Sometimes fame and money are stronger than love for music. Because of this, many bands end up changing their musical style to something more mainstream and neutral, breaking the hearts of their fans. With many years in the musical industry, Linkin Park released their last full-length album in 2014, titled The Hunting Party, which had very little success. A long time has passed since they’d released The Hybrid Theory, the album that made them one of the most endearing bands in the Nu Metal scene. In each album they have experimented with rhythm, lyrics, and different concepts, and this is exactly the reason why their sound decayed. But now that their albums, merch, and even their 8-bit game, are all selling pretty well, music is no longer their priority.
The snippets of the songs that will be part of their new album have let down the fanbase once again, who’ve expressed their disappointment. To this Chester Bennington, the band’s lead singer, replied: “If you’re saying we’re doing what we’re doing for a commercial or monetary reason, trying to make success out of some formula… then stab yourself in the face… Why are we still talking about Hybrid Theory? It’s f–king years ago. It’s a great record, we love it. Like, move the fuck on. You know what I mean?” As expected, this remark also drew the attention of other scene icons such as Slipknot frontman, Corey Taylor, who openly talked about this matter and said that Bennington should be grateful because he has a strong fanbase that still follows the band.
As opposed to Linkin Park, Slipknot has succeeded by creating a mature sound, that has resulted in positive reviews and happy fans. This shows that Taylor knows what evolution is. A band’s place should be close to their fans. The closer they remain, the more they will remember their roots. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a band should stick to one single kind of music but that they should avoid being swept away by their own self-interest. Just like Linkin Park, there are plenty of other bands that have stopped caring about their music and chose to focus on radio friendly sound in order to reap the profits. There’s nothing left of what made them special and earned them a loyal fanbase. Money is important, but musical quality is what makes a band transcend and leave their mark in the history of music, just like other musicians that defied the norms and are now considered classics.
This band emerged during the peak of “emo”, skinny jeans, black eyeliner, and hopeless tears. But Paramore was the colorful spot amidst a dark mass. They would always showed themselves “happy”. But everything fell apart when the Farro brothers left the band. From then on, they could only go on with a generic and dance pop sound that has just been emphasized by the songs of the new album. Hayley Williams is now a model, has her own hair color line, and makes lots of money for every public appearance. Sadly, their musical quality is now far from what they used to do in albums like Brand New Eyes or Riot!
There’s no trace of the 2000s’ group that sang songs for Jane and heartbreaks in fresh pop melodies endowed with a rock essence. Although they released many catchy hits, they weren’t just another pop band. They made quality music and had a future inside the industry. That is until Adam Levine’s career as a model and female fantasy took off. The band ended up turning into one of those boy bands where one members steals the spotlight while the rest are just part of the stage.
This band skyrocketed to fame when they released one of the most iconic songs of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Later on they also had good albums, like ¡Viva la vida!, but then money got in the way when Chris Martin’s marriage with Gwyneth Paltrow seemed to become the most important thing for the band. Now, with such a dire shortage of good songs, the band has been trying to vindicate themselves by making videos in countries like Mexico or doing initiatives encouraging literacy.
This English band with emo look took the world by storm with music that sounded much more produced that it really was. They recovered the rock sound of bands of the seventies like The Cure or Bauhaus, with whom they are usually compared. These days, however, their sound is miles away from the geniality that it used to be. The band’s last record was released in 2014, and described by the band itself as “fun and danceable.” That statement, as well as the electronic rhythms that have become their main focus, leave no room for doubts. They have turned away from their origins and the genre that made them so memorable.
Guns N’ Roses
Despite the success they had in the eighties and nineties, the band went from being Aerosmith’s or Elton John’s successor to a sad disappointment. When former members started to walk away from Axl Rose, he began writing music for his own satisfaction, particularly power ballads only meant to show off his powerful voice. His antics of running around stage wearing super tight boxers, as well as his constant fits of anger made Guns N’ Roses disappear until 2008. A band composed of great, but unnecessary musicians, released an album that was not only disappointing, but also awkward: Chinese Democracy. On the bright side, the album’s low profits made three members of the band’s original line-up gather once more.
Kings of Leon
Who wouldn’t sing along to “Sex on Fire”? It’s a great song: catchy, sexy, and blunt. Everything was going fine with the Followill family, until they decided they didn’t need to create good music in order to succeed. Part of the reason why they became famous was the handsomeness of the four of them. Their talent and seriousness about music gave them a sense of mystery. Still, that wasn’t enough to keep on creating good songs. Their last contributions to the music world are not even close to their first hits. They still keep that hipster style that characterized them, but it seems like music is now more of a duty in front of a camera than a real passion.
After the release of American Idiot, the world waited impatiently for the return of this trio. Sadly, after listening to 21st Century Breakdown, the only thing we could think about was a Broadway show and not a punk conceptual album like the previous one. Their subsequent releases were just pretentious. They didn’t bring anything new to the happy punk genre. Green Day lagged behind to dwell forever in memories of albums like Dookie or Insomniac, while profiting from a trilogy of conceptual albums that were released individually.
This band is a cliché when we talk about retirement. Although their last release wasn’t exactly bad, their latest albums leave much to be desired, especially when we consider their collaboration with Lou Reed that doesn’t sound neither to this late musician nor to the metal band. Touring is just an opportunity to fill arenas in three consecutive nights, sell albums, merch, and bring some interesting openers. For them, music now pays off much more than what they give to their fans. The thrasher band that vehemently rejected the glam and fashion of the eighties was finally lured into the trap of being Brioni’s models and performing alongside Lady Gaga just for profit.
We know money has the power to move the masses, but the saddest part of all is the loss of musical quality and those golden years of heartfelt emotion that will never come back.
Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia