Author Topic: Album Contrasts  (Read 2653 times)

Album Contrasts
« on: May 28, 2020, 04:28:12 AM »
What are some interesting contrasts between previous and successive albums?

I've been listening my way through Bowie's entire discography and the shift between Young Americans and Station to Station is quite something. A move toward the abrasive elegance of the Berlin Trilogy and a more austere presentation.

famethrowa

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2020, 05:12:50 AM »
I'd go with Dire Straits, Love Over Gold vs Brothers in Arms. The former having long, complicated songs (only 5 on the whole album), extended structures and storytelling style lyrics: the latter having conventional song forms, basic chords and way simpler words throughout. I guess it worked for them though....

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2020, 05:42:49 AM »
In terms of contrasting musical styles without any drop off in album quality or popular success, Bruce Springsteen going from Nebraska (1982) straight to Born in the U.S.A. (1984) must be the all-time winner.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2020, 10:56:22 AM »
The Final Cut ->> Momentary Lapse of Reason

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2020, 11:10:29 AM »
Peter Gabriel IV, probably his weirdest album followed by So his most radio friendly album.

buzby

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2020, 11:40:44 AM »
Movement to Power, Corruption and Lies (though the intervening singles Everything's Gone Green and Temptation gave pointers towards the direction things were going)
A band trying to find it's way after the loss of it's leader and musical director, a reluctant, press-ganged vocalist (and another vocalist who was trying to do an impression of their departed one), and a producer who had lost his main channel of communication with the band and was still in mourning for his muse. Both sides wanting to do something different to what their previous incarnation had done, but ended up sounding so similar it could be considered a pastiche[1]

By the next album, they had parted ways with the producer and were producing themselves, the (still reluctant) singer had found his own voice and was writing his own lyrics (with some help from LSD), they had almost completely left their New Wave sound behind after experiencing Electro and Italo-Disco while touring the US East Coast and southern Europe.
 1. And I say this as a massive fan of Movement

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 12:43:20 PM »
I’d say there was a quantum jump between Scritti Politti’s Songs to Remember and Cupid & Psyche 85. From reggae and soul inflected exaltation of Jacques Derrida to shimmering digi-funk exaltation of Aretha Franklin in a few short years. Then again Green managed to crowbar ‘hermeneutic’ and ‘paradigm’ into a song about fancying someone on Cupid & Psyche so perhaps the transition was largely an illusion designed to change the observer not the observed.

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2020, 12:45:00 PM »
Animal Collective's entire discography, I can't think of a single artist/group who has come close over such a large collection at such stark transitions one after another.

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2020, 01:07:37 PM »
Disco Inferno's debut Open Doors, Closed Windows is a competent but fairly unoriginal collection of Post-Punk played by a standard 3 piece band setup heavily influenced by Durutti Column, Wire and Joy Division.

Their next album D.I. Go Pop's only recognisable instrument is the bass, and is influenced by Public Enemy, My Bloody Valentine and The Young Gods and sounds nothing like any of them or anything that came before it (Deceit by This Heat prob coming closest.)

Always felt that must have been jarring for the 12 people paying attention to them at the time.


Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2020, 01:12:25 PM »
Neil Young:
Trans (1982)
Everybody's Rockin (1983)

massive bereavement

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2020, 01:44:03 PM »
Pil - "Metal Box" to "Flowers of Romance"

The most upset ever caused among a fanbase must be Dylan going from "Another Side"  to "Bringing it All Back Home", doesn't sound much of a contrast now but at the time many saw that as a complete betrayal.

Not familiar with Lou Reed's solo output but whatever was before of after "Metal Machine Music", though maybe not entirely unexpected from him. I suppose the difference between "White Light/White Heat" and VU 3 can also be brushed off as being the result of losing John Cale.


Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2020, 02:27:12 PM »
Pulp Different Class to Pulp This Is Hardcore

The contrast is palpable.

Different Class a 20 year overnight success a  celebration of love, joyous unashamed sex, drugs, chips and gravy. A wonder round town in the early hours with the best looking bird at Uni, JOI DE VIVRE in sheet music. Jarvis is alive and feeling it.

This Is Hardcore From the album cover alone you suspect the the party is over, then the title track sets in and you KNOW the party is over. The drug comedown nobody was expecting.......I was having a whale of a time until your uncle Psychosis arrived,
Why do we have to half-kill ourselves just to prove we're alive?
I'm here…

The hangover from hell, squalid, dingey, dark, why didn't someone tell me it would all end like this. Christ you look like Sylvia used to back in the day......................



Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2020, 02:32:20 PM »
Animal Collective's entire discography, I can't think of a single artist/group who has come close over such a large collection at such stark transitions one after another.

The Fall, 1979- 2001 ( albums start getting a bit samey after that. For 16 years. Fucking Hell.)

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2020, 02:37:34 PM »
In terms of contrasting musical styles without any drop off in album quality or popular success, Bruce Springsteen going from Nebraska (1982) straight to Born in the U.S.A. (1984) must be the all-time winner.
He did another turn with 'Tunnel of Love', which dropped the huge sound/themes as well as most of the E Street Band for a more introspective set of songs about his marriage falling apart and getting together with the future second Mrs Springsteen.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions' 'Almost Blue' was something of a departure from their usual sound up to that point. 'Imperial Bedroom' was another swerve right after that too.

alan nagsworth

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2020, 02:39:37 PM »
Animal Collective's entire discography, I can't think of a single artist/group who has come close over such a large collection at such stark transitions one after another.

of Montreal?

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2020, 03:01:53 PM »
Animal Collective's entire discography, I can't think of a single artist/group who has come close over such a large collection at such stark transitions one after another.

Motorpsycho?

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2020, 03:05:27 PM »
Tom Waits makes quite a leap from Heartattack and Vine (1980) to Swordfishtrombones (1983)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 03:24:18 PM by Brundle-Fly »

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2020, 03:09:41 PM »
Mansun's lurch from Six to Little Kix is one that always stands out. The record company wanted something that would sell better than the previous two concept albums, so they installed their own producer and created something that the band hated, went on to sell very badly and hastened the end of the band itself.

I'd love to hear a "Draper Cut" of Little Kix if he could ever be arsed to revisit it.

Movement to Power, Corruption and Lies (though the intervening singles Everything's Gone Green and Temptation gave pointers towards the direction things were going)
A band trying to find it's way after the loss of it's leader and musical director, a reluctant, press-ganged vocalist (and another vocalist who was trying to do an impression of their departed one), and a producer who had lost his main channel of communication with the band and was still in mourning for his muse. Both sides wanting to do something different to what their previous incarnation had done, but ended up sounding so similar it could be considered a pastiche[1]

By the next album, they had parted ways with the producer and were producing themselves, the (still reluctant) singer had found his own voice and was writing his own lyrics (with some help from LSD), they had almost completely left their New Wave sound behind after experiencing Electro and Italo-Disco while touring the US East Coast and southern Europe.
 1. And I say this as a massive fan of Movement

You could probably say similar about their entire discography. Each album feels like an attempt to escape the previous. Whether that be due to a desire to always stay on the cutting edge or to simply exorcise the toxic memories they made whilst recording it.

Puce Moment

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2020, 03:23:10 PM »
The psychobilly/Cramps sound of early MBV, then their move into jaqngley indie pop, and then the string-bending, multiple pedal pile-up noise of Isn't Anything.

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2020, 03:41:24 PM »
Girl Ray's Earl Grey (2017) and Girl (2019)


Blimey, just heard a bit and they've gone pop!

Quote
High quality, timeless pop songs weren’t always created in offices by handfuls of writers and marketing teams and then farmed out to the highest bidding singers. Once upon a time they were written and recorded by artists – George Michael, Prince or Kate Bush for example – who wanted to use the universal, happy medium of pop music to put across joyous, accessible messages of love, friendship and life to the world.

And that’s what Girl Ray have done. They’ve done far more than just “go pop.” To have the confidence to totally change one’s creative output is something so few artists manage, but they’ve nailed it. Back in 2017, the band Girl Ray released Earl Grey: a debut album of expertly-crafted, sweet, hummable songs about longing, friendship, self doubt and contemplation. It was a success. “With Girl Ray, we knew we had found something special,” says Stephen Bass who signed the band in 2016.

After their tour rolled to a stop and Girl Ray’s members Poppy, Sophie and Iris floated back to earth, taking up employment in shops and restaurants. They hung about listlessly, struggled with bouts of feeling a bit shit and saw each together ritualistically despite not creating much music. Poppy started writing some new songs for their second record much like the sweet odes to longing, love and friendship on their debut. But the vibes just weren’t there.

It was Ariana Grande’s explosion into pop culture that kickstarted a new era for Girl Ray. “Thank U, Next came out and that kind of changed everything,” Poppy says. That, combined with Ari’s ballad of self-love and the party vibe they witnessed when touring with US band Porches (“their live game was so fun and super synthy and so danceable,” Sophie recalls. “It looked like much more of a party,”) led to the band beginning to wonder if they could try their hand at making their own pop.

After that realisation, everything clicked into place. Poppy began experimenting with writing songs over beats. “I had to start learning how to write on a computer, using keyboards, and that made everything sound more pop,” she explains.

The songs poured out. A collection of shimmering, foot-tapping, sparkling pop bangers. It’s unmistakably Girl Ray, but with added synths. If Earl Grey was a hot cup of tea and a cuddle on the sofa, Girl is being in a cab with the windows down on the way to a beach bar for sundowners. It’s the sun kissed excitement of Rihanna’s If It’s Lovin’ That You Want, combined with the eye-rolling, impenetrable sardonic humour of a girl gang. Among the grin-inducing, trepidatious and intensely courageous R&B-style tracks on the album are beautifully composed piano ballads steeped in the sadness and unrequited love that made Earl Grey feel like a knowing look from an old friend.

The band took the demos to Ash Workman at Electric Beach Studios in Margate. “He has more of a pop background [Christine and the Queens and Metronomy] which is exactly why we wanted him for the job,” Poppy says. “We didn’t have to compromise with him, he just got it straight away.” Ash listened to the demos and was keen to help them produce a record that sounded something like “70s Drake.” The band were slightly confused by this, so they stuck pictures of Ariana around his mixing desk to remind him of his raison d’être.

Even though Girl sounds a little like a cross between the Love Island soundtrack and The Power Out by Electrelane, it’s almost genre-less. Girl Ray have created something beautiful that hasn’t been seen for a long time now: expertly-crafted pop created by dedicated artists on a mission to make music for people to really enjoy. Music that doesn’t look to confuse or patronise. Music to fall in love to, to dance to. Songs you’d want to send to your friends.

“Pop is so fun and universal, even if you’re a super muso nerd who’s into Elliot Smith you’re still going to love hearing a bit of Whitney Houston and that’s really appealing to me,” Poppy says. “If you hear a good groove you can’t not boogie, and we want our shows to be more of a party and for it to be more feelgood music.”

“With this new set of songs they have been brave enough to completely change their sound rather than playing it safe yet still remain unmistakably themselves,” says Stephen. “A bold move perhaps, but a sign of that desire to push themselves that only the best artists have.”

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2020, 05:06:23 PM »
Tom Waits going from the lushly orchestrated torch balladry of the One from the Heart soundtrack to the Beefheart-influenced carny barker experimentalism of Swordfishtrombones is one helluva contrast.

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2020, 05:19:54 PM »
Tom Waits going from the lushly orchestrated torch balladry of the One from the Heart soundtrack to the Beefheart-influenced carny barker experimentalism of Swordfishtrombones is one helluva contrast.

I said something similar four posts ago but wasn't sure the soundtrack would count.

Adolesecent Sex (1978) to Quiet Life (1979) by Japan was a massive shift from noisy glammy guitars to sleek synth sounds.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2020, 05:21:48 PM »
Underworld, "Change The Weather" to "Dubnobasswithmyheadman"

"Change The Weather" sounds like Midnight Oil, INXS and Thomas Dolby, then "Dubnobasswithmyheadman" doesn't. There was a five-year gap between the two, I suppose.

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2020, 05:23:21 PM »
The modernism of Scott Walker's Tilt is also a bit of a hammer blow, even with the earlier traces present in previous albums. Not so sure that his later work was entirely a success artistically, but it certainly was bold.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2020, 05:27:37 PM »
I said something similar four posts ago but wasn't sure the soundtrack would count.

Ah, sorry Brundle, I missed that. As you say, even if we discount the soundtrack album, the leap from Heartattack and Vine to Swordfishtrombones is vast and jarring (in a good way).

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2020, 05:29:26 PM »
Surely The Cure win this by going from Pornography straight into Japanese Whispers (though that is technically a compilation album.

But my favorite has always been Jamiroquai, going from ‘We’re too young to die’ to wow I’ve got some money let’s all drive around in a fleet of Lamborghini Diablos. Though the change is thematic more than musical,, and takes the place over 2 albums.

purlieu

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2020, 07:36:08 PM »
Underworld, "Change The Weather" to "Dubnobasswithmyheadman"

"Change The Weather" sounds like Midnight Oil, INXS and Thomas Dolby, then "Dubnobasswithmyheadman" doesn't. There was a five-year gap between the two, I suppose.
As well as the five year gap there was a radical lineup change, too. Underworld Mk 1 and Mk 2 are almost different bands, really.

The Manics had a brief period of self-doubt at their commercial height which left them with a really bizarre run of albums. This is My Truth is a beautifully orchestrated, epic, atmospheric album of mid-tempo pieces, followed by the lo-fi claustrophobic production of the stylistically all-over-the-place Know Your Enemy. Then they went even further in the other direction with the icy, synthpop-tinged Lifeblood, and followed up with the backward-looking 'Guns n Roses meets the Clash' pomp of Send Away the Tigers, an intentional return to the sound of their first two records. That they started the run of albums as just about the biggest band in the UK and ended it as one of those groups whose core fanbase is big enough to get them into the album charts but unlikely to broaden any time soon is perhaps unsurprising.


While they went out of their way to make a point of them being albums by two very different projects, Brian Dougans and Gaz Cobain following up the bleak dystopian IDM of FSOL's Dead Cities with the psych-folk-prog-Indian classical-ambient mashup that was Amorphous Androgynous's The Isness is still possibly the biggest left-turn I've come across in music, and even though they preceded the latter with remixes, radio shows and such all with a sunny psychedelic sound, there were still fans (who'd heard those) who managed to be baffled at the album's sound.



chveik

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2020, 08:40:40 PM »
Not so sure that his later work was entirely a success artistically, but it certainly was bold.

I was relistening to the Sunn O))) collab earlier and I still think it's a success.


I'm going to nominate Swans, going from Children of God to The Burning World.

Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2020, 12:23:37 AM »
Gillespie's bandwagon-jumping Screamadelica is a helluva jump from Primal Scream.

the science eel

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Re: Album Contrasts
« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2020, 12:35:47 AM »
Tim Buckley, probably. Not sure which two, tho'.

Eno's 2nd to AGW

And The Clash went from sneery snarly tinny punk to big stompy hard rock.




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