||DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE
by Marc “Moose” Moder
This article shared 2416 times since Wed May 15, 2013
Recently, the Grandfather of Pop, Rod Stewart decided to go back to his pop roots after 20 years away making babies and destroying standards. While it was certainly nice to hear the man I still quite like do what he does best, it reeked a bit of coming crawling back to the wife after a month with the mistress ... a little too little, and a little too late. Why an artist who's at the peak of their craft with adoring fans would take a left turn into a genre not of his vocal range is beyond me, but it worked to the tune of millions of records, sold mostly to your mother. Lately it's been quite common though. Recently Lionel Richie had the fastest selling LP of his career with his Country Western collection, Tuskegee; and country princess Taylor Swift went not only pop, but dubstep at times on her surprisingly fast moving 22. This got me thinking of some other artists who left their (and their fans') comfort zone in order to spice up their egos a bit, crushing their decent track record, and not coming back from the dead per se.
Pat Benatar, after eight successful rock LPs in the '80s, gave up on her rock core after the mild success of Wide Awake In Dreamland. Her hot husband/guitarist Neil had always wanted to do a blues album, but Pat was never on board. When their career took a small dip, Pat gave in and recorded the most bland blues album since anything Eric Clapton's done sober. True Love sent her remaining fans running and yawning. Despite having one of her best albums of her career after, her follow up, Gravity's Rainbow, barely made a blip, and the same for her 2 "independent" releases after. While she maintains a healthy following on tour annually, it's never been right after True Love.
Billy Joel also went back to the '50s, but he went full-on Four Seasons with the disappointing, but huge selling doo-wop album, An Innocent Man. Despite five of the 10 tracks on the CD going top 20, it softened the grit he built up on albums like Nylon Curtain and Glass Houses. For his back-to-business follow ups, The Bridge, Storm Front and the Christy Brinkley-assisted River of Dreams, Joel continued his ride from soft rock to soft belly with only one minor hint at creativity with "We Didn't Start the Fire." After that, and since then, Billy has become a nostalgia singer and full time boozer. Fans like me still hope but, like his hair, we're all slowly falling away.
I could go on, but the pages in Nightspots are only so big. So to finish, I'm not saying that changing course is bad for everyone. Folks like Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt and Bob Dylan can seem to bob and weave while never missing a beat. Plus artists like Sade, Rihanna and Madonna stick to what sells, and they rarely lose fans. But be warned, artists, your fans aren't always going to be so forgiving. Stick to what you know, and what we love you for. If you're selling, you're obviously doing something right. As another pop artist in need of hit once said, "Don't fuck it up". No sashay away.
Catch DJ Moose IML weekend spinning the hits of a diva who never misses a step at Cher: Diva of a Decade at Mary's Attic, May 24.
This article shared 2416 times since Wed May 15, 2013
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