Everyone must find the right time to finish their activities. It counts for everything. You should probably stop watching that TV series at 3AM, you definitely should not play Blackjack online when you don’t have enough money, and you should stop working when you’re exhausted.
The same thing applies to big projects. It’s better to finish a particular chapter of life, so as to be remembered only for good things. And here are three great examples of music bands that split up right on time.
R.E.M. were four guys from the college town of Athens, Georgia, who decided to play post-punk in their southern manner, with a heavy folk singing, foggy atmosphere, and forest vibe.
R.E.M. found their unique intonation on the first EP Chronic Town, then they managed to record 8 consecutive albums, flawless from the first to the last note.
After their central masterpiece, the epic in sound and themes, Automatic For The People, the band slowed down a bit. The albums, starting with Monster, were no longer unequivocally brilliant. Bill Berry left the band in 1997.
Later, the musicians took turns in electronics, politics, and rejuvenation. Each of their later albums contained at least two or three songs to remember them for a long time.
In 2011, R.E.M. released Collapse Into Now. It’s not a masterpiece album, but it’s worth listening to it. Fans were already waiting for another stadium tour with the obligatory “Losing My Religion” encore, but instead, they were met with the announcement of their breakup.
Cocteau Twins were the most enigmatic British band of the ’80s. Robin Guthrie extracted not just notes but whole worlds of sound from his guitar. Liz Fraser inhabited those worlds with her indescribable and unique voice. Cocteau Twins started with gothic post-punk but soon found their signature sound, which many tried to repeat, but no one succeeded.
Their genre is often called dream-pop, but this hackneyed term doesn’t say much about the nature of their music unless you take the word “dream” literally. Treasure, the culmination of their early discography, sounds like music from a dark and haunting dream.
The backbone of the band was a married couple with a troubled relationship. Guthrie had a passion for drugs and alcohol, which was hardly conducive to a domestic idyll. While recording their ninth album in 1997, the band decided to split up.
This was the first time they were recording with a live drummer and an additional guitarist, and of course, it’s interesting to hear what would have come of it, but it’s likely that a live sound would have only hurt the ethereal beauty of the band’s songs, which have always relied on the detached chirping of the drum machine.
Fugazi gathered around Ian MacKaye, a former member of Minor Threat and emo pioneers Embrace, creator of the Dischord Records label, and founder of the Straight edge movement.
Bandmates shared McKay’s beliefs and Fugazi led a healthy lifestyle, constantly self-improving, recording and releasing music on their own, and giving concerts at 8 a.m.
In 2001, the band released The Argument, where they reached the extreme heights of songwriting and simultaneously expanded the notion of what Fugazi is all about – strings, understated attitude, and hit choruses. A year later, the band decided to split up. Partly because such a strong album is hard to top. Partly because many of the members had families.