As the end of the year fast approaches we’ve spent its final few weeks wallowing in all the great music that’s come our way. But, well, it wasn’t all happy families in 2013. Some bands decided enough was enough. Some went out with a spark, some with a whimper and others had little choice but to split. So, let’s take a look back.
“Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing,” wrote My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way on the band’s website in March. “We’ve gotten to go places we never knew we would. We’ve been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We’ve shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end.”
It sounds as if MCR called it a day in dignified fashion, coming to a full-band agreement with a statement that combined sentiment and a clear-eyed decision that it was the end of the road. But no one told guitarist Frank Iero. “It was a long time coming,” Iero admitted to Kerrang. “But I didn’t foresee it happening at that moment. The announcement and what happened. It was done for the right reasons. I just wish the timing was a bit different.” Oh dear.
It was a similar story at the polar end of the pop spectrum with Girls Aloud bowing out at the top – with, um, dreadful single ‘Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me’ and some blockbuster tour dates – and splitting in regimented, forensically managed fashion. Girls Aloud’s ascension to a better place had been coming for months. Everyone knew that. Everyone, apparently, except Nadine Coyle. “You should know by now I had no part in any of this split business,” she tweeted to the fans.” I couldn’t stop them. I had the best time & want to keep going.” Coming from someone who’d looked as if they’d rather be anywhere else since about 2006, this was less than convincing.
Other bands shuffled off this mortal coil in 2013 in rather more plausible circumstances. There really was nowhere for Lostprophets to go after Ian Watkins’ arrest – “We can no longer continue making or performing music as Lostprophets,” they announced on Facebook in October, but HMV were busy making their decision for them anyway. The Postal Service on the other hand blazed out on pleasant terms, rounding off their belated lap of honour at Lollapalooza in August, never really in it for the long haul. The slightly more volatile Mars Volta fell to pieces just so Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala wouldn’t have to share the same oxygen anymore.
But sometimes it’s all about frustration. This autumn we also said goodbye to Tribes who, after four years, two albums and three whole weeks on the chart, broke heart(s) across the globe. “We are proud of what we achieved together,” their statement read, to blank looks all round. And New York shoegazers Asobi Seksu finally tired of making lovely music no one gave even half a hoot about, but suggested “we may write for Asobi again in a couple of years” to general apathy.
No such promises from Swedish House Mafia, whose long, painful demise was confirmed with their final live appearance in March. Worldwide celebrations were cut short when everyone twigged this only freed up Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello and Axwell to wreak their awful devastation three times over, like an EDM Hydra.
Finally, the killer blow came from The Flaming Lips. On 24 October they shocked Twitter with the terse words, “We have sad news. We’ve broken up…”, just months after releasing their finest album in years, ‘The Terror’. Twenty minutes later : “lol just joking guys”. The worst part of finding out the feed had been hacked was the realisation that it wasn’t actually them telling everyone to buy the new single from X Factor flops Union J. Now that really would’ve been going out in style.