The bands are back in town! The best musical comebacks

Our writers discuss the best musical comebacks in history.

multiple writers
18th November 2019
Image: Wikimedia Commons, self

My Chemical Romance: Grace Dean

After six long and miserable years apart, My Chemical Romance fans worldwide are rejoicing over the news that the punk pop band are finally getting back together.

For many members of our generations, the formative years of our lives came accompanied with an MCR soundtrack. Our first crush was on Gerard Way, our first band t-shirt featured the foursome, and they were our inspiration to start learning the guitar.  We were angsty teens when ‘Danger Days’ was released, and we lived for the high we felt when Helena played, chanted along to Teenagers and wept over the sombre lyrics of The Black Parade. The news of the band’s reunion has come as a surprise to many, but also as a delight. Will the band still hold the same magic, however, now that we’re older?

Although for many of us it was ‘The Black Parade’ that first introduced us to the wonderfully dark and alluring world of MCR, it is Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge that is for me the epitome of the band. It’s loud, it’s brash, and it’s unapologetically emotional. From the adrenaline rush felt during Give ‘Em Hell, Kid to the surprising singalong track I’m Not Okay (I Promise), this album offers a taste of everything. ‘The Black Parade’ undoubtedly has its merits, too; described as their answer to The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album, or Queen’s quintessential Bohemian Rhapsody, the album offers a smorgasbord of songs to dance to, songs to sing to, songs to scream to and songs to cry to. If the band reached their peak with the widespread success of ‘The Black Parade’, however, their 2010 release ‘Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys’ must have been somewhat of a crash. While it succeeded in attracting many new fans to the band, for MCR’s loyal followers this album came ultimately as a disappointment and saw the band grow away from their roots by developing a much more pop feel to cater to the mainstream masses with elements of power pop and electronic rock. Their trademark black was replaced with orange and red (and I’m not just talking about Gerard Way’s hair), and instead of ‘The Black Parade’’s central motifs of The Patient and Mother Death, a spider and the Killjoys suddenly took centre stage. While by no means a bad album, ‘Danger Days’ was a huge shift away from what many fans associate with MCR.

What will their reunion bring? Their December tour will undoubtedly heavily feature a lot of content from ‘The Black Parade’, but any attempts at new material remain unknown. Will the band return to their punk pop roots or will this reunion mark a new beginning for the four? One thing is certain, though; the news of their return has got me cranking up their bangers in the Courier office, and if they tour in Newcastle I’ll be buying tickets quicker than you can say Planetary (GO!)

Vampire Weekend: Finlay Holden

Vampire Weekends fourth record, ‘Father of the Bride’, was finally released in May 2019 after 6 years of almost complete radio silence.

It was only briefly preluded by the release of a few album tracks and festival performances in the run-up. They are an act with legacy that is essentially a new band in today’s climate after such a long hiatus.

Undeniably catchy indie-pop tunes ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Unbelievers’ are the soundtrack to many people’s childhoods, so it is extremely strange to see them reemerge with effectively the same sound, but it works so well. The album resonates just as well as the previous three, and ‘Harmony Hall’ in particular joins among the ranks of these classic songs.

If you enjoyed their previous releases, there is no doubt that you’ll love ‘Father of the Bride’ in equal measure, and with it being an 18-track LP there is certainly a lot to dive into.
Vampire Weekend continue to prove themselves to be an iconic pop-friendly indie act, or maybe indie-leaning pop act - either way their appeal is undeniable.

Bombay Bicycle Club: Hope Lynes

With an album out on 17 January 2020 called 'Everything Else Has Gone Wrong', Bombay Bicycle Club are back on the indie scene. The new single 'Eat, Sleep, Wake (nothing but you)' is both old Bombay and completely fresh, catchy enough to get new fans and satisfy the old.

The new sound has the electronic sound of songs like 'Feel' mixed together with the instrumental sound of 'Shuffle' and 'Luna'.With a comeback album over a gap of 5 years the band would have to bring something fresh to the scene which reflects both the current scene and their old style, and I think the new single sets the album in the right direction for success in the new year.

The comeback wasn't started off with a normal tour of new songs but instead the band celebrated 10 years of their debut album by playing four more intimate venues and playing 'I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose' in full.

The band are touring in 2020 the new album, with 5 gigs already sold out, including Ally Pally in London, and are playing the O2 academy in Newcastle on 27 January.

Rage against the Machine: Tom Moorcroft

Rage Against The Machine’ Comeback tour 2020.Yes, that’s right. The politically outspoken American punk/nu metal group, who brought us cult classics such as ‘Bulls on Parade’ and ‘Killing In The Name’, are back for their first tour dates since 2011. After discovering their music on ‘Guitar Hero 3 - Legends of Rock’, a game which greatly influenced a lot of my music taste, I was hooked onto their combination of head-rocking, punchy bass along with the innovation of guitar genius Tom Morello.

So when I googled them to discover they weren’t together anymore, a part of me was gutted: I wouldn’t be able to see them live. The year was 2012, and after coming back for a brief period of time, between 2007-2011, they’d announced they wouldn’t be touring anymore. This was followed by band members Morello, Wilk and Commerford announcing their own supergroup: ‘Prophets of Rage’. 

So you can only imagine the moment when I opened twitter a couple weeks ago, and saw people mentioning a ‘RATM’ reunion. I didn’t think twice of it; half of my music twitter feed is people desperately clutching at straws, trying to convince themselves that the impossible is probable. However, when I headed over to their twitter, and saw that they really had confirmed 5 North America shows at the beginning of next year, I was amazed. The band which I’d been desperate to see, who had been on an 8 year hiatus, were actually coming back.

Along with their announcements of new shows, in typical internet fashion, people have been speculating Rage Against The Machine UK tour dates over the course of next year. Personally, I’d love to see them in the UK at some point, and with rumours spreading on them performing at Reading and Leeds 2020, a hopeful part of me thinks it could actually happen.
The band haven’t performed at Reading and Leeds festivals since 2008, so to see them play in 2020 would be huge. It’ll be their first performance together in this new political climate, with the same-old problems, so it’ll be interesting to see if they still bring that heavy, politically-motivated energy 

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