Denounce their entire catalog. Declare them corporate shills, forever dead in your eyes.
Continue to listen to them, but only their self-released albums from before they signed to that major label. Whenever they are brought up in conversation declare that their earlier work is totally better than their new stuff.
Find out who did this to them. There is absolutely no way that your favorite band could have autonomously strayed so far from the beautiful music they once created — they couldn’t have jumped the shark themselves, they just couldn’t have. Do some independent research, scour their blogs and interviews for hints and clues. Discover that the first letter to every line in their new song spells out a message, a hidden message only to be deciphered by true fans. You are a true fan, the truest.
It spells out a phrase: “We are being held against our will in a compound owned by the record label please come find us our new album is totally buying into the synth-pop trend and we always identified as a more punk and grunge based outfit, which we aren’t super into at all.”
You knew it, you fucking knew it.
In the dead of night, you break into the compound in the middle of the desert. You find yourself scaling the tallest tower and breaking through a window, only to find Johnny Mandela, the frontman of your favorite indie band. Even in his sleep, his hair is perfectly coiffed and his lip is curled into an indifferent sneer. He’s so cool. You wish you were him.
You shake Johnny awake, inform him you’re there to save him, quickly throw him over your shoulder and dart down the stairs. You break into the cell holding their lead guitarist and bassist, Barry and Rich, who are sleeping in bunk beds. You wonder if this is how they sleep when they’re at home. You hear footsteps coming from around the corner — armed guards! You sling the guitarist over your other shoulder and wrap the bassist around your torso, escaping into the night.
But what about the drummer, Squats! Nothing to worry about, you’re the drummer now. You’ve earned it. We always knew Squats was replaceable.
You make your way out of the compound to an awaiting helicopter, tossing the band members in one by one, being careful to unwrap Rich from your waist. Suddenly, a man appears behind you in a white linen suit, sunglasses, fine Italian leather shoes — he’s the head of the record label.
He inquires as to where the hell you think you’re going with his band. You retort that they belong to sad teenage boys everywhere, that they shouldn’t be kept in cages. He cackles, declaring your bravery to be admirable but to be stupid and childish. You clench your fist. He pulls up his sleeve revealing a bionic arm. Oh no, he’s part cyborg or something!
He throws a punch with his robot arm. You duck then sweep his legs with a kick. He falls. The band cries out that they’ve never seen a fan go the extra mile like this and that it’s the sort of thing that makes it all worthwhile.
You fight hard. You fight dirty. The head of the label deserves no respect in this fight. You toss sand in his eyes and he stumbles backward. You throw a punch that he catches in his robotic arm. “Let a band continue exploring the sonic landscape they’ve decided to reap!” you cry. He tosses you aside with his bionic strength and then explains the merits of capitalism. You listen politely.
After the head of the record label is done with his explanation, he uses his bionic arm to throw you towards the cliff’s edge. You try and escape, but he corners you and pushes you closer and closer to certain death.
The head of the record label cackles and rips off his mask. The face underneath is Squats! The drummer! You knew there was something off about his face; it always looked so rubbery and like it was on top of a different face.
The helicopter sweeps in overhead. Barry, thinking on his feet, throws you his custom built Telecaster with an oak neck and modified pickups. You catch it by the neck in one hand, beat Squats over the head with the body of the beautiful guitar, and watch him fall into the abyss.
“You’ll regret this,” he cries as he fades into oblivion, wetting himself.
The band asks how they could ever repay you. “A shout-out in the liner notes would be nice,” you yell. They nod and fly into the air. You never see them again. The world will never know your impact.
You return home. You are changed.
Maybe just enjoy things for what they are.