With the surge of over-produced, generic miasma the record companies are trying to pass off as music flooding out of the popular radio stations lately, I’ve noticed a receding in a certain mechanic that was once common practice. Often times, as a band or singer progressed and matured, their sound would change accordingly. While this was most common in the rock genre, it was still found in others more often than not.
Sometimes it was cool to follow a band’s evolution over time, and sometimes it was annoying because they would release an album so drastically different that it was as if you were listening to another band entirely. Let me give you some examples:
First up, we have AFI.
The band’s most recent album “Burials” was released in 2013
These guys started out as a hardcore punk band in the mid 90’s. They released three full albums and a self-titled EP in this genre. Now, they’re something completely. different. With ventures into horror punk, darkwave, post-punk, and alt rock genres, AFI is a band that has proven that they’re not afraid of changing things up. Personally, I think their best albums are 2000’s “Art of Drowning” and 2003’s “Sing the Sorrow.”
Another prime example, and one that is in even more contrast than their origins, is the band Skillet.
There’s a lot of makeup and hair color in this picture
This band started out in the early 90’s a Christian grunge band. I will say that again: Christian Grunge. Then lead singer John Cooper discovered the synthesizer, Skillet has been in a constant state of change. They’ve switched genres almost as much as they’ve switched out members. Skillet’s best album has got to be 2003’s “Collide.” It was hands-down their most sincere and musically solid release. Nowadays, I’m not sure what they are exactly. A friend of mine didn’t even know that they were a Christian band at one point.
This trend has been around for decades, and although it’s not as prominent as it once was, it certainly isn’t dying out. Even Smashing Pumpkins’ lead singer Billy Corgan announced that he’s planning their next release to be a Death Metal project. And let’s be honest, “Oceania” was no “Melancholy & the Infinite Sadness” or even close to a “Siamese Dream” effort.
Some may think this to be an annoying factor, but I look at it this way: I would rather have a band change things up and try something new than releasing the same thing over and over.