When a musical artist nails their signature sound it can be a thing of beauty, and doubly so for a big rock act. This is what comes to define them as they embark on an often decades-long career in the industry, each album hitting us with a little bit of their influences and a heavy helping of zeitgeist, while still remaining true to the artist's core style.
While most of the biggest bands and acts of the years have managed to pull this off (frequently leaving genre-hoppers and one-hit wonders in their wake), sometimes there's a blip in the matrix and they suddenly sound, well, different... to put it politely.
Looking at big hits and deep cuts alike, some of the following tracks are the product of experimentation gone awry, some were made for the movies (indubitably with boatloads of cash attached), others are filler, and some -- which have gone on to become some of the artists' greatest hits -- simply caught the ears of the kind of mainstream audiences they never expected to get.
Here are 10 rocks songs that don't sound like the artists who made them. Like, not even really at all.
10. Swing Life Away - Rise Against
Every hardcore band has that one super chill song that seems to run contrary to everything they're about, but few of these anomalies have gone quite as far as Rise Against's Swing Life Away.
An acoustic ballad, Swing Life Away speaks of optimism in the face of everyday adversity, and makes Rise Against sound like an acoustic indie outfit. Arriving in 2003 on the Punk Goes Acoustic compilation album, it is unclear whether the band ever intended for this particular track to go any further, but at the insistence of their record label, it was expanded upon and included in their 2004 album Siren Song of the Counter Culture.
Ironically, Swing Life Away ended up being the runaway hit from the otherwise hardcore album, and netted the Chicago teetotallers a whole raft of new fans -- fans who couldn't have been more surprised when the rest of the album shook their Badly Drawn Boy posters off the wall. While in recent years Rise Against have tacked closer to the mainstream, picking up the acoustic again from time to time, Swing Life Away still stands out as an oddity in their discography.