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Then & Now: How your favourite artists’ classics compare to their latest hits

September 6, 2016

Does Green Day’s new music take a dookie on their legacy? Is Snoop Dogg as good as Snoop Doggy Dogg? And are Blink-182 really better off without Tom DeLonge?

We’ve all heard (and debated) about the evolution of music, and the deterioration of quality artists — basically like writer and comedian Jake Fogeinest says, we’ve debated “why music totally sucks today.”

The notion is that times change, music changes, and people change; it’s pretty much inevitable. Still, we latch on to nostalgia to keep the mundane world out, and our once optimistic “music will always be like this” mentality in.  As much as we may want to believe we can employ cryogenics on our favourite acts, it’s just not possible… yet.

So, we can learn to appreciate the progression seen in music or choose to be disgruntled forever. The fact is your favourite bands are probably still making music (or touring classic hits forever), and for that we thought it would be cool to see what really wins between the old and the new.

Here are some acts/bands whose catalogues continue to grow, and how their new songs compare to their work of the past.

GREEN DAY

Then: “She”

Yes, there were two records before <i>Dookie</i>, but the diamond-selling third album, which earned them a Grammy, is what got people most turned onto the band. Dookie produced five singles, including “Basket Case” and “Longview,” and it also gave us the fast-hitting punk riffs heard on “She.” Loud and abrasive, “She” helped bring the California rockers into the spotlight, and also into the warped workings of Billie Joe’s mind.

Now: “Bang Bang”  

“Bang Bang” is the newest offering from the band and can be found on their upcoming twelfth studio album, Revolution Radio, due out early October 2016. With lyrics like “Daddy’s little psycho, mommy’s little soldier,” and a harrowing dosage of guitars, it sounds like ’94 Green Day has returned. This circle back comes after they found pop-rock stardom in the ‘00s with commercial successes like American Idiot, both the album and the… rock opera musical.

Bottom Line: Green Day is the youngest band ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they’ve created a large body of work worthy of appreciation.

If you’ve fallen off the G-train, perhaps this new album, or at least “Bang Bang,” will tickle you back. Then again, if you’re a sucker for ‘90s music like me, you’ve already decided “She” is the better tune (subjectivity at its finest). In 2015, Armstrong told Rolling Stone: “We started young. This is my high school band, and we just kept going. So there’s been a lot of life within the time period that we’ve been around.” Everyone roots for the high school band success story, right? Right?

HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD

Then: “Young”

Hollywood Undead can credit their beginnings to blowing up on MySpace, which then led them to their MySpace Records deal (it existed), until graduating to A&M/Octone Records. “Young” introduced us to the hockey-masked dudes that spoke about being adolescences in a world that’s falling apart. 

Now: “How We Roll”

With four albums now under their belt, this newer track has received over 3 million listens on YouTube, and it’s clear their fan base is loyal despite some of their questionable lyrics. Does anyone other than them say “packing heat ‘cause it’s cold out here?” Ja Rule?

Bottom Line: Lyrics aside, they’ve definitely refined their sound over the years and will be one of the 15 acts performing at the upcoming Maximus Festival, which features Disturbed, Rammstein and shock-rocker himself, Marilyn Manson. That’s no laughing matter.

TEGAN AND SARA

Then: “My Number”

The Canadian sisters were such an anomaly in Canadian music, well, in music in general during the ‘90s. Here was a duo that wrote and performed all of their own songs; songs that were deeply introspective and original.

Tracks like “My Number” and “The First” were packed with smart lyrics and a medley of consuming melodies, and they put out track after track, building a family of followers that would turn into longtime supporters. They built respect authentically.

Now: “Fade Out”

The Quinn sisters have always been good at writing from the heart, delving specifically into topics surrounding relationships. Their latest entry to this domain is “Fade Out,” which brings their synth-pop melodies and bittersweet prose to the forefront. While this track is a vast change from their earlier workings like “My Number,” it is just a peppered-up version of the stripped down musicianship they evoked in the past.

Bottom Line: Musicians need to experiment and being that this sister-duo could leap out of their indie darling skin and slink into a well-received pop-electro outfit, shouldn’t warrant “sell out” status. They’ve evolved with themselves and if they’d rather put down their guitars and bring in synths, there’s no shame in that. If they want to produce music for blockbusters like The Lego Movie and indie films like The Intervention just the same—they should, and will. And, as was mentioned in a previous AUX article, Tegan and Sara’s diversity and ability to play alongside everyone from Lady Gaga to Weezer is a unique feat that should be spotlighted.

BLINK-182

Then: “Josie”

To relive the true bromance between Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus we must simply go back to a quintessential Blink track, “Josie.” What do you get when you mash contagious rock ruckus, dyed hair, Alyssa Milano, food fights, the hilarity of Tom and Mark’s animated faces, and a chorus you can’t help but belt? You get a video that is truly of the Blink spirit, that’s what.

Now: “San Diego”

Not to sound like every media outlet and human alive, but it is hard to believe Tom is gone. That being said, the band’s new album, California, is surprisingly on point, even without the distinctness of DeLonge’s voice and guitar work. “San Diego” is a visceral story told through Mark’s never wavering voice.

Bottom Line: “San Diego” is more slow-grooving for sure, but it still has that contagious chorus that you can’t help but belt out; a trademark of old and seemingly new Blink-182. Still, it doesn’t bring back Tom, and that nostalgia is real.

MOIST

Then: “Silver”

It was 1994 and the love for grunge and rock was ever present. The titled track from their debut album of the same name, “Silver” brought Vancouver frontman David Usher’s sinisterly-pitchy voice into the ears of the nation. The anthem put the band on the map, bringing too a dark-smoked video of weird nineties delight.

Now: “Black Black Heart”

The band doesn’t have any new music to assess, but that hasn’t stopped them from reuniting for a ‘Resurrection tour’ and continuing to perform across the country, reuniting fans with tuneage like “Gasoline,” “Tangerine,” “Push” and one of Usher’s solo songs that is very Moist-like, “Black Black Heart.” Usher’s 2008 solo album, Wake Up and Say Goodbye, enjoyed a sweet revival too, receiving a JUNO nomination for ‘Pop Album of the Year.”

Bottom Line: David Usher has a strong voice and is an equally strong songwriter, period. Although Moist was a band of the ‘90s, they still belong on the list of generational, popular Canadian music, of which you can either detest or regress to appreciating.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

Then: “Under the Bridge”

There are so many songs to choose from, but it all leads back (in one way or another) to the reflective poetry of “Under the Bridge,” the track that sparked RHCP’s career and had producer Rick Rubin fawning.

From the tugging opening riff work from Frusciante to the slow progression of drums and bass, to Kiedis’ tortured, soft-souring voice, to the a forever memorable tempo — there’s so much good to devour in one song.

Now: “Dark Necessities”

Sure, there are evidently similar chord progressions from the band’s back catalogue, but so what? The song is a funky escapade with signature Kiedis plying the vocals, and it’s still refreshing and a lot better than most of what you hear these days.

Bottom Line: The band has 12 albums to their, a handful of which have gone multi-platinum. Their newest album, The Getaway, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and they’re Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Old or new selections, RHCP have a signature sound, style, look, and possess one of the greatest bassists of all time. They’re one of the few bands that has the same appeal they did when they were young, and they’re living proof that sobriety doesn’t take away talent. They’re on the short list of rock bands that have been commercially successful yet still remain rooted with independence in music making, and they’ve been doing it for over three decades.

SNOOP DOGG

Then: “Gin & Juice”

Snoop Dogg’s signature “Snoop D.O Double G” can be heard loud and clear on pretty much every track he’s done, but it started back in ’93 with tracks like “Gin & Juice.” Having strong ties to one, if not the, best rap producer, Dr. Dre, the west-coaster released a strong debut album — it’s hard to believe that the he’s admitted to never having listened to it. Cut down with a slick beat, “Gin & Juice” wasn’t too in your face or forgettable, it was ‘goldilocks just right’.

Now: “Kush Ups”

While Snoop Doog was always someone who liked to team up with others, it’s clear he’s found more success as of late by working alongside popular acts like Katy Perry and Wiz Khalfiia.

Still, the lyrics he spews out hold validity, I mean “his weed man’s got the hookup,” what more do you need in life?

Bottom Line: This guy does what he wants—from game shows to a new cooking program with Martha Stewart, and he’s still churning out albums (his latest being COOLAID). It’s safe to assume the quick spitting weed enthusiast is not about to leave the spotlight. In fact, he’s one of the few rappers that’s been able to remain relevant with the new flock of talent without making it look like they’re hanging with their daddy.

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