There has been a glut recently of pop bands reuniting for tours and albums, with giants such as Bananarama and Steps rejoining forces, other reunions, such as Bros and Busted, and more threats of a Spice Girls sort of reunion, but that dog really has had its day. In these precarious times, I can’t help but wonder if this is, in fact, fulfilling a need in us to forget everything that is evil in the world and hark back to a more carefree time in our society.
Some have claimed that these reunions are simply ways for has-beens to cash in on our penchant for nostalgia, but I have a more optimistic lean on this. When Bananarama announced recently that the band was reforming with the original line-up, a new album deal and a reunion tour, I was surprised at first, given the band’s history and Siobhan Fahey’s phenomenal success with ‘Shakespears Sister’.
If we look back to the Fahey days of Bananarama, however, the trio represented a post-punk era and was a socially conscious voice in music, with songs dealing with drugs ‘Hotline to Heaven’, social injustice ‘Rough Justice’ and the dangers of male prostitution ‘Trick Of The Night’. When their sound moved in a more commercial direction, Fahey decided to quit and although the subsequent few years were some of the most successful for the band, the appeal and substance had been somewhat diminished.
I’m quite excited about the prospect of the original Bananarama coming back as it will not only remind us of a better time, but these women were always brilliant role models back in the day, cutting a shrewd line between being fashionable and rebellious, yet always on their own terms. Also, what is it with the name Siobhan and leaving trios? Let’s just hope this galvanises the original Sugababes line-up to finally reunite properly, release some new music and go on the road.
Another pop behemoth, Steps, has had a brilliant comeback recently with a new dance flavoured album storming the charts and a reunion tour on the way. Many dismiss the band as being fromage and fluff, but one thing at the core of this pop monster vehicle is their brand of happy pop. Let’s face it, we have all jigged along gleefully to ‘Tragedy’ at an engagement party; although it has to be said their ballads are also simply divine. It’s great to have them back livening up the charts, particularly at a time when the music industry is in such a deplorable state that it’s just good to get Ed Sheeran out of every place in the top 20!
We live in a social media vacuum, where our days are punctuated with throwbacks, flashbacks and timehops, but as our world is spinning back further in time to where dangerous, despotic and right-wing agendas were gaining ground, it would seem the more progressive, liberal and intelligent among us are being invited to travel just a few decades back to when our society was freer, cheerful and where rebellion replaced apathy. As the world seems to be shifting towards a selfish, legitimised alt-right agenda, there are some real threats abound to the civil liberties we have all enjoyed over the past few years and we need music more than ever to give us not only an escape route, but also give us hope.
It seems that this reunion effect is also hurtling towards TV. We have already had the brilliant ‘Gilmore Girls’ and more fantastic news that ‘Will & Grace’ is on its way back after a successful one-off show preceding the disastrous US Presidential election result. This groundbreaking and downright hilarious show challenged some of the ignorance surrounding gay stereotypes and its reunion is almost as good a jibe at the Trump administration as SNL does fearlessly every week. The smarts of ‘Will & Grace’ was always to wrap up social and political commentary under the guise of a campy and vampy quick-witted sitcom; I’m sure the writers and talented actors are not going to hold back.
Although I’m fine with us looking back and a complete nostalgia fiend myself, we must stop looking back to forget. What has been brilliant lately is to see that people uprising and protesting has had some tangible results; the Trump travel ban being an ideal example of this. Insurrection and mutiny serve also to show these selfish and misogynistic idiots that we will not simply roll over and accept their vile and supremacist legislative ideas and perhaps will make them think twice before making dreadful decisions that are taking us back decades. We must move forward, join forces and resist this reprehensible ideology that is sweeping some of our most powerful nations. We can still listen to vintage Bananarama while in formation though.