New Sound Album

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So, there's Band X. Band X has become popular and generally well-received by critics quite a while ago and are known for a certain style.

However, Band X decide to do something completely different for their next album, for whatever reason. Maybe they're tired and believe they've taken their style to the limit. Maybe they're afraid of being one-trick ponies. Maybe it's Executive Meddling. Regardless, the result will be a change of style. This can be either a total Genre Shift, general simplification for bands with highly complex styles (thrash metal, prog rock, etc.), more prog tendencies for simple pop-rock bands, whatever. The point is that they will continue with this style for a period, to either continued success or diminishing returns.

Cue shock and They Changed It, Now It Sucks from parts of the fanbase, along with a whole spectrum of opinions from others.

The New Sound Album represents an album where a band generally known for a certain style backs away from its roots and makes a radical change, if not a total Genre Shift. Reactions to this tend to vary. There's always a segment of the fanbase that says They Changed It, Now It Sucks and labels them as sellouts, even ignoring that sometimes the band honestly admits to wanting a change. In other parts there's a whole range of reactions, from mixed to positive. In the worst case the album will divide a fanbase into Old Guard Versus New Blood, and in the best case a majority of fans will enjoy both periods of the band's career. When this happens, fans will usually cite the album as a case of Growing the Beard.

Contrast Something Completely Different, where the change is usually temporary, and the artist goes back to their old sound with the next album.

Examples of New Sound Album include:
  • My Chemical Romance pulls this with pretty much every album. "I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love" was straight ahead Post-hardcore/Classic Emo with alot of screamed lyrics and downtuned guitars. "Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge" largely continued with this sound but also added small traces of Pop Punk, Goth Rock and Post Punk, as well as slightly decreasing the amount of screamed lyrics. The Black Parade was a major shift since it was a full on Concept Album with a big influence from 70's music such as Progressive Rock and the artier side of Glam Rock, all while still staying true to their post-hardcore roots. Danger Days was the biggest shift as it fully abandoned their roots in favor of straight ahead Pop Punk with synthesizors and even an adult contemporary song.
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor's last album, Yanqui U.X.O.. In terms of composition, it's not a huge Genre Shift, but there is more of an emphasis on notes and less on drones, guitar washes, and noise. More noticeably, the album is missing 2 things the band was well-known for: cryptic, spoken-word field recordings and individually named movements that made up larger tracks. Also, thanks to engineer Steve Albini, the album's sound was more raw and direct than the others. The reception of the album has been fairly divided among both critics and fans.
  • Kiss's Music From The Elder was hated by fans, and later, the band themselves, and Revenge was met with lukewarm responses, both changing from the classic KISS style. Both were followed by returns to classic KISS (Creatures of the Night for the former, the reunion album Psycho Circus for the latter).
  • 90125 by Yes. The first album by a reunited band with a new guitarist (Trevor Rabin), 90125 saw the band reduce their song lengths and simplify their structures, while retaining enough weirdness and instrumental proficiency to remind fans that it was still a Yes album despite its newfound accessibility. It resulted in the band's only #1 hit, "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Some parts of the fanbase went straight for Old Guard Versus New Blood, with the "Troopers" representing the former and the "Generators" (named after the band's followup Big Generator) the latter, but the majority seem to enjoy both periods just fine.
    • This was actually intended as a spinoff project (named "Cinema"), until Yes vocalist Jon Anderson liked the sound of the demos and decided to make it a Yes album.
    • Drama from the same band is worth mentioning here, as it brought a new wave influence to Yes (courtesy of The Buggles' Trevor Horn, who helped define that musical style throughout the 1980s) years before 90125. Some critics, like Jeremy Parish of Game Spite, argue that it did a better job of bringing the band into the new decade than the two subsequent albums. Not satisfied with taking Yes in one new direction, Horn and his bandmates also wrote Machine Messiah, the heavy metal-flavored lead track that would become an influence for the harder sound of neo-prog artists like Dream Theater.
  • Blink-182 did this with their 2003 self-titled album. The band wanted to make a "serious" album after years of pop-punk and lighthearted lyrics about proms and humping dogs. The result of this was an emo/post hardcore-influenced sound.
    • Also, when frontman Tom Delonge went on to form Angels and Airwaves, which was radically different in nature from Blink.
  • Stone Temple Pilots started as a 90s grunge band typical of the era, but switched to 60s/70s-inspired psychedelic rock with Tiny Music.
  • Heart changed styles several times. Their debut album Dreamboat Annie is trippy psych-folk. The following album Little Queen abandoned the psychedelia of the debut in favor of straightfoward hard rock. In The Eighties, they signed a record deal requiring them to adopt a pop sound and image and use outside professional songwriters. The first result of this was the 1985 self-titled album Heart. This was followed by the very synth-heavy Bad Animals album, then Brigade, which was a return to guitars, but was still very polished pop. With Desire Walks On, the band regained creative control and began moving back to their traditional sound.
  • Believe it or not, The Goo Goo Dolls started as a punk rock band. After 2 punk albums, with 1990's Hold Me Up" they gradually began to change over to the lighter pop-rock they became known for in The Nineties. Their 1987 debut album isn't even in print today.
  • The Ramones' pop experiment, the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century.
  • Metallica and Megadeth simplified their style almost simultaneously, with Metallica (The Black Album) for the former and Countdown to Extinction for the latter. While initially successful, both bands continued with the simplification for the rest of The Nineties, to predictably diminishing returns.
    • The low points for each band were St. Anger (Metallica, in 2003) and Risk (Megadeth, in 1999). The former stripped down for a rough, unpolished sound while the other tried to be more commercial after the success of the previous album's efforts. Their later efforts were mostly a U-turn: Metallica's Death Magnetic kept the longer songs of St. Anger with a turn back to their late-80s sound, and the three Megadeth albums after the band's reformation (The System Has Failed, United Abominations, and Endgame) steadily shifted more towards the seminal Rust In Peace. Incidentally, the Megadeth albums tend to be overall better received than Death Magnetic is (blame the Metallica fans), though the latter's still pretty good.
  • Sparks did this several times. While their first four albums were quirky glam rock, 1975's "Indiscreet" saw them exploring a wide variety of styles. Then, with "Big Beat" they turned into a hard rock band, and 1977's "Introducing Sparks" was a Beach Boys/Surf Rock pastiche. All of these are at least still mostly identifiable as rock music, but in 1979, they teamed up with electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder to produce "No. 1 in Heaven," a purely electronic disco-style album. They did another in this vein, 1980's "Terminal Jive", then went in a Synthpop direction for the rest of the 80s. With 1995's "Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins" they went Eurodisco. Finally, 2002's "Lil' Beethoven" turned Sparks into Orchestral Rock.
  • Queen weren't exactly prog to start with, but were known for highly overdubbed vocal harmonies and guitar work. Starting with The Game they pushed the guitar to the background and focused more on the pop side of their personality instead of rock. This development went hand in hand with synthesizeritis and reduced songwriting quality, causing them to lose their popularity in America.
  • Rush has many. The self-titled debut album (released prior to virtuoso drummer/lyricist Neil Peart joining the band) is pretty straightfoward 70s bar-band fare ala Bad Company. Enter Peart with Fly by Night, and suddenly the lyrics become sci-fi and the drumming much more technical, but the overall song structures still pretty straightfoward hard rock. However, with Caress of Steel, the band started to move into prog territory, with very long multi-part epics. This remained until Permanent Waves, which found the band abandoning the long epics and "wail" vocals in favor of a more accessable sound. Signals threw the band into synthesizeritis mode, which lasted throughout The Eighties, until Counterparts, when the band shed the synths in favor of a grunge-influenced sound sound they've stuck with since. However, based on interviews and the two new preview tracks, their upcoming album Clockwork Angels may move the band back to prog.
    • Some Rush fans have noticed that the album following an official Live Album would be a New Sound Album. They seem to have abandoned this since their 2003 return to regular recording and touring.
  • The Beatles did it twice. Starting with Revolver they dove headfirst into trippy, catchy psychedelic rock, and then with The White Album they went back to straightforward rock.
  • The Who changed sound very frequently. Their debut album My Generation is blues-rock, similar to to what The Rolling Stones were doing at the time. They then moved into psychedelic pop with A Quick One and The Who Sell Out, and then then keyboard-heavy art rock with Tommy, Who's Next and Quadrophenia. In contrast, The Who by Numbers is stripped down and back-to-basics. The last three albums of their inital run have a more AOR arena rock sound.
  • With A Northern Soul, The Verve changed their orientation from their previous spacey psychedelic rock with lots of drug abuse to alternative rock with lots of drug abuse. They continued with this style on Urban Hymns.
  • Starflyer 59 moved from their previous shoegazing-influenced guitar-heavy sound to a synthpop-influenced sound with keyboards starting with The Fashion Focus.
  • Fleetwood Mac started as a moderately successful blues-rock band led by guitarist Peter Green known for hard-rockin' songs with heavy riffs such as "Oh Well" and "The Green Manalishi (with the Two Pronged Crown)". One long complicated history later, including Green and the other guitarist quitting due to mental illness and joining a cult and other replacements that didn't go much anywhere, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band, now relocated to California. With Fleetwood Mac they changed to a pop/rock style inspired mostly by the Beatles, Beach Boys and the mellow Californian soft rock scene. They refined the formula and obtained massive success with Rumours and Tusk, and never looked back.
    • There were still a few New Sound Albums even in their pop era. Tusk, the follow up to Rumours, is experimental, with new wave and punk rock influences (but still with enough radio-friendly pop to ensure it a hit), and Tango in the Night is chock full of synthesizeritis.
  • Jars of Clay does one of these every second album or so.
  • Green Day in The Nineties used to be a pop-punk band who wrote catchy songs about being lazy, being insane, masturbating, being bored the works. Cue American Idiot and their shift to a more complex style inspired by Rock Opera and The Who.
  • Pearl Jam moved towards more experimental waters starting with No Code, and they eventually returned to head-on grunge/hard rock with either Riot Act or Pearl Jam (depends who you ask).
  • For now it seems Kanye West pulled this with 808s & Heartbreak, moving from sample-heavy rap to weird bleepy minimalist electro stuff with AutoTuned singing.
    • He took the focus he had on instrumentation and melodies and combined it with his old rapping style on his next release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It worked.
  • The Beach Boys evolved pretty gradually away from surf-rock, but fully went baroque pop with what's considered their masterpiece, Pet Sounds (which sadly didn't have "Good Vibrations" on it). They went back to simplicity later due to intra-band conflict and drug abuse.
  • The Byrds moved from jangly psychedelic pop to traditionalist country rock with Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
  • AFI started off as a hardcore punk band (a la Black Flag) but switched to horror punk (exemplified with 1999's 'Black Sails In The Sunset'), then alternative rock with 'Sing The Sorrow', electronica-influenced rock with 'Decemberunderground' and have now gone to straightforward rock with 'Crash Love'
  • The Cure started off as a pop-punk group and completely changed their sound with the melancholic tones of Seventeen Seconds and Faith, which got them lumped with the gothic rock scene, culminating in their dark tower of angst, Pornography. After Pornography, the band balanced melancholic and upbeat on their next few albums, until their masterpiece Disintegration which was a tad darker than the previous couple albums before it. After Disintegration, they increased the pop quotient with Wish, and since then their style is pretty much a mix between bleak goth and upbeat pop, with varying degrees of happiness.
    • Let's not forget The Top. That album was a MAJOR turn away from their previous effort, Pornography.
  • Urge Overkill started as a crappy noise-rock band ripping off The Jesus Lizard, Big Black and other contemporary Chicago bands. With Americruiser they hit upon their style, a combination of punk, power pop and arena rock. They never looked back and continued perfecting the formula until they struck the jackpot with Saturation.
  • Lampshaded by Lemon Jelly, who wrote on their album '64 to '95: "This is our new album. It's not like our old albums."
  • Motley Crue was a great hard rock 80's hair metal band. In 1992 lead singer Vince Neil left the band, he was than replaced by John Corabi. At this point, Hair Metal/Hard Rock is dead, and Grunge/Alt Rock became mainstream. John Corabi morphed the sound of Mötley Crüe into an grunge band. It did not fit well with their fans, they stop touring in arena, went to theaters, then eventually canceled the tour. This went on for a decade, with Vince Neil and Tommy Lee leave then return again from time to time.
    • And the Fandom Rejoiced when the classic line up got back together in a comeback tour, Carnival of Sin, then later released the Saints of Los Angeles album. The Saints of Los Angeles album returned the sleazy hard rocking fast living sound with a bit of a modern edge, it's their best album in years.
  • Muse's most recent album The Resistance, which has raised cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks. Really, every single Muse album makes changes to their sound. Compare Showbiz to Origin Of Symmetry, Origin Of Symmetry to Absolution and so on.
      • Frankly, it wasn't that radical departure from Black Holes at all. Other than the song with no guitar parts, which was a first. But still Muse.
  • Arctic Monkeys (Humbug), a Pink Floyd-influenced psychedelic album, quite different from the frantic garage-rock of their previous material.
    • Their latest, Suck It And See is also much softer change from their earlier sound.
  • Bob Dylan many times, including:
    • Electric folk rock with Bringin' it All Back Home
    • Country (Nashville Skyline)
    • Gospel rock (Slow Train Coming and Saved)
    • Synth-pop (several tracks on Empire Burlesque)
    • Return to traditional acoustic folk (Good as I Been to You, World Gone Wrong)
    • Blues rock (Time Out of Mind)
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (just about every new release?)
  • David Bowie many times. In order of significant ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, his first self-titled album was 1960s British pop with touches of music hall fare, and then he moved on to...
    • Psychedelic folk (Space Oddity)
    • Heavy Metal (The Man Who Sold the World)
    • Glam Rock (Hunky Dory)
    • ProtoPunk Rock (Ziggy Stardust)
    • Blue-eyed Soul (Young Americans)
    • Electronic proto-Post Punk Kraut Rock (Low)
    • Goth Rock influenced New Wave (Scary Monsters and Super Creeps)
    • Top 40 R&B-influenced material (Let's Dance)
    • Hard Rock (The two albums he recorded with Tin Machine)
    • Industrial/electronica (1. Outside)
    • Mainstream alt-rock (Reality)
  • Electric Light Orchestra's Discovery: Compared to their previous work, it's well, very disco.
  • Jewel. One example would be 0304, the synthesizer heavy dance pop album she put out after primarily being known for acoustic adult alternative. Strangely averted with her country album Perfectly Clear, which differed only in that John Rich wrote some of the songs and others had hints of steel guitar.
  • Linkin Park - After wringing out the last bit of life from Nu-metal, Minutes to Midnight led the band in a new direction. What direction that was, I'm not even sure they know.
    • A Thousand Suns, on the other hand, decided to focus more on synths and electronic rock.
  • Relient K left their punk rock sound for more alt-rock with Mmhmm; segueing to alt-folk-ish for Five Score and Seven Years Ago. Their latest album, Forget and Not Slow Down, is a blend of all their genres.
  • Radiohead - Kid A, Amnesiac, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs.
    • They reached extreme critical acclaim in 1997 with OK Computer, an album featuring spacey rock with recurring themes of globalization and alienation. The massive hype and the highly positive reception gave them much popularity and attention, but the amount of touring and inter-band strife forced the band to re-think itself.
    • ...Eventually creating Kid A. The album featured more electronic sounds than guitars (as Thom Yorke was allegedly bored of guitars by that point), distorted vocals and much more abstract lyrics and experimental instrumentation, splintering their massive fanbase (many of whom had expected a straight-up continuation of OK Computer) and becoming a highly polarizing album. 2001 saw the release of Amnesiac, which was recorded alongside Kid A and was just as confusing as its predecessor, but both albums would receive much praise.
    • With 2007 came In Rainbows, which was a much Lighter and Softer version of Radiohead (but just as Radiohead as it could be) and much more accessible than one could say about their previous work.
    • 2011 would bring The King of Limbs, which is way too hard to categorize as a whole.
  • The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love: Kept the folk influences, but replaced the baroque pop influences with prog.
    • Followed up with The King Is Dead in a way that proves that labels can be deceptive. Both their previous work and this album could be described as indie folk, but before this the "folk" element was Old World folk songs, particularly English and Irish ones. The folk in The King Is Dead is pure Americana, and a fair assessment of it would be "The Boss gone Country".
  • Crash Test Dummies - Give Yourself A Hand, which is a radical departure from their earlier folk rock. The album mixes Funk Rock, Rn B, Chillout, Trip Hop, Drum & Bass and even includes a string ballad. Brad Roberts tries new vocal styles - in addition to his original baritone, he pulls off an impressive falsetto and even unleashes his inner Mike Patton/Anthony Kiedis on some of the funkier tracks, which have very raunchy lyrics. Ellen Reid, previously the backing singer, has lead vocals on a few songs. It is hard to believe this is the same band who did "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" a few years before.
  • Tori Amos - Her three albums The Beekeeper, American Doll Posse, and Abnormally Attracted to Sin depart from her signature piano-based sound. The Beekeeper is a mixture of baroque pop and blue-eyed soul, American Doll Posse is alternative rock, and Abnormally Attracted to Sin is a mixture of electronica, baroque pop, and alternative rock. May fans dislike those albums (especially The Beekeeper), but Your Mileage May Vary. Also, her last three albums from the '90s count too. Boys for Pele is very minimalistic; the majority of songs on the album lack a bassline and a drum beat. From the Choirgirl Hotel is a mixture of electronica and alternative rock. To Venus and Back is even more electronic. These albums however, are way more popular with fans that her more recent albums.
  • Village People ("The Renaissance Album")
  • 5150 by Van Halen. After 6 albums defined mostly by the combination of Eddie Van Halen's guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth's comic persona, Roth left the band. He was replaced with Sammy Hagar, Eddie started including more and more synths, and their songs became poppier. Cue Broken Base, which endures to this day despite Roth having returned.
    • Also the largely forgotten Balance album, Van Halen's rather misguided attempt at grunge.
  • Napalm Death: Harmony Corruption onwards, when they started to take on death metal influences (and later industrial and black metal).
  • After two albums of generic R&B, Prince finally took the gloves off for Dirty Mind, the album which codified his now-famous style of New Wave-funk-pop-rock with highly sexual lyrics. He has had several others over his career:
    • Purple Rain emphasised the rock and pop parts of the equation with a slight influence from psychedelic rock and represented the debut of The Revolution.
    • Around the World in a Day dialed up the psychedelia.
    • Sign o' the Times was made after The Revolution disbanded and emphasised stripped-down arrangements.
    • The Black Album was pure funk but got cancelled - its replacement Lovesexy was more poppy.
    • With Graffiti Bridge, Prince bought new drum machines and sequencers but otherwise continued with Lovesexy-style pop-funk-rock.
    • Diamonds and Pearls saw him ditch the New Wave elements, reduce the pop/rock and switch more towards an urban/R&B-oriented style and heavily featured Tony M's clumsy rapping in an attempt to appeal to his supposedly dwindling black audience.
    • After changing his name to the unpronounceable symbol, The Gold Experience dialled down the clumsy rapping and continued otherwise with the funk/R&B with some extra bits of pop and rock, a style he's pretty much stayed in ever since.
  • Madonna - Bedtime Stories was R&B, which lead to Ray of Light and Music, which were electronic albums. Her most recent album Hard Candy sounds most like her '80s albums with urban and electronic influences.
  • Primal Scream shifted their sound repeatedly throughout the 1990s, first moving from the indie jangle sound of their '80s albums to house rock with Screamadelica. After a brief dip into a more traditional sound with the bluesy Give Out, But Don't Give Up, the band closed out the decade with the dark, claustrophobic Vanishing Point and the angrily-political XTRMNTR.
  • R.E.M. has a lot of these, especially experimental New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Monster to an extent too, as it introduced a louder, more grunge-influenced sound, coming after two popular albums emphasizing orchestration and acoustic guitars. Don't forget Up, the first album after Bill Berry's departure. It introduced drum machines and synthesizers to their sound.
  • U2 evolved from post-punk on Boy to a more straightforward rock sound by War, then they looked into blues and country for The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum. With Achtung Baby, they had a complete Genre Shift to a more modern alternative rock sound and added more electronics, culminating in the largely electronic Pop. After that, they pretty much went back to their Joshua Tree sound with All That You Can't Leave Behind.
  • It's hard to tell exactly what Tom Waits became after swordfishtrombones, but it's nothing like what he was before. And it made him a legend.
  • Subversion: Chinese band Silver Ash had one single New Sound song in 2007. It was pop- a long way from their previous goth/glam rock style, and in the PV they were dressed casually- unsual, as they had up until then considered themselves China's first Visual Kei band. It seems the change was brought about, not because the band fancied a change, but because they had finally been forced to comply with the Chinese government, who had been making life very tough for them for years. However, after the release of this song, the band disappeared into the wilderness, and very little news has been heard of them since. There is a lot of speculation, but nobody really knows whether they are going to continue with their new pop sound or are planning to return to rock and VK as best they can- under the assumption that they are returning at all, of course.
  • Judas Priest. They simplified their sound (but still sticking to metal) with Killing Machine and British Steel, and continued to get more commercial throughout the decade, culminating in the synthesizer-laden pop-metal of Turbo. They returned to speed metal again with Painkiller, and during the Tim "Ripper" Owens era they took on a bit more of a late-80's thrash influence. With Angel of Retribution and their reunion with Rob Halford, they basically went back to their pre-Killing Machine sound.
  • Soulwax has shifted over time from alt-rock in the 90s to "Dance-Punk". Their album Any Minute Now marked the start of the change, as it was an electronic-influenced rock album, and the remix/re-creation of Any Minute Now in the album Nite Versions sealed the deal (rock-influenced electronica album!). This has been largely seen as a good thing, as well as somewhat of a natural progression, as Soulwax's alter egos, 2 Many Dj's, have been electronica-ing it up for a while now.
  • Metalcore band In This Moment went for a less heavy sound in their second album The Dream, diitching most of the growling vocals and Metal Screams after vocalist Maria Brink expressed a desire to challenge herself with more clean-vocals songs.
  • Summoning went through a pretty dramatic change in Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (and subsequent albums), switching from black metal to a much more relaxed, epic style.
  • Quite common with Brazilian rock:
    • Os Paralamas do Sucesso started with The Police-inspired rock. They changed it with their third album, a mix of reggae, rock and African rhythms.
    • Titãs started with a new wave sound, then in their third album went for an aggressive rock-with-punk-influences style that gave them success, and after a period of obscurity, reemerged with an MTV Unplugged session.
    • Skank was known for its reggae-infused pop rock. After showing some hints of a change in their fourth studio album, they totally changed to Britpop-like rock in their fifth.
    • Los Hermanos went into the mainstream with a pop-rock album. Then they went for a mixture of rock and Brazilian rhythms such as samba and choro in their next album, and so it went.
  • The third Gorillaz album 'Plastic Beach' has a larger pop element to it than the previous albums,and also features more collaboration with other artists, ranging from Mos Def to Mick Jones. This album was originally said to be their last, but things seem to be going differently.
    • With Demon Days, they went from the more hip hop influenced first album towards a more alternative direction, but still including some hip hop.
    • The new album, The Fall, ranges from techno to trip hop to nobody knows. It's awesome, still, and it has the touch of Gorillaz.
  • TNT evolved from straightforward metal on their self titled album and Knights of The New Thunder, to somewhat of a fusion of Hair Metal and Hard Rock on Tell No Tales and Intuition, with some touches of more traditional metal. Then in 1992 we got Realized Fantasies, which completely shifted to melodic glam metal. In 97, we got Firefly, which somewhat cashed in on the grunge/alternative metal trend that was occuring at the time. Then in 2004 the classic lineup was brought back and the return to melodic rock was made with My Religion. In 2007, new singer Tony Mills was brought in and the new album The New Territory was released, coming in with a sound similar to that of 70s bands fused with the classic TNT sound. Cue Broken Base.
  • Although they'd released a couple of dance floor classics already such as "Everything's Gone Green" and "Tempation", and of course "Blue Monday", New Order's album Power, Corruption and Lies was where the band fully dived into their alternative dance persona. Their previous album, Movement, sounded rather similar to Joy Division.
  • The Beastie Boys have done this a few times. First with Paul's Boutique they moved away from their more rap-oriented sound into eclectic genre hopping. Check Your Head and Ill Communication saw the band return to their roots as a late 70's hardcore punk band, resulting in a more alternative rock sound. Hello Nasty returned the band to rap, but added influences electronica and club dance music. To the 5 Boroughs featured a return to a more alternative rap sound. From what little that's been heard of their upcoming Hot Sauce Committee album, it seems that they're continuing with a more stripped down version of what they were doing on To the 5 Boroughs.
  • Depeche Mode, at least six times. When main songwriter Vince Clarke left after the first album ("Speak and Spell") and Martin Gore (who had contributed a few songs) took over, the second album ("A Broken Frame") was much more "moody" sounding than Clarke's work while they were oddly marketed as a "boy band." For the next album ("Construction Time Again"), the classically trained Alan Wilder, Clarke's replacement at live shows as a keyboard player, became an official member while Gareth Jones engineered and later produced, and they helped shape what we know now as the band's sound as they started using samplers and the songs took a more dark and industrial turn, epitomized in "Black Celebration". After 3 albums together, DM and Jones had an amicable split and the next album, "Music For the Masses" had a similar sound but was largely self-produced with Dave Bascombe engineering. The biggest change may have been when Flood (who made a great team with Wilder) came in to produce "Violator," which introduced guitars as a staple and gave the world "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence." With grunge becoming huge and drug addled leader singer Dave Gahan immersing himself in the local music scene after moving to LA, "Songs of Faith and Devotion," the second album with Flood, was full on rock, while still recognizably Depeche Mode with the recognizable songwriting and layered arrangements. Wilder left, and while "Ultra" was billed as a return to the "Violator" era sound, "Exciter" was essentially "the soft and sensual side of Depeche Mode." "Playing the Angel" went back to the more "Violator" style sound, and then in 2009, they released "Sounds of the Universe," which was yet again completely different from all of their other albums as they used old analog synthesizers that Gore bought on eBay in new and bizarre ways. That's it so far. Whew.
  • Pet Shop Boys albums are pretty consistent—almost entirely electronic and typically dance-pop or house-influenced beatfests with the occasional political snark, historical reference, or cultural observation. Then, out of left field, 2002's Release: a guitar-based album full of sixties-ish pop (with Johnny Marr playing the guitar parts, no less), the occasional use of Autotune (mostly to simulate a phone line, but fans still cried "they ruined Neil's voice!"), and slow, sincere ballads, with only two dance-oriented tracks. Critics tended to like it, but many fans hated it for being "too acoustic".
    • Ditto for Erasure's Union Street album.
  • Speaking of Erasure, the 2000 album Loveboat. It can best be described as "Erasure goes indie", with a lo-fi, "basement-y" feel, heavier bass, and much greater use of acoustic instruments. in stark contrast to their typical campy, danceable synthpop. Fans hated it because the style was so different. A sizable majority of the fanbase consider it Fanon Discontinuity and the end of classic Erasure. It sold terribly in both the UK and the US and it didn't get released in the US until 2003 because Maverick Records dropped them like a hot potato when they refused to remix a good portion of the tracks. Even lead singer Andy Bell panned it years later. The worst part? Critics tended to like it, and it's a well-written album with a subdued, personal sound to it.
  • Beck, on every single album.
    • From Guero onward, he's no longer been radically changing his sound on each release: but maybe it only seems that way, because (by now) he's already explored every possible genre.
  • Kamelot started as a standard power metal band with a god-awful Geoff Tate wanna be of a vocalist, but upon said vocalist quitting and the subsequent addition of Norwegian opera-style vocalist |Roy Khan, plus the switch to a more progressive metal influenced style has made their album The Fourth Legacy both a New Sound Album as well as the start of their beard growth.
  • Led Zeppelin, with their third album. The first two are mostly heavy blues-rock material; the third features only one blues song and an entire side of acoustic folk songs. Later albums would continue to explore different styles, but with hard rock being dominant.
  • Franz Ferdinand executed one of these with Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, breaking with the fairly typical (if well-executed) guitar-driven post-punk revival sound of their first two albums for a synthesizer-driven, dance-y sound. It works well, and they remain recognizably them.
  • Sister Machine Gun is an odd case in which every album can be considered to be a New Sound Album. The only person who appears on every single release is the singer/songwriter and even during live concerts some songs are often performed differently than they were on the album they originate from.
    • In the later years the shifts happened a bit less often, for example the 5th and 6th albums had EPs come after them that were each in the same style as the album they followed (for example the album 6 was followed by the EPs '6.1' and '6.2') but then the next album release would be another New Sound Album.
  • Panic! at the Disco did this with their second album 'Pretty. Odd'. They dropped the ! from their name and produced the album with a folksy 60's classic rock sound heavily inspired by The Beatles and The Kinks, a radical and very unexpected departure from their emo debut 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out'. Understandably this divided the fan base into two groups: People who liked the fast pace and clever lyrics of 'Fever' and the new fans who liked 'Pretty. Odd'.
    • Third album 'Vices and Virtues' is pretty much a combination of both.
  • Genesis, which began as a vaguely psychedelic pop band with From Genesis To Revelation in 1969, changed to Progressive Rock a year later with Trespass. They stayed this way even after Peter Gabriel's departure(and replacement by drummer Phil Collins) in 1975. After the departure of longtime guitarist Steve Hackett and their reduction to a trio in 1978, they gradually began including shorter and more commercial-sounding songs (starting with "Follow You, Follow Me") into their repertoire by the late 1970's. The Abacab album of 1981 found the group almost entierly abandoning their prog roots for a more streamlined, high-tech prog-pop sound, winning success on MTV and the Top 40. Though they gained a new audience, much of the older fanbase was alienated from the new style.
  • Elton John, a prolific and eclectic singer-songwriter, had several New Sound Albums. Tumbleweed Connection was a country-rock album inspired by the Old West. Honky Chateau featured the classic Elton John Band in full for the first time, abandoning the use of heavy and dramatic orchestration for a more group-based rock sound and more use of the guitar. Rock Of The Westies saw a new group lineup and a harder blues-rock sound in places. Victim Of Love, released in 1979, was Elton's attempt at disco. Too Low For Zero, hiscomeback album, combined the classic Elton sound with heavier use of modern synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines and a modern production, and saw the return of his classic backing band. Ice On Fire saw a new backing band and a more modern MOR/synth-pop sound, which continued until the more organic Songs From The West Coast in 2001.
  • In a case of New Sound Career, after the squeaky-clean British boy band Busted split, member Charlie Simpson formed the critically acclaimed post-hardcore band Fightstar. And then in 2011, while on hiatus from Fightstar, he released his first solo album...a collection of acoustic folk songs.
  • Talking Heads had a few; Remain In Light was filled with repetitious, dense African rhythms that sounded way different from their previous albums (Although it was hinted on in "I Zimbra" from Fear of Music). Three years later, they had Speaking in Tongues which was a more funky, synth-poppy album. Two years after, Little Creatures had more Latin influences, with some Americana which their next and final two albums both took inspiration from.
  • Boards of Canada's first two main releases, Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi, which were laden with warm synthesizer sounds, were both greatly adored and critically acclaimed albums. Their third release, The Campfire Headphase which utilized guitar and a more pastoral sound, was released to a mixed reception.
  • The Doobie Brothers—During the Tom Johnston era, the band was known for hard-rocking and bluesy songs. After Michael McDonald became lead singer, the band became much more concentrated on falsetto and harmony-heavy pop songs. By Minute by Minute, they were completely rid of their old sound. They got their old sound back, however, when the band reunited with Johnston on lead vocals.
  • Every one of Falling Up's five records sounded generally different from the rest, as they moved more and more in the direction of experimental rock. They took it to a new level with "Fangs!" though, which saw a complete restructuring of their sound and how the band performed and recorded. Unfortunately it was also their last album.
  • The Foo Fighters, after their Post-Grunge-heavy first two albums (Self-Titled Album and The Colour and The Shape), have decided to explore different styles - including an all-acoustic disc for their double-disc set, In Your Honour.
    • The Colour And The Shape is also their only album with a notable emo influence, which was caused by the band's bassist and then drummer (who had both been in Sunny Day Real Estate) contributing to the songwriting process. My Hero is the primary example of this, though so are the verses of Hey Johnny Park. Awkwardly, it remains the band's most popular album despite the fact they rock much harder these days.
  • Few bands have pulled off a radical Genre Shift more successfully than Ministry. Their first two albums were ordinary, if slightly pessimistic, New Wave 80's pop (one reviewer dubbed them "The Human League's surly little brother"). On their third album, The Land of Rape and Honey they revamped their lineup and completely changed their sound, abandoning pop for a brand new musical style that would become known as Industrial Metal and catapulting themselves to stardom in the process.
  • Rap superstar Lil Wayne decided to follow in the footsteps of his friend Kid Rock and record a Rap Rock album entitled Rebirth. It sucked hard..
  • BT has changed sounds several times. His first album Ima was deep/progressive house, then he changed to drum&bass/trance/ambient/trip-hop for ESCM and Movement in Still Life, then Emotional Technology was pop-trance, electro, and rock ballads. This Binary Universe was a complete Genre Shift to experimental ambient and new age material (influenced by Creator Breakdown due to his equipment being stolen and his daughter's kidnapping), then These Hopeful Machines ventured back down the Emotional Technology route, as well as incorporating elements of IDM and glitch-hop.
  • of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" represented and, to a degree, chronicled their transition from quirky twee pop to bizarre neo-glam.
  • Keane's first 2 albums were straight piano pop-rock. Their 3rd album onward were an 80s synthpop revival, full of synths, amplified basslines, and electronic drums.
    • At about the same time as Coldplay released Viva la Vida too, going in something of the other direction, from slightly more upbeat acoustic-ish straight pop into a darker concept album sort of flavour.
  • The band Brand New changes their entire style each album. Their first album, "Your Favorite Weapon", was entirely teenage angst and sounded a bit like New Found Glory. Their next and second album, "Deja Entendu", showed how Brand New had matured out of pop rock and straight into emo. Their next two albums, "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me" and "Daisy", show two hard to define, unique styles that are themselves very distinct from each other.
  • Talk Talk started out as a New Wave band that already experimented with their sound as soon as during production of the second album. By the fourth one - titled Spirit of Eden - they may have became a Ur Example of Post Rock.
  • After helping define Melodic Death Metal in Sweden, In Flames began changing their style with Colony and to a greater extent with Clayman. Then they released Reroute to Remain which is now considered by fans where "Old" In Flames ends and "New" In Flames begins. Each album after that has had its own distinct sound. This has lead to one hell of a Broken Base. Just check the comments on any of their music videos.
  • P!nk has done this with pretty much every album.
    • Mostly due to heavy Executive Meddling in her first albums. The ones with her pink hair.
      • Well, to clarify, her first album was R&B/Hip-Hop, due to Executive Meddling (P!nk was supposed to have fronted an R&B girl-group, but was then offered a solo deal). She fought for more creative control with her second album, deciding to sing music in her preferred style. Each album reflects the people she worked with closely during the writing process (Linda Perry on "Missundaztood", Tim Armstrong of Rancid on "Try This", Max Martin for much of "I'm Not Dead"). The albums are also pretty good reflections of different periods in her life ("Missundaztood" dealt with much of her childhood, "Funhouse" was written during the time she had separated from husband Carey Hart).
  • When Black Flag started they were a regular 2-minute Hardcore Punk band (all of their early singles/extended plays and the Damaged album); when they broke up they had 10 minute free style jazz jams (The Process of Weeding Out instrumental EP) and a more heavy metal/hard rock sound (the Loose Nut and In My Head albums in particular).
    • The bands second LP, My War, released a little more than two years after Damaged, featured three 6 minute songs on the B-side that later influenced the sludge metal genre.
  • The Rolling Stones shifted from their early R&B-based British Invasion sound to a quirkier, Kinks-like pop with Between the Buttons, went to full-blown psychadelia on Their Satanic Majesties Request, then perfected their bluesy rock formula on Beggars Banquet.
  • Front Line Assembly started out as an Industrial band and weren't averse to occasional use of guitars. Then they decided to Follow the Leader and make an entirely Industrial Metal album called Millenium. They went back to Industrial for their next album (although they used quite a bit of guitar on it), and for the album after that (FLAvour Of The Weak) they made a complete Genre Shift to IDM and Drum 'n' Bass. They began to get back to Industrial over time, although they retained elements from IDM and Drum 'n' Bass in their sound. Their latest album, IED, also uses Industrial Metal elements.
  • Eighteen Visions Initially started out as a hardcore/metal band with a lot of screaming lyrics. In their final, self-titled album, they mostly dropped the screaming and worked a lot more 80s rock influences into their songs, creating an album that turned off a lot of long-time fans, but appealed to a new set of fans. Unfortunately, the band broke up shortly after the release of that album.
  • Pendulum started out as a mainly D'n'B band when their first album, Hold Your Colour, was released. The next two albums, In Silico & Immersion, branched out more into different genres and styles. Despite the albums selling like hot cakes, it still doesn't stop people from complaining.
    • Their next album is reportedly going to be more punk rock influenced. Time will tell how that ends up going.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk were originally straight-up Industrial EBM, but went into the Lighter and Softer Futurepop subgenre starting with Welcome to Earth, and with their latest two albums, You and Me Against the World and Rocket Science, they completely jumped ship to indie-style synth rock.
  • Decoded Feedback's Shockwave was more minimalistic than their other albums. They returned to the Hellectro-EBM style afterwards.
  • The Shins' Wincing The Night Away, which has a more contemporary indie-rock sound, as opposed to the faux 60's Britpop sound of their first two albums.
  • Juno Reactor started out as Goa Trance, but gradually evolved into their own unique sound (don't know how to describe it).
  • Marilyn Manson has done this with almost every album, the second album Antichrist Superstar switching to a strong industrial metal sound, only to switch to Mechanical Animals, a glam-rock inspired album, and then to Holy Wood which blended both. The follow up Golden Age of Grotesque was more electronic, only for Eat Me, Drink Me to have a more straight forward rock sound with gothic influence. The follow up High End of Low was, well, a bit of everything.
  • Petra, the original Christian Rock band, did this nearly every album, essentially following the current trends in rock music (or trying to, at least) from start to finish. The standouts, however, are the various times they tried to tone down the "rock" part in order to get airplay on Christian radio. Only to snap right back by the next album. Usually.
  • Trentemoller was originally minimal dance / glitch house / neo trance, but they he seems to have mostly abandoned dance beats for their his second album, Into the Great Wide Yonder.
  • When their original vocalist was swapped out for one with a much softer voice, Destroy the Runner went from hard-hitting Christian metalcore on their debut album Saints, to melodic ambiguously-spiritual metal on their second album, I, Lucifer. Many fans were not pleased.
  • Indie band TV on the Radio had a more organic, experimental post-punk sound on their album Return to Cookie Mountain, which was a critical darling. Following that one was Dear Science, which has a more electric sound and is more accessible in general. That one was rather well-liked as well.
  • Freaky Chakra shifted from the trancy acid techno of Lowdown Motivator to Darker and Edgier cyberpunk-esque techno breaks with Blacklight Fantasy, then to Lighter and Softer electro/tech house with Moonroof Operator.
  • Better known for funky house, Funkstar De Luxe had a total Out-of-Genre Experience with No Man's Planet, which consisted of techno-industrial/EBM and dark ambient. He appears to have switched back to more familiar sounds as of late.
  • Pink Floyd. Listening to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, then Dark Side of the Moon, then The Wall, then The Final Cut, it's like four different bands (Justified for Piper, as their lead singer/songwriter became a Cloudcuckoolander shortly after it was finished.)
    • More like five if you take into account their experimental albums like Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother.
    • However the transitions are so gradual that in many cases it's difficult to pinpoint exactly which one is the New Sound Album. Dark Side Of The Moon is not so different from Obscured By Clouds, which is not so different from Meddle, which is not so different from Atom Heart Mother... yet Atom Heart Mother and Dark Side Of The Moon are worlds apart.
  • Dream Theater does this quite often, the most notable one being when Executive Meddling forced Falling Into Infinity to take on a more mainstream rock sound than the Progressive Metal of their earlier albums.
  • Bloc Party's debut album Silent Alarm was well received and known for its heavy use of guitars and was generally considered an example of a good indie album. As the band's career progressed they released A Weekend in the City and Intimacy, two albums with increasingly dancier music and less emphasis on guitars and other standard indie fare. Your Mileage May Vary on the extent of their change.
  • The Offspring became popular as a punk rock band with catchy upbeat songs. Their recent album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace has only two songs in their signature style with the rest being slow and more thoughtful. Your Mileage May Vary on whether this counts as They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
    • There breakout album, 1994's Smash, is itself a New Sound Album. Their previous two albums are much rougher hardcore punk, while Smash marked the debut of better hooks and a strong metal influence.
    • To be fair, they often had slower, "more thoughtful" songs and interludes on almost all of their albums (except maybe Smash) and they worked quite well, at least in counterpoint to the harder material - some of my favourites being album tracks where they skillfully blended the two (Gone Away or Gotta Get Away (despite the similar titles, two quite different songs), for example). They diced with the powers of suck with Conspiracy of One but just about made it, however I'll admit RAFRAG didn't hit my local market with any kind of fanfare so I missed it... would be well worth trying out and seeing which side of the line it falls.
  • Solar Fields was initially experimental ambient electronica, but shifted to trance for his Earthshine album, then returned to his former style for Movements and the Mirror's Edge soundtrack.
  • Black Sabbath's first six albums were based on huge heavy riffs with bits of sophistication sprinkled on top. Their sixth album Sabotage features arguably the heaviest Black Sabbath song, "Symptom of the Universe", which is often considered to be the first thrash song. Their seventh album, Technical Ectasy? A great deal of the heaviness was gone, as well as the general apocolyptica that was dominent in Sabbath's earlier work and set them apart.
  • Carnival of Carnage sounds very little like later Insane Clown Posse albums; it makes little reference to circus tropes and is much more a "Fuck the rich" album. Ringmaster introduced the Dark Carnival, but the group's sound didn't codify until Riddlebox.
  • Feeder seem to have a habit of changing every two albums. Swim and Polythene are pretty heavy grungey style stuff, Yesterday Went To Soon and Echo Park are more straightforward rock albums, with a bit of punk influence, Comfort In Sound and Pushing The Senses are much softer (but still with some straight up rock songs, like Godzilla and Helium). Their newest albums, Silent Cry and Renegades, seem to be if you shoved all their previous albums into a blender, with the softer stuff on Silent Cry and the heavier stuff on Renegades.
    • Indeed, putting Echo Park on a christmas / birthday list one year and receiving Swim instead (when a confused relative couldn't find their then-unavoidable chartbuster) was a heck of an eyeopener. I had to fire up the 56k modem to go double check it was actually the same band. Then again they've done this in a miniature way with just one version of a single. The world gets to know Just A Day through the Gran Turismo soundtrack's perfectly formed edit. What's released to market is a set of increasingly different and overly busy-sounding mixes with the original nowhere to be seen, other than by recording it from the console's optical-out.
  • Bad Religion did this in Into The Unknown, then went back again to their old style, progressing into a new sound in a more subtle way. They made another big change in The New America, and their fanbase still argues if it's a great record or if it's a case of They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
    • Into the Unknown has since become the band's Old Shame.
  • Bon Jovi had two, maybe justified as the lineup underwent a slight change and lead singer/writer Jon aged and mellowed a little - and they went after the changing tastes of ladies more their own age (Hair Metal always being, in the end, all about the ladies)... but, the stylistic shift experienced between the classic but ironically titled Keep The Faith, and newer, poppier, mushier Crush (with "These Days" as a confused, halfway turning point, and "Crossroads" being a sort of "this is the Best Of the OLD Bon Jovi, now watch as we change it all") is still a heck of a jolt for male fans who enjoyed the heavier, more traditional rock flavour of their first 15 or so years. Those two start the Broken Base, with women (stereotypically) liking the new phase and rockers (of both genders) the old one.
    • There is also Lost Highway, the band's attempt at a country album, though most people don't hold it in high regard.
  • Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation saw the band employing outside songwriters for the first time and switching to the slicker, poppier, MTV-ready sound that would distinguish their later-period work, all while keeping their blues-based Hard Rock roots intact.
    • Indeed, for about 25 years, they just kept exploring the same hard rock/blues rock material they started with, refining and adding elements of pop rock, funk, hip hop, whatever they could, with varying degrees of success. That was all progression. Just Push Play on the other hand definitely seems to count.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers had Blood Sugar Sex Magik, abandoning heavy metal riffs for full-fledged funk rock. It proved to be their breakthrough album. To see how much they changed, listen to Greatest Hits and compare "Higher Ground" (the only song from before BSSM[1]) to the rest of the tracks. One Hot Minute (after guitarist John Frusciante departed) and Californication (when Frusciante returned) kinda count too.
  • Cathal Coughlan. To begin with, his duo Microdisney played post punk that consisted of him yelling political rants over an uneasy backing track (evidenced by the compilation only track 'National Anthem'). By the time they had released their first record, they had acquired a minimilalist indie sound, with melodic synths, jangly guitars and drum machines, the vocals despairing and cynical. Come their second album, they had acquired a proper backing band including a drummer and bassist. He also changed his vocal style so that it was louder and more positive sounding. The resulting album almost sounds like adult orientated pop music, but there are still traces of the old sound in there. The next album was an even greater change, the band adding violins and female backing singers. The following album, their last, was far more lyrically biting, and with less of a chart orientated sound. The music was still fairly upbeat though. When Microdisney broke up Cathal went on to form The Fatima Mansions, who played a combination of American influenced noise rock, grunge and electronica with a mostly completely different vocal style, many songs shouting instead of singing. After that band broke up, he recorded some somber solo albums. His latest album however is far more reminiscent of the music he used to make in the mid 80s, suggesting that some things come full circle. As he is somebody who has never been after a hit, the return to form seems all the more remarkable.
  • Blur started as a roughly Madchester-style band with Leisure, before transitioning to Britpop with Modern Life Is Rubbish. Their later career basically consisted of three of these: Blur took inspiration from American indie rock and lo-fi bands such as Pavement, 13 continued into more experimental territory, and Think Tank was kind of like 13, but with more electronic influences.
  • While Oasis roughly kept the same "Beatlesesque songs" style through their whole career, their albums from the third to fifth fall into this: Be Here Now focused on Epic Rocking, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants was psychedelic and Heathen Chemistry had a crude sound.
  • The Rasmus did this with the release of Dead Letters. Possibly a case of Executive Meddling, maybe just a bad change of direction whilst trying to Break America / Rest-of-English-Speaking World, but... Energetic and thoroughly enjoyable (if not particularly special) Finnish pop-rock band tries for some strange pop-goth-electronica vibe, falls spectacularly flat, ends up generally derided by the English-Speaking-World goth rock-listening public and having one single, solitary, not very representative song played to death on commercial rock radio. Shame, a couple of the album tracks that hark slightly back to their old sound (which would likely have done well in the pop charts) are excellent, but the rest of it is a pretty forgettable dirge. - YMMV, naturally. They made 2 future albums in a similar genre.
  • "A" went for a similar trend-chasing shift from unique melodic punkiness to full on Offspring / Green Day style pop-punk... and subverted it by actually being quite good, recognisably the same Beach Boys -inspired band that made How Ace Are Buildings and A Vs Monkey Kong, and scoring some commercial success. Then subverting it even harder by sticking with a slight refinement of the same theme for Teen Dance Ordinance, somehow getting nowhere with anyone, and splitting out of frustration.
  • While each of Pulp's albums progress from the last, His 'N' Hers shows a marked difference from their more introspective, artsy records of the 80s, and is generally considered a vast improvement. We Love Life could also be considered this to a lesser extent, as it sounds much more naturalistic and organic than the albums that preceded it.
  • Speculative: Paul Simon, with Graceland. Being too young at the time to know anything much about what was going on, I do wonder what longterm Simon & Garfunkel fans made of Paul's seminal solo album. Wildly popular, but notable in history because of how much of a stylistic shift it was. Though it is one of my own favourites, not everyone who liked his earlier work and collaboration must have dug the African rhythms and acapella.
  • Me Without You- It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright! contained more acoustic than electric, a highly folky campire sound, and actual SINGING by Aaron Weiss.
    • The album arguably contains the most specific Christian (A Stick, a Carrot, and a String) and at the same time Sufi and Buddhist (Allah! Allah! Allah! and Cattail Down) influences so far, confusing some Christian fans unaware of Weiss's Religious history.
  • Nirvana with the depressive In Utero.
    • Arguably they did it with every single album of theirs. Bleach was a mix of sludgy hard rock/metal based off bands like Green River along with some more pop rock and punk fare. Nevermind was polished, glossy produced (for them, commercial) hard rock much more similar to The Pixies and Mudhoney along with the acoustic song Polly. Incesticide was a hodge podge mixture of Bleach era songs, straight punk rock covers, and covers turned into pop rock such as the song Son Of A Gun. In Utero was more of a hodge podge of heavy metal, heavily distorted hard rock like Sonic Youth, straight punk, and acoustic ballads such as the song Dumb. Finally MTV Unplugged was acoustic rock with more of a progressive focus such as the inclusion of the Cello on several songs and the addition of a second guitarist in Pat Smear. If anything, Nirvana managed to constantly revolve around certain elements within each album (metal/hard rock focused songs, an acoustic song or two, and a straight punk song or two.)
  • 60s pop vocal group the Four Seasons went psychedelic with their album Genuine Imitation Life Gazette
  • Joni Mitchell began injecting jazzy sounds into her folk-rock as early as 1972’s For the Roses, but that still didn’t prepare listeners for the almost abstract, full-tilt jazz-rock of 1975’s The Hissing of Summer Lawns and ensuing albums.
  • Chiodos has done this multiple times. Their first few E Ps were emo-tinged pop rock with some post-hardcore influences, with the first full length album All's Well That Ends Well going straight into post-hardcore territory. The second full length Bone Palace Ballet had more influences from classical music (with some gothic tinges in certain songs). 2010's Illuminaudio is alternative rock with electronic influences.
  • REO Speedwagon was a hard rock band for the entire duration of The Seventies, but transformed into pop with Hi Infidelity. Although initially sucessful, this move caused the band to lose credibility and dissapeared off the radar after the 1980s.
  • Styx started as a hard rock band with prog influences. They abandoned the prog element relatively early on, and then went completely pop with Cornerstone.
  • Alan Vega initially produced proto-industrial avant-rock with the group Suicide (band) in The Seventies, but in The Eighties, he switched to New Wave, then more recently went back down the Darker and Edgier path to Industrial.
  • With Discouraged Ones, Katatonia shifted from death/doom into alternative metal, using exclusively clean vocals. Viva Emptiness was another one, Returning to it's heavier roots towards a Gothic/Doom sound with the progressive ambient guitar work of the early career making a return.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs practically went alt. dance with "It's Blitz!", an album that still sounds like them (largely because of Karen O's unmistakable voice) but is vastly different than "Show Your Bones", and DEFINITELY different than "Fever To Tell".
  • Jethro Tull began as a Cream-like blues-rock band tinged with bluesy/jazzy flute playing with This Was, then added more folk and pop influences with Stand Up. Benefit introduced a harder rock sound. Aqualung brought the group into a more progressive/conceptual style, which they followed up with two Epic Rocking album-length concept albums. War Child, Minstrel In The Gallery, and Too Old To Rock And Roll, Too Young too Die, introduced an Elizabethan folk/hard rock/prog/classic rock style with shorter songs. Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses and Stormwatch rounded off the decade with progressive folk-rock and more of the acoustic side. The Eighties saw Tull dabble in synthesizeritis and modern production techniques, with more emphasis on electric guitar by the late eighties (1987's comeback album Crest Of A Knave would even beat Metallica fot Best Hard Rock/Hevy Metal album at the Grammy's). They would gradually return to more folk influences (and some world music flavors) by The Nineties. Tull's last album is a very acoustic-based Christmas Album reminiscent of their folk-rock Seventies style.
  • Michael Jackson had a few. Off the Wall was a much more mature effort after his four previous teen-pop Motown albums (MJ was not allowed any creative control during his Motown tenure). Dangerous incorporated hip hop elements for the first time. His final album Invincible has a sound that can best be described as remiscent of the late 90s-early 00s teen-pop wave.
  • King Crimson changes their sound every other album.
    • In The Court of the Crimson King and In the Wake of Poseidon are progressive rock with a good bit of jazz thrown in.
    • Lizard and Islands are slightly more symphonic.
    • The ditched their wind instruments and went totally metal on Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black and Red.
    • A couple of years later (after a hiatus) they were suddenly making new-wave-esque prog.
    • THRAK was kind of a combination of the metal and new-wave incarnations.
    • The Constru Kction of Light featured only electronic percussion and was produced much more cleanly than THRAK.
  • Taylor Swift's first album was noted for being surprisingly mature and heartfelt for a girl her age. Then, on the second album, she switched to a "teen country-pop" format with songs that wouldn't feel out of place on a Miley Cyrus or Jonas Brothers album. Needless to say, reactions were mixed; some fans (mostly the younger ones) loved the new format, while others (mostly fans of the first album)... well, let's just say that when one calls her a "Soulless Sell-Out", they're being nice.
  • Hard to imagine this topic without a mention of Todd Rundgren, who was notorious for changing his style on a regular basis.
  • Nilsson Schmilsson saw Harry Nilsson switch from Tin Pan Alley-styled pop (with a heavy Beatles influence) to more straight-ahead (though eclectic) rock.
  • If you listen to the The Velvet Underground's four albums, none of them sound exactly the same:
    • The Velvet Underground & Nico: Eclectic art rock a la the Beatles Rubber Soul and Revolver.
    • White Light/White Heat: Loud garage rock
    • The Velvet Underground: Mainly folk rock
    • Loaded: Pop
  • The Move's first album, along with the handful of singles that accompanied it like "Night of Fear" and "I Can Hear The Grass Grow", were light pop tunes typical of the late 1960s. The release of their second album, Shazam, showcased the band embracing hard rock which would become the band's forte throughout the rest of their existence.
  • Amy Grant started out being strictly inspirational contemporary Christian music - then, by Unguarded, she's taken on a more mainstream pop style. Then, by Heart In Motion, she started performing songs that weren't explicitly Christian - and started getting airplay on mainstream pop stations.
  • Michael W. Smith started out performing pop-rock, and some of his songs even crossed over into the mainstream. Then by I'll Lead You Home, he's gone to strictly pop - abandoning the "rock" aspect of his genre. Since then, his music has taken on a more inspirational type of contemporary Christian music.
  • After establishing his style in the 1970s, Billy Joel began jumping all over the place in The Eighties. Glass Houses in 1980 was mostly guitar rock (for a piano player), followed by The Nylon Curtain, a Beatles-esque album with a lot of synth in 1982, and only one year later came An Innocent Man, which was a retro doo-wop album. His next release, 1986's The Bridge, was pretty standard mid-80s radio rock.
  • Celtic Frost started out as a straight-up heavy metal band of the black/death style, with a Venom look. Then they incorporated electronica into their sound, a heresy at the time. Then they came out of nowhere with 'Cold Lake', which had them looking like a hair metal band and with a glam rock sound. Then they came out again with a new school black metal sound, their current incarnation, with a different band member singing and a more Rob Zombie-esque visual look.
  • The Doors. The first two albums contained the brand of organ based psychedelic rock that they're known for. Waiting For The Sun was more eclectic based, having pop tunes, ballads and other oddities. The Soft Parade has a more big band sound, Morrison Hotel goes over the styles of the previous albums and L.A. Woman showcased the band during barroom blues.
  • If Screamworks isn't a new sound album, I don't know what is. It diverges from their long-standing sound of dark goth with...something more pop and upbeat. The lyrics are still quite dark, although they too have taken quite a change. Venus Doom, their previous album began off as incredibly metal, so it too was a bit of a new sound album—the transition can be...difficult.
    • Basically, going from the incredibly messed up song "Gone With the Sin" (Razorblade Romance) from all the way back in 1999 to "Scared to Death" (Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice) may leave people wondering just who the hell they're listening to.
  • Backseat Goodbye and The Good Years. It diverges from his previous sound of pop-folk to a more solid folk-country (with pop elements). Some people thought it sucked, some were like "cool, whatever."
  • McFly, a band commonly known for their chirpy Pop-Rock music. In 2010, they released Above The Noise, an album filled with mostly electro-pop music, with heavy involvement from Taio Cruz. Fans weren't impressed.
  • Daniel Amos started off in 1975 with a self-titled country album. They considered themselves a rock band, with the country just being a temporary phase, so their followup Shotgun Angel mixed it with an ambitious rock opera. It was their third album, Horrendous Disc, that signalled their complete abandonment of country, and let fans know to expect more surprises in the future.
  • Sonata Arctica started introducing some progressive elements to their fully Power Metal music in 2004, with Reckoning Night, but it was quite subtle and no fans cried out loud... until 2007, when their album Unia brought complex, slower and heavily progressive songs. About half their fanbase liked it, while the rest hated it. Their 2009 album, The Days Of Grays, toned down this complexity and progressiveness, but their sound has definitely changed, likely a result of the band Growing the Beard.
  • Porcupine Tree definitely deserve this. The first album, On The Sunday Of Life, was the musical equivalent of an acid-trip. The second album, Up the Downstair, was more dance and trance-based whilst still retaining elements of being on drugs. The third album, The Sky Moves Sideways, was a homage to Pink Floyd, whilst the fourth album, Signify, was a more rock-oriented and faster-paced album than any of its previous friends, and introduced a very jazzy feeling, and Stupid Dream, the fifth album, has been described as a pop album, as it's one of the most accessible albums by PT. Lightbulb Sun is the Tree's take on emo, being the break-up album, so filled with lots of sad lyrics, and the seventh album, In Absentia, decides to further mess with your head by going progressive metal a lot of the time, whilst still retaining acoustic elements found in Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream. Prog metal gave way to ambience for the next album, Deadwing, which did keep some of the heavier moments from In Absentia. Fear of a Blank Planet has been the heaviest album overall, following on from Deadwing, and includes a 17 minute long epic rocking moment, which is also one of the heaviest pieces they've done, featuring some death-metal-esque drumming at points. The latest album, the Incident, blends together metal with ambience and acoustic guitars, as well as hints of industrial at times. It's fair to say, the only genre they've not attempted yet has been soul, but there's still time yet.
  • Prior to breaking internationally, Alanis Morissette had recorded two teen pop albums. Then, for Jagged Little Pill(her first album to reach international success), she decided to go with a harder rocking decidedly Post-Grunge style.
  • Another Christian Rock example would be Rebecca St. James, whose first self-titled album was of a bouncy teen pop style. Then, for God (her second album), she has also decided to go with a harder rock decidedly Post-Grunge style (in the style of Alanis Morissette, no less). Oddly enough, she claims to have never listened to her secular counterpart while recording that album.
  • Simon and Garfunkel's debut album (Wednesday Morning, 3 AM) had more of a traditional acoustic folk sound; the second album, Sound of Silence, was where they shifted to more of a rock instrumentation and approach.
  • Asobi Seksu were criticized by some fans upon the release of their album Hush for changing their sound from shoe-gaze to a more dream-poppy sound with less guitars.
  • Mike Mareen's 1988 sophomore album, Let's Start Now, started to shift from his Italo-Disco/Hi-NRG roots to more contemporary dance/synthpop, as well as being somewhat Darker and Edgier.
  • Pretty much every Dead or Alive album.
  • Enter Shikari's first album, 2007's Take To The Skies, was more or less screamo with some synthesizers. Their second full-length, 2009's Common Dreads, aimed for a less heavy but more experimental sound and also made the lyrical change from singing about more or less anything to highly political, anti-capitalist lyrics. 2010's one-off single Destabilise went even heavier on the synths and also added some hip hop elements. According to the band, the forthcoming album is going to include influences by both Sigur Rós and Rammstein.
  • Deftones have had something of a shift in sound with every album. Adrenaline was pretty much straight-out Nu-metal, while Around the Fur had a similar direction, but included electronics and an overall slightly more experimental sound. White Pony was the biggest shift, switching the band from nu-metal to experimental rock with heavy use of samples. Their self-titled album had Frank Delgado using keyboards instead of turntables, and had a very eclectic sound (but overall heavier than White Pony). Saturday Night Wrist and Diamond Eyes are the second big shift, being a lot more melodic and positive than their previous work.
  • When The Cult started out, they were playing trippy psychedelic post-punk. With their third album, Electric, they suddenly started playing AC/DC-esque hard rock.
  • Def Leppard went with a more organic sound with darker lyrical content in 1996 with the Slang album. Their rationale at the time was that, with Hair Metal being Deader Than Disco, they may as well make the most "Un-Def Leppard" album they could (Though one member said that, in hindsight, they probably included some of those ideas a little too eagerly, without doing proper quality control beforehand), because they were going to get slammed no matter what they did. Reaction was mixed, the album wasn't very successful in the USA and the band returned to their trademark sound with 1999s Euphoria.
  • The Crystal Method's Divided By Night consists mainly of chilled midtempo/downtempo pieces, as opposed to their usual upbeat breaks, although it has a few of those too.
  • With their second album, Shiny Toy Guns mostly abandoned their previous retro synthpop/rock style and went for a Darker and Edgier emo sound, which had many fans clamoring "Ruined FOREVER".
  • Dierks Bentley recorded a bluegrass album, Up on the Ridge, in 2010. It was a radical departure from his mainstream country music sound. Although the album netted him the most critical acclaim of his career, its singles completely failed to take off at radio. The album is also notable for being his first with Jon Randall as producer instead of Brett Beavers; Randall also produced the next album, Home, which is more in line with Dierks' usual style.
  • Behemoth started incorporating Death Metal into their mostly up to that point Black Metal sound in the album Satanica, and have continued this movement on each subsequent album
  • Death Metal band Autopsy did this constantly. The debut Severed Survival was fast and thrashy, while Mental Funeral was much more slow and doomy. Third album Acts of the Unspeakable moved more in the direction of Grindcore and Shitfun was basically Hardcore Punk.
  • The Crystalline Effect's sound is generally electronic/trip-hop, and doesn't tend to have very heavy beats. Their latest EP, Industrial Re-Evolution, sounds very much like industrial and does.
  • No Doubt's second big album, Return of Saturn, was a different sound from that heard in the wildly popular Tragic Kingdom, but it was more an evolution than any sort of sudden shift. But Rock Steady was a drastic change, so drastic that (for better or worse) it barely sounded like No Doubt at all. Ska/punk had morphed into a pop/dance sound.
  • Chicago is well known for their transition from being an experimental "rock band with horns" in the '70s to a ballad-heavy and synth-heavy band in the '80s, with the transition point being Chicago X, with Throw It In ballad "If You Leave Me Now" becoming their first number 1 hit.
  • Assemblage 23 has shifted from aggro-EBM to a lighter Futurepop sound with his recent albums.
  • Arguably Guns N' Roses did this for every album. From the sleazy L.A. club rock of Appetite for Destruction to mellow acoustic tracks on Lies to a double album full of epics and ballads with plenty of synth and pianos. Then Chinese Democracy came out with an entirely new band and featured hip hop drum samples, copious amounts of synth and strings, trip hop beats, industrial songs, elephant noises, alt rock, choirs, walls of Axl, some songs featuring upwards of FIVE guitar players. Sometimes all in one song.
  • The Horrors switched from the gothy garage-punk of their first album Strange House to Shoegazing on their second album, Primary Colours. They've kept this style for their third album Skying.
  • Orbital's In Sides and The Altogether.
  • Laserdance, from Hypermagic to The Guardian of Forever, shifted to a faster Hi-NRG-esque sound, and TGOF had a Halfway Genre Switch to techno-trance. Their sound changed again with their swan song album, Strikes Back, due to being co-produced by Julius Wijnmalen, although rekindling the spirit of their original style.
  • Parodied in "Weird Al" Yankovic's mockumentary "The Compleat Al", where it was suggested that after a few albums of comedy music, he became deeply introspective and wrote/recorded an album ("Me, Myself, and I") of a rather different, serious tone. Unfortunately, the story goes, the master tapes were accidentally erased by an airport metal detector, and the world would never know Al's new sound.
    • This was possibly influenced by Rolling Stone's completely false 1969 article about the supposed lost Beatles album Hot As Sun, which was wiped from existence in the same manner.
  • Deep Purple's sound changed with every new line-up, starting off as hard-edged psychedelic rock and moving to progressive rock by their third album, at which point they changed line-ups and shifted to straight hard rock/heavy metal until they changed line-ups again, playing more blues-rock and funk-flavored hard rock. Their sound has stabilized nowadays to a classic-flavored hard rock, however.
  • Parodied in the exhaustive fictional back-story of Spinal Tap. Their discography touches on moptop rock (the "Gimme Some Money" 45), psychedelic rock (their debut LP and We Are All Flower People), extended live jams (Silent But Deadly), proto-metal (Brainhammer), progressive rock (The Sun Never Sweats), glam rock (Bent For The Rent), disco (Tap Dancing), and of course, heavy metal itself.
  • They Might Be Giants moved up from "Two guys, an accordion, a guitar and a drum machine" to a full band for their fourth album John Henry.
  • A rather different example: Houkago Tea Time's songs are quite different in types of rock genres: "Fuwa Fuwa Time" is alternative rock (with some rapping at one point, even), "Don't Say Lazy" has some sort of melodic, but also a bit of post-hardcore rock feel into it. "Happy? Sorry!" is Synthpop, "Sweet Bitter Beauty Song" kinda sounds Grunge-esque due to the guitar shredding. "Shrew Way To Go" is mathrock due to the different time sculptures, and "Hello Little Girl" being no doubt their softest song. These are just the first season songs.
    • Examples for the second season songs include both "Go! Go! Maniac!" and "Utauyo! Miracle", which sound eerily mathcore-esque, but is still mathrock since they don't even scream. "Girls In Wonderland" has tumpets used, "Listen" sounds quite jazzy thanks to the keyboards, "Early Summer Rain (20 Love)" sounds quite much like a radio-friendly modern rock song.
    • For a slightly-straight example, the "Second" album, to this troper's opinion, however, it feels like listening through a children's album. Yui's vocals sound baby-ish for most of it. Note that songs done by Mio always seem to be the more heavier songs.
  • A soundtrack example would be the Silent Hill series. The first game's soundtrack consisted mostly of scary mechanical and industrial noise tracks, with only a handful of tracks which are actually 'music'. Silent Hill 2 saw a much greater focus on music and acoustic tracks. The third game started the trend of tracks with vocals by Mary Elizabeth Mc Guinn and Joe Romersa. The series' sound stayed like this for years, but is changing again with the departure of longtime series sound developer Akira Yamaoka. His replacement for Silent Hill: Downpour is Daniel Licht, whose style is very different.
  • Vinyl Confessions by Kansas represented a major lyrical shift towards Christian themes with replacement of Steve Walsh (who quit over philosophical differences with guitarist Kerry Livgren, who was mostly responsible for their new, Christian influences) with John Elefante.
  • John Cale reinvented himself several times, perhaps the first noticeable break with tradition being 1979's Sabotage/Live, his response to punk and foreign policy. Then he released an awful 80's pop album, Caribbean Sunset. He then released an album of classical interpretations of his previous catalogue, Fragments of a Rainy Season. More recently he's into hard rock (Circus Live).
  • The Veronicas going from typical princess pop rock to synthetic pop with a classical edge on their second album.
  • The Flaming Lips kind of had a series of these after 1995, probably owed to lead guitarist Ronald Jones departing: the last time they had a guitarist leave (Jonathan Donahue, also of Mercury Rev) they replaced him with another one, but this time they expanded drummer Steven Drozd's role to include guitar and synthesizers. Thus, Zaireeka and especially The Soft Bulletin had him using synthesized strings for an orchestral effect, while Yoshimi Vs. The Pink Robots added drum machines and more of an electronic influence. Guitars were more prominent on At War With The Mystics and Embryonic, but even those weren't quite the same: AWWTM felt a little like Yoshimi mixed with their earlier material, but Embryonic was actually Darker and Edgier than usual, with lots of ominous bass and more of a Kraut Rock influence.
  • These New Puritans' first album, Beat Pyramid, had a fairly normal post-punk revival sound. Their follow-up, Hidden, was a dark and bizarre album based mostly on electronic beats, orchestral and choir arrangements and odd samples.
  • The Veronicas Acoustic pop rock in their debut, eletronic classic elemental 80's pop in their second album and RNB sampled rock pop in their third.
  • Emilie Autumn went from jazz pop with Rnb influences to electronic industrial power rock/metal in her second album.
  • Dir En Grey started with experimental alternative rock, sometimes with a more poppy sound, and with a Visual Kei look. This was largely dropped on Macabre, in favour of a simpler look and a more progressive feel. The Six Ugly EP was where they began to focus more on the metal elements of their sound, moving towards more elements of nu-metal and metalcore on Withering to Death and The Marrow of a Bone. With the release of Uroboros, they began gravitating back to a progressive metal style, but in a distinctly different way than on Macabre and Kisou.
  • Lights' second album, Siberia, is more experimental and dubstep-influenced.
  • Christian alternative metal band Thousand Foot Krutch did this with every single album. Their first album was essentially rap-metal with a couple of pop-punk songs thrown in. Their second album was pretty straightforward nu metal. Their third album was soft alt-rock/alt-metal with little screaming and only a few heavier songs. Their fourth album was more traditional alt-rock mixed with post-grunge and heavy metal. Their fifth release is mostly heavy metal with some heavier alt-metal and some slower rock tracks of a much different quality than their others, and the album is the band's heaviest to date. Their latest album, The End Is Where We Begin, is essentially a mix of everything, even the rapping.
  • Rhapsody of Fire underwent a rather drastic change between Power of the Dragonflame and Symphony of Enchanted Lands II. Whereas albums up until Power were more like music that told a story, Symphony II onward focused more and more on the story rather than the music, building up the cinematic feel almost to the point where the Dark Secret Saga feels more like a movie without the pictures as opposed to the story-telling music of the Emerald Sword Saga. Fan opinion on which style is better tends to be divided.
  • XTC started out as a hyperactive New Wave band with punk, reggae and funk influences. These were mostly dropped after the departure of Barry Andrews and arrival of Dave Gregory, which steered them towards a more complex sound inspired by 60's pop on Drums and Wires (though still definitely New Wave). When the band stopped performing live, they produced the gentle pastoral folk rock album Mummer, and expanded on this sound - by their Magnum Opus Skylarking, they had evolved into full-on 60's-inspired pop rock with psychedelic, folk rock and baroque pop elements.
  • Skinny Puppy, while still mainly Industrial, have more IDM influences on their latest two albums.
  • Lupe Fiasco, with his third album Lasers, due to heavy Executive Meddling. Atlantic Records saw the success the single 'Superstar' had made upon his previous album The Cool, and thus wanted him to continue going down that path. It must also be noted at the time, Lasers was heavily anticipated, due to the solid approbation of his first two albums and especially with back-and-forth rumors of Lupe going into early retirement. After molding the album accordingly, Lasers finally got a release date. While the lyricism was still mostly genuine, it featured a heavy pop-oriented slightly electro sound that a good portion of the fanbase didn't sit well with.
  • Miley Cyrus' first non-Hannah Montana solo album, Meet Miley Cyrus, was more traditionally Teen Pop influenced, while Breakout showed more rock influences. Her EP, The Time Of Our Lives brought a harder sound on some tracks, with hip-hop influences and power ballads. Can't Be Tamed is more electro-pop.
  • Cyrus' ex-co-star, Emily Osment, used an adult alternative sound on her debut EP, All The Right Wrongs, while Fight Or Flight is more techno/dubstep/dance-oriented.
  • Demi Lovato is exploring a grittier, more hip-hop/R&B-influenced style on her third album, Unbroken, than her earlier pop-rock sound.
  • One of the most radical shifts in style would be Everything but the Girl, the jazzy adult pop duo. When their song “Missing” became a massive hit after being subjected to a dance-oriented remix, they reinvented them as a synth-based techno-styled act. The result was another major case of Broken Base.
  • Florida band Presence was a pretty standard Nu-metal / Rap Metal outfit. Their last album was a straightforward Post-Grunge album with nary a rap on it. Out of nowhere.
  • Sound Horizon made a significant shift in musical stylings between Elysion and Roman - songs became longer, the primary genre shifted from Baroque Pop to Symphonic-Progressive, and a larger, rotating roster of vocalists (including the band's founder/composer/lyricist/guitarist/accordionist/bagpipes player/occasional pianist, Revo) was introduced to replace Aramary, who had resigned from the band for personal reasons. While there were (and still are) some detractors that weren't happy with Aramary's resignation, the change has worked out rather well for them, and they've been carrying on in this direction since.
  • Ingo Kunzi, for his second Ayla album, Unreleased Secrets, after a nearly 8 year hiatus, shifted more to a mid/downtempo chillout style, with "Tribal Symphony" being the only standard trance tune on the album.
  • Most of Jean Michel Jarre's albums were New Sound Albums. Oxygène made him famous. Equinoxe sounded almost the same. Then came six albums (not counting Music For Supermarkets and live albums), none of which sounded like any of their respective predecessors, especially not like Oxygène and Equinoxe, because both Jarre's style and electronic instrument technology evolved. Oxygène 7-13 from 1997 was a partial return to Jarre's old sound, but all releases from then to the re-recording of Oxygène from 2007 were individual New Sound Albums again.
  • You may remember the group 4hero for the breakbeat techno song "Mr Kirk's Nightmare" back in the early 90's. Well, in 2007, following a six-year hiatus, they made a complete Genre Shift to downtempo and nu-jazz with the appropriately named Play with the Changes.
  • Silverchair were a Post-Grunge band for their first three albums, then Diorama had them change direction dramatically towards more of an art-rock sound with orchestral instrumentation. They had first started experimenting with string arrangements on Freak Show though, and Neon Ballroom could sort of be seen as a weird transition between their "old" and "new" sounds, as it had both softer, more contemplative songs and some of their most grunge-like material.
  • Sevendust's first album featured rawer production, simpler writing, harsher vocals, less melody, and a more aggressive sound. Home was more melodic, leaning a little closer to the band's signature style, but still maintaining a similar sound to their debut. Animosity brought in the real change, with much stronger songwriting and a much more melodic sound. From then on, the band has made little alterations to their music.
  • Fear Factory started off with a death metal sound on Soul of a New Machine. It wasn't until Demanufacture when they found their signature sound.
  • Christian Metal band Soul Embraced started as a fairly straight forward Death Metal band. Their second album brought a bit of Melodic Death Metal into the mix, but it didn't sound too different. Then came their third album Immune. This album was a mix of death metal and Nu-metal, for whatever reason. After that album, they changed their sound again for Dead Alive, a Progressive Metal / Death Metal mix. Their next album Mythos is promised to be their most brutal, so we can only guess where it will be...
  • Ween seems to like to change it up quite a bit.
  • The Clash changed their sound with London Calling, moving from outright punk to a heavily reggae and blues influenced sound. The seeds of this were seen on the previous album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, most notably on Julie's Been Working From The Drug Squad that displayed heavy New Orleans Jazz influences. At the time it was derided for betraying "punk" but has since go on to be considered one of the best albums of all time. Later albums also experimented with stylistic, however to a lesser degree of success, although there are fans of Sandinista! and Combat Rock. Most fans consider Cut The Crap (the bands final album) to be, well, crap.
  • Gentle Giant has seen this happen twice: a mild case occurred when Phil Shulman (who played saxophones, trumpets, and occasional other winds) left the band, and their next album, In A Glass House, had a harder edge and none of the literary allusions that Phil had put in their earlier albums. This shift was nothing compared to their later album The Missing Piece, released around the time that Progressive Rock was falling out of favor, and attempting to appeal to a pop audience with shorter, simpler songs. It didn't work.
  • Fun.'s Some Nights: Their debut, Aim And Ignite, was Baroque Pop-leaning indie, not that dissimilar from Nate Ruess's previous band The Format. Some Nights still had the Baroque Pop elements, but had a much more electronic sound, with heavy use of drum machines, synthesizers, and even some vocoder. The change was reportedly due to the band starting to listen to recent hip hop, with Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy being noted as a particular influence.
  • Kerli's upcoming second album, which will include the electropop singles "Army of Love" and "Zero Gravity", will be very different in style from her first album, which was alternative/indie rock. She describes her current style as "bubblegum goth".
  • UK thrash metal band Onslaught's album In Search of Sanity features a more melodic and complex style of thrash than the simpler, Slayer-esque sound they had on their previous release. It also featured vocalist Steve Grimmett from Grim Reaper, whose soaring and clean vocal style was a point of contention at the time of the album's release.
    • On the topic of Onslaught, their first album was more of a thrash and hardcore punk hybrid than the full-on thrash they would play on their second album.
  • The Butthole Surfers were initially known for psychedelic noise rock, but slowly started sliding towards more conventional alternative rock as time went on. The real big change in sound came with Lost Episode album After The Astronaut (and The Weird Revolution, which had revamped versions of many of the same songs) - their sound became much more electronic and danceable, although Word Salad Lyrics and some sophomoric humor remained. The change wasn't entirely out of the blue though - their contribution to the Spawn soundtrack had them working with Moby, and "Whatever (I Had A Dream)" from William Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet had a heavy trip-hop influence. Their Black Sheep Hit "Pepper", often compared (or just plain misattributed) to Beck, could be considered a precursor too.
  • Mariah Carey is easily this. Her debut album, Mariah Carey incorporated 80s synths with slight R&B dance vibes. It switched to a 50s/60s/70s Disco/Soul vibe in Emotions, which then suddenly changed into Adult Contemporary mellow-sounding ballads for Music Box. Daydream started to lean more towards modern, underground music and incorporated, and fused, pop, R&B, hip-hop and AC. Butterfly later dropped the noticeable Adult Contemporary aspects and went for a heavy R&B/hip-hop sound with slight pop/AC leanings (like 75% R&B/hip-hop, 25% pop). This eventually turned into full R&B/Hip-hop with a bit of pop (90% r&b/hip-hop, 10% pop) during Rainbow, where there was some pop but only because she was really popular at the time. It dropped the AC leanings completely. Then came the infamous Glitter which utilized a myriad of rappers and incorporated a bunch of 80s pop samples creating some weird 80s influence r&b/hip-hop with modern day rap. Then, during Charmbracelet she had slight r&b/hip-hop leanings and returned back to her old AC style only for her to return back to full R&B/Hip-Hop for The Emancipation of Mimi. Then, for E=MC 2, she adopted... whatever was popular in 2008 and used some reggae/dance hall music and returned to a more familiar pop/r&b/hip-hop/dance sound. Finally, for Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel she utilized an R&B style with heavily, electronic instrumentation which had some 80s influences. So, in short, we have:
    • 80s pop with slight R&B/Dance vibes (Mariah Carey)
    • 50s/60s/70s Soul/Disco/Pop (Emotions)
    • Adult Contemporary (Music Box)
    • AC/Pop with some mixture of R&B/Hip-Hop (Daydream)
    • Mostly R&B/Hip-Hop with some pop leanings (Butterfly)
    • Heavily R&B/Hip-Hop with little pop leanings (Rainbow')
    • 80s R&B/Hip-Hop/Dance Pop with modern day rappers/rap styles (Glitter)
    • AC with some R&B/Hip-Hop leanings (Charmbracelet)
    • Full R&B/Hip-Hop (The Emancipation of Mimi)
    • Current trends in Pop/R&B/Hip-Hop/Dance (E=MC 2)
    • R&B/Hip-Hop with 80s Electronic Keyboards/Synths (Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel)
  • Machine Head started off as straightforward Groove Metal for their first two albums. Their next two albums brought in Nu-metal, but for some reason, they switched back to Groove Metal for Through the Ashes of Empires. Four years later, they made the ultimate change; switching to Thrash Metal with The Blackening, even adding several long songs, a then-first for the band. Unto the Locust continued this and turned it Up to Eleven, and whatever they do next...well, we'll have to wait and see.
  • Julien-K started off as Industrial Metal with electronic and dance elements. For their sophomore album they moved to a much more poppy, dancey, 80s-influenced sound. Their former bassist wasn't thrilled with the direction they were taking, and left the band.
  • Life In The So-Called Space Age by God Lives Underwater. Their earlier releases (as well as the album released after vocalist David Reilly's Author Existence Failure) were a mix of Industrial Metal and Alternative Metal, but this one had them shift towards a much more electronic, Synth Pop-influenced sound. Fittingly, the album title was a Shout-Out to the back cover of Depeche Mode's Black Celebration.
  1. because EMI, their previous label, licensed it in exchange for "Under the Bridge" in their compilation What Hits?!