Five Least Welcome Comebacks of 2012
We’ve all gotten over the sight of superannuated artists doing one last cash grab while anyone still remembers who they are, but who were the most shameless culprits of 2012? Andrew P Street looks at the five least welcome comebacks of the last 12 months…
In 1996 you couldn’t move for ‘Place Your Hands’, a 70s-flavoured shuffler that was hip enough for Triple J and classic rock enough for daytime FM heralding the arrival of a hot new UK act with long hair and a Black Crowes swagger. It was from their second album Glow, which was a huge hit as a result and suggested a glorious commercial future for the band, which never really happened. The band ground to a halt in the early 00s but reactivated in 2010 for some shows, followed by a box set and a triumphant return to Australia. Of course, no-one could name a second Reef song and thus it was no surprise that there was not talk of a reschedule when their June tour was scuppered due to a “a bereavement in the Reef family”, possibly of their career.
4. Smash Mouth
Quick: what’s Smash Mouth responsible for? Yes, there’s ‘All Star’, and ‘Walkin’ on the Sun’, and… er, that cover of ‘I’m A Believer’ from Shrek, and… um… So unsurprisingly, excitement was not at a fever pitch when the US frat-rockers announced they were coming to Australia this year, and that apathy remained when they released their Magic album (minus guitarist Greg Camp, the guy who wrote all the popular songs, for what it was worth) or a month or so later when they subsequently cancelled their tour.
Oh, how excited everyone was about the triumphant return of UK popsters S-Club, and how immediately less so they were when it was revealed – despite the deliberately obfuscatory press release – that it wasn’t actually the full seven members but the trio of Jo O'Meara, Paul Cattermole and Bradley McIntosh, also known as “none of the popular ones”. Whatever lingering nostalgia there was vanished pretty quickly once the tired-looking S-Club 3 appeared on Sunrise to wheeze through ‘Don’t Stop Movin’’. Cattermole particularly looks like he could do with a little lie down.
2. John Travolta & Olivia Newtown-John
Everyone loves Grease, so what could be more perfect than reuniting Australia’s own Livvy, at the height of her career doldrums, with her old on-screen pal who had spent much of the year fighting various Scientology and sexuality-related scandals and could definitely do with being seen to be totally sane and heterosexual right at the moment? Combine two legitimate talents far from their peak, match them with the most perfunctory music that 20 minutes and a Casio can create, take some of the world’s creepiest promo photos and voila: This Christmas, an album that’s part revenge present, part suicide note.
1. Def FX
Def FX were popular in the early 90s for two reasons: one, that their electro beats plus punk guitars tunes got used in a lot of surfing videos, and two, the impressively short dress that Fiona Horne wore in the video for ‘Surfers of the Mind’ (getting her top off at the 1994 Sydney Big Day Out didn't hurt either). The Sydney band enjoyed a brief chart-troubling period in the mid-90s but vanished along with their EMI deal before calling it quits in 1997. Horne spent the next 15 years writing autobiographies and becoming Australia’s premier expert on a) being a Wiccan and b) Fiona Horne, before announcing a Def FX reunion tour which consisted of her, the original bassist, and some guys, and the nation’s response could be accurately described as “tepid”. Hopefully Horne’s pretend magic career is still ticking over. Sorry: majickk.