Most great artists tend to be put in a box from the minute they hit the big time. No matter how much potential you might have to give at the start of your career, the commitment to the bottom line has led to countless artists putting out the same type of song over and over again. You might be scared that your original audience will leave, but if you're willing to go outside your comfort zone, sometimes your fans will want to come along for the ride.
As much as these bands may have already been kings of their niche, they got a whole lot more interesting when they decided to toy with different styles, either stripping things back in the mix or layering different instruments that had no business being there in the first place. Even if you were to put some of their biggest songs next to each other, you would swear it was a completely different band playing every one of these songs.
It might be a little inconsistent, but it doesn’t matter if you still have your same knack for songwriting. For all of the genres that these acts have gone through, each of them have held up as fairly decent to some degree, almost like wearing these songs like musical costumes whenever they perform. You can spend years trying to refine your sound until you get in just right, but it looks like these guys were a lot more concerned with what else was out there.
10. Nine Inch Nails
At the turn of the decade, the '90s were about to give way to a sea change in rock music. As hair metal started to go way out of style, bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam began to pioneer a different aesthetic in rock and roll, where you didn't have to worry about being a towering rock god to become famous. So in the thick of bands with guitars making authentic music out of Seattle, one of the biggest names of the time turned out to be a guy with a piano tearing you to pieces.
Over the course of Trent Reznor's career, Nine Inch Nails has turned into one of the most forward thinking outfits in the world of music, never being afraid to combine the artificial sounds of Pro Tools with the rock aesthetic and actually pulling it off on albums like The Downward Spiral or the Fragile. Before Seattle had even blown up, Trent was already hitting the ground running with Pretty Hate Machine, making the first waves of industrial rock on songs like Head Like a Hole.
Ever since the '00s though, Trent has been looking to defy the traditional rock and roll hangups, from using saxophones on the most recent NIN albums to continuing his streak of ambient albums with the Ghost series, where he puts music in the public domain and lets his fans do what they want with the tracks. Along with his hand in different scores for movies, Trent seems to want to do absolutely everything he can with music from the moment he wakes up in the morning.