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Not many in the history of music, sadly. Can anyone think of any?
scratch that then.
commercial success but were creatively bankrupt
who went on to become less popular but more interesting musically?
I'm waiting for some old sage to go "2 Unlimited, lol"
Reprise is probably bigger than Nonsuch, and YHF is more inventive than you'd imagine from a band who broke through with Being There.
Even my dad had a copy of Summerteeth. And Uncle Tupelo were well liked my loads of people as well.
Also they'd done the two albums of Woody Guthrie material with Billy Bragg, which is how I got into them in the first place.
there was definitely a point where their sophistication and popularity were both on the rise
They both ended up as much smaller, tighter creative outfits though. Radiohead with their major label aversion and movement away from rock, The Beatles with their becoming a relatively avant garde studio band.
I don't think either band fits this thread though.
All of the examples I feel compelled to give were never really that big, or bland. For example, Scott Walker started out in a boy band and went up to be a creative juggernaut... but The Walker Brothers were never really big. They weren't bland, either.
Not the 'bland' bit, but the Walker Brothers had two number ones while even when he was commercial Scott was reinterpreting Jacques Brel.
Talk Talk are pretty much spot on, though, going from workaday early 80s electropop (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqjttpl3peI) to the singular thing Mark Hollis became.
that'll be 6 albums released on EMI and one album on BMG
seven albums on some of the largest record labels on the planet.....
outside of North America and Japan.
TBD/ATO is part of RCA, fair nuff, but it's as an artist-led label more than a wing of a corporate juggernaut.
I think some would argue that their newer stuff is more 'creative' than the stuff they got famous for
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
is the massively correct answer. Smashing icky brit-pop to pieces with atonal US influenced drone rock. Except they got a massive hit out of it, but really by rights, should not have.
probably in a cycle about 14 times over..
Buffalo Springfield > first two solo albums
Harvest > Tonight's the night
etc...not that the first sections of those examples are bland, but more of a commercial sound.
i know they're absolutely massive still but i'd say there's more experimental 'out there' stuff on suburbs than funeral.
but funeral launched them with big stadium-y stuff (wake up, rebellion(lies)) and they've continued to grow popularity wise despite moving on to some more challenging stuff. i know they don't quite fit the idea of the thread perfectly, but thought they were worth a mention for not KoL-ing
I wouldn't say Funeral is very stadiumy on record, except maybe Wake Up, even if it works live in such venues. It sounds like it was recorded in an underground bunker.
or queen or anything, just that suburbs is a much less immediate, mainstream sounding album than funeral was, and props to them for pulling it off while still making a shitload of money and being really popular
I would say that The Suburbs is less immediate-sounding, but then so do most albums when compared with Funeral.
As for Funeral sounding mainstream...what album have you been listening to?
Yeah things like Wake Up and Rebellion are huge huge huge pop songs (not to say they're any less awesome for having wide appeal), but the crazy orchestration and general clattery noisiness of them is quite different to anything you'll find on the suburbs (except maybe empty room).
and then think of the weird vocal effects/dark dark lyrics of Haiti, atonal whistly weirdness of Kettles, The Backseat, just in general
I think the Suburbs is really great, but it's much less offensive, arguably blander and definitely more radio friendly.
Got a little darker, weirder and more creative with each successive album from Ten through to No Code. They went from making slick, MTV-raping arena rock to releasing far less polished records involving a healthy dose of accordions, ukuleles, spoken word and sound collages. All in the space of 4-5 years too.
Versus was a big turn on for me, compared to Ten. But, yeah, not sure they've fitted the 'small, original and creative' billing in the longer run.
they seem to be headed firmly back into the realm of mainstream blandness now though -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6coqkaaQYG8
Gorillaz did it with Plastic Beach (but they weren't exactly bland before)
Scott Walker has arguably become more & more creative, and yet he's not going to be topping the charts like in the 1960's.
Fleetwood Mac kinda did it with Tusk.
These are all fairly debatable though
Not sure exactly how big you woulda considered them initially, mind..
Have you heard their first album? Bad synthpop.
In any case Talk Talk came to mind first. David Sylvian took a very esoteric trajectory from Japan onwards. Does Brian Eno count? Probably not but then neither would Sylvian I guess. The Cure is a difficult example as they moved in and out of commercial territory throughout their career.
Small and shit, the worst combination.
Fair enough not big or successful but the bland and commercial nature of it is unarguably there.
fuck the haters
then I add Ex Models.
They were not ever bland but they started of pretty standard q not U ish with devo elements and gradually descended into noise by the final album
bland is debatable
and think anything after maybe The Bends is bobbins.
But they went from playing MTV Spring break and smash hits live tours to sersiously po faced shit and criticise other bands for doing what they once did.
So I guess Radionhead to fit that mould in a way.
Talk Talk? (well they certainly weren't shit as a pop band but they certainly made a dramatic shift to more avant garde styles).
Pearl Jam tried to in the mid nineties but kind of failed.
Dropping out of Roxy Music to help invent ambient?
I find his first two albums really ADHD and then he became refined as he found commercial success. However, I really disliked his latest effort as a return to the electronic mess of his earlier stuff.
before he started working with Robbie Williams.
Scott Walker? From The Walker Brothers to The Drift.
Of course, they weren't BIG big during the Fire era, and you'd have to discount the years before the name change (which I am) but they were fairly big and mainstreamy and not-bland-but-simplistic-enough yeah? Yeah.
Anyhoo, album sales are only a fraction of what they were, no more showcasing on the telly or big Glasto appearances yet their output just gets better every year, creativity pouring out their EARS.
I'd almost be outraged if it wasn't for the fact that this is an indie bedwetter (like myself)'s wet dream
"kind of" because Wake Up wasn't bland and was bursting with creativity.
Ichabod and I / Kaleidoscope etc. was pretty obscure and smallfry shoegaze.
Ok, ignore their punky first e.p's, Licence To Ill was a stadium filling cock/cokefest that had about as much artistic integrity as The Darkness... then.. after all the tabloid rage had settled down and all the white middle class kids moved onto 2LiveCrew etc, the band re-emerged as something rather special with Paul's Boutique and Check Yr Head.
I saw them a Reading '92 just after Pavement, think peoples' jaws were dropping in the mud at how good they were.
I was at Reading in 92 and the Beasties were one of the highlights of the weekend, was amazed at how brilliant they were.
I remember a quote from Drowned in Sound when '..Polar Bears' came out which read akin to "Snow Patrol will never be big"
I read the question wrong
Wouldn't say the first album was bland, but the other bits fit.
Herbie Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Donald Byrd,
Donnie Hathaway, Miles Davis.
Yes, the science guy.
but in reverse. So...
Big, mainstream and bland ---> Small, original and creative
Going from very popular pop hits about cars and surfing to Pet Sounds and after where they sold alot less records but they were infinitely more interesting. Apert from Pet Sounds which I think did quite well sales wise.
Roxy Music/Walker Brothers/Japan may have been realtively big or mainstream, but none of these groups were bland and certainly not when the above people were members of them.
So would people stop the debate there!!!!!
(Unless of course your own subjective opinion is that Roxy Music/Walker Brothers/Japan were bland, in which case blab away)
of the Beach Boys then. Their early music wasn't bland, apart from maybe the filler they put on their early albums to bolster them around the singles they released, but their later stuff is more interesting.
Maybe this discussion should be about bands that started as being big and popular, but kind of conventional, and then becoming less popular but more interesting/groundbreaking.
That is what it's about.
I found their biggest stuff fairly bland but love Long Gone Before Daylight, which sold nothing. While it's probably not strikingly original stuff, it's not just a continuation of their big sound.
Divine Comedy also, but then I don't really think he's changed his sound much, just got less annoying.
the maccabbees, in that their second album was a lot better than their first and a lot less wanked over by Xfm and skins
Started out nice and poppy and typical british guitar indie, been hastily loosing their minds ever since.
(...though I actually prefer his earlier stuff to his more recent output I have to say.)
Scott Walker (possibly the best example of this rare phenomenon - began as effectively the singer in a boy band, discovered existentialism, went a bit mental for a while, and now makes dense, impenetrable, scary experimental stuff)
The Wedding Present (compare George Best with Seamonsters, which, despite being their best album, killed off their career as chart-bothering TOTP occasionals)
that I love the Walker Brothers.