This is just pure speculation because I don’t really know the truth or reality of it.
But let me give you a scenario: Think of one of your favorite bands or music artists. Don’t let it be someone that just broke the scene, either. This band/artist needs to have been around for a while.
Got one? Great. I have a particular artist that I absolutely love. I have all of her cd’s (some are pure electronic, others I have the actual disc) and I really enjoy her music, personality, ideas, etc. Her first album was phenomenal. I know every song, every word… just… everything. She recently released her latest album and… I’m really disappointed to say the least. What makes me feel worse is that I feel like her albums have progressively become lackluster. And I understand that writing music and lyrics and producing, etc. is extremely hard. I haven’t done it personally, but I’m sure it’s hard work and exhausting. But at the same time I think, “Well, haven’t you done this before? Practice makes perfect, right? Why are you going in the opposite direction?”
And yes, yes, I know it’s only my opinion and I’m sure she’s really proud of what she put out there. I will admit that she took this recent album in a whole other direction. I understand what she was trying to do with the album and the messages she wants to send. But the songs aren’t exactly songs you can sing… if that makes sense. I don’t want to say it’s spoken word poetry, but it’s sort of like that. And to write that is extremely hard, I’m sure. I know that it’s different from mainstream songs with really simplistic lyrics and beats, and I’m not saying that it has to be a cookie-cutter type of album, but like I said, I can’t exactly ‘sing’ it while doing chores.
And there is another band that I love who released an album and I remember thinking, “Wow… did they even TRY on this one?” It was very obvious that their heart wasn’t into it and to have it be reflected that noticeably was kind of sad as well. I hate to admit that out of 12 songs, I think I really only enjoyed… 4 of them.
Again, I know it’s hard. But even with all the success, money, and artistic opportunities they have… I would have expected things to get better, not worse. Personally, I know that if you were to go back a few years on this blog, my writing probably sucked. I’m not going to shy away from that. It takes a while to really find your ‘voice’ in writing, especially when it’s a personal blog. But I also think that from then to now, I have grown as a writer. I feel like I have learned, matured, and changed in positive ways that ENHANCE my writing. I’m sure I have a few posts in there that still suck every now and then, but for the most part, I feel like I have progressed in a positive way.
I’m sure these musicians look back at their first albums and think about how much they have grown as well. And maybe to them, these more recent ones are better and more of a reflection of who they are. Being artistic means being happy with creating something you love despite what the haters think. But there are certain expectations to be had. If you are of one specific genre or style, those followers expect you to continue in that way. To veer from it might mean growth to you, but it means disappointment from those who have grown to love you through your original genre.
Maybe I’m talking around in circles. But when I am learning how to write an amazing novel, the information is point blank: Is there an audience for the book? You have to have people out there who are going to WANT to read your book. Writing a book for yourself is great, and if that’s what you want to do – by all means, go for it. But for those who want to share their story, you have to know whether or not there are people out there willing to read it; you have to know you have an audience. And with that audience comes certain expectations. Be different, yes of course, but don’t forget that the niche you are writing for is expecting certain things from your book… or in this case, music.
I do have loyalty to my musicians and I will always be willing to listen to any song or album they release. But I would also like to see them get back to the place they were before when they knew what they were writing and working for. If they feel like those reasons have changed, then I will be sad to see them go. I will always remember their songs and the impact they had on me.