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Why Do Musicans Go Crap?

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Always wondered why bands and musicans release one or maybe two albums lets say in their 20s achieve lots of success - and then from there it just gets weaker they release more material but its never the same, or good as they have done, its just similar to what they have released but never hits the heights. Even with all the money and resources you would think it might improve them, but no.

Of course there are exceptions - The Beatles music got better and got more varied- but Mc Cartney or lennon never really hit the heights of their beatles days atter the breakup. U2's music has got better since the 80s, they have had consistent hits they are one of the exceptions - and then there is Oasis after the first 2 albums it all got weaker - they had a few good singles here and there from 2000 onward with Lyla, Song Bird, Sunday Morning Call - they tried their best to stop the rot but nothing that really got close to their glory days. Coldplay have been pretty solid. Was listening a new Bon Jovi song - pretty drab effort and then i thought they haven't really released that many good singles since 1990s. Even Michael Jackson was hits were pretty patchy from the 90s onward, and Madonna has had her ups and downs.

You could argue they have made their money - and therefore don't need to write good music - or maybe its just getting older, and losing the passion for their music. Maybe they have only got so many good songs in them, and have done it all - so all their new stuff is just weaker and deriverative of the younger days

I mean Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones - can you honestly say they have done anything decent in maybe 20 years - basically just living off their glory days - i boycott musicans that can be bothered to at least make some good new music. The thing you find is they often sell lots of albums - but the quality is pretty poor and a lot of its from existing fans who will buy anything from the Band or Musican.

So we do we have any examples of Muscians or bands that have got better over the years.

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The one or two albums problem is well noted, hence the "difficult third album". Its usually a combination of factors. The first album took years to write, the second album takes a month to write, if you're lucky you have something in reserve... When it comes to the third, the cupboard is usually bare; its an opportunity and its a hazard. By around your third album, people want to see growth or development or change in the band, not all of them are capable of this in the same way the Beatles, the Stones, Bowie etc. were. But even they can't keep that up indefinitely, perhaps they are like politicians who don't want to lose their 'base'. Look at what they did to Brian Wilson for having the temerity to write a couple of masterpieces that weren't about cars or surfing. And then again, who can really say they love Neil Young's dodgy 'experimental' period in the 80s?

Edit: I think Bruce Springsteen got better over the years myself.

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Always wondered why bands and musicans release one or maybe two albums lets say in their 20s achieve lots of success - and then from there it just gets weaker they release more material but its never the same, or good as they have done, its just similar to what they have released but never hits the heights. Even with all the money and resources you would think it might improve them, but no.

Of course there are exceptions - The Beatles music got better and got more varied- but Mc Cartney or lennon never really hit the heights of their beatles days atter the breakup. U2's music has got better since the 80s, they have had consistent hits they are one of the exceptions - and then there is Oasis after the first 2 albums it all got weaker - they had a few good singles here and there from 2000 onward with Lyla, Song Bird, Sunday Morning Call - they tried their best to stop the rot but nothing that really got close to their glory days. Coldplay have been pretty solid. Was listening a new Bon Jovi song - pretty drab effort and then i thought they haven't really released that many good singles since 1990s. Even Michael Jackson was hits were pretty patchy from the 90s onward, and Madonna has had her ups and downs.

You could argue they have made their money - and therefore don't need to write good music - or maybe its just getting older, and losing the passion for their music. Maybe they have only got so many good songs in them, and have done it all - so all their new stuff is just weaker and deriverative of the younger days

I mean Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones - can you honestly say they have done anything decent in maybe 20 years - basically just living off their glory days - i boycott musicans that can be bothered to at least make some good new music. The thing you find is they often sell lots of albums - but the quality is pretty poor and a lot of its from existing fans who will buy anything from the Band or Musican.

So we do we have any examples of Muscians or bands that have got better over the years.

the fall, annie lennox, ritchie blackmore,cyndie lauper,jeff beck,robert plant,mark knoplfer,the blonde from abba (2003 album is amazing)

will think of more later.

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It is an identical thing which goes across industries, sportsmen writers etc.

Tiger woods etc, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry were all excellent before they won world titles, once they did the money bought a certain level of comfort so instead of practicing they are both busy with sponsorship adverts and enjoying their wealth.

This means they have less time to write songs or practice. When you have the wealth and a ferrari or a massive TV there are so many more distractions around.

It happens as I said in all industries. Douglas Coupland for example used to be good but as he progressively became more famous his work got worse and worse. Same with Bill Bryson many say his first work neither here nor there was good but it progressively got worse.

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I think there is an inverse relationship between wealth and creativity.

Whether creatives admit it or not, their motivation is the same as anyone else i.e. success, money, the right partner etc. In the early days they're hungry for it, and are willing to spend every waking moment to achieve it.

Roll forward to a time when the money has arrived, a nice house or two, financial security, and an army of amorous admirers. What's left to prove or strive for? There's no actual need to carry on working as hard as before. That base motivation has gone. And that's where I believe the rot sets in.

Musicians may claim to live for their art of course, but if that were true why do they gradually kick back and relax over time? Exceptions are very rare (and very famous!).

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It is an identical thing which goes across industries, sportsmen writers etc.

Tiger woods etc, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry were all excellent before they won world titles, once they did the money bought a certain level of comfort so instead of practicing they are both busy with sponsorship adverts and enjoying their wealth.

This means they have less time to write songs or practice. When you have the wealth and a ferrari or a massive TV there are so many more distractions around.

It happens as I said in all industries. Douglas Coupland for example used to be good but as he progressively became more famous his work got worse and worse. Same with Bill Bryson many say his first work neither here nor there was good but it progressively got worse.

Douglas Coupland has become a terrible writer. If I didn't know better I'd have said JPod was a cruel parody of a Douglas Coupland novel. It was so bad it made me re-read Generation X thinking perhaps I'd been had, but fortunately it was just as good as I remembered it (phew!). Umberto Eco, Saul Bellow and J.G. Ballard all got better as they got older IMHO. Also Roth and Updike but that is more controversial. Thomas Pynchon is still showing an unremitting and quite startling commitment to maintaining quality and density in his work. He doesn't back off an inch, I have no idea how he does it.

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I am just watching Oasis on TV right now.

Case in point ?

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Frank Zappa went on for ages! Many move into the musical equivalent of "project management".

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Maybe its just getting older and taking life easier - the music and albums they wrote were when they hungrier for success, as result of times they were living in, as a result of lots of hardwork - so they had to push themselves to the extreme to produce the quality of music - and now there is nothing pushing themselves, its just not sustainable to for anyone to keep it up for years - now the ego has increased, and the money is rolling in, and they expect it to come easy to them.

or it as one poster above mentioned, it could be the right partner - Whitney Houston is back after her divorce, John Lennon went a bit crap after too much time with Yoko.

Maybe - Love is all you need.

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Dave Stewart of Eurythmics has said that he's suffered from "paradise syndrome", which is apparently an illness whereby you want for nothing and you can more or less have what ever you want which then can make you ill & disillusioned. I personally think it's certainly true that those bands who spent years travelling around in crappy van, touring from gig to gig and then they have massive success, certainly lose their edginess..

http://www.eurythmics.me.uk/Articles/articlereview.asp?ID=214

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It is an identical thing which goes across industries, sportsmen writers etc.

Tiger woods etc, Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry were all excellent before they won world titles, once they did the money bought a certain level of comfort so instead of practicing they are both busy with sponsorship adverts and enjoying their wealth.

3 great examples there. Jimmy White never won a world title and Stephen Hendry and Tiger Woods were consistently better than anyone else in their sports for many years.

There are many reasons why artists deteriorate, the main reason is that there is only so much one man can say.

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I agree with points made to so far.

I would add: the lack of a requirement to make something decent.

If you are an established star then employees and acolytes will call your new stuff great, even if it isn't. If you are an unknown then it will stand or fall on merit alone.

I would also throw in the fact that many big names either cease touring altogether or just play safe venues to existing fans where anything would be cheered. One of my favourite bands, XTC, started off average and got better and better until peaking at their fifth album (English Settlement) on a diet of constant touring. Then they stopped touring and, with the odd later highlight, went steadily downhill. I hugely admire the drummer, Terry Chambers, who during recording of the first post-touring album put down his drumsticks, said the new stuff was rubbish, walked out and emigrated to Australia. Top man.

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Anecdotaly, I find that the bands/artists that have to continue working will keep on churning out the good stuff.

I listen to quite a bit of latin music: salsa/merengue/timba/son, and most of the artists keep on popping out albums and doing gigs all their lives. Example: Celia Cruz, often considered the queen of salsa, released her best known single in her 70s, one year before she died.

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I agree with points made to so far.

I would add: the lack of a requirement to make something decent.

If you are an established star then employees and acolytes will call your new stuff great, even if it isn't. If you are an unknown then it will stand or fall on merit alone.

I would also throw in the fact that many big names either cease touring altogether or just play safe venues to existing fans where anything would be cheered. One of my favourite bands, XTC, started off average and got better and better until peaking at their fifth album (English Settlement) on a diet of constant touring. Then they stopped touring and, with the odd later highlight, went steadily downhill. I hugely admire the drummer, Terry Chambers, who during recording of the first post-touring album put down his drumsticks, said the new stuff was rubbish, walked out and emigrated to Australia. Top man.

I was going to suggest that XTC had become better over time - despite Andy Partridges refusal to tour. Oranges and Lemons, Nonsuch and Apple Venus Vol1 are all fantastic albums. Not so sure about Wasp Star, and I don't think they've done anything together since.

David Byrne has maintained a pretty high standard since leaving Talking Heads, and his recent collaboration with Brian Eno was superb. The live show was one of the best performances I've seen. I wish I'd bought tickets to every show on that tour.

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I would say if the Prodigy is your cup of tea they have been pretty consistent over the years.

If the Prodigy isn't your cup of tea, that would be consistently crap ofc...

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Part of the problem is that they mature as musicians and learn 'proper' songwriting skills and master their instruments more. The rough and ready, untutored, enthusiastic burst of sheer creativity often produces work that connects on a more profound level with listeners.

When they hit forty, it's all slick bland blues noodling for the AOR market and completely dull.

That said, as even the supposedly 'credible' areas of popular music seem to be dominated by teeny-boppers. NME now looks like smash hits, stuffed full of desperately untalented Topman models.

Still, some bands do continue but in obscurity and produce much better work than when they were famous. The last Teenage Fanclub album was immense, far superior to Bandwagonesque.

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I was going to suggest that XTC had become better over time - despite Andy Partridges refusal to tour. Oranges and Lemons, Nonsuch and Apple Venus Vol1 are all fantastic albums. Not so sure about Wasp Star, and I don't think they've done anything together since.

David Byrne has maintained a pretty high standard since leaving Talking Heads, and his recent collaboration with Brian Eno was superb. The live show was one of the best performances I've seen. I wish I'd bought tickets to every show on that tour.

We'll agree to differ on XTC. I could never call them rubbish but Oranges and Lemons and Nonsuch had IMO many songs that with the editing and refinement, such as tempo changes, that playing live would have brought could have been so much better. Peter Pumpkinhead by XTC was ok, the cover used on Dumb and Dumber was excellent. Skylarking managed to become a very good album because you had Todd Rundgrend happy to make himself unpopular by disagreeing with the band and telling them when they were wrong.

David Byrne still plays live and it shows. I saw him at the Shepherds Bush Empire late 90s. Played a lot of hits but brought new stuff to them, theatre, lighting. New songs brought cheers rather than groans as it was done so well. Great show.

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Of course there are exceptions - The Beatles music got better and got more varied- but Mc Cartney or lennon never really hit the heights of their beatles days atter the breakup.

So we do we have any examples of Muscians or bands that have got better over the years.

The Beatles' music did develop but it was not a consistent improvement at the album level:

Please Please Me - good start - still a working band.

With the Beatles - Much better and Lennon McCartney songs to the fore

A Hard Days' Night - Better still - all Lennon McCartney songs

Help/Beatles for sale - not as good - sense of drift

Rubber Soul - a brilliant step up

Revolver - unbelievable that it could be better than Rubber Soul

Sargent Pepper - another good 'un

Magical Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine - down a notch. Blue Jay Way, Hey Bulldog and one or two others not amongst the most played these days

White Album - one great album lurking in a double

Abbey Road - cracking stuff

Let It Be - rescued by the genius of Phil Spector

Apologies for my personal opinion on this - posters may have different perspective.

I think that David Bowie must rate as an exceptional artist in terms of developing his music from the mid-60s through to the late 70s. Again some ups and downs but some clever development and progression nonetheless.

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I think that David Bowie must rate as an exceptional artist in terms of developing his music from the mid-60s through to the late 70s. Again some ups and downs but some clever development and progression nonetheless.

If there are any exceptions, then Bowie must be top of the list. I'd say past the late 70's right into the early 80's actually. Lets Dance was a commercial project, but a stunning success nonetheless. Who else was still in the running at that point? Jagger got jealous and tried to go solo with She's The Boss. Can you recall any tunes off that album? Zeppelin were finished, the Beatles history.

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Sometimes it's better to leave the stage undefeated (Beatles, Abba or Queen). Then the name of the band becomes a true legend.

One thing I can't stand is rock'n'roll pensioners pretending to be teenagers... Crappy albums are bad, but pensioner comebacks that drag on for years are even worse...

OldRollingStonesCaricature.jpg

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Sometimes it's better to leave the stage undefeated (Beatles, Abba or Queen). Then the name of the band becomes a true legend.

Apparently ABBA turned down $1bn to reform...

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