Do We Call Them Comebacks?

Next week, The Strokes will release Angles, their follow-up to 2006’s First Impressions Of Earth, a record even the band considers best forgotten. After five years of solo albums and side projects, the former boy-kings of lower Manhattan are being credited with the first comeback of 2011.

Other artists set to revive their careers are Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and Marilyn Manson — all of whom have released records in the last two or three years. Sure, new material is expected from long-dormant acts such as Kate Bush and blink-182 , but it seems that comebacks are happening quicker and quicker.

Years ago, a comeback for an artist meant a triumphant return after years spent either squandering goodwill or out of the limelight — Bob Dylan, Dinosaur Jr., and Green Day come to mind immediately — but now, just two years after the lukewarm reception for 808s & Heartbreak, Kanye West’s much-loved My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was heralded as a comeback.

Rather than following an extended hiatus to earn comeback status, artists just have to follow a disappointing record or PR disaster. The Decemberists, whose 2009 opus The Hazards of Love was met with unenthusiastic reviews, got back into good graces with the scaled-back folk sounds on this year’s The King Is Dead. Lil Wayne will leave behind Rebirth’s misplaced rock inspiration for rap on this May’s Tha Carter IV.

“Now a comeback is about a band trying to sound like itself again,” said Josh Kurp, who contributes music reviews to The L Magazine.

In the case of The Strokes, it’s working. Reviews for Angles are favorable, and the record’s being called a return to form. Here’s to hoping they can keep to a tighter release schedule in the future.

The music video for The Strokes new single, “Under Cover of Darkness”:

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