Author Topic: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)  (Read 2161 times)

23 Daves

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What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« on: August 22, 2008, 08:35:06 PM »
I don't think there's been a thread on this yet, but it's a topic I find rather interesting.  There have always been cases throughout pop history where an established, successful artist suddenly releases a single which is a total curveball in some sense or another.  Sometimes it's unintentional and is more a case of bad judgement than anything else, on other occasions it's because they want to show their sincere, arty side, and in rare moments it's because they've had a complete drugs collapse/ mental breakdown (or both).  Almost always, however, they lose their fans as a result.

Obvious examples of this phenomenon are Kevin Rowland's chocolate box cover versions phase (complete with him dressing in lipstick and skimpy ladies clothes) and Scott Walker's turn towards the experimental side of things in the eighties and nineties - but both have been discussed to death by now.

More interesting to me is a YouTube clip of Rolf Harris that's been doing the rounds in the last few weeks.  Culled from "Would I Lie To You?", this minute long excerpt from his single "Boney" in 1970 is utterly, utterly beserk.  He'd only recently had an absolute smash with "Two Little Boys" then... this.  A single which sounds more like a paranoid delusion than a coherent pop tune.  It was recorded for "Top of the Pops", then never shown because it failed to chart.  In actual fact, it wasn't until "Stairway to Heaven" in 1993 that he ever made the charts again (is there a career-killing album filled with stuff like this somewhere?  You'd have to hope so).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW4LfmZ_Bw4

It's also possibly unfair to point the finger at Adam and the Ants since, beneath all the polished New Romantic videos and the best-known pop hits, they always were a bit odd anyway - but "Ant Rap" doesn't so much take the biscuit as run away with the Marks and Spencers luxury tin.  Essentially three minutes of chanting and clattering noises (interspersed with the odd guitar chopping noise and a burst of church organ for no apparent reason) it still managed to climb to number three and didn't trouble his career one iota.  Try releasing a single like this now and you'd be probably be stoned to death. (Actually, I quite like it...)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgQYp1UDn1k

Then of course there's Boy George's slightly frightening 1995 cover of Iggy Pop's "Funtime", which caused Danny Baker to continually repeat "It's Boy George!  He's gone mad!" over it when he played it on his Radio One show.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX7RBP_wwPc

Any more?

GoochDogHigh5s

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2008, 08:49:21 PM »
Although not exactly  successful , I think the most "interesting" example,for me is Alternative TV.
The first album "The Image Has Cracked" was a gret example of punk, with a slight hint of Zappa, Velvets and a few more besides.
To me, it was one of the classic punk albums

Imagine my suprise when they followed it up with a pile of shit called"Vibing up the Senile Man"

Looking at the cover gave nothing away and I assumed it was more of Mark Perry and his merry men continuing where they had left off.
But after 30 seconds of the first track of arty farty noise for the sake of it and out of tune warbling and no drums at all I realised that all was not well

Interesting to note, that when Mark plays now not one of these tracks is ever played.

It makes you wonder why they do this.
Do they think that they are creating some art form or are they too far up their own arses?

ThickAndCreamy

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2008, 09:01:15 PM »
Bloc Party.

This;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzZQJZdcCU4

To This;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYdyExUfIbI

Bloc Party = Shit.

I deleted a long essay I wrote on them as it seemed pretty incoherent and was going nowhere.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 09:13:24 PM by ThickAndCreamy »

Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2008, 11:24:07 PM »
I deleted a long essay I wrote on them as it seemed pretty incoherent and was going nowhere.

Much like Bloc Party in general then.

boki

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2008, 11:32:01 PM »
Swiss metal band Celtic Frost's 'Cold Lake' period - a band that wasn't at all pretty even by 80s thrash standards should really have known better than trying to go glam.

Crabwalk

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2008, 12:35:04 AM »
ABC made a fantastic momentum killing move with their switch from super-slick white-funk-cabaret to socially-conscious pop-rock. 'The Lexicon of Love' was a massive-selling hitmonster whilst 'Beauty Stab' was a neglected guitaro scuzzhouse.

The way it derailed the band was tragic really, as Beauty Stab has plenty of great songs (S.O.S., Unzipped, That Was Then... to name but three) and LOL was always going to be a tough album to follow. But if you earn a devoted pop following and then ditch the production gloss you're always going to shed fans (as fellow Sheffielders Pulp learnt with 'This is Hardcore - albeit wilfully). ABC deserved to rule the rest of the 80s the way that they ruled '81, but sadly twas not to be.

Nik Drou

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2008, 01:47:10 AM »
Surely, surely Mr DJ Shadow...

Not that I have any problem with him or his musical direction, but here's is a guy that went from this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54_7m-CVTMY

To this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feYbZA4RUXI

And Rjd2 can wipe that smirk off his face.  At least he didn't try and sing...

Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2008, 02:06:53 AM »
Seconded on ABC Crabwalk. I know Rowland was discussed in the initial post, but prior to the women's knickers-wearing breakdown, there was an extreme 'What the fuck have they done ?' :

Loveable Dexys rogues, playing Come On Eileen :

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z9bPrUark4[/youtube]

Dungaree wearing gypo-geniuses, the public think. So WHAT will the comeback lp be like ?

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-avJdGnHe0[/youtube]

Preppy clothes, and an (edited) version of one of the finest pieces of music ever (IMHO ETC ETC). But the album killed them stone dead.




CaledonianGonzo

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2008, 09:38:48 AM »
Ha ha - Bloc Party are even rubbish at changing tack.

How about something epoch-defining?  I nominate His Bobness for ripping up the folk rule-book at Newport Folk Festival in 1965, releasing Like A Rolling Stone and then tearing all his fans' ears off on his 1966 UK tour with The Hawks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2MgdF6GWi0

Judas!  That's the birth of rock music right there.

23 Daves

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2008, 12:56:11 PM »
ABC made a fantastic momentum killing move with their switch from super-slick white-funk-cabaret to socially-conscious pop-rock. 'The Lexicon of Love' was a massive-selling hitmonster whilst 'Beauty Stab' was a neglected guitaro scuzzhouse.

Believe it or not, I found a vinyl copy of "Beauty Stab" in a second hand store locally for one pound - it was still freshly shrinkwrapped when I bought it, so it must have been remaindered HMV stock or something. 

It's still freshly shrinkwrapped and sealed now, actually, because for some sorry reason I never quite got around to playing it or burning it to CD - perhaps I should make that one of my tasks for this weekend.  I love "Lexicon of Love", but really believed the backlash where "Beauty Stab" was concerned, which explains my lack of movement on it.  It would be a nice surprise if I've actually been sitting on a great album for the last year.

Pepotamo1985

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2008, 04:23:39 PM »
his.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feYbZA4RUXI

Christ. I'd forgotten just how fucking abhorrent The Outsider was, so thanks for reminding me before I wasted energy on downloading it afresh to see whether it was quite as bad as I remembered. Even thinking about Turf Dance makes me want to destroy every speaker in the room, and I'm listening to the rather nice Atlas by Battles.

And, fresh from a Mansun listening binge which made my thankless task of assembling endless Ikea constructs which were almost invariably missing some vital component or another even remotely bearable, I find it incumbent to mention Little Kix. Draper blames the content of this career ending depressathon on record company pressure to make a 'hit' record, which strikes me as a load of nonsense; they had numerous number 1 singles; their debut album The Attack of the Grey Lantern was a number 1 in the UK; Six was fairly massive in America. And besides, I doubt even the most twatty, detached from reality cokehead of a rec exec could honestly think any of the tunes on Little Kix were hit material.

From this:

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/RfH5EeoOMXI&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/RfH5EeoOMXI&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

To shit (see what I did there?):

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/RfH5EeoOMXI&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/RfH5EeoOMXI&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2008, 04:56:27 PM »
Little Kix was at the front of my mind when I saw the thread title. Personally I think it's a little hard done by. It's certainly not in the same league as their first two albums, but I still enjoy listening to it, from time to time.

I didn't realise they were that big, so I always accepted the commercial pressures angle. I knew that Grey Lantern went to number one, but I never knew they had any number one singles (not that I've ever really paid much attention to the charts) and I'd assumed Six's proggish leanings had alienated a lot of their early following.

23 Daves

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2008, 12:57:00 AM »
They didn't have any number one singles, did they?

Marvin

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2008, 12:20:53 PM »
Nope, their highest charting single was Legacy at number 7.

Second highest was I Can Only Disappoint U off Little Kix which was a number 8.

DJ One Record

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2008, 12:33:14 PM »
Surely, surely Mr DJ Shadow...

First time I've actually heard that "3 Freaks" single, and good grief it's gash. I doubt Shadow would've got as much criticism as he did if he actually brought something good to crunk, but that wasn't even as good as Lil' Jon by a wide margin.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2008, 12:45:40 PM »
They didn't have any number one singles, did they?
Perhaps abroad, maybe? That often doesn't tend to figure in British notions of cultural significance.

Phil_A

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2008, 04:54:08 PM »
Personally, I'd much rather bands take a risk with a new direction rather than replicating the same album over and over again, even it means career suicide.

That said, Neil Hannon's attempt to turn his band into Radiohead on "Regeneration" was a bit of an odd decision. Not that it's really a bad album by any stretch, but it's easy to see how the record-buying public might've been alienated by the transition from this:
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiBI3A2WcrE[/youtube]

To this:
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ycdIdI9YM[/youtube]

Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2008, 09:16:59 PM »
First time I've actually heard that "3 Freaks" single, and good grief it's gash. I doubt Shadow would've got as much criticism as he did if he actually brought something good to crunk, but that wasn't even as good as Lil' Jon by a wide margin.

Not usually my musical bag, but I'd heard bits of 'Endtroducing' and found it fairly enjoyable as far as it went, but I've no idea what that [youtube clip] was all about.  Why were those chappies all squirming about like they had piles?

purlieu

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2008, 11:43:19 PM »
I'll take that Divine Comedy comment and up it a notch to 'most of Regeneration is hideous'.  Of course, Nigel 'acoustic guitar to the left, electric to the right, overcompress and add a whoosy noise at the end' Godrich is partially to blame for the sound, but it's a Godawful mix of subpar Travis and Radiohead, with A Perfect Lovesong hiding in the middle. 

Little Kix grew on me (I blame cannabis), and although it's nothing on the first two it has its fair share of dreamy pop bits which I like.

My favourite turnaround is probably also by my favourite band, The Future Sound of London.  I'll leave no explanation, but this was We Have Explosive:
[youtube=425,350]e3zDV5V3SPg[/youtube]
and here is a live version of the (somewhat delayed) followup single, The Mello Hippo Disco Show:
[youtube=425,350]Tp12YlRObAo[/youtube]

23 Daves

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2008, 01:16:24 AM »
I'll take that Divine Comedy comment and up it a notch to 'most of Regeneration is hideous'. 

I'm going to have to play that album again, you know, because at the time I first bought it I remember being quite impressed.  It's not a classic Divine Comedy album by any means, but it seemed like a subtle change of direction which still had plenty of strong moments.  I still really like "Love What You Do".

I do think it's telling that their career has never quite recovered since, though.  I do know other people who gave up on the band at the time that was released.

Danger Man

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2008, 03:47:25 AM »
The Farm.  'Don't You Want Me'.  Killed their career stone dead.

alan nagsworth

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2008, 06:04:47 AM »
I'll give another shout for the godawfulness of The Outsider. DJ Shadow is a dick. I read interviews with him saying "I'm just trying something new and I guess not all of my fans will get it but I'm just trying my hand at different styles."

What a pretentious shit. Don't preach to your fans like your new music is as godly as your old stuff because it's well-polished bullshit and it can't have taken very long to create. Aside from the parts played on a drum machine, Endtroducing was constructed entirely with turntables and was a meticulous and grandiose artistic affair. Guest MCs? There are none, the music spoke for itself, it was a mystical journey and the pinnacle of the fading trip-hop phenomenon.

When I bought The Outsider, the checkout girl said "oh good choice, this album's great!" so I asked, "is it anything like his previous albums?" and she said "oh I didn't know he had any other albums." ... I should've seen that as a huge alarm siren wooping in my face but I still believed that this album could be good.

purlieu

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2008, 11:36:45 AM »
I do think it's telling that their career has never quite recovered since, though.  I do know other people who gave up on the band at the time that was released.
  Indeed, I've noticed it too.  That, and the fact that orchestral pop is considerably less fashionable today than it was mid-90s, I suppose.  With Regeneration he was moving with the times, I'll give him, it was just a bit shit.  The Eye Of The Needle has a Stereophonics-esque repeated one-line melody and seems to go on for a good two Sister Rays before it fucks off.  What were you thinking, Neil?!

Crabwalk

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2008, 11:42:16 AM »
Quote
Believe it or not, I found a vinyl copy of "Beauty Stab" in a second hand store locally for one pound - it was still freshly shrinkwrapped when I bought it, so it must have been remaindered HMV stock or something. 

It's still freshly shrinkwrapped and sealed now, actually, because for some sorry reason I never quite got around to playing it or burning it to CD - perhaps I should make that one of my tasks for this weekend.  I love "Lexicon of Love", but really believed the backlash where "Beauty Stab" was concerned, which explains my lack of movement on it.  It would be a nice surprise if I've actually been sitting on a great album for the last year.


Did you give Beauty Stab a spin 23 Daves? I bought my first copy on vinyl too, from a charity shop about 15 years ago, as a massive fan of 'Lexicon'. I wasn't aware of its reputation as a career-killer at the time, and thought it was a great follow-up!

Its sound is not quite as far from 'Lexicon of Love' as legend has it, but it's certainly a darker, angrier record. It's no 'Metal Machine Music' though. They just Roxy'd it up rather than Spandau'd it up. I believe Martin Fry wanted to distance himself from the Thatcherite/yuppy associations of the scene ABC were pigeon-holed in.

It's still a pop record though, with Fry's typical wit and melodrama - and it's certainly ABC's second best album.

Edit: Here's the awful video for S.O.S., which limped into the chart at 39 I believe, but is a wonderful song:

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-DJOF8W8ZA[/youtube]
« Last Edit: August 25, 2008, 11:58:47 AM by Crabwalk »

Pepotamo1985

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2008, 03:55:56 PM »
I'll give another shout for the godawfulness of The Outsider. DJ Shadow is a dick. I read interviews with him saying "I'm just trying something new and I guess not all of my fans will get it but I'm just trying my hand at different styles."

Indeed, a lot of interviews he gave around that time really pissed me off as well. Primarily, I took exception to his claims that the material on The Outsider "blows away anything else I've ever done", and that fans who didn't take to the album were "just pissed because it isn't Endtroducing" - he was evidently so blinded by his own supposed brilliance that it never occured to him that a bunch of idiots spluttering and screeching cretinous lyrics over stupid, boring beats would not be everyone's cup of musical cha, if indeed anyone's. There was also all that nonsense about how The Outsider would make it hard for anyone to emulate his sound - I mean, who, honestly, would ever want to?

Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2008, 04:02:20 PM »
Nothing wrong with DJ Shadow saying that stuff. Why make music just to please the fans?

Pepotamo1985

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2008, 05:16:07 PM »
Indeed, why do that when you can make music which pleases seemingly no one and aggravates the entirety of your fanbase simultaneously instead?

I have absolutely no problem with artists who have a blatant disregard for their fans' wishes. I have a problem with Davis' comments because he seems to be under the misapprehension that people don't like the album because it's not Endtroducing, rather than it being...well, cack. It'd a bit like Pink Floyd accusing people who found the drivel on A Momentary Lapse of Reason unbearble of being pissed that it wasn't Dark Side of the Moon. The Private Press wasn't Endtroducing and it was still fairly stonking, Brainfreeze wasn't Endtroducing and it was incredible. Fair enough, Shadow might've grown bored of cut and pasting old LP slices together, but why delve into a genre with such niche appeal and limited worth? Why not do something interesting, or, indeed, better?

And with that Endtroducing is getting put on.

Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2008, 05:56:12 PM »
Sometimes I love it when an artist goes down a route that can only make you think 'what the fuck...?'. It rarely happens these days. Mr Robert Wiliams has done it a couple of times, with the number one single 'Radio' being an obvious example - why is he singing like that? What's with the 'oww' noises? And what the hell is going on with the video? See 'Rock DJ' & 'Rudebox' for equally baffling career moves on his part.

As major "what the fuck..?" moments go, this is a particularly excellent example:
[youtube=425,350]http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=vFmeQXvz3sY[/youtube]

An album of covers is fine and dandy, but this just threw away all the goodwill they'd built up from "Ordinary World", and strangely they've done the same thing again with their latest shit album. Cocks.





chand

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2008, 10:52:36 PM »
Fair enough, Shadow might've grown bored of cut and pasting old LP slices together, but why delve into a genre with such niche appeal and limited worth? Why not do something interesting, or, indeed, better?

Because that's what he wanted to do? It seemed to me like an album born out of a local scene he was involved in, I don't think it was a conscious attempt at anything other than him just making the music he was into at that time.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: What the fuck have they done?! (Or: Changes of Tack)
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2008, 12:37:07 AM »
Is this the only example of an inoffensive pop band going mad, seemingly, and yet making the best record of their career, and not only that, having a massive hit at the same time?

[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyRiNZDb5EY[/youtube]