Every band has heard this at some point, at least every band I’ve toured with. New songs that have been written with better musicianship and skill. Songs that the band believe are the best things they’ve created to date. Songs that the majority of the time are simply better are, to some people, “not as good as they’re older stuff”.
As a musician I find it so frustrating. However an opinion is personal and can never be right or wrong. But these opinions still make me wonder why people think this way.
I think nostalgia is a big factor in why people think older songs are better. The first time you find a band that you really love leaves a lasting impression. I’ve been there. That feeling of discovery, hearing a song that makes you feel something that you’ve never felt before or you’ve spent the last god knows how long waiting to feel again. The first of anything will always stay with you, a first kiss for example. I bet you can remember it clearly and with great affection. That said, I’d also bet a lot of money that it wasn’t your finest effort. And like that first kiss, the first songs you hear from a band, although not the best they may come to write, hold a special significance to you.
Change must have an affect too. Every band will experiment, push their own personal boundaries and use previously untapped influences. A lot of people don’t like change. Personally I have to mix it up because I find creating the same thing for an extended period of time boring. Every album a band releases reflects on where they were at that point in time, including what they were listening too, personal experiences and new things they’ve learned. This may ever slightly change the style of music and to some people that change is enough for them to utter the immortal sentence. They may prefer a bands older style but this doesn’t mean the songs are better. A good song is a good song no matter what genre it’s in.
I may be looking at it all too analytically. But I’d like to think I speak for all musicians in saying that hearing that sentence stings. The best you have ever been as a musician and song writer was when you were 17/18 and barley knew how to use your instrument. And after 10 years doing it you haven’t got any better, if anything worse.
So next time even if you think it. Try and work out why you think it, is it nostalgia, change or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe every band who has heard “your old stuff was better” actually did go shit? If that’s the case. I’m sorry we went shit.