The album experience is the bread and butter for most rock acts. For as much as people may love the lead singles from their favorite bands, you never understand the depth of an artist until you go through the record as a whole. Anyone can just throw together a few songs with a common theme running throughout them, but these acts were determined to make their songs be more than just a catchy tune.
Rather than take the conventional approach to their songwriting method, these guys used their records as an opportunity to take themselves to places they had never been before.
These changes range from everything from switching instruments to a full concept record to abandoning what made them famous to begin with. Most bands just wouldn't have the guts to try something like this, but these artists were determined to go for broke regardless.
Did it work out all the time? Well...yes and no. For every album that succeeded with flying colors, there are some projects that end up being too lofty for their own good. Some of these albums might not have had the payoff fans hoped for, but when they did, there was nothing else like it in the entire music world.
10. Sandinista - The Clash
As punk entered the '80s, the Clash had come a long way from the punk squats of London. With their debut and Give Em Enough Rope being straight ahead punk affairs, their epic double album London Calling marked the beginning of the band's expansion, as they started to toy with styles like rockabilly, classic rock, and reggae. It was already an impressive feat, but there was room for improvement.
By the time the band got around to releasing Sandinista in 1980, they had taken a quantum leap from the genre that birthed them. Instead of being just thrashing guitars and biting lyrics, this almost felt like the band's answer to world music, incorporating everything from the new sounds of post punk to dub tracks. Venturing everywhere from their home country to Jamaica, the entire triple record runs like an extended playlist of any music the band was into, with classics tunes like "The Magnificent Seven" in between the more experimental cuts.
The band even had the guts to have a new track not featuring any member up front, with Tymon Dogg taking over on "Lose This Skin." Though Sandinista has been accused of being too bloated for its own good, it's still a ride worth going down if you want to hear just how musically diverse this band could get.