that included Morrissey running out of the studio as soon as he was done recording and Johnny Marr saying he “didn’t form a group to perform Cilla Black songs”. But the aftermath was even messier: a bitter royalties dispute, decades of barbed words exchanged as well as the band members’ increasingly divergent political views (Marr recently responded to reunion rumours by wryly suggesting they get “Nigel Farage on guitar.”)
Why it would suck: Marr may have been joking about Farage on guitar, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see Anne Marie Waters in the crowd if this nightmare did occur. The Smiths originally split because Morrissey and Marr had differences creatively, but now they’re just two completely different people. It’s a no from us.
Watch The Throne
A Jay-Z and Kanye collab album always seemed a natural thing to end up happening. After all, Hov was Ye’s biggest influence and West was responsible for Jay’s best beats. The album ‘Watch The Throne’ saw both artists push each other to produce a grand and epic, star-studded affair that still holds up against the best in their collective back-catalogue. While the former friends have fallen out in recent years, there’s been talk of a follow-up actually materialising (according to the definitely reliable Kanye, at least).
Why it would suck: Watch the Throne was a once-in-a-lifetime music moment, the coming together of two rap titans at the height of their powers and influence. But putting their personal differences aside, both artists’ hit-or-miss recent output means that ‘Watch The Throne Pt.2’ would most likely be a case of Bad Reboot Syndrome. Think True Detective Season 2, but Yeezy and Jigga instead of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn.
Who actually expected Klaxons’ career to span nearly a decade? Come on, be honest now. This is a band, after all, that had a song (a certified banger, by the way) based around the DJ sound from a Yahama keyboard. In their near-decade years together, though, the trio spear-headed the nu-rave scene, took home a Mercury Prize, released an underrated second album and had the sense to call it quits before it was too late. Since then, James has launched his solo project Shock Machine and worked with the Arctic Monkeys, Jamie has teamed up with Gorillaz guitarist Jeff Wooton and Simon’s been busy running marathons. Not bad.
Why it would suck: We all love a bit of nostalgia, but do we really want to suffer the indignity of booking a babysitter and buying a bunch of glow sticks, both in the same day?
Things don’t get any more definitive than releasing a final album called ‘Destiny Fulfilled’. The R&B trio brought an end to their era of chart-conquering in 2004, a year after Bey‘s first solo record. They said they wanted “to end on a high note” and “give our fans a great final record,” and duly delivered by serving up some late-career gems in the form of singles ‘Soldier’ and ‘Cater 2 U’. Since then, they’ve reunited live several times (2006, 2012 and 2018) while also collaborating on each other’s tracks over the years.
Why it would suck: There’s no way of this not being ‘The Beyoncé Show’, is there? (Sorry, Kelly and Michelle.) Bey is the biggest pop star of our time, so let her focus on moving things forward rather than looking back. But a Beyoncé and Solange collab album? We’d be here for that.
Some bands don’t break up, some go on hiatus. Sonic Youth were very much of this latter group. Upon band leaders Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore’s marital separation, the group fulfilled their existing tour commitments, saying that “plans beyond that tour are uncertain”, before guitarist Lee Ranaldo lightened the blow by remarking that they were simply “ending for a while”. Since then, there’s not been much indication of a SY reunion, with Gordon referring to the group as being over in her memoir, and all the band’s members pursuing their various extracurriculars (Gordon’s recent solo LP was a particular highlight).
Why it would suck: Ranaldo recently told us that, if the band were ever to reunite, he hoped that they would have forgotten how to play their old songs and just made new music instead. It’s an honourable sentiment, but we say let’s just leave it altogether, shall we? Sonic Youth were always too cool for sappy reunions anyway.
Rather than a dramatic break-up, or issuing an “indefinite hiatus” press release, OutKast did things a little different, slipping away rather than going out with a bang. Following 2003’s ‘Speakerboxxx/The Love Below’, a double album that basically combined a solo record each from Big Boi and André 3000 into one big package, came a 25 track, 78-minute blues-swing experiment-come-movie soundtrack, ‘Idlewild’. After that, Big Boi went solo while Three Stacks mostly escaped the spotlight (excluding the odd Frank Ocean guest verse). They linked up again for a reunion tour in 2014 but, as anyone who saw their Coachella performance (and even André himself) would verify, it wasn’t quite the same.
Why it would suck: On one hand, OutKast would certainly have something to prove third time round. But then again, we’d rather just get that long-awaited André 3000 solo album, thank you very much.