One of the most taboo subjects you can hear in the world of rock is selling out. The minute that you hear that your favorite artist is moving to the radio rock format is usually the time when you have to pack it in with them and move on to something new. Then again, is every single “sell out” really all that bad?
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some bands that went pop that had no business doing so, and we have the scars to remember them by as well. Going pop is a subjective term though, and some of these changes of pace may have just been an honest look at where the band’s mindset was at the time. So as we go through the bands listed here, we’re going to see where their heads were at when they were making these projects and whether or not they deserve the reputation of being musical punching bags for the past few years.
If it’s any comfort, some of these acts did manage to get themselves back on track afterwards as well, going back to their more hard rocking sound and reminding us why they kicked so much ass in the first place. It’s nice when they’re able to correct themselves, but for some of the unlucky few, this was the point of no return.
10. Simulation Theory - Muse
Okay, so there’s probably millions of Muse fans that probably saw this coming from a mile away. Even when Matthew Bellamy’s songwriting got the comparisons to Radiohead though, you weren’t going to mistake Knights of Cydonia with anything by Thom Yorke any time soon. Somewhere after the Drones regime died down though, Matt busted out the keyboard and chose to coat the entire next album in an ‘80s pastiche.
That’s not to say Simulation Theory is a full on sell out album from skin to core. There are a lot of trademark Muse moments on here like the bombastic sounds of Get Up and Fight and the dance energy coming through on a song like Pressure. For the rest of the track listing though, you can hear Matt relying a little too much on the dystopian side of lyrical topics and is much more interested with shoving as many sounds into the mix on a song like Propaganda.
It’s not like Muse isn’t capable of dipping their toes into the electronica pool either, since they already made it work just a few years before on the 2nd Law. Whereas the first time sounded like a bold left turn for them, this is more along the lines of songs that would make decent background music on Stranger Things.