With all our favourite bands changing their sound to more radio-friendly genres nowadays, we really don’t know how to feel. Linkin Park has gone trendy-pop-hip-hop, Paramore has gone 80s electro-pop-rock, and Fall Out Boy has jumped on the dub-step-electro-pop train. To say we’re confused is a huge understatement!
We understand that bands evolve and change their sound. And we even understand the fact that musicians enjoy experimenting with different genres and elements. But nowadays, it’s getting more and more difficult to differentiate between bands who are evolving and growing, and bands who just want to follow the trend and become mainstream.
We’re always on the fence with this topic because some bands have changed their sound and it’s been good—great even. The Beastie Boys were a mediocre and severely out of tune (even by punk standards) hardcore punk band before they became a legendary hip-hop crew. Fleetwood Mac was a blues band before they became our beloved gypsy soft-rock group. The Maine kick-started their musical career as a Myspace pop punk band, and have since developed into the indie-pop-rock band we know and love today. (For the record, we love their early stuff too.) Hell, we still do all remember that Bring Me The Horizon used to be deathcore band!
To sum up, change isn’t always bad.
But since the age-old debate of bands “selling out” is still very much present in the rock/metal scene, we decided to lay out the pros and cons of bands changing their sound so deep into their careers.
- We can appreciate the band’s creative ingenuity and ability to take creative risks. How many times can a band make the same song over and over?
- The band are experimenting with different genres and sounds, which means they could potentially stumble on a masterpiece that they (and we) weren’t expecting. It may even be better than their old stuff.
- A new sound = new ears. With a more radio-friendly sound, the band will reach more people and may even get the appreciation they deserve (90% of the time these bands are wildly underrated).
- New ears = bigger and better tours. With a larger fanbase and a bigger budget, the band will have the resources to be able to tour more often! And we can all suffer through a few crappy new tracks if it means that we get to see bands play our favourite songs several times in the year.
- It’s almost impossible to differentiate between our favourite bands and all the other crappy, trendy music on the radio.
- If our favourite rock band starts to release new dubstep music, it’s safe to say that they aren’t the same band anymore. It’s one thing to switch it up a little bit; it’s another to just completely change to a different genre altogether.
- 95 percent of the time the band’s “evolution” or “growth” is goddamn awful. It’s legitimately the worst thing they’ve ever produced. Diehard fans may tolerate it (and even convince themselves it’s brilliant and inventive), and the band may even gain a boatload of new fans who love anything trendy and new, but the real fans (who judge them purely on the quality of the music and not their nostalgic value) will know it’s complete and utter crap.
- The band are so quick to disregard their previous work and label it underdeveloped and inexperienced, which is actually pretty insulting to us because we almost always adore that period in their career. Also, this means they never want to play these classics live and, in our opinion, that’s just incredibly selfish.
- It makes us wonder whether the band was actually a rock band to begin with. Their authenticity is immediately thrown into question—how could you go from heavy metal to pop? Or pop punk to dubstep? Sometimes rock music is just a “phase” for musicians, which ultimately make us feel differently about the band as a whole. It’s a bit like trust fund kids singing about life on the streets: it’s not real and that lack of substance makes us dislike them.