The Second Coming of No Doubt

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome musical artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more.  Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce you to some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future!

THEN: Before the Spice Girls and the bubblegum pop princesses of the late 90s, Gwen Stefani was serving up her own brand of girl power. As lead vocalist of the ska band No Doubt, she brought her fearless fashion sense and formidable vocal ability to the world of pop. The band’s traditional ska sound on their debut album failed to deliver commercially, but the more polished sound of their 1995 record Tragic Kingdom was applauded by critics and fans alike. The GRAMMY-nominated record spawned monster singles like “Just A Girl,” “Don’t Speak” and “Spiderwebs,” placing No Doubt in the sweet spot of achieving mainstream success, while still staying true to their roots. The band followed up Kingdom with another GRAMMY-nominated record, Return of Saturn, which piggybacked off its predecessor in terms of sound. Just one year later, No Doubt released Rock Steady, which showed a sharp turn of musical direction with its dancehall and reggaeton-infused tunes. The album was a mega pop success, churning out the ubiquitous “Hey Baby,” “Hella Good” and “Underneath It All.”

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The Second Coming of Refused

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity,  fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour again. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.

THEN: It’s fairly common to see a film or a book gain more recognition once the lead actor or author is dead. It’s not as common to see the same thing happen when a musical act breaks up. In 1998, Swedish punk band Refused played their final show to a sparse crowd in a basement in Virginia. In an interview with DrownedInSound.com, guitarist Kristofer Steen remembers: “We were too dazed to feel any sadness at that point. What kept us going for as long as we did was a sense of loyalty to the group that was bordering on the suicidal. The band had been more important than any individual needs for a long time.” Refused had been struggling to stay afloat for quite some time, and this final tour was the nail in their proverbial coffin. Before that, of course, they had released several studio albums: This Just Might Be… the Truth in 1994, Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent in 1996 and The Shape of Punk to Come in 1998. Shape spawned the anthemic single “New Noise,” but thanks to the band’s breakup a few months after its release, the album was not truly recognized for its contribution to the genre.

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Second Coming: What Do Holograms Mean For the Future of Live Music?

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity,  fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour again. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.

We usually discuss comebacks and reunions in Second Coming, but in light of recent events, we felt it was necessary to address one of the hottest topics being debated in the music industry right now: the hologram. The half-awesome, half-creepy performance of “Hologram Tupac” at this year’s Coachella Festival sparked both excitement and outrage from the music world. Those who were present at the event said the audience mainly expressed confusion at the haunting display of technology (which isn’t technically a hologram…but the terminology has stuck).

Snoop Dogg with Holo-Pac at Coachella 2012

After the initial hype died down, many began to question what Holo-Pac could mean for the future of live musical performances. Would we soon be seeing holograms of Michael Jackson? The Beatles? Jimi Hendrix? And is it even ethical to use a person’s likeness in this way after they’re gone? After all, Tupac never lived in a world where Coachella existed, so he never said “What the f*ck’s up, Coachella?” Whether it was the use of voice replication technology or a very good impersonator, it’s tough to say whether or not this kind of performance add-on is morally correct.

Since Holo-Pac, there have been other talks of using this technology beyond Coachella. There were rumors that Dr. Dre was planning a world tour with the ghostly image of his former peer, though he has recently denied having any plans to do this. Last week, the surviving members of R&B/hip-hop girl group TLC added to the hologram buzz when they announced the possibility of bringing late member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes with them on their upcoming reunion tour. Others have considered the possibilities of a livestreamed hologram of an artist that is actually performing in another city. The introduction of the hologram could clearly have a big impact on live musical performances, but the jury is still out on whether or not they should become commonplace.

Are you for or against hologram performances? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Second Coming of DMX

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity,  fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour again. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.

THEN: DMX (a.k.a. Earl Simmons) didn’t have a typical childhood. As a kid living in Yonkers, New York, he learned to steal money from drug dealers”a hobby that quickly landed him in group homes and juvenile detention. When he was off the streets, he turned to rapping and beatboxing to pass the time. After he was written about in a column about unsigned hip hop artists, DMX was signed to Columbia Records. The signing led to the young rapper scoring a few guest spots on the albums of hip hop heavyweights like LL Cool J, Mase and The LOX. When it came time to drop a single of his own in 1998, DMX did not disappoint. “Get At Me Dog” was certified Gold and the classic “Ruff Ryders Anthem” from debut It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot is still heralded as one of the best hip hop songs of all time. Later that same year, he released a second album, Flesh of My Flesh and Blood of My Blood, which followed Dark to a No. 1 Billboard debut, a feat only accomplished before by Tupac. After all this success, it was X’s third album, …And Then There Was X, that truly catapulted the rapper to star status. The single “Party Up (Up In Here)” has become an iconic anthem for every frat party and dance club rave since its release. Unfortunately, X’s following two albums couldn’t seem to match the sales or the commercial success of his third record. His last album was released in 2006.
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The Second Coming of S Club 7

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity,  fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour again. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.

THEN: We’ve talked about O-Town and Backstreet Boys, but there’s another ’90s pop group that ruled not only our portable CD players, but also our television sets. England’s S Club 7, a group comprised of four chicks (Rachel Stevens, Tina Barrett, Jo O’Meara and Hannah Spearritt) and three dudes (Jon Lee, Paul Cattermole and Bradley McIntosh) made a splash on the pop scene in 1998 with their hit TV series S Club 7 in Miami. In the sitcom, these bright and cheery Brits sang and danced their way around their new city with tunes as sunny as Miami itself. At the end of the century, the group released “Bring It All Back” as their first single, and the track achieved Platinum status. What followed was S Club 7 mania: their own magazine, singing dolls, made-for-TV movies and more. As the years went on, the group became drained by the constant traveling and multiple projects. When Paul Cattermole left S Club in 2002, the band found that they were not able to successfully continue in his absence. In April 2003, the band announced their split on-stage, much to the disappoint of fans worldwide.

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The Second Coming of Fiona Apple

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you’ve loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more. Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future.
THEN: Fiona Apple made a splash on the ’90s music scene with her debut album, Tidal. Thanks to the success of the album’s third single, “Criminal” (and its suggestive accompanying video), 20-year-old Apple quickly became the poster child for sullen, piano-based pop. “Criminal” drew a sharp contrast to rising Top 40 radio stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera back in 1997, as did Apple’s tendency to discuss taboo topics and include obscenities in her speeches and interviews. Her second album, When The Pawn… (as the full ninety-word title is typically abbreviated) was not a mainstream hit, but it did solidify her status as a powerful alternative rock icon. Musically, Apple went off the radar until 2005, thanks to delays in completing her album meant for a 2003 release, and a rumored strain in her relationship with Sony Records. Following the leak of the entire album, her fans rallied together against Sony, demanding that the album be released for sale. This third effort, Extraordinary Machine, was met with critical acclaim, but Apple continued on to only record one-off songs for other projects in the years following its release.
NOW: At the dawn of 2012, Epic Records chairman LA Reid tweeted: Lots of good music coming from @Epic_Records in the next few weeks. Stay tuned music fans. Welcome back Fiona! In March, Apple announced the title of the new record to be The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do (yes, really). In preparation for her comeback, she performed at the South By Southwest Festival and did a small tour of several sold out shows. For now, keep an eye out for The Idler Wheel, which will be released this June. And based on the ticket sales for Apple’s shows earlier this year, we’d expect a tour to be right around the corner, too.
Though it was pretty tough to turn on MTV in the late 90’s without seeing the risqué video for “Criminal,” this is nothing compared to what we see today: