Note: This update also features the poorly drawn, unfunny, “dear god why do I waste my time doing this”, and not nearly as bitter option. Just follow the magical link. Weeeee!
This weekend marked the first anyone has heard from Dan Hanaway and the band WHALE|HORSE in a very long time, as they revealed a new song and their future plans for the spring and summer (those plans include a tour and CD). For those of you who don’t know, Dan Hanaway was part of the genius behind The Broadways and all of the genius in The Honor System. He is someone I greatly admire and have utmost respect for.
Having said that, the new WHALE|HORSE song (along with most of their old ones) is something of a let down. This new WHALE|HORSE demo, to me, is the official mark that Dan has left the field of music that made me and so many others respect him (for the record that field is really melodic and complex punk/emotional rock) and instead if pursuing a much more lackluster and unexciting musical career (WHALE|HORSE sounds like a “weaker” version of The Strokes and every other band in that genre thing). In his defense I guess you could argue that he is getting older (he’s married with a steady job) and that this new change in music is reflecting his change in lifestyles. I say that’s bullshit. WHALE|HORSE is not just a change in music, it’s a huge step down in terms of all that goes into making music. Sure WHALE|HORSE features spiffy guitar playing and some insightful lyrics, but compared to Dan’s previous writing and composing abilities they just do not compete. I mean Dan has made every past band (with the exception of Slapstick) he was in well know because of his intricate guitar parts and heartfelt and meaningful lyrics. If I may paraphrase a review I once read for The Broadways: “what really stands out about this band is how much they genuinely seem to care about what they are singing about and how much effort they put into the music they are making”. That feeling seems to be completely gone in WHALE|HORSE. Listening to them, I don’t feel like that same sense of caring or devotion. Instead I just hear a guy singing about the only things he knows how to sing about. And you know what annoys me the most? Dan has given up on his the gruff urgent shouting style of singing and instead seems to be mimicking that douche bag from The Bravery (sorry if you like them).
So I’m probably over reacting a little bit. After all I’m just a jaded fan who wants Dan to stay put out the same style of music forever and never actually experiment outside of what he is comfortable with. What’s more, WHALE|HORSE is really not as bad as I’ve just made them out to be. I’ve just got absurdly high standards for musicians I like, and it is kind of unfair for me to bitch them out if they don’t meet those requirements. Besides, if really hated this band I wouldn’t bother writing about them. I’m not a big fan, but I think some of you might be and they deserve all the “help”/publicity they can get.
Finally, below there are few things. Firstly we have all four of WHALE|HORSE’s current songs, listen to them and maybe you’ll form your own different opinions and e-mail me saying I’m a total dick. Secondly we have two of my all time favorite songs from The Broadways and The Honor System that Dan wrote just so you can kind of see where I’m coming from.
The Honor System – Clockwork [all time favorite]
The Broadways – Fuck You Larry Koesche, I Hope You Starve and Die Someday [all time favorite]
P.S. Happy first day of spring / Persian New Year (Nowruz)