At The Prompting Of The Polite Zia McCabe, We Revise And Extend Our Remarks
Sort of. You see, the other night Tulip Frenzy weighed in one of those world-historical important questions, to wit, “Why, after being so brilliant on their first three albums, did the the last three Dandy Warhol albums,” um, how to say this equally politely to the exchange we had with Zia? “disappoint us?”
Zia, bassist and synth player for the Dandys, took umbrage. In the comment on Tulip Frenzy and in a subsequent email, she let it be known she thinks those who cling to their fond memories of the early albums, and particularly to the more conventional guitar-riffing rock sound, as well as those who object to the funk’n'synth heavy later albums, are just boys who like guitar bands, of which there are, apparently, a lot.
Okay, she’s got a point. And to treat her objection with respect, I went and listened, in their entirety, to Odditorium, or Warlords of Mars, and to Earth To The Dandy Warhols. (Apparently we never bothered to put Welcome To The Monkey House on our iPod.) I’ll admit that Odditorium had many more redeeming features than I remembered, that songs like “Holding Me Up” are the equal of the good songs on Come Down, and that there even is a good song or two — okay, there are two good songs — on Earth To.
I’ll even do this: Tulip Frenzy herein wholeheartedly endorses The Capitol Years, 1995-2007. Yes, we believe it is flawed because it doesn’t have songs like “Ride” and “Best Friend” on it, but I guess technically they never said it was the Best of The Capitol Years, now did they?
On a serious note, it is hard for bands that burst on the scene with an original sound and a bucket of chops to keep pleasing the early fans years on. But I think Zia is wrong when she says we don’t appreciate a band as it grows. Not true, and I’m not going to go through the list of artists whose later work I like more than the early work, but let’s just say we thought of REM and Dylan, to name two.
And in a way, the choices of the songs on The Capitol Years prove the point: “Plan A” and “Holding Me Up” and others included from the later albums show significant growth, but also capture what we love so much about the band. A song like “Mission Control” could have been made thirty years ago by The Stranglers, or two hours ago by some other band of teenage British louts. It’s simply not worthy of the Dandys, in our humble opinion.
It’s also not, for example, on The Capitol Years. But several of the other really good ‘uns from the later years are. Which is why we endorse it.