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Broken Base: Music
Many popular bands suffer a fan division after the release of a new album. Some get the same treatment with every album. Just about every other band/group/singer/rapper/composer who have altered their musical style over the years has had to learn the hard way that there's a distinct trade-off between artistic integrity and maintaining the fanbase. This trope is much Older Than They Think.


  • In Indie or otherwise underground music, any artist who gains a measure of mainstream popularity will experience a wave of backlash from original fans. Mostly from fear that the artist(s) in question will change their style in order to become mainstream.
  • Arcade Fire are the kings of this. They somehow successfully break their base with every release they make:
    • In 2004, when they released Funeral, fans were split towards whether or not the sound from their first EP was better than the sound on Funeral.
    • In 2007, when they released their second album, Neon Bible, some fans were displeased with the "darker" sound they got. To make matters more confusing, critics were the same way.
    • Then, in 2010, when the released The Suburbs, the fanbase basically split yet again. This time into several sections. There are now people that have a certain combination of Arcade Fire albums they like and dislike. This creates some pretty heated arguments between their fans.
  • Almost any band who loses a member will cause fanwank over whether they got worse or not with the change.
  • Tupac Shakur fans usually fight over which album showcased the real Tupac. The albums in question are "Me Against the World" VS. "All Eyez on Me". Proponents of the first claim that the album is better than AEOM because of its depth and dark, introspective approach, while claiming that AEOM is just a typical mainstream rap album people jumped on the bandwagon for.
  • The Avenged Sevenfold fandom comes in about four camps:
    • Those who listen primarily to metalcore/post-hardcore tend to gravitate towards the band's first two albums, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet and Waking the Fallen.
    • Those who don't care much for metalcore/post-hardcore, but are fans of straightforward hard rock bordering on heavy metal would prefer the band's output from City of Evil and thereafter. Although, some may enjoy a handful of the less -core sounding songs from Waking the Fallen (in particular, Unholy Confessions). However, this group is divided further into two groups.
    • The band's latest album, Hail to the King, is not only the first album to be recorded without any input whatsoever from the late Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan - but also takes on a significantly different direction from the previous three albums (although probably not quite as drastically as City of Evil was from Waking the Fallen). According to lead singer M Shadows, the album can be described as "more blues rock-influenced and more like classic rock and classic metal in the vein of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin". Quite naturally, this album would be even more disdained by those who prefer the band's STST/WTF-era style. But even a significant portion of those who have enjoyed the past three albums find the style to be too much of a departure for them.
    • Last, but not least, there are those who enjoy the entire body of the band's output. Even if the band may have modified their style a few times, the "Avenged Sevenfold flavour" was a constant in everything they did.
    • Also, arguments abound over who is the better drummer: Arin or Jimmy.
  • Black Flag is perhaps the most polarizing example of a broken base for a punk band. First, there are camps of fans that prefer either the pre-1984 Flag (consisting of raw fast-paced punk) or the 1984-1986 Flag (which consisted of slow, repetitive avant-garde experiments in an attempt to push the band's sound forward). Then, there are fans divided by the singer (either Keith Morris, Dez Cadena, Ron Reyes {who was involuntarily credited by the band as "Chavo Pederast"}, and Henry Rollins)
  • The rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony has such a varied and diverse style that they ended up creating a varied and diverse fanbase. This diverse fan base always ends up in heated flame wars over what direction the group should take musically. The debates (or arguments) range from style, subject matter and whether or not to have guest features. The group even has a problem maintaining the small but loyal Broken Base that they do have, due to the fact there are more fans of certain individual members than the actual group as a whole. There's also a very contentious debate regarding what caused the group to lose popularity. Some say it's because their music changed. While others say it's because of changing trends in the Hip-Hop industry, and the music industry over all. Quite a few say all of the above.
    • Then there's the departure of a certain member... whom has since returned...(well..uh..sort of). But the embittered division is still there. What added to the division is the fact that this also put more fuel to the fire because of the reason why he was ousted and the fact the group isn't quite the same without him. Though others would say he was on the decline due to his substance abuse issues, and his unprofessionalism when it comes to not showing up for video shoots and concerts. so his absence isn't really missed.
    • Recently there's the fact that the other Ensemble Darkhorse (Krayzie Bone) was asked to leave. Wish Bone left with him and things just kept going form bad to worse among the fans.
      • The Art Of War album by far... (and to a lesser existent the Resurrection album)
  • Pantera, especially when it comes to critics of Phil Anselmo and his supporters. The murder of Dimebag Darrell, the well-loved guitarist of the band at the hands of a fan of Anselmo, has made the situation fucking hostile.
  • Hip-Hop is divided between pure Hip Hop fans, Alternative Rap fans, Gangsta Rap fans, Political Rap fans, Hardcore Hip Hop fans, Conscious Hip Hop fans vs. fans of overtly mainstream poppish "bling bling" styled "Glam Rap", and arguably Swag Rapnote . But to simplify it, it generally boils down to divisions mainly between the normally underground/gutter/gangsta/anti-establishment/grimy/Alternative/gritty/political and conscious hip hop heads and the fans of artists that rhymed about material wealth, capitalism and the like. The former groups don't get along that much either, but has some form of respect towards one another and tends to crosspolinate, and seem to be united againt the latter group of fans. Don't even get started on the regionalism though, we'll be here all day.
    • The narrowing of the urban radio format, and song selection, and exclusivity (including music video blocks) has exacerbated this problem. As they tend to favor Glam Rap type songs and videos because they are seen as "Safe". Which causes a lot of bitter resentment. So the argument isn't necessarily about whether or not Soulja Boy is real hip-hop, (Or alternativly "Stop Having Fun" Guys), But about the marginalization of everything else in favor of SOLELY supporting rappers like Soulja Boy or generic club anthem rap songs.
    • Controversially the root, heart, and soul of the hip-hop fan division appears to also have subtle shades of Classism in addition to regionalism. As The aforementioned urban sub-genres appeal to rap fans of 2 very different socioeconomic backgrounds (Albeit probably unintentionally). The rap music that deal with "urban, inner city issues" tend to appeal to middle and lower income blue collar fans, While The glamorous club oriented stuff appeals to upper middle class suburban fans. Even the hardcore rap music that has crime tales involving luxurious cars and houses tend to still appeal to the latter group of fans more so than the former group. There's also a huge dose of classicism involved as well.
    • Each of these hip-hop sub-fanbases has its own splinter groups, and even at its simplest level, you actually have a gigantic seething mass of cliques: something along the lines of "Golden Age" purists (fans of late '80s/early '90s rap; typically East Coast with some token Ice Cube or Too $hort appreciation), indie/alternative (or the demi-pejorative "undie") rap fans who lean towards some of the more avant-garde acts like Madlib, POS and El-P, several strata of Southern rap fans pitting coke-rap boosters (often accused of being indie hipster kids) vs. snap/trap/crunk club-rap fans (see: Soulja Boy/"ringtone rap") vs. Dungeon Family (OutKast/Goodie Mob/et al), West Coast adherents (which can potentially be split into classic g-funk vs. hyphy arguments), the recently-cooled yet still potentially volatile Jay-Z vs. Nas camps... and god help you if you actually like grime or dubstep or electro or some other (usually non-American) genre offshoot.
      • The non-American genre argument does go both ways though. In Britain and Germany in the Nineties, people who listened to a specific hip-hop subgenre called "Britcore" would not listen to any other forms of hip-hop and heavily deride them.
    • Speaking of gangster rap, there's a debate going on about whether or not the genre is dead. Fans of the first wave of gangsta rappers (the anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, and politically conscious era) felt that it died along time ago. Other, more cynical hip-hop fans (usually indie/alt-rap fans) feels that the current rap is no different from the earlier form, despite the fact that its more Lighter and Softer.
    • Another hotly debated issue within the hip-hop community is the issue of what's causing the decline of hip-hop's record sales. Some say it's the decline in quality, some say piracy, and others say both.
    • Yet another point of contention within the Hip Hop community is whether or not the state of current Hip-Hop is natural progression or is it astro turfed thanks to The Powers That Be, Executive Meddling and due to the fact that Music Is Politics?
      • To that end it gets more complicated if you believe the mainstream media and white America is the one that's driving hip-hop now instead of the inner city culture, blacks and Latinos. Some even believing young urban black culture is being marginalized, (or more ominously phased out) within Hip Hop culture.
      • Recently discussed in this Spin article.
    • There's also those who judge artists on "relevance" rather than talent and credentials. This also further divides fans.
    • And yet, all of the above varied bases seem to agree on one thing: Will Smith sucks, and has always sucked.
  • Even They Might Be Giants were hit by this. Fans are divided over whether 1994's "John Henry" was one of their finest albums or their worst, and some refuse to listen to anything recorded since, because they think that the idea of a rock band with musical instruments is an affront. All of the True Fans even went to far as to picket concerts promoting "John Henry".
  • Depeche Mode fans are divided between the ones who like all of their work and those who only like the material prior to Alan Wilder's departure. Visiting the forums will provide users arguing if the Post-Wilder era albums are good or not.
    • And there's also a small minority who only prefer the first three albums, before they got all "dark and depressing."
  • Devo fans are split between when Devo "began to suck". Many say after "Freedom of Choice", some "New Traditionalists" or "Oh, No!", and even a few say "Duty Now for the Future". Most folks seem to agree, though, that "Shout", "Total DEVO", and "Smooth Noodle Maps" all suck, but the new album "Something for Everybody" have generally been well-received.
    • The perceived declining quality of Devo's later albums has been blamed by most (including the band itself) on interference from the label. (Devo's battles with Warner Bros. border on legendary.) During the production of "Something for Everybody" Devo did a massive online outreach to its fans, allowing them to preview and vote on which tracks would be included. This effort probably was responsible for the generally good reception of the album. Something for Everybody indeed.
    • Oh, then there's those curmudgeons who think everything after "Q: Are We Not Men?" is a load of junk with too much synthesizer.
  • The Killers: Did they sell out with Sam's Town? Mature as artists? Try to be the next U2? Simply explore a different style? The world may will never know, especially since they went back to their synthy, '80s post-punk revival roots with Day & Age and show no sign of looking back.
  • The decision of KISS to dress replacement members Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the makeup and costumes of founders Peter Criss and Ace Frehley has split the fanbase into those who think it is an insult to the originals and those who think it is a fitting tribute to the band's past legacy. This debate often overlaps into the old debates of makeup vs. non-makeup and "old school" 70s Kiss vs. any post-1979 lineup.
    • Even before that - the 1978 solo albums are basically the wedge that created all of the other base breaking: fans argued vehemently over which of the four was the best, and differing sales of the albums were a contributing factor to Criss leaving the band shortly afterwards.
  • Genesis have a fanbase generally split into three groups: Those who love the early Peter Gabriel-led albums and call the later work pop sellout trash and glorified Phil Collins solo albums, those who love the later Phil Collins-led albums and dismiss the earlier work as pretentious nonsense, and those who love both eras and credit Tony Banks as the true mastermind of the band.
    • There's at least a fourth camp, who agree that Banks was the mastermind but think he went downhill at some point, with sub-debates over when that was (but certainly it had happened by Invisible Touch). And that's just the beginning. There's also huge debates over the merits of individual albums, especially The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, ...And Then There Were Three and the one album with neither Gabriel nor Collins, ...Calling All Stations.... Not to mention debates, easily confused with but distinct from the Gabriel/Collins/Banks one, between fans of their more pop-oriented versus their more progressive material, and on and on ad nauseum.
    • Lots of other progressive or once-progressive bands have these too, including Yes, King Crimson and Rush in particular, but Genesis is probably the best known.
  • Fleshgod Apocalypse got hit with this to a very large degree with Agony. The fandom either thought it was a bold new progression of their sound and a breath of fresh air or a bonafide shark jump that needlessly shifted them from very solid Italian-style brutal death with symphonic influences to something that was essentially Dimmu Borgir playing death metal, with both sides having a tendency to be very vocal about it. As such, bringing them up on a metal board is a good way to cause a huge blowup.
  • Metallica, because they cut their hair!
    • More seriously, Ride the Lightning VS. Master of Puppets can also cause wars.
      • There is also the argument of whether Smell the Glove The Black Album was the first sell out album or Load was.
      • The death of Cliff Burton was a tragedy. But was Metallica any good after?
    • Subverted though with "One", which was Metallica's very first music video; though the band swore they would never make music videos during the mid-80s, the video for "One" is widely loved by the fan's fans and was the only song from ...And Justice For All that ended up becoming a mainstay in the band's live shows.
    • Anything involving Dave Mustaine counts, especially Metallica vs. Megadeth.
  • Speaking of Megadeth, they're a particularly interesting example of this. While most will agree that "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?" and "Rust In Peace" are classics, opinions of their remaining albums tend to be a lot more divided:
    • Some fans write off "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good" and "So Far, So Good, So What?" as drug-induced messes (although SFSGSW does contain the fan favorite "In My Darkest Hour").
    • Their 90's material, especially, tends to be very divisive. Some fans won't listen to anything made post-RIP, some won't listen to anything made post-Countdown To Extinction, etc. While most agree that Megadeth's Dork Age began sometime during the 90's, there is a ridiculous amount of debate over when it actually began (although popular consensus agrees that 1999's "Risk" was a huge misfire for the band).
    • And then we get into the issue of when in the 2000's the band actually made their big comeback. Was it with 2001's "The World Needs A Hero"? 2004's "The System Has Failed"? 2007's "United Abominations"? Did the band ever make a serious comeback? Just thinking about it could really drive you crazy!
      • At this point, one thing that the Megadeth fandom can agree upon is Dave's thorough worthlessness as a person at this point. I doubt that there's a 'Deth fan alive who doesn't think he's a waste of oxygen and general embarrassment.
  • Whether or not The Misfits are any good without Danzig is one fierce argument.
    • Don't even talk about the current incarnation with early Misfits fans... or Jerry Only in general.
      • Then again, there are some fans who like all 3 incarnations.
  • German indie rockers Tocotronic started as a sloppy underground cult band with frontman Dirk von Lowtzow embodying the deadpan slacker much to the amusement of the Hamburg indie scene that was otherwise crowded with agitprop leftists and dead-serious fatalist philosophers like their friends from Blumfeld. Tocotronic changed their style towards professional recording and Lowtzow stopped snarking in favor of becoming a melancholic dandy with abstract lyrics no one really understood. As they new sound was far more successful, old fans usually claim that they were better when they were snarking, while new fans prefer their more polished sound.
  • Panic! at the Disco's first album was a unique, somewhat interconnected bunch of songs with obtuse but clever titles that bridged dance and rock genres, and had stories to them, with complex, often surreal lyrics. Their second album is somewhat Beatles-esque pop rock with no apparent connection other than style between the songs... and they dropped the exclamation point from their name. Guess what happened to their following? Yep! Instant Division, Just Add Second Album.
    • And then they put the exclamation point back, and their lead guitarist and bassist left the band. Oh dear.
  • Van Halen. David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. 'Nuff said.
    • With a small, but vocal, subgroup insisting Gary Cherone never got a fair chance.
    • In a similar vein: Black Sabbath. Ozzy Osbourne or Ronnie James Dio. 'Nuff said.
      • In another similar vein: Ozzy Osbourne's guitarists: Randy Rhodes or Zakk Wylde. With the odd Jake E. Lee fan trying to pop in here and there.
  • Journey. There is an insane amount of hatred and bad feeling among fans over whether Neal Schon should've gone on without Steve Perry. Simply mentioning Perry's name on any fanboard is guaranteed to start a fight over "old lineup vs new lineup".
  • Among fans of Black Metal there is the ongoing war about the definition of the genre. Are Cradle of Filth Black Metal? Are Dimmu Borgir black metal? Immortal? Emperor? Take your pick...
    • Though this is common among many sub-genres of Metal in general... So many bands take elements from multiple genres, there are often heated arguments over which genre a LOT of bands fit into... Other ones that are especially common though is Gothic Metal vs. Symphonic Metal, and there is often a lot of confusion with Death and Doom, and Folk and Viking.
    • And, of course, there are the constant debates over whether or not Band X is even metal in the first place.
  • The question that is sure to stir up controversy: Who broke up The Beatles?
    • Even when the group was active, "Who's your favorite Beatle?" was an active question. After, it tended to cause Flame Wars.
    • You can tell a lot about a Beatles fan by learning whether they prefer the early work (the kind that could easily be done in concert pre-synthesizer) or the later, more experimental work.
      • But Beatles fans generally still like all their music, even if they prefer one era over another. So the Beatles are more of a subversion of the trope.
    • There are many people in America who bought Wings albums but will never admit it...
  • Linkin Park's Reanimation album, which primarily contained heavily remixed electronic/hip-hop versions of their previous album's songs, caused a major rift in the fanbase trying to decide whether they liked the differing direction of the album or hated it.
    • Apart from the remix albums, Linkin Park fans are divided over the change in Linkin Park's music style from electronica and nu-metal to ballads and soft rock. Some fans claim that the "Old Linkin Park" was the best and that they sold out while others argue that the "New sound" show their evolution as a band.
    • Not to mention their increasing trend towards becoming U2, with more rock-driven albums than previous and less Shinoda.
    • With A Thousand Suns, make that more electronic-driven albums and less Chester.
  • The Coldplay album Viva La Vida has split fans as well, between rejoicing at thenew sound and critizing them for "trying to be the next U2".
  • The first two Oasis albums are universally loved by the fans. The subsequent five all sharply divide opinion, including that of the band itself in one case.
    • There's now also a Broken Base over which post-Oasis band to follow: Liam's band Beady Eye or Noel's project Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.
  • Slipknot Maggots constantly fight over whether Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat (which was their first album which featured only three of the current nine bandmembers) should be considered a real Slipknot album. That's before we even get to arguments over Vol. 3 The Subluminal Verses VS. Iowa debates.
  • Rage Against the Machine fans are very much divided over the quality of Audioslave and Tom Morello and Zach de la Rocha's solo projects.
    • All supergroups seem to suffer from this to some extent. Go to any discussion about Stone Temple Pilots'' and mention the words "Velvet Revolver". It will get ugly. On the other hand, most Guns N' Roses fans seem to have a more universally positive opinion on Velvet Revolver. STP fans are also torn on Scott Weiland's solo project.
  • While we're in Guns N' Roses, Chinese Democracy.
    • The debate is more of the likes that, if a band who's more than 20 years old and broke up abruptly, coming back without 80% of the original lineup (a weird case of "The Face Minus The Band") and releasing an album stuck in Development Hell during 14 years that was utterly irrelevant at its best, is worth of any kind of attention nowadays, due to their past-time status of "Heavy Metal Saviors".
  • Nightwish, post Tarja Turunen. Some fans think the new singer and new sound are a different kind of good, others think it completely sucks now.
    • It doesn't help that the band hedged their bets by including an instrumental version with the digipack.
    • And, on a secondary note, those who found the way she departed from the group distasteful and a thumb-or-other-appendage in the face disrespectful. This is less fandom/fandumb and more related to the (to the fans) suddenness however.
    • Don't even think about saying that you like them both. Stating that you do only means that you're a new Nightwish fan, who doesn't know jack about them at all. Let's also not forget that stating you do only tends to create a flame war between Tarja fans and Annette fans so that they both vie for your support.
    • The new singer got more and more popular when people started to go their shows and realized that she was far more entertaining and nicer than Tarja was.
    • The above statement may or may not be true. Some fans didn't like Anette's rendition of older songs (most notably Wishmaster) and complained that her on-stage performance was too 'pop' for the band.
    • And now that Anette has split from Nightwish (under not particularly good circumstances, either), the debate becomes more complicated, particularly considering whatever direction Tuomas is planning on taking the band, or if there is much he can really do after Imaginaerum.
    • Floor Jansen, the singer they picked to finish the tour in place of Annette, seems to have gotten a pretty positive reception - nobody really hates her. But now there are three sides to the flame war...
  • Gothenburg Metal band Arch-Enemy's fans arguing about their preference between the current vocalist, Angela Gossow, and former vocalist and founding member, Johan Liiva.
    • consensus is: Gossow = good performer/bad singer; Liiva = good singer/bad performer. Even this is not raised very loudly because the backlash is just not worth it.
  • Power Metal band Stratovarius' fans about the pre/post Timo Tolkki periods of the band.
  • Suomi Metal band Sentenced, on who between Taneli Jarva or Ville Laihiala is the better singer. Controversy waned when the group disbanded and lead guitarist Miika Tenkula died four years later.
  • Electronic/electronic rock musician Celldweller started doing Dubstep and drum and bass in more recent works and on any song of his on YouTube there is arguing daily between members of the fanbase of how awesome/terrible it is, how it means/doesn't mean he sold out, how he should stick to his old sound or keep growing, how his style is changing for the better or for the worse and how he does/doesn't have artistic integrity, though that last one isn't really arguable since he has always done whatever he wants and is independent, hence no music executives putting him up to anything.
  • This happened to TLC later in their career. Instead of being solely contemporary R&B and Urban pop their music started to veer into Alt./Pop territory after their first 2 albums.
    • Them trying to replace Lefteye definitely rubbed some of the fans the wrong way. Al though it was clearly L.A. Reid's doing the blame still fell in their laps though.
    • And of course the whole which member is the best arguments. Some saying chili was the REAL singer in the group, while others think Left eye was the only good thing about the group, And other's that thought T-Boz is/was the whole group.
  • Pink Floyd - and how - although their heyday provides only one truly classic example. This was the forced departure of songwriter/frontman Syd Barrett, which divided fans from the playground up into "he was the band" and "alright without him" camps. However, as the band got through the next few albums with increasing sales and audiences, the Syd camp became a minority.
    The second historical split came around Dark Side of the Moon, with the shift away from their psychedelic roots towards the darker, edgier and more commercial. Many older fans decried this, complaining also of the live audiences, which were getting much larger, more mainstream and rowdier, and the larger and less intimate venues required to host them. note  On the other hand, few thought that the subsequent releases were actually bad, and there weren’t really two hostile camps, the new fans being generally oblivious to the older antis.
    Perhaps hard to believe now, but Roger Waters’s departure and attempted dissolution of the band caused hardly a ripple at the time. The bandmembers had retreated so far behind the imagery and stage effects that only a surprisingly small hard core of fans actually knew who Roger Waters was, let alone that he had now quit, depriving Floyd of its main writer; or that he believed the band would/should now cease to exist as a result. It was only with Waters’s failed attempts to stop them using the name, and subsequent exchanges in the music press, that word began to get out to the wider fanbase. note 
    Now, with the benefit (?) of hindsight and vastly better-informed fans, the fanbase is split six ways to Sunday. Was Barrett or Waters the true genius? How does their psychedelic era compare to what came after? Are the Gilmour-led albums sell-out trash or nearly as good as the classic ones? Is Atom Heart Mother brilliant or complete rubbish (the band themselves mostly think the latter)? Ditto The Final Cut note . And so on.
    • The Final Cut isn't rubbish, but it does illustrate exactly what broke up the band: the liner notes clearly credit it as "[An album] by Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd." Ow. note 
      • The Final Cut is basically a Roger Waters solo album (and in fact Waters wanted to release it under his own name, but this was vetoed by Gilmour and Mason), but some of the fanbase regards it as one of the group's best albums anyway, even if it isn't a "typical" Floyd album. On the other hand, there is also a significant portion of the fanbase that regards it as worse than the two Gilmour-led albums. Notably, there was one poll where the editors of a Floyd fan magazine voted it the group's best album, while the readers voted it the group's worst. That's how divisive it is.
    • Heh. Does anyone bother debating whether (or how) they should have followed Syd's desired vision of keeping to smallish venues (like the UFO club) and never performing on TV (possibly stopping him from going insane as a result)? Anyone?
  • An odd obscure one... Folk singer Old Man Ludecke and any album/song he has a duet on.
  • Three Six Mafia went through this when they went from a 6 member group to a 2 member group.
    • They also gradually moved away from their horrorcore Occult themed sound over the years toward a more generic hardcore gangsta rap sound (Their original name was Triple 6 mafia... get it?). And after that moved to a more mainstream hardcore act. These three shifts in style have also really put a wedge in their base.
  • Many musical theater types seem to praise Kurt Weill's music mainly as a vehicle for the polemical messages of Bertolt Brecht and similar playwrights, and consider his move away from political themes in his later Broadway musicals as a sell-out to American capitalism.
  • Michael Jackson's fanbase went through this on every post-Thriller record. Their are some who said that his last good album was the almost-as-successful Bad, whereas others say it was the less sucessful Dangerous. Then there are who love History for it being more personal and its dark overtone; Invincible gets a lot of hate from some fan for not using real instruments, while others liked the more urban sound and thought it was Michael getting back to his roots.
    • There are also some fans who dislike the way Michael sung certain albums. Some liked the more smooth vocals he used through Off the Wall to Bad and dislike the more rougher vocals he used in his later years. There is also a strange divide between producers and who the real genius was.
  • En Vogue went through this with their second album. Especially when their rock influenced Free Your Mind song became uber popular. And predictably the term "Sell Outs" began swirling around.
  • Prince & The Revolution vs. Prince & The New Power Generation.
    • Prince vs. the symbol.
    • Or Prince after the symbol.
  • Mariah Carey fans (and critics) went through this post Music Box album. Either Daydream or Butterfly were her last good album, or her first bad album. Butterfly gets shit as it was the first album to move towards a more "urban" (or the pejorative "ghetto") sound as well as featured Mariah becoming way more stripper-iffic. However, many fans of Butterfly will argue that at least it still SOUNDED like a Mariah Carey album and that it was the sequel Rainbow that had Mariah going off the rails with constant rap cameos and even more overt stripper-iffic revamp of her image. Either way, she's never been able to bring the bases back together.
    • It should be noted that Butterfly was the first album where she fully conformed to her urban sound thus picking up a new young urban fanbase whom might not have been interested in her music beforehand. When she stopped making Adult Contemporary power ballads that's when the Base started to break. Plus there was the fact that she now garnered a new urban fanbase. Because of the latter, the criticism of her post-Music Box albums tend to veer into Unfortunate Implication territory.
    • It runs much much deeper than this. Most of her fans seem to agree that among her best work is Daydream. However, after that, it divides quite heavily. Some people like the more pop sound that was found in Music Box, and in her debut, even though Pop during her debut was heavily influenced by r&b and her second album is total r&b. However, Daydream saw her start to incorporate more of a current sound into her work, against the wishes of her ex-husband. She then continued on this route with Butterfly, picking up new people that like her more soulful sound as other people liked Music Box and the standard pop ballads. The people who love the AC ballads complain that Mariah has lost her mind and idea on what's good music, but fans of her R&B leaning stuff state she just sounds bored on her album Music Box, which, by the way, is an album Mariah Carey reportedly does not like, which seems to always be the main argument. The Emancipation of Mimi saw the bases started to getting back together, because it was compared favorably to both her old work and new work, a la Daydream, only to split again when she went heavy on the current urban trends in E=mc2. It should also be noted most of her pop work was created while she was under the control of a very mentally abusive ex-husband, and, as a result, criticisms on how her husband made her career on top of the urban hate really veer towards Unfortunate Implications. There are also people that take a third option and like everything but Music Box, save for a few tracks, which earns the ire from her pop lovers.
    • Ironically, it should be noted that critics, as a whole, started to love Mariah Carey after she ditched the Power Ballad sound because she started to sound consistent and more soulful. Music Box is even worse received than Glitter, in terms of general critic approval goes. Daydream was a powerhouse in every way in the 1996, and her critical lover peaked around Butterfly before reaching another peak with E=MC 2, and her albums have been pretty well received since then. Though no one would ever guess it, Mariah Carey's work, to her fans, is Serious Business.
  • P!nk was called a sell out after her first album. She switched from urban R&B to pop/rock on her mizzunderstood album. This seemed to confuse her since she thought she was being more true to her self on the second album. Her first album arguably could be a case of Misaimed Fandom, or Periphery Demographic. Or bad marketing on her record label's part. (likely the latter)
  • Kanye West's album 808s and Heartbreak isn't a rap album, unlike his previous works; it's pure electro-pop. The results were... rather polarizing, to say the least, amongst both fans and critics.
    • The album appears to have been Vindicated by History, though, as many now consider it to be one of the defining albums of the 2000's.
    • Yeezus appears to be polarizing the fanbase as well.
  • Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend". Does it glorify a certain particularly shallow way of thinking, or does it satirize it? And if it's the latter, then, since Teenage Radio Listeners Are Morons, was it a good idea or a bad one?
  • Kelly Clarkson's My December. It's either a dark depressing album that's not radio friendly, or it's a great album because it's dark and not radio friendly.
  • The Norwegian AOR band TNT have been victims of this in on-off spans. First when Firefly came out in 1997, the fandom was torn between accepting and abandoning the change. Then, when Tony Harnell, the band's most liked singer, left in 2006, and was replaced by British singer Tony Mills, Fan Dumb erupted like you wouldn't believe, and even more so when The New Territory came out in 2007. It was a largely Love It or Hate It album, but the new album Atlantis is much better received.
  • Kelli Ali was fired from the Sneaker Pimps after the group's first album and replaced with founding member Chris Corner. The argument continues even today as to whether the group was better with or without her.
  • Baroque era music performance is split into "period instruments" vs. "modern instruments" proponents.
  • Opera vs. Symphony was a popular heated topic in the 1800s.
    • It's still a big deal now - go to any music conservatory, even a really prestigious one, and prepare to be amazed at how little the singers generally know about orchestral music, and likewise, how little the instrumentalists know about opera.
    • Before the late romantic era, symphonies were primarily written for aristocracy or wealthy patrons of some kind. On the other hand, operas, while often viewed by the wealthy, were also popular among the middle-class. It was not rare for people to gamble at the opera, or even bring prostitutes into the balconies. Traditional orchestral music (like symphonies) had more of an air of austerity, which helps to explain some of the divisiveness.
    • Giuseppe Verdi opera (Italian) vs. Richard Wagner opera (German) was a further division of this debate, and continues to this day.
      • Wagner alone is probably the most divisive figure in opera. Nobody is neutral about him (and that's probably how he wanted it to be). He even rejected the term "opera" itself, using "Bühnenfestspiel" (music-drama) to describe his own such works.
      • To be sure, it is a difficult choice: Come into my shop, let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop . . . daintily! versus Kill the wabbit!
    • Opera buffs in general tend to be divided between fans of "traditional opera" (i.e. mainly Mozart and bel canto, and no further than Verdi or Puccini) and fans of more modern opera, with Wagner usually being the dividing line between the two camps. And that's not even going into the "baroque opera" fans...
    • Opera also has the "traditional production" vs. "Regietheatre/Eurotrash production/anything-goes-in-art" debate. Defenders of Regietheater cite it as a deconstruction of the original opera with a focus on the director's vision, bringing a fresh new perspective to an already well-known work. Critics argue they're just talentless hacks unable to produce art that would attract an audience, so they hijack a master's work to promote whatever modern issue they want to bring up with a focus on shocking and disgusting the audience.
    • Not to mention the singer wars: Maria Callas vs. Renato Tebaldi and Placido Domingo vs. Luciano Pavarotti to name the two bloodiest conflicts. Mario Lanza: great classical tenor, or overhyped Hollywood version of same? And of course "There are no good singers today" vs. "There are too!"
  • With instruments that have a history of good repertoire extending back to the baroque or classical period (e.g. piano, organ, violin, cello, flute, guitar) there's a division between those players who embrace contemporary music, and those who prefer the older stuff - and these debates can get pretty heated. Instruments that have only developed a good solo repertoire in the past 100 years - ex. saxophone, percussion, tuba - have less division on this matter because their players have no choice but to play the newer stuff.
  • Musical theater fans are divided between those who prefer the earlier Broadway style of Rodgers & Hammerstein (or even earlier), versus modern musicals. Heck, they even made a musical (The Drowsy Chaperone) about the whole debate.
  • No Doubt's Rock Steady album, Most critics loved it. But the hardcore fans either had mixed feeling, or out right despised it. While other fans think it was the best ND album in years.
  • Destiny's Child after the other 2 original members was unceremoniously booted. Not to mention the group of fans who thought they were trying too hard to cross over. There is also a group of fans that felt Kelly Rowland was clearly the better singer whom had to play second fiddle to Beyonce Knowles, Who they thought had a special "advantage"
  • This recently happened to the British indie band The Horrors. The songs on their first album and their singles were fast, short bursts of goth-influenced garage punk often not lasting more than two minutes. Then in early 2009 came the video for "Sea Within A Sea", the first single from their second album. It was slower, more atmospheric and Joy Division-sounding and most troubling to fans, eight minutes long. Some fans cried bloody murder. Other fans welcomed the new sound with open arms and praised their new tighter sound. Needless to say, any forum discussing the band has degraded down to two dozen active flame wars about the subject between the two sides.
  • Dream Theater. Old music (Images and Words, Awake) vs new music (Train of Thought, Systematic Chaos''), Kevin Moore vs. Derek Sherinan vs. Jordan Rudess, too much keyboard vs. not enough keyboard, music is too heavy vs. music is too pop-like, who's the best lyricist?, songs are too long, songs are too short...just about anything, really.
    • It really doesn't help that Dream Theater is pure Love It or Hate It material to begin with.
      • Now there's the fans who supported Mike Portnoy's ejection from the band and think that the band was right to not let him rejoin (Despite the band lacking a drummer), and those who believe that Portnoy should be allowed back in.
    • Another topics prone to Flame Wars include: James LaBrie vs Charlie Dominicci. And the most overlooked and least fandumbish, but most well-argumented and heated debate: Music after Scenes From a Memory: A new era in the band's sound by emulating and adding their own style to classic 60's/70's experimental progressive rock? Or just a long-running, boring and over-the-top battle between John Petrucci and Jordan Rudess overwanking to their instruments in order to see who's the fastest musician on earth, leading the songs to have no real structure whatsoever?
  • Country Music, definitely. Country music blogs and message boards are replete with lengthy arguments over what constitutes genuine country music, and if modern mainstream Nashville pop-country fits the definition.
  • Igor Stravinsky is perhaps the all-time example of a composer with a fractured, factionalized fanbase. After making his initial fame by applying impressionist harmonies to Slavic melody and rhythm with such works as "The Firebird" and "Petrushka", Stravinsky's brutal, primitivist ballet "The Rite of Spring" occasioned a riot at its premiere in Paris in 1913 as audience members who hated the work clashed with others who found it one of the most exciting things they'd ever heard. (Apparently, Stravinsky wasn't too happy by this; he left the concert in a taxi, exclaiming that he'd never been so angry.) Unfortunately for fans of the "Rite", Stravinsky would compose only a few more works in this vein before turning to a cooler, more controlled and intellectual neoclassical style in the 1920's. The fans of the neoclassical Stravinsky held him up as a proponent of tonality in opposition to the atonal style of Arnold Schoenberg, Stravinsky's contemporary and rival best known for his invention of dodecaphonic (or "twelve-tone") music. After Schoenberg's death in 1951, Stravinsky proceeded to confound his neoclassical fans by turning to Schoenbergian dodecaphony himself.
  • No love (or hate) for Alice in Chains yet? The flamewars on youtube over Layne's death never die down, and he died seven years ago. Not to even mention William DuVall; entire cities have been warmed by the flames stemming from just one claim that he's better than Layne. And as though this isn't enough, they're set to release a new album, which looks to be just as debated as Chinese Democracy.
    • After the release of the new album, it seems like it was averted, since critics and fans alike found Black Gives Way to Blue to be truly an amazing comeback album, given its flawless production and the music being loyal to their old nineties sound. As for William DuVall, again, the vast majority agreed that he fits very well with the band, besides being a more than competent frontman and musician, up to the point most fans have accepted he stood on for himself, and don't see him as a replacement, but a different and good musician on his own.
      • The production certainly wasn't flawless; it was a sterling example of what's wrong with the Loudness War. However, apart from that flaw, basically everyone loved it.
      • The Devil Put Dinosaurs here is arguably BETTER than Black Gives Way To Blue.
  • REM People can go on for hours over whether Automatic for the People is a mature, deep, emotional masterpiece or overproduced pop schlock, a glorified Michael Stipe solo record that showcases the band as a shadow for their former selves. Just say the words "Everybody Hurts" and watch the fun begin. The far less famous Up can inspire similar reactions.
    • Monster is one of the most divisive albums they ever did, having a radically different sound to anything that came before it.
  • Check out the comments on any Queens of the Stone Age video, and prepare to be assaulted by back and forth on "They suck after Nick left", countered by "They would suck if they still had a wife-beater and a drunk in their band." All this ignores, of course, the fact that Josh Homme has written all the music from the get-go, and has recorded just about every track in the studio, including most of the bass work in the first album, and a lot of it in the second.
  • Anything Ice Cube did after The Predator (Or Lethal Injection depending on who you ask) tends to divide fans. Lethal Injection specifically is polarizing. it was a commercial hit, however it was heavily criticized for what many saw as Cube's pandering to a crossover audience, and toning down the hardcore socio-political content found on his earlier efforts. Others saw this as unfair, as they thought it was still vintage gritty Cube but with G-funk productions. The albums standing has increased over time though once people realized that it wasn't a huge departure as first thought..
  • Like wise with poor Nas. After Illmatic virtually every album he made afterwards polarized his base. Stillmatic was able to please most of the base....but not really.
  • Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope album. Critics loved it, most fans loved it, but others were alienated by it's darker tone. There's also the debate on whether or not her Janet. album is a worthy successor to Rhythm Nation, whereas others think fans need to suck it up and accept she changed with the times, and that they should let the 80's go.
    • Then there are those who feel she went downhill in the 2000's.
  • Madonna fans tend to be divided over Erotica, which many consider to be a great album that was unfairly bashed due to the title track and the Hype Backlash over Madonna in the early 1990s, or else a really crappy album with one good song (the hit single "Rain"). Also at debate, whether Madonna is better at making dance music or ballads and songs about important social messages.
    • Also, Music. A good album that was simply anticipated too much due to Ray of Light, or a really, really poor sequel to the Queen's Magnum Opus?
  • AC/DC fans are divided over which of AC/DC's two lead singers, Bon Scott or Brian Johnson, is better. The one thing that they are unified on is that Back in Black is an AWESOME ALBUM.note 
  • David Bowie. Pretty much ANY time he shifted styles, a split in fandom occured regarding whether it was worth sticking around for, all the way up to 2003's Reality. The most important breaks newbies should be careful about bringing up are:
    • 1980's New Wave Music effort Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) has long had a reputation (with both fans and professional critics) as the end of his "golden age" because he followed that with the pop rock of 1983's Let's Dance, recorded SPECIFICALLY to appeal to casual fans/listeners. This was either great or really lame. It became his biggest-selling album and triggered a Newbie Boom, but even he regrets sticking with that approach on his next two albums, which resulted in a Dork Age from 1984-87.
    • Other fans argue the drop-off came during the Tin Machine period of 1989-92. Bowie decided to free himself from his recent excesses by establishing a Hard Rock group that he could just be a member of. But he was, like it or not, The Face Of The Band and though the public at least understood his intentions, they didn't care for the music that resulted. The fact that he'd just hit middle age, the point when so many established stars start crying We're Still Relevant, Dammit, probably didn't help matters.
  • Tori Amos' fanbase started to slowly divide with To Venus and Back, when the much hyped B-Side album was dropped for new material, done mainly so Tori could advance one step closer to get out of her contract with Atlantic Records, after being told point blank by the label that they weren't going to promote her work anymore. Some consider TVAB to be Tori's last good album, as her cover album (again done to move her closer to completing her contract) Strange Little Girls was widely panned. Scarlet's Walk was better received but The Beekeeper came out and broke the base clear down the middle. How badly was it broken? You had people joking that Tori had gone soft and that the only way that Tori would be able to make a new good album would be if something bad happened to her family, since most of what made the early Tori albums so popular was the anger Tori had towards Christianity, being raped, her ex-boyfriend, having a miscarriage, etc that drove her early albums. Tori broke her base again with American Doll Posse. One half thought that it was her best album in years, while the other half thought it was crap. Abnormally Attracted to Sin had similar effects. It wasn't until Tori released a solstice album (Midwinter Graces) that more fans than not were satisfied. 2011's Night of Hunters was also found to be a step further in the right direction, especially its tour with a string quartet.
  • Fans of The Mountain Goats are often divided over whether the band's newer, more polished output is an improvement on the earlier boombox recordings or not.
  • 65daysofstatic's newest album "We Were Exploding Anyway" was greatly divisive: some fans embraced the new, more dance-oriented direction of the album as a logical progression. There is, however, a considerable portion of fans who were looking forward to more glitchy post-rock, and will not listen to the newest album.
  • Queensrÿche experienced one of these when guitarist Chris DeGarmo left the band. Somewhat expected, in that DeGarmo was one half of the band's primary songwriting team, which drastically altered their sound in music that followed.
    • That proved to be nothing compared to what happened when the band fired singer Geoff Tate in June of 2012. After lawsuits were filed on both sides, a judge ruled that both parties could use the name until the suit was settled in November of 2013 (later pushed back to late January 2014 due to Tate not being ready for the case), resulting in two competing versions of Queensryche. Tate seems to be more or less continuing in the direction of the band's more recent work, while the rest of the band is pursuing a sound closer to that of their early albums. The fandom appears to have mostly sided with the other members over Tate, but both sides seem utterly convinced that they are the majority and the opposition is using deceitful means to make themselves appear far greater in number than they actually are, and until the name rights get resolved it's pretty much at the point where any post about either side will inevitably devolve into a massive flame war.
  • Outkast post Aquemini album. Especially during the Speakerboxxx/Love Below era.
  • A lighter example with Disturbed's fan base over the old bassist Fuzz vs. the new bassist John Moyer.
  • Dutch cult band The Gathering seems cursed with losing singers. But its greatest loss is when Anneke Van Giersbergen, their charismatic third (or fourth, if you count the two singers from their sophomore album) singer, who left to form a band with her husband.
  • R&B singer Brandy's Never Say Never album caused this. Some saying she was trying too hard to appeal to multiple demographics. The album was accused of targeting the whitebread A/C crowd, the bubblegum pop crowd, the hip urban street crowd.
    • She even had singles for each demographic too. Have You Ever for the A/C crowd, Almost Doesn't Count for the older R&B crowd, The Boy Is Mine for the bubblegum pop crowd, and Sitting On Top Of The World for young urban radio.
  • Anything by Sade Post love Delux, Specifically when Lover's Rock came out continuing into Soldier Of Love. Mostly because some feel that they are moving from the more organic, quiet storm, contemporary R&B/Soul, contemporary jazz fusion sound, and are now suffering from a mild form of modern production aesthetics. Others think they are just changing with the times, And that their music is still good.
  • Flyleaf has been having a slight Fan division since Memento Mori came out. Some of the fans dislike the album due to its (more explict) Christian undertones; they're Not Christian Rock however their lyrics are tinted with Christian overtones due to their beliefs, and their second album is more obviously Christian than the first.
    • The opposite has happened to a lot of Christian Rock bands such as Skillet. They're originally obviously Christian but later they become more secular and their messages more subtle; a majority of their fans don't even realize they're Christian, or notice the Christian overtone.
    • Lacey left the band to peruse other things. The fanbase is torn on whether the new singer is good or not, whether she's a suitable replacement, or whether they should change the name of the band and stop singing Flyleaf songs.
  • BT, before and after Emotional Technology.
  • Bob Dylan should have been at the head of this list! Just start with the massive schism over his going electric, and drill down from there.
  • Lady Gaga's fanbase is beginning to divide over the fact that she has gotten too 'emo and creepy.'
  • Evans Blue had two rather unique albums that included the (then) lead singer/songwriter Kevin matisyn. In 2008 Kevin was kicked out of the band and replaced with a new lead who had a completely different sound and lyrics. This has caused many, many fans to dislike the new EB. There are other fans, however, who like the new sound of the band.
  • Duran Duran's fanbase is rabid about whether the "fab five" lineup of Simon, Nick, John, Andy, and Roger was the acme of the band's existence, whether they improved post-split with the severely trimmed-down lineup of Simon, Nick, and John, whether the best lineup of their musical career was the '90s lineup of Simon, Nick, John, and Warren, whether John leaving the band was a good thing or a terrible thing, or whether the 2001 "reunion" was a good idea. And now that Andy's left (again!) and they replaced him with Dom, is the band still relevant and interesting or is it a hoary old dinosaur that's fooling itself into thinking it's not extinct? By the way, even the question of a "reunion" in 2001 brought forth a flurry of controversy from people who resented the insinuation that the band were "reuniting" since they never went away, and it went even deeper when the press frequently cited that it was "the original lineup", since the "fab five" lineup of Simon, Nick, John, Andy, and Roger was in no way the "original lineup" from the band's 1978 establishment (that would've been Steve Duffy, Simon Colley, Nick, and John). It was another reason for the fans who got into the band from about 1987 onward and/or preferred the non-"fab five" band eras, who felt betrayed and disenfranchised by the "reunion" era activities, to hate what was happening, especially since the band seemed to be doing that to court what the disenfranchised fan base felt were "fairweather fans" who dropped the band when it no longer became about the "fab five". The disenfranchised fan set also felt very strongly that from 2004's Astronaut on, the band had compromised its artistic integrity (since Warren was the member who introduced experimental elements into the band's music) for purely poppish interests.
  • Green Day: American Idiot is as good as the previous work? They've become Emo? 21st Century Breakdown is worth something?
    • Green Day have had complaints from some of their older fans about most of their albums - Dookie marked the switch to a major label and had a comparatively polished production sound; Nimrod diluted the band's melodic punk-rock sound with more diverse influences and produced an acoustic ballad as a major single; Warning diversified further with the acoustic guitars gaining more ground. From a purely sonic point of view, you could almost argue that American Idiot was a return to past form.
      • American Idiot in a nutshell is a case when bringing the "return to past form" topic, even when comparing to the first records, because the band never made any ballad (like Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Wake me Up when September ends) during their 39/Smooth/Insomniac era, and their longest song, somehow faithful to old school punk music, was barely behind the 4 minute bar (Longview is 3:59).
  • Chicago: Terry Kath/every-other-guitarist-the-band-has-ever-had; to a lesser extent, Peter Cetera/Jason Scheff and Danny Seraphine/Tris Imboden.
  • The fanbases of The Who and The Small Faces can get like this occasionally with fans of their R&B days clashing with fans of their later releases like Tommy, Who's Next and Quadrophenia for the former and There Are But Four Small Faces and Ogden's Nut Gone Flake for the latter.
  • Sugarland tried to go more eclectic with their acoustic-pop album The Incredible Machine. Some think it's great; others think that besides the singles "Stuck Like Glue" and "Little Miss", it's terrible and far too strident an attempt at a new sound.
  • Following the pop crossover success of "This Kiss" and "Breathe" a couple years earlier, Faith Hill set her sights on AC with the 2002 album Cry, a more bombastic pop album than her slick country-pop of the past. Many fans thought that she was abandoning the country genre altogether, and the album tanked at that format (although the title track was a major pop hit and even won her a Grammy). She was all but gone from the country airwaves until 2005, when Fireflies finally brought her back to form for about a year.
  • Section rivalry within concert and marching bands varies, from friendly ribbing to all-out hatred.
  • In general, R&B attracts this. Fans of R&B/Pop stars vs fans of more "pure" and "mature" R&B/Soul vocalists artists have major problems. This goes as far back as the Motown vs. STAX/Volt rivalry of The Seventies. The modern version of that rivalry basically boils down to fans of artists like Rihanna, Kristina Debarge, Mya, Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, etc vs. fans of artists like Anthony Hamilton, India.Arie, Leela James, Amel Larrieux, Kem, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Goapale etc. The fans of the former group of artists thinks the latter artists' style is outdated and boring, and their fans are a bunch of out of touch elitists. The latter usually calls the former group of artists "Industry Whores" whom along with the record companies are impeding the success of the "true musicians".
  • Dubstep, to ridiculous degrees. Fans of the more bass-driven, minimalistic sounds of Burial or Skream and fans of the more aggressive "Brostep" such as Flux Pavilion or Rusko get into flame wars that you wouldn't believe. There is no middle ground.
  • Christina Aguilera with Stripped. Most fans loved it, whereas critics felt she was selling out with her "Dirrty" image and not taking advantage of her skilled voice. Like Pink, however, Christina herself thought she was simply being true to herself with her new image.
    • And Bionic. Some fans supported it; other hated it. On the other hand, most ignored her recent album Lotus.
  • The Wildhearts' 1997 album Endless Nameless abandoned the band's traditional blend of loud guitars with big tunes and harmonies in favour of an experimental extreme-noise-rock sound. Band-related web forums enjoyed heated debate, as some fans insisted that the music was stronger than ever underneath the noise, while others expressed feelings ranging from indifference to outright betrayal. Only one or two songs from this album have had significant live exposure since 2000, despite the frontman having said several times on record that this album is his favorite, and all the band's subsequent albums have been much closer to the earlier sound.
  • KK Downing vs. Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest
    • Invoked in the song Glenn Tipton by the group Sun Kil Moon.
  • Greatset hits albums vs The Best of.. albums. Fans of the former think the later includes mostly filler while the "hits" record contains the cream of the crop. Fans of the latter think the former excludes a lot of fan favorites that weren't singles and consider "Best Of" collection to be more comprehensive. While considering the "Hits" album to be mostly "Black Sheep Hit..The Album".
  • Alicia Keys fanbase became broken with The Element of Freedom and Girl on Fire when she started to experiment with power ballads and made less pure R&B/Soul songs.
    • To that end, there's also the fact she changed her vocal style. Some find it compelling, while others find it grating and say she is trying to sing far beyond her vocal range.
    • This the case every time a urban artists tries to cross over...For better or for worse.
  • Did Modest Mouse become better or worse when they signed onto a major label? Do you favor the early underground stuff straight from the jaws of LSD, or the later overblown monstrosities of their 2000's albums?
    • As evidenced above, a lot of old-school fans dislike the new(er) sound, but most of the people who were exposed to Modest Mouse with Good News and We Were Dead liked it so much that they searched out the old albums and dug them too. So it's mostly a one-way break.
  • Japan's base are extremely split on whether their first two albums are worth listening to or not. People who like their first album Adolescent Sex usually think that David Sylvian has lost his sense of fun over the years with increasingly mature music. However, people who like the ambient music often wish Adolescent Sex never existed because it conflicts with their view of Sylvian as a melancholic recluse.
  • Iced Earth's fanbase are usually in agreement that their work up to and including Something Wicked This Way Comes kicks ass, but the fanbase is very divided afterwards. This is because of the band's decision to go for a more power metal sound, rather than the dark thrash they were known for. The singer Tim "Ripper" Owens is the most common reason for this, as he is incapable of singing in a deep register, unlike Matt Barlow who he replaced, so the band had to change their sound to fit him.
  • Scooter's fanbase are divided on every album, due to the band's increasing reliance on uncredited cover songs and high pitched vocals, something which wasn't nearly as prevalent in their earlier years. In the case of the single "The Only One" there are those who like it because it has "the Scooter sound" and those who hate it because it sounds like a cheap imitation of them.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers have quite a large Broken Base due to their evolution from a funk-punk band through more slow-paced funk mixed with the alternative rock they've produced in recent years. However, the fanbase are extremely divided on the album One Hot Minute, and starting a thread on a RHCP forum about it is not advised.
  • Anything by Alanis Morrisette after and before Jagged Little Pill.
  • Happened to rapper Mystikal after he left No Limit records and came out with the club friendly Let's Get Ready CD. Causing A LOT of Unpredictable/Ghetto Fabulous (his most popular albums prior to the 00's) vs. Let's Get Ready album wars.
  • It's not advised of you to go to rapper Twista's message board and bring up anything after the Adrenalin Rush album (Twista's most beloved album, plus somewhat of a cult classic). Interestingly enough one Allmusic reviewer snarkily points this out when they reviewed his The Day After Album, Commenting that fans of Adrenalin Rush is gonna sneer at the album because it's filled with slick R&B productions. And that's exactly what happened.
    • His Adrenalin Rush 2007 album caused even more controversy , because it was called adrenaline rush... and sounded nothing like the original...Baaaad idea.
  • Fans of the Sugababes with Keisha vs fans of the lineup without her. Keisha was kicked out of the band in 2009, and replaced with another member. A huge argument erupted between fans of Keisha and fans that were willing to give the new version of the band a chance. The Keisha fans argued that the band wasn't Sugababes anymore without her (because she was a founding member), while the others argued that they should give the new lineup a chance and the music would still be the same no matter what.
  • Kid Rock has changed his music style several times over the years. Initially he was a rapper, then he made the very successful "Devil Without A Cause" which blended rap with rock & roll, and since then he has dabbled in Southern Rock, AC/DC-style Hard Rock, country, and even gospel. Naturally this has caused rifts in his fan base, with fans of his early stuff accusing him of "selling out" while fans of his newer stuff believe that he has grown and matured.
  • Want to start an argument on a Heavy Metal message board? Ask "Who is the better vocalist: Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson?" or "Should Rush be considered metal?"
  • Evanescence experienced this with the leaving of Ben Moody. Many fans love The Open Door and their Self-Titled Album, and think that both are as good as the original while diverging into different sounds. However, there is a large fan base that says Fallen was the best album hands down, and the other two were no where near close because Amy Lee isn't as talented as Ben Moody.
    • There is also a section of fans that took great offense to Amy Lee denouncing their Christian Rock undertones stating that "It was Ben's thing, I never viewed the music like that." Many fans who found the Christian tones the driving force were upset that Amy never viewed it that way.
    • There is also a Fallen/Evanescence fans who like their rockier more violent flat out rock/metal sound, which is rather sad/downbeat lyrically and The Open Door fans who like the focus on build and more classical elements, with more abstract lyrics and sarcasm.
  • Any 21st-century country act with a rock edge and a propensity towards Southern-themed songs, often about girls and/or trucks. Examples include Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, Luke Bryan, and Florida Georgia Line. Some like them for their accesibility and harder sound, while others think them to be posers who trade in one cliché for another in hopes of pleasing radio programmers. The movement has been dubbed "bro-country".
  • Everything but the Girl. Fans of their early, jazzy “sophisti-pop” phase tend to have an intense dislike for their later, techno-dancefloor-oriented phase, and vice versa.
  • My Chemical Romance. Dear God, My Chemical Romance. Was I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love an underrated success of theirs or just the band finding their feet? Is Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge the greatest thing they've done, or would that be The Black Parade? Did they completely lose the plot with Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys or is a refreshing new start for them? Should ex-drummer Bob Bryar be reunited with the group or is that era over and done with etc. etc. etc.
  • Sepultura fans are heavily divided. There are those who only like the music with Max, those who only like the music with Derrick, those who like all their music, those who only like the material before Chaos A.D. and Roots, those who only like Chaos A.D. and Roots, younger fans who pretend the music with Max never existed, and older fans who pretend the music with Derrick never existed. Some people don't even believe the music with Derrick is even by Sepultura, thinking it's a different band with the same name.
  • MGMT's Congratulations is either a psychedelic masterpiece or a self-indulgent mess that proves that they don't have any more hits left in them. The dividing line mainly seems to be fans who got into the band through Synth Pop-influenced singles like "Kids" and "Time To Pretend" versus those who were initially familiar with the more experimental material they released before Oracular Spectacular.
  • Silversun Pickups. Dear god, Silversun Pickups. You'll either think that "Neck of the Woods" is another great album, or a bad, more bland, change in sound. This troper likes "Neck of the Woods" a lot, but has plenty of friends who don't.
  • Red House Painters was struck with a rather hefty one when Mark Kozelek banded together the new band Sun Kil Moon in 2003. Many people were hoping on a continuation of RHP's existence after the surprise release of Old Ramon. Kozelek tried his hardest to get his old bandmates back together but most of them had moved onto different projects in the 5 years since. Unable to get anyone besides Anthony Koustos back, Kozelek decided to rename the project Sun Kil Moon. This cause quite a ruckus in the fandom between whether or not the new project was any good. Then once Ghosts Of The Great Highway was released, there was a whole new section of fans that actually preferred Sun Kil Moon's sound over RHP's. Then the third group formed around the 2010s that enjoy both project's music and just want the two groups to shut up and enjoy the music already.
  • Vanity 6 vs Apollonia 6
  • Rap duo Mobb Deep has had a very polarizing post-nineties career. Like their queens native contemporary Nas, Mobb Deep has had to endure a broken base ever since Murda Muzik. Everything after that album was highly contentions. Then they signed to G-unit....and things went downhill from there.
    • Blood Money was a polarizing album that got mixed reviews from fans. It did get good ratings from Hip Hop publications like XXL, and Vibe, but outside of that it got average reviews.
  • In fact almost every rapper from the 90's had issues with transitioning into the Turn of the Millennium. Either adapt and lose the core fans, or stay the same and possibly become irrelevant because you couldn't grab new younger fans. It's a complicated tight rope to walk.
  • Bryan Adams, post Reckless. Into the Fire is well loved by fans due to it's more serious tone; critics ignored it since it produced just one sequel. Then there's the debate over Waking Up the Neighbors and 18 Til I Die, both of which some viewed as a great album but others viewed as him taking a huge step backwards.
  • Which brings us to Jay-Z, whom some believed kept making good music. But others believe those albums just didn't have the same musical depth of Reasonable Doubt (his classic debut album), no matter how popular they were.
  • I'm amazed that we've got this far without a proper mention of Muse. Take a look on the official board and you'll see a pretty definite divide between "people who think Bellamy can do no wrong" and "people who think the band've jumped the shark but hang about because of friend they've made". Threads can easily dissolve into "if you don't like them, why are you still here?" or on the flip side "you'd listen to faecal matter if it came from Bellamy and you'd praise it to high heaven". Beyond that, there's another set of splits between "people who think they started to suck after absolution"; "people who think they started to suck after getting involved with twilight" and "people who think the resistance is a work of art". Things can get... Heated
    • And that's before The 2nd Law comes out. Hooooooo boy, the reaction to the dubstep in the trailer...
    • To be fair, the inclusion of beats reminiscent of dubstep in The 2nd Law was reasonably well-received as it was one of the few rock bands to make dubstep-inspired beats work with their conventional style. What was much more divisive was the completely scatter-shot nature of the album, and the variety of musical styles that Muse attempted (with mixed success) to pull off.
  • Super Junior provides an interesting example, in that the base split started with the addition of Kyuhyun, who was later accepted and is now one of the most prominent members. The addition of Henry Lau and Zhou Mi was much more polarizing, seeing as they are only officially members of the subgroup Super Junior M (catering to the Chinese market) and not the first Chinese members of Super Junior anyway. The "only 13 versus all 15" debate has pretty much died down as of late. And then Han Geng left...
  • New Edition fans would have debates over the departure of Bobby Brown. Some saying that New Edition won't make it without Bobby, While N.E. fans say Bobby is going nowhere without the group. Turns out they both did spectacularly well without the other. New Edition released their most popular album with N.E. Heartbreak, and Bobby became THE biggest male R&B/pop artist of the late 80's and early 90's.
  • For Killswitch Engage fans it's Jesse Leach VS. Howard Jones. Especially since Howard quit and Jesse returned as lead vocalist.
  • Sonata Arctica had this once after Unia, and again after Stones Grow Her Name. It doesn't help that the band, which is known to have very poetic lyrics, made a single called Shitload of Money on the latter.
  • For Boards of Canada fans, the eternal question is: Music Has the Right to Children, or its successor, Geogaddi? Mind you, pretty much all fans agree that both are excellent albums, but as for which one's better...well, be prepared for flame wars. (For some reason, supporters of Twoism or The Campfire Headphase are few and far between).
  • In Flames' older albums are often praised for being melodic death metal masterpieces, but when they changed their sound in 2002 with Reroute to Remain it caused a bitter flame war between "old" and "new" In Flames fans that still hasn't ceased; if you look on a comments section involving In Flames anywhere, it's very likely there'll be a debate (or flamewar) over new vs. old In Flames.
  • Soilwork also changed their sound from melodic death metal to include alternative influences with 2003's Figure Number Five; again, this also split the base between "old vs. new", although most of the fanbase on both sides seem to have received The Living Infinite quite well. Some Soilwork fans will argue that Natural Born Chaos is where it went wrong.
  • There seems to be quite a lot of animosity between the At The Gates fanbase: Namely, the fans of the 1995 melodic death metal album Slaughter of the Soul and the 1991 death metal album The Red in the Sky is Ours. The death metal fans often deride SotS for "paving the way for a new era of awful metalcore bands".
  • Drum & bugle corps. Mother of Mercy, drum & bugle corps. Old-school vs. really old school vs. 80s vs 90s versus modern, G bugles versus B flat brass, etc. - the issue most argued about now seems to be amps and electronics in the pit. And of course, fans of the individual corps have been going at it since the beginning (lately, there seems to be considerable animosity between fans of the Blue Devils and fans of Carolina Crown).
    • Drum Corps International: Is it an organization that encourages creativity and selflessly promotes the activity, or is it an elitist cartel who has turned drum corps from an all-inclusive youth activity with military roots to an over-expensive, artsy-fartsy haven for music and dance majors? The two main forums for drum corps, Drum Corps Planet (DCP) and Rec.Arts.Marching.Drumcorps (RAMD) have hosted thousands of flame wars over this issue.
    • Many corps directors are subject to this, with Cadets director George Hopkins being the biggest Base Breaker. Is he a creative genius whose concepts and innovations (including the above-mentioned amplification and electronics) have taken drum corps in new and exciting directions, or have the changes he has brought forward resulted in drum corps being Ruined Forever?
  • Vocaloid. The Kaito Shipping Wars. Do you support him with [Meiko or Miku? Dare you even mention Luka? Whatever it is, you'd better not talk about it in the comments, no matter which pairing is supported....
  • Like the above Hip Hop example, this has happened to R&B during the transition from The Seventies to Early Eighties. The sound switched from funk/soul and or disco to post-disco, synthesized/electro funk, new wave R&B. You had artists that was known for their quiet storm slow jams like The Whispers making songs like "Rock Steady", and ushering in electro/funk new wave bands like Starpoint, midnight star, Patrice Rushen, Zapp, Evelyn King, The System etc. Some thrived in the transition and became even bigger in this era like, S.O.S. Band, Debarge, Kool and The Gang, Michael Jackson (and later Janet Jackson), The Gap Band, and Cameo. Whom all started as straight forward R&B, Soul and funk in the previous decade. Some fans loved that age while others might see it as a overproduced Dork Age of modern R&B/Funk/Soul.
  • Reliant K's latest album, Collapsible Lung, has caused quite a division between fans who hate it because of the pop, say it's the best thing ever because of the pop, are OK with it and don't take either side, and fans who are uncomfortable with the less-than-Christian message (some songs actually feature unsubtle Intercourse with You references, which is very shocking for a Christian rock band).
  • Cassadee Pope REALLY split her fanbase when she left pop punk band Hey Monday, went onto The Voice and won, and is now performing.....wait for it.....COUNTRY MUSIC. Many fans love the new direction she's taking, others are......to put it lightly, VERY torn on her new sound, especially considering that country music is a very polarizing genre.
  • Daft Punk caused a rift between fans with Human After All. Some praised the album for it's new sound and more experimental edge, while others called it irritating and sloppy.
  • Was Hazards of Love a crime against humanity, or a brilliant work of art? Has The King Of Dead once and for all proved that The Decemberists have lost their touch and are "going mainstream Americana?" While conversations about this particular band are usually amiable, one can find some vocal detractors.
  • As mentioned with other example, this happens a lot to Christian musicians, and often people who are assumed to be. There's a big rift between fans who interpret songs in a religious manner and songs who interpret them in a more secular manner.

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