Monday, 9 July 2012

The News: Chumbawamba Split


God dammit... The first Music Review Database news story, and it's Chumbawamba's disbandment. This isn't exactly a shock horror. Some may question themselves by asking 'who?' or even 'the one hit wonder?'. Yes, the one hit wonder. That's if you're a regular listener of the Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio One, or if you watch Coronation Street, Eastenders, then Coronation Street again on a Monday night. 

Most people (I use the term 'most' like I'm walking on ice) will remember Chumbawamba for releasing their retirement fund, Tubthumping. It's chaotic chorus smells of cheese and sounds like cheese, with the most peculiar lyrics hitting the verses. Above all, it has a trumpet section. When they released Tubthumping, they became a different band. They stepped inside the circle, rather than stepping outside the circle. Releasing Tubthumping gave Chumbawamba a chance to shine whilst being talked about. Their songs were played on the radio, with the youth and football fans alike joining the Chumbawamba bandwagon. The general public was their downfall. Their image was tarnished after Tubthumping, and they never recovered in the publics eyes.


My eyes are focused somewhere different, I'm looking back at 'Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records' and 'Never Mind the Ballots'. Two anarcho-punk albums with magnificent lyrical representation. Chumbawamba were against the man. They were 100% bone fide anarchists against certain types of fashions and cultures. Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records, the name in itself is a triumph. The entire album was in criticism against Live Aid, because of hypocrisy. Hypocricy is a key word that crops up from time to time when reviewing music, and it's a word which goes hand in hand with pop music. Anyway, so... Chumbawamba had an excellent decade in the 80's. A patch of successful singles in the 90's led to Tubthumping, EMI and their eventual folk career.

When Chumbawamba released The Boy Bands Have Won in 2008, something changed. They dropped the electric guitar for the acoustic. Brass became dominant with some Ukulele and Accordion. Their attempt at staying relevant may have failed, but their aim of staying modern has been met. These folk songs are topical, political and interesting. Especially one of the final tracks, 'Waiting For The Bus'. A song about Gary Tyler, also made contemporary by UB40 in the 80's. The Boy Bands Have Won saw Robb Johnson, Roy Bailey and Oysterband perform guest vocals. 


Chumbawamba never intended to set sail to fail. They may have 'sold out' or even lost touch with their original ideals, nonetheless they are a band that needs to be hailed. Without Chumbawamba, there wouldn't be a Music Review Database, OK. Anarchy is a strong word. Anarchism is even stronger. The members of Chumbawamba have messed around for 30 years, 30 years!!! They can hang their heads up high because they've achieved something far greater than receiving five stars from Rolling Stone. They began an independent punk band, releasing records without regards to peoples feelings by themselves. They reached number 2 in the UK singles chart with Tubthumping. And they released one of the best British folk albums post-2000. They don't owe us anything. We owe them respect.

Earlier today, Chumbawamba released a statement. They capped it off with this, "Thirty years of being snotty, eclectic, funny, contrary and just plain weird. What a privilege, and what a good time we’ve had." Weather you know it or not, they entertained us all. If you've had a laugh about Tubthumping, or if you were a die hard anarcho-punk in the 80's... There's always a bit of Chumbawamba to go around. 

You can read the full statement here
~Eddie

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