An Early Retirement Plan

Ten acts that recorded in the Eighties that shouldn't go near a studio in the Nineties.

1. R.E.M.: If any band ruled the underground in the Eighties, it was this Athens, Georgia, quartet. But the group's steady ascent from clubs to arenas has dissipated its energy; all that's left is to fill the same stadiums Bruce Springsteen already has. Don't.

2. MORRISSEY: When Morose-y was with the Smiths, guitarist Johnny Marr at least turned the singer's whining into rock 'n' roll. Solo, he's a frowning, lounge-lizard caricature of himself.

3. TRACY CHAPMAN: Becoming the new Dylan gave Tracy Chapman a definite complex, as evidenced by her autobiographical second album. If all this gut-wrenching introspection continues, it's going to lead to one big ulcer--for her and her listeners.

4. THE CULT: Led Zeppelin can't possibly be as interesting in the Nineties as it was in the Eighties. Neither, therefore, can the Cult.

5. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: By mid-decade, Patti Scialfa's beau figured out that synthesizers, cliches and anthems would increase cash flow. The time is right for the corporate giant to run for prez on a ticket with Lee Iacocca--if he doesn't sell the rights to "Born in the U.S.A." to George Bush first.

6. U2: See No. 5.

7. ZIGGY MARLEY AND THE MELODY MAKERS: Bob's kid used to think his duty was to match his pop's legacy of social consciousness. With his latest record, the feathery One Bright Day, it's pretty obvious Ziggy's now using album sales as his yardstick.

8. 10,000 MANIACS: If 1989's Blind Man's Zoo was any indication, expect from here on out exactly one politically correct song apiece about every liberal cause that makes headlines.

9. EURYTHMICS: Annie Lennox and David Stewart have already re-created themselves in every form from techno duo to soul team. There's nothing left for these two now except regurgitaton. 10. FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS: Once upon a time, Roland Gift was an intriguing modern-Motown crooner. Then came "She Drives Me Crazy," an acting career and an ego so freakishly overdeveloped, psychologists'll be studying it well into the Nineties.


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