After rumors circulated for months, the festival finally confirmed them to be true: fundamental Dirty South hip hop act Outkast is reuniting to headline Coachella. After releasing a few names of the artists scheduled to play the festival this week (pretty much all the indie and electronic names you would expect, but also, Motorhead?), the festival released its full schedule last night through an extremely corny tweet. And Outkast isn't the only reunited act at the festival: the recently reunited bands The Replacements and Neutral Milk Hotel are also headlining.
This is exciting news, to be sure (as a hip hop fan, Hotlanta native, and admirer of Andre 3000's wardrobe, it's particularly exciting), but the announcement comes off as a bit hollow. It seems like it's been the modus operandi of both bands and festivals in recent years to reunite just for the profits to be made off headlining festivals and touring off a well-known name. Neutral Milk Hotel reunited in 2013 exclusively to tour. The last thing that any of The Replacements ever recorded was a limited edition EP of cover songs in 2012. The Cure still hasn't finished the follow-up album to 4:13 Dream album that they promised when they reunited in 2010, instead choosing to headline big music festivals like Lollapalooza. The Breeders reunited in 2012 over a reissue of Last Splash and otherwise just headlined music festivals like All Tomorrow's Parties and Hopscotch. And Outkast is reuniting for the express purpose of headlining Coachella.
The common theme? None of these bands are doing anything new artistically. In fact, they're not doing anything new, period. Bands and festivals know that albums don't sell anymore, nostalgia and touring do. It's technically a win-win for all involved: bands and festivals get to make some money (a notably difficult feat in today's music industry), and fans get to go back to the good ol' days with their favorite band.
It's a victory for all involved, but it's an empty one. Music is being performed, but nothing is being created. As far as these band's careers go, they're stagnating. They're no longer furthering music as an art form. So Outkast reuniting for Coachella is great news, especially if you want to jump around to "B.O.B." or sing along to "Miss Jackson" in California.
But if you're waiting for an album, or for any sign that the rap group is progressing musically? Don't hold your breath.