Hundredth is a band hailing from Myrtle Beach, SC, that spent the first part of this decade releasing strong melodic hardcore records like Let Go and Free. Then, in 2017, they released the single “Neurotic”, a dreamy, post-rock song that caught my ear and stayed there. I was obsessed, but several fans were less than happy to see this heavy act employ a tonal shift.
Gone were the unclean vocals, and in were the guitars full of reverb. Despite essentially turning into a different band, I take no issue with this change. I see it as a reinvention of the performers, as everyone was on-board, with only a guitarist change occurring between the previous hardcore record and 2017’s shoegaze-y RARE.
Some may see this as alienating a band’s fanbase, which they have grown to love for one sound. I suggest listeners approach change with an open mind; some bands, like Bring Me the Horizon, still honor their past with a “heavy medley” during sets. But bands that devote themselves to the change are at risk of losing fans that signed up for one specific sound.
Title Fight, upon the release of their vastly-different Hyperview, said the following during an interview with VICE: “I think the fact that it wasn’t exactly what people expected means they had to sit and digest it and work through the songs.” Taking songs at face value isn’t enough for a listener; while it is perfectly-acceptable to use music in the background, I feel that, to truly appreciate a composition, one must dissect the finer details to absorb all the layers of a song.
Stagnancy is a serious detractor for me when it comes to new albums from bands. Of course, bands grow and try new things with each record, but if they don’t take risks, there’s no maturing of the sound, and no chance for the band to grow. I’m not saying a band has to reinvent itself every album cycle, but experimenting can lead to some outstanding music.
This is not to say that a genre change always results in improved music. I have fond memories of A Day to Remember’s heavier past, but their gravitation to a softer sound is not as desirable to me. What are your thoughts on this matter? What bands have you lost interest in, or discovered after their sound changed? I’m curious to hear, so leave your take in the comments!