Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 08, 2020 09:35PM
I’ve been listening to the Clash’s ‘Sandinista’ in the car the past week. It came out 40 years ago and I’m not sure how thoroughly 14 year old Bip processed it when it came out shortly after Lennon’s death in Dec 1980.

The common criticism was that it was just too much, too long and would’ve been so much better as one or two lp’s. I liked the cramped feel of it then, and I think I like it better even now. Some of the dubs etc near the end are clearly just there for one listen. But I like the texture and feel of this album. Even throwaway songs like ‘the crooked beat’... I wouldn’t throw them away. I’m glad Sandinista exists as this whole bloated mess.

ANYWAY.....what really strikes me now is how the Clash got from the no-nonsense debut in ‘77 to something as expansive and varied as this by late ‘80. That’s only three years. I find it kind of impressive.

John Lydon got from the Pistols to PiL in 1-2 years, that was a pretty big departure. But he’s just one guy. The clash had to get the whole band on-board.

What are some other examples of impressive (or depressing) major shifts in short timeframes?
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 09, 2020 08:35AM
Loves me "Sandinista!" The sprawl is what makes it. It would lose focus if it…gained a tight focus. There's always Simple Minds going from album one to album two. The gulf between "Chelsea Girl" and "Veldt" is pretty vast. Then they plunged into the heart of darkness for "Empires + Dance" next time out. But I could say the same from the jump between "Sons + Fascination" and "New Gold Dream [81, 82, 8 3, 84]." Also "New Gold Dream [81, 8 2, 83, 84]" and "Sparkle In the Rain." And maybe I could say the same about "Once Upon A Time" and "Street Fighting Years," but it's true that both of those albums suck, so it's only of incidental interest to me.

Former TP subscriber [81, 82, 83, 84]

For further rumination on the Fresh New Sound of Yesterday®
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 09, 2020 08:40AM
Ed Kuepper going from three albums of flat out shredding in The Saints straight into The Laughing Clowns. I guess the horns on Know Your Product from Eternally Yours and (the brilliant) Swing for the Crime from Prehistoric Sounds gave a bit of a hint, but still.

I too am happy for the existence of Sandinista. I still remember the NME review's headline: Complete Chaos!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/09/2020 08:51AM by Aitch.
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 09, 2020 12:45PM
Monk's Simple Minds example is the first one that came to mind for me.

As I'm thinking of others, is it even worthwhile to discuss artists like Bowie, or Prince, or Zappa who were all over the map stylistically?

Split Enz - 1 year
Going from the brilliant, bizarre sprawl of the first 2 albums in 1975-76 to the much poppier and concise Dizrythmia the following year is quite jarring. Switching out half the band (most notably losing Phil Judd and gaining Neil Finn) certainly influenced this, but Eddie Rayner and Tim Finn were still around driving things.

Joe Jackson - 2 years
Beat Crazy (1980) was already a bit of a stylistic departure from the first two album, but the shift to Night and Day in 1982 was drastic.

The Stranglers - 3 years
The band was already changing it's sound with Black and White (1978), but three years later, The Gospel According the Meninblack is so different than what led up to it.
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 10, 2020 09:09AM
I can't tell you how many times I have lifted a drink while Crooked Beat is playing. They found something on those 3 albums that made it almost unsettling. Version City, Ivan, Charlie and many others just had this bizarro vibe that I find fascinating to this day. If Music Could Talk is a fantastic piece of work, especially with good headphones. I was lucky to have an ultra cool future brother in law introduce me to the Clash when I was 13.

I am sure there are better examples but Kid A certainly took me by surprise when it came out. OK Computer was also a bit odd but on Kid A they threw in the kitchen sink.
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 10, 2020 12:28PM
Does Neil Young going from HARVEST to TIME FADES AWAY count? He has spent much of his career alternating between acoustic folk/rock and loud proto-grunge, but that's a very extreme swing. (And he later decided that TIME FADES AWAY is his worst album, leading to its much-delayed CD reissue.)
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 10, 2020 12:44PM
Waitaminute. Didn't I read something in TP about Bad Brains going from hardcore to Prog? Or did that happen later?
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 10, 2020 05:53PM
Didn't Bad Brains start as a jazz fusion band and then switch to hardcore?
Re: Biggest stylistic change in shortest time span
June 17, 2020 10:56PM
I’m gonna go with Brian Eno on this one. In the span of slightly more than one year, he went from the subversive, experimental avant punk pop of “Here Come The Warm Jets” to the ethereal avant ambient tones of “Discrete Music” with only a handful of solo albums and collaborations in between to indicate the direction he was headed in...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/2020 11:09PM by the 801.
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