In the music industry there is only one thing worse than creating bad music: selling out. The idea that a band will make music to make money rather than for integrity and creative drive seems to disgust fans everywhere. When bands allow for their managers and public relations companies to take over, we are left with mediocre, catchy and repetitive lyrics that simply distract listeners from the fact that the music lacks any substance.
While selling out is common, however, it is often confused with change. An artist will, of course, change over time and develop into a new and more experienced artist but again, the line is clear between selling out and progressing.
In May of 2007, Linkin Park released the album Minutes to Midnight. Critics and fans alike had mixed opinions regarding the band's new sound. Many fans were upset over the deviation Linkin Park took from albums such as Hybrid Theory and Meteora. The band did not apologize for their new sound, but simply asked listeners to give the album a fair chance before rejecting it. Dedicated fans, who have followed the band since they began, claimed Linkin Park should be added to the long list of bands that sold out due to success.
However, these fans also had great opposition in this opinion. A great divide came between fans that loved the album and those who hated it. The album itself was definitely a change, but was filled with inspired lyrics, well-written music and had no appeals to the stereotypes of a popular song. Of course the popularity of the song, "What I've Done" in the movie Transformers was used as evidence of the new and despicable Linkin Park. A song can be popular without being simply written to be a hit, and in this case Linkin Park wrote a song that happened to become popular, and not the other way around. Although Linkin Park didn't sell out, other bands like it have.
On Sept. 21, 2004 the band Green Day came out with their new album American Idiot. The album got rave reviews from critics, and gained the band a new fan base of adolescent girls and boys just about to begin puberty. Older fans of the band, however, were offended by the fact that the album was full of songs purely written to sell records. It was a far cry from albums such as Dookie, which gained the band its original fan base. The band even hired another guitarist for the album; however, that individual was not mentioned in any interviews. He is only mentioned on the album itself in the fine print. The band even wrote some of the songs to finish the Broadway musical they now lend their music and album name to.
As a long-time fan, I ended my love of Green Day upon listening to this album, and have yet to listen to anything Green Day has created after American Idiot. It was a clear and obvious attempt at monetary gain, and did indeed inspire a whole slew of middle school students who now believe they are punk. Unfortunately, it alienated the fans that actually liked the sound they made for the love of the music, and left us all wondering if they will ever reverse the horrible mistake they made and go back to being a band for music rather than money.
The trend of selling out needs to end. Obviously, asking anyone in today's society to not be greedy is difficult, and Green Day is not the first, nor will it be the last band to craft an album to make millions.