Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bummer! Talent was rewarded.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

SO true. I don't understand why people feel the need to shun something just because other people like it. Like something because it's good, not because no one else likes it, and when your favorite band becomes successful, don't abandon ship.

Sam said...

I disagree. I happen to be a big fan of indie rock, but when other people discover it, it becomes more, "oh. okay. I'm less alone." I dunno.

Caaleb said...

I am one of the shunningest snobs to ever turn his nose up at a band's newfound "popularity" (see: the Shins), but I'm trying to change... It is a bummer!

Tonamel said...

I'm with Sam. I like a lot of indie stuff (Name dropping time! Cornelius, Beirut, Dan Deacon, Bishop Allen, Caribou), but that doesn't stop me from also liking popular stuff, if it's good (Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Paul McCartney).

Anonymous said...

It's a little deeper than just not liking something because it's popular. Radio air time and popularity have changed more than one band I've loved. "Selling out" doesn't have to mean selling albums; it can mean changing your sound or appearance to sell albums. (Take Fall Out Boy for example. I can't stand their any of their music from From Under the Cork Tree on, which is when they started getting on the radio.)

Moonbeam McQueen said...

I agree. Popularity doesn't just change bands, but actors and comedians too. There's always a little pang of "what a shame" when you see them start becoming a polished part of the PR machine, instead of the diamond in the rough that made you like them in the first place.

Emily said...

I agree: the more popular a band gets, the more they change. Plus, often the newer fans are annoying, and take all the fun out of watching a performance. Watch ticket prices skyrocket, for instance.

Nate said...

I'm so ambivalent about this. There are so many bands I liked so much more before they got big and changed their sound; Vertical Horizon comes readily to mind.

Also, though, once I love something musically, I usually love it forever, no matter what stigma is attached to it socially. I think the main thing that's lost when a band gets big is that sense of intimacy, of going to see them in small clubs and bars and getting to talk to them afterwards.

And you're right, emily, often the new fans are super annoying. I love the Flaming Lips, but every time I go see them live I get so irritated at the pot-smoking, stupid-acting fans down front who push you out of the way to get a better view.

Anonymous said...

From the musicians' standpoint, I have to say that a majority of the perceived "selling out" is simply deciding not to write stuff that's as puerile and whiny anymore because we've advanced as artists. Admittedly there are obvious cases of a band being, uh, overproduced shall we say, and there are other cases of being pressured into performing cover songs or dropping certain songs off of the album in order to sell more records.

However, I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt to any band who changes their sound drastically at some point in their career as sometimes your tastes just change. Many artists spend ten to twenty years playing before they ever hit the right combination of sound and energy to attract attention, and that sound may only be a transitory phase in their development as an artist.

Remember, just because you don't like the sound anymore doesn't mean they changed it just to appeal to people you dislike - they may actually BE people you would dislike. Take a look at the list of musical influences of some of your favorite bands some time and see how much you agree with.

David said...

It seems to me that if an artist is honest, it really doesn't matter what the perception is of whether they "sold out". They know whether they sold out or not, and it is usually obvious in the supporting tour...
Wilco does a nice job of describing this phenomenon in "What Light", where once you've published a song, the people who hear it have some ownership as well and then it is no longer solely your own.

danny said...

this is the case for restaurants too (at least for me). it great when you 'discover' a whole in the wall, but when everyone goes it loses some of the mystic and uniqueness.

Pass A Smile On said...

This is one of my favorite posts! Very true. :)

chana said...

I was like that when the Wiggles sold out and went on Playhouse Disney!

When they started playing big arenas instead of smaller theaters, they stopped signing autographs at the stage door for the "in the know" fans...

The kids loved it, and the moms loved flirting with that hottie Anthony...

Mr Crane said...

It's because some people get very upset when everybody else catches on to the one thing that they thought made them precious and special.

And then sour grapes comes along in the form of cries of "sell out!"

Anonymous said...

I hate the things that you like.

Something like that?

mr crane said...

Yes indeed.

Sam said...

My take is that many indie artist's songs are about how hard life is, and once they have made it on the radio and beyond, their life is no longer like that. At all. Lap of luxury != indie rock.

 
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