Deader Than Disco: Music
For a discussion on how disco itself relates to this trope, see here. Note: A musician/group is not Deader Than Disco if they've had one or two underperforming songs/albums or are seen as Snark Bait by the general public. Otherwise, every mainstream musician or musical group in existence would be this trope! For a musician or group to be Deader Than Disco, they need to have irreparably fallen into mainstream obscurity, either through career-damaging behavior or simple shifts in cultural taste. Second Note: This is not a forum for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like. Just because you're personally disgusted by a specific band or genre doesn't mean they can't be enjoyable in principle or have significant lasting appeal with the general population. Third Note: If something fell out of popular favor at one point in time but made a comeback later on, it belongs under Popularity Polynomial. Do not confuse that with Deader Than Disco (which implies that the work has not made a comeback and has a very slim chance of ever making one).
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- Rock & Roll in general was actually thought to be this in the early 1960s. By this time, Elvis Presley had been drafted, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens had died, etc. Meanwhile, thanks to the success of such groups as The Shirelles, female-fronted pop and dance music were quickly overtaking rock and roll in terms of popularity. By about 1962, rock had been largely written off as a passing teen fad... and then The Beatles played on The Ed Sullivan Show. And the rest, as they say, is history... until, ironically, the birth of Disco. The then-emerging genre took a significant bite out of rock's mainstream dominance. And even after it had become a public mockery (hence its status as the Trope Namer), it paved the way for competing genres, like bubblegum pop. And then rap/hip-hop along with a resurgence in the popularity of R&B took an even larger chunk out of rock's mainstream dominance. Not to mention the rise in non-musical forms of entertainment among teenagers, such as video games and teen-oriented television programming. While it's unlikely that rock will ever become Deader Than Disco (how ironic that would be!), most will agree that the genre no longer has the cultural impact or significance that it had during the 1960s and 1970s. Rather, it's now seen merely as one of many genres of popular music.
However, as of The New Tens, rock in general has died out. While it's not completely dead, and unlikely to die anytime soon, it is almost strictly an underground affair. This started in The Noughties, as other genres started to become even more dominant such as R&B and hip-hop and took even more numbers away from rock's audience. But what could've really been the Genre-Killer for rock music was the rise of the EDM/dance-pop movement, which became a sensation and quickly became as dominant as rock music was in its prime. Acts like Lady Gaga, David Guetta, and the The Black Eyed Peas began to saturate pop radio, with Shinedown's "Second Chance" ultimately being the swan song for crossover mainstream rock music. From 2009 to 2011, pop hits originating from rock radio became increasingly sporadic, with only one hit apiece from Kings of Leon, Neon Trees, and Foster The People. The mainstream and modern rock radio charts began to diverge at that time, and while hits from the latter chart began to cross over in 2012, including a second hit for Neon Trees, the former chart has provided pop with next to nothing. Even established acts like Nickelback, Daughtry, and Linkin Park struggled to remain relevant in the new environment.
By the middle of the decade, rock's place in the mainstream was dead, especially with women, non-white men, and even white males younger than 25. Only a handful of newer rock bands sell these days, namely Coldplay, OneRepublic, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Mumford & Sons, and Imagine Dragons, and that's largely because they welcomed pop, folk, and/or electronica into their sound to the point that the 'rock' aspect is often called into question. And young acts like One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, while playing rock-influenced music, are succeeding only on the basis of being attractive young men that appeal to adolescent girls. Granted, harder post-grunge bands like Three Days Grace and Papa Roachnote are quite popular with oldernote music fans. However, the only bands that play unbiased rock music while still holding popularity amongst the younger generation are The Black Keys, the Arctic Monkeys and (to a lesser extent) Queens of the Stone Age, but even then their popularity isn't on par with their pop/rap/R&B/EDM/boy band contemporaries, or even older rock bands.
- A little Genre existed in the 1960s called "Raga Rock". For those who don't know, Raga Rock was Indian-inspired rock music that mainly focuses on using Indian instruments and music structure (like "Eight Miles High" from Fifth Dimension by The Byrds, "Love You To" from Revolver by The Beatles, "The Sunset" by The Moody Blues, "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones and "White Summer", from Little Games by The Yardbirds). Besides a few hits and a brief revival in the 90s with bands like Cornershop and Kula Shaker, it never really caught on, and it didn't stick around as by the 1970s everyone had abandoned the Counter-Culture and Hippie movements.
- Hair Metal, the genre with the honour of being to The Nineties what the Trope Namer was to The Eighties — i.e., the subject of mockery for an entire generation. After big success in the '80s, hair metal went into rapid decline at the start of the '90s, when Nirvana's 1991 album Nevermind set the world on fire and turned grunge into the next big thing by providing a heavier alternative. For years afterward, hair metal was stereotyped as the music of lowlifes, stuck-in-the-'80s housewives, and your uncool parents. While '80s nostalgia has caused its popularity to increase, at least in the mainstream, it has never climbed back to its former heights, and it is still treated as a subject of mockery by metalheads (as seen in Brütal Legend). Still, considering that it at least sounds like hard rock, it is far more respected amongst metal purists and classic hard rock fans than other forms of rock/metal.
- 1970s and '80s Heavy Metal in general actually fell victim to this trope in the 1990s. Though Metallica, Megadeth, and (to a lesser extent) Ozzy Osbourne remained popular, acts like Ronnie James Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and even Black Sabbath were all seen as no longer relevant compared to the likes of acts like Danzig, Pantera, Type O Negative, and Marilyn Manson. Ironically, the "no longer relevant" acts gained a resurgance in popularity in the 2000s while the "newer" bands either broke up or are much less popular.
- Grunge music itself significantly declined in popularity in the mid '90s, with the rise in popularity of Alternative Metal bands like Korn and Deftones resulting in many grunge bands changing their style to adapt. The suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, meanwhile, caused many rock fans to grow leery of grunge's cynical attitudes, leading to the Lighter and Softer genres of Post-Grunge, adult alternative, and (in the UK) Britpop rising in its place in the latter half of the decade. The popularity of stoner, doom, and sludge metal (all of which were heavily intertwined with grunge and often overlapped) has done a fair bit to bring back interest in the genre, but post-grunge has ensured that it will never be a moneymaker again, as post-grunge started out as a distillation of the most immediately marketable elements of grunge with the more oblique portions excised.
- Emo pop-rock. Brought into the mainstream in the mid-2000s by bands such as Fall-Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, it experienced considerable backlash in the last couple of years of the decade, to the point where artists previously considered to be at the heart of the scene were publicly mocking it. By The New Tens, groups that had formerly embraced the style had either disbanded or modified their sound, and the labels "emo" and "scenester" had become epithets and insults among young people.
- Many, many, many novelty songs and one hit wonders. Even though people expect them to be fads and fade out, there's still an amazing jump between "cute, fun fluff" and "anyone who sings this gets a punch in the nose." Good examples include "Achy Breaky Heart" and the Macarena.
- And line-dancing itself...
- Arguably the alternative hip-hop and jazz-rap crossover craze from the early '90s. From 1992-'94, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Arrested Development, Us3, and Digable Planets won critical acclaim, had hit singles, and collected awards. They were hailed as the new face of hip-hop. But their popularity has waned and their style has few critical supporters today. In fact at the time some was criticized for not doing anything special besides sample jazz records. Some created records that are still highly praised though, like the aforementioned artists. Other hip-hop artists from that same era — namely gangsta rap, political rap, and hardcore hip hop artists, such as Nas, Dr. Dre, the Wu Tang Clan, Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., Bone Thugs N Harmony, and Snoop Dogg — stood the test of time far better. On the other hand those genres created some great records, but it's also the reason many people hate rap.
- New jack swing also suffered a similar backlash around this time, with some critics calling the scene watered down cookie cutter R&B/Hip Hop and slowly driving them out.
- Although you could make the argument that over saturation might have been the real culprit. All the new jack swing songs started to sound the same.
- There is a second wave of alternative rap which includes rappers like P.O.S., Aesop Rock and El-P, but it's mostly targeted at fans of alternative and indie rock, who are mostly enthusiastic supporters of them. Rap radio stations, on the other hand, still avoid the genre entirely.
- Interestingly enough there was a time when Alt/Rap was played along side Hardcore Hip Hop, Political Rap, and Gangsta Rap. Which is one of the reasons why The Golden Age of Hip Hop is so fondly remembered.
- Opinions vary, but, at least in the mainstream's eyes, any hip-hop that isn't Lil Wayne, Drake or Eminem is now considered "alt-rap" by default.
- Some are saying that Hip-Hop groups are dead. Discussed on this hip-hop blog called Disappearing Acts: The Decline of Hip Hop Groups.
- New jack swing also suffered a similar backlash around this time, with some critics calling the scene watered down cookie cutter R&B/Hip Hop and slowly driving them out.
- Speaking of rap, Gangsta Rap is no longer the mainstream force that it was in The Nineties. The deaths of The Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur, at the height of gangsta rap's mainstream success, brought it screeching to a halt. Gangsta rap's popularity came from its anti-establishment themes and its violent lyrical content (especially in comparison to clean-cut artists like Run-D.M.C. and Will Smith), but the second that the people rapping about these things figuratively took it seriously and started killing each other, artists started distancing themselves from that image. In the 2000s, that particular style of rap was no longer present, having been largely driven underground and supplanted by Boastful Rap and Glam Rap. Only a small handful of "gangsta" artists, like 50 Cent and The Game, had much mainstream success since, and even they have had to adjust to the sensibilities of modern rap.
- In turn, Glam Rap witnessed something of a commercial decline in the 2010s, with alternative and electronic hip-hop almost superceding it.
- And like gangsta rap, Political Rap is also back underground. At one point a large movement right besides both alt/rap and gangsta/hardcore hip-hop in the early to mid-1990s. Now it's non existent on terrestrial radio and music channels. Some believe the genre and artists have been "blacklisted". In fact, some conspiracy theories maintain that Political Rap was intentionally subverted to make its largely African American fanbase buy into various self-defeating and negative social stereotypes.
- Nu Metal. The concept of referring to certain superficially similar, but otherwise very different forms of music (Alternative Metal, Hard Rock, rap metal, Heavy Metal), as "nu metal" is itself Deader Than Disco, but so are many of the bands that got lumped together under that label. Some bands only managed to stay relevant by abandoning their old rap-metal style in favor of one that wasn't being endlessly mocked (Linkin Park's U2-esque arena rock style, Papa Roach's mainstream hard rock sound), and most of the rest have been forgotten outside of their diehard fanbases. While it still has some influence (namely in deathcore, which incidentally is something of a spiritual successor), its stigma of "downtuned jumpdafuckup riffs and ineffectual adolescent angst for white trash and angry tweens" is still unlikely to go away any time soon.
- Although there have been talks of a "nu metal revival", since major acts like KoRn, Limp Bizkit, and Evanescence retained their nu metal sound long after it died, while the aforementioned Linkin Park and Papa Roach reintegrated nu metal elements in their latest albums, and there are revival bands such as Issues, Butcher Babies, King 810, In This Moment, and surprisingly enough, Tech N9ne, who have all had met a degree of commercial success. Still, like the below, it's unlikely that it will ever match the popularity it had in '90s and '00s, especially due to the vitriol it still gets from the metal community.
- Rap Rock fell hard alongside Nu Metal. Initally pioneered by Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys; during the '90s, it grew in popularity due to acts like Faith No More (who weren't even representative of the genre and got pigeonholed as part of it solely because of "Epic"), Candiria, and Rage Against the Machine, and it became the most dominant form of rock music outside of Post-Grunge. Nu Metal acts like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park pushed its popularity even further. However, it also became Snark Bait due to how many examples of Piss-Take Rap it produced and being associated hand-in-hand with Nu Metal. As a result when Nu Metal died, it took Rap Rock with it out of fear of being associated with the genre. Major rap-rock acts like Kid Rock (who moved to southern/heartland rock) abandoned the genre completely, while Linkin Park attempted to downplay its presence initially (though there was significant backlash to it, which led to them rapping more but not as much as they used to). Although rap rock sees occasional use nowadays by major artists (most notably Eminem and Tech N9ne), it's unlikely to be anywhere near the popularity it had in the 90s and early 00s. Most bands nowadays avoid the genre, out of fear of being thought of as a bunch of "fly" frat boys rapping over a bunch of loud guitars. The bands that helped influence it are, for the most part, still widely respected, but everything that followed has largely been pushed into the "best not remembered" category.
- A lot of the Britpop bands of 1993-97 have gone from hugely popular and making the cover of NME to widely derided. The movement itself has come in for a lot of revisionism but bands like Shed Seven are nowadays little more than the butt of jokes.
- The Turn of the Millennium saw much commercial success for 'Post-Punk revival' bands in Britain, such as Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and The Libertines. The flood of derivative groups that followed in subsequent years led to the term 'landfill indie' being disparagingly used by the media and public to describe the genre in general, and by the end of the decade it had all but faded from the mainstream.
- Intelligent drum'n'bass, an offshot of sample-based dance music that was extremely trendy in the UK during the mid-1990s. Following the success of Goldie's Timeless and LTK Bukem's Logical Progression in 1995 and 1996, intelligent drum'n'bass was latched onto by the British music press as the hot new sound of inner-city black Britain. At a time when the NME and Melody Maker almost exclusively covered skinny white teenage guitar bands, it was the acceptable face of urban music; it was "intelligent". The musical formula - slow build-up, double bass, skittery drums - quickly became a ubiquitous feature of television commercials, and it seemed that every CD single released in 1996 time had a drum'n'bass mix near the end of the tracklisting. It peaked in 1997, when Roni Size's Reprazent won the Mercury Music Award for New Forms and even David Bowie built much of Earthling around drum'n'bass, at which point the novelty wore off. Goldie's second album was slammed for self-indulgence - the first track was over 60 minutes long - and the genre as a whole was quickly displaced in the affections of music critics by trip-hop, which deserves a separate entry of its own.
- Most digital synthesisers and drum machines of the 1980s and early 1990s were extremely hard to program, and so producers simply used the preset sounds over and over again. As a consequence, several machines from the era wore out their welcome and have completely fallen from fashion. Examples include the warm electric piano and slap bass sounds of the Yamaha DX 7; the Phil Collins-esque sound of the Simmonds SDS and Linn drum machines; the chimes and breathy pads of the Roland D-50; and the house piano and bassy organ of the Korg M1. Several of the aforementioned produced a sound that crossed the Uncanny Valley, a broken imitation of reality that was good enough for the time but has dated badly. Ironically, the more obviously electronic sound of previous analogue synthesisers and drum machines (themselves Deader Than Disco after digital synths became widespread) - such as the Roland Juno, and the TR-808 - came back into fashion during the 1990s and has never really gone away.
- As of 2012, the D-50 (via a card made for Roland's V-Synth), Korg M1 and Wavestation (Korg Legacy software), DX-7 (FM 7, FM 8) and the Fairlight CMI (Fairlight Pro app on iTunes) have been revitalized in software and hardware formats, and Korg's MOD-7 software for its Korg Kronos workstation can emulate FM and vector synthesis, too. So even early digital synths are coming up for reappraisal.
- Related is the orchestra hit. A recording of same was included with the Fairlight CMI digital sampling workstation of the early 1980s, and was quickly exploited by producer Trevor Horn for Yes' Owner of a Lonely Heart and anything else Horn produced over the next few years. It became a cliche of 80s synth pop, appearing on records by Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys and New Order. The sound was resurrected in cartoon form by the rave and acid house crowd in the early 1990s — notably by Altern-8 and The Immortals for their Mortal Kombat theme — but was killed stone dead forever by its association with 2 Unlimited. It hasn't come back since, not even ironically.
- The Boy Band's Distaff Counterpart, the Girl Group, never experienced quite the backlash of boy bands, probably due to them having a solid Periphery Demographic driven by the fanservice on display. But once again, it's telling that Beyoncé's time with Destinys Child is almost never brought up when people talk about her career, and that the only major girl groups to have much popularity in the last several years are the The Pussycat Dolls (in America) and Girls Aloud (in Britain). And most girl groups have to sell on their sex appeal alone, which prevents things like AKB48 from ever happening anywhere outside of Asia given how tame they are in comparison to Western pop.
- Girls Aloud experience cyclic popularity, much as Fleetwood Mac have done over the years.
- Related to the above, British listeners had pop groups like the Spice Girls (more on them below), S Club 7, All Saints and Steps, which were usually manufactured by record labels or the first talent shows (Pop Idol, Popstars, etc.) to appeal almost exclusively to a younger demographic. They ruled the UK and U.S. Top Forty airwaves in the mid-late '90s, but now they're mostly forgotten with the exception of the Spice Girls, who have had succesful reunion tours and somewhat succesful solo careers.
- The Easy Listening genre. Also known as Elevator Music and sometimes (incorrectly) Muzak, Easy Listening featured bland, unthreatening covers of forty-year-old pop songs performed by string orchestras and choruses, the members of which must have needed a direct pipeline to the No-Doz Corporation to get through their days' work. The genre was popular not just in offices and shops but also with senior citizens who apparently enjoyed the extremely sanitized versions of the songs they enjoyed as teens. The genre died out as its primary audience did - and as businesses either ditched music entirely or hired companies such as Muzak to provide a more marketing-directed music feed (which, today, is used mostly by telephone holding systems). Nowadays the average senior citizen only remembers such predecessors of Easy Listening as Perry Como and Mitch Miller as remnants of their parents' youth, and are more likely to listen to oldies from the early days of rock, when they themselves were young. Similarly, businesses and offices have mostly switched to classic (pre-MTV) rock and adult contemporary.
- Related to the above, Beautiful Music and its noteworthy successors, Exotica and Space Age Pop, are far beyond dead. BM itself mostly morphed into Easy Listening, Space Age Pop went on to influence electronic music, and Exotica still clings on, as it's popular with the Tiki subculture (you know, tiki bars, Hawaiian shirts), and a handful of revivalists do still play the music. But it's hard to believe that there was a time when Les Baxter and Martin Denny were anything close to big names. Some of this has to do with Exotica being rather insensitive by modern standards.
- However, Baxter has gather a small cult following in recent years due to limited releases of his work as a film composer (he was one of American International Pictures' favorite composers in the 1960s).
- Also related to Easy Listening's death, the rise in Adult Alternative during the late 80's and early 90's killed the squeaky clean adult-oriented pop of the 70's and early/mid 80's. At that time, singers like Michael Bolton and Debbie Boone (both of whom specialized in safe and melodic pop ballads) were huge, with Boone's 1977 ballad "You Light Up My Life" being to this day one of the biggest hits of all time according to Billboard Magazine. Like the Easy Listening genre, this style of music died when its audience did, replaced with the notably edgier genre of adult alternative. Today, the squeaky clean adult pop groups of the 70's and 80's are remembered, if at all, as little more than punchlines for their sappiness and general blandness.
- Surf Rock. Even when it was popular, it eventually mutated into "Hot Rod Rock" after the people singing it changed subject matter. A few revivalist bands like Man or Astro-man? became popular in the 1990s, but even they distance themselves from the label now. Psychobilly is the closest you'll generally come to it nowadays; while never a popular genre, it has always had a highly devoted cult following.
- "Shock rock", rock music whose main allure was how shocking and offensive it was to Moral Guardians (such as Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and GWAR), has largely died out. The big reason is cultural desensitization to such musical flamboyance — mainstream pop singers like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Adam Lambert, Miley Cyrus (post-Hannah Montana), and others have made shock value such a major part of their routines that it's become, well, routine to expect musicians to push the envelope, while the internet has made far more extreme bands and genres (gangsta rap, death metal, horrorcore) accessible to young people wishing to rebel against their parents. Furthermore, the Moral Guardians that once railed against shock rock, and gave it much of its allure in the process, are nowadays seen as ineffectual jokes. The last true shock rock band to make it big was Marilyn Manson in the '90s, and since then, this once-controversial style of rock music has turned into joke fodder.
- Straightforward R&B, slow jams, ballads, and pure Soul music is almost non-existent on urban radio. There was the revival of Retraux soul called Neo-Soul but it burned out possibly due to mislabeling and Hype Backlash.
- Various styles of Country Music, such as:
- The "Nashville sound" of the 1950s-60s, a slick and often orchestral sound that owed more to pop than country. In the 1970s, it was renamed "countrypolitan" and sometimes snuck in a little bit of a disco flavor. By the early 80s, pop-leaning country began shifting towards "soft rock with a steel guitar", and it's stayed there ever since.
- And its antithesis, the Bakersfield sound, driven by tight rhythms and up-front Telecaster picking, often with a very Three Chords and the Truth feel. It was popularized in the 1960s and 1970s by Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. Dwight Yoakam kept the torch through the 1980s, but took on a more eclectic influence in The Nineties.
- "Outlaw country" of the 1970s. A more unkempt and raw style with rock influences, gruff vocals, and lyrics about drugs, alcohol, etc. Examples were Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Hank Williams, Jr. — and in many cases, they really were as rough and tumble as they professed until it caught up with them. Many modern artists throw around the word "outlaw" when describing themselves, but they really can't hold a candle, as they didn't live nearly as rough a life as Willie, Waylon, and company. Hank Williams III is the closest you'll generally find to a modern-day torchbearer, but that's largely due to crossover appeal with metal and hardcore, which he has strong connections to.
- Truck-driving country was popular in the 60s and 70s, with smash hits such as "Convoy", "East Bound and Down", "Six Days on the Road", and so on, either by glorifying truckers as modern-day cowboys who've seen large chunks of the world, offering sentimental stories of life on the road, or expressing the joy of getting back home after the long haul. This coincided with trucking becoming popular with the general public, to the point that even non-truckers would either purchase CB radios or use trucker slang such as "10-4, good buddy" in everyday conversation. Also helping was the successs of the movie Smokey and the Bandit, whose very soundtrack included "East Bound and Down". But throughout The Eighties, the trucking industry began to decline and the national craze faded; while some works still romanticize truckers to this day, trucking country largely faded out at the start of the decade. Some of the last country songs about trucking, including Eddie Rabbitt's "Drivin' My Life Away" and Ronnie Milsap's "Prisoner of the Highway", seem more like descontructions of the genre, as they paint the truckers as restless souls who feel trapped by the job. The only unironic truck-driving country songs since then were "Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)" by Alabama (1984), "Bonnie Jean (Little Sister)" by David Lynn Jones (1987), and "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" by Kathy Mattea (1988) — and the latter two were still outside the norm, as "Bonnie Jean" was about a truck-driving woman, while "Eighteen Wheels" was about a retiring trucker. Since then, the only attempt at a revival has been the sporadic output of the Canadian group The Road Hammers (a side project founded in 2009 by Canadian singer Jason McCoy), and even their music sometimes seems more jokey than serious.
- Pop-country and traditional country have been cycling through this trope for decades. In The Eighties, the Outlaw and Bakersfield style of country became outpaced by pop crossover-friendly acts such as Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, and Alabama, who dominated the decade with slick songs that were as conducive to AC and Top 40 playlists as country. Then by about the mid-'80s, a more traditional-leaning batch of artists began to emerge, including Reba McEntire, George Strait, Randy Travis and Ricky Skaggs. By 1989, the so-called "Class of '89" emerged, a group of artists who all debuted that year (including Clint Black, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks) who managed to make a new brand of country that was clearly traditionally influenced with plenty of honky-tonk fiddle and steel, but still marketable to the masses; i.e., "neo-traditionalist". Fueling the fire was Brooks & Dunn, a honky-tonk influenced duo whose smash "Boot Scootin' Boogie", combined with Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart" (although an anomaly with its blatant 80s rock overtones), helped spark a renewed interest in line dancing.
Then in 1995, Shania Twain emerged from nowhere and led a shift back toward country-pop crossovers, typically dominated by female artists such as her, Faith Hill, and Martina McBride — although it was also in this time period that Dixie Chicks managed considerable success despite a clear bluegrass influence. Even some acts who had debuted in the "neo-traditionalist" peak years attempted to change their style with varying degrees of success, most notably in Mark Chesnutt scoring a massive crossover hit with a not-remotely-traditional cover of Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and Lonestar's 1999 hit "Amazed" becoming the first song since 1983 to top both the country and pop charts. All of those artists then fell off in the first few years of the 2000s, particularly the Chicks (whose fall from grace is further explained below), and Faith, who alienated herself from country radio in 2002 with her 100% pop-based album Cry. Ever since, country has occupied a middle ground that is neither overtly indebted to its roots nor overtly primed for pop crossover appeal, so with few exceptions, not a lot of country artists have achieved the mainstream exposure and crossover smashes of the acts mentioned above.
- The "hat act" craze, a subset of the early-mid 90s "neo-traditionalist" boom. Many of the aforementioned "Class of '89" were fairly young men in cowboy hats, and such men came to flood the country market. While some actually proved to be talented, many others were criticized as bland copycats, and "hat act" came to be a derogatory term. The craze died off in the late 1990s as country shifted back to a more pop influence. One of the few "hat acts" who survived into the 21st century is Kenny Chesney, who managed to move beyond the "young hunk in a cowboy hat" image to his own unique sounds. Meanwhile, Rhett Akins moved from a fourth-string "hat act" to become a popular songwriter in the mid-late 2000s, in addition to supporting the budding singer-songwriter career of his son, who goes by Thomas Rhett.
- In the 1980s and early 1990s, tape trading (the practice making copies of audio cassettes and sending them via mail to other fans of the music) was practiced by fans of extreme music such as heavy metal and hardcore punk, allowing fans all over the world to hear bands that they'd normally never hear on the radio or MTV. Tape trading allowed many bands to garner fanbases far from their homes despite being ignored by mainstream media outlets, and is credited with contributing to the early success of bands such as Metallica and Slayer. In the mid '90s, the rise of digital media and Internet file sharing made tape trading obsolete, as fans could download high-quality mp3s of songs in less than an hour rather than waiting days or weeks for tapes to arrive in the mail. These days tape trading is only practiced by a small number of heavy metal fans as a nostalgia hobby rather than a practical way of getting new music.
- Blues-based rock. Thanks mainly to the surge of Alternative Rock, anything that sounds like Blues Rock is automatically considered 'old-timey' rock and roll (even though blues rock only found major mainstream success for a short period of time) for better or for worse. Many modern rock stations won't even play anything that sounds like it doesn't come from Post-Grunge-Nu Metal-Alternative Rock-Alternative Metal unless it's a major band (i.e. Metallica; Guns N Roses; Led Zeppelin).
- Doubly for Psychedelic Rock, although Alternative Rock and Stoner Rock have been keeping it as an important part of their sounds.
- Interestingly, a growing trend in rock music as a whole has been the shifting eversoslightly towards psychedelia and the blues (The Black Keys, etc.). While it's unlikely that they will take over the world, it's possible that a full-fledged revival may be imminent.
- Try to find a single major metal band that sounds anything like Black Sabbath. There is a genre that glorifies them, but this genre's mainstream high point was Black Sabbath. That style of metal, while definitely not dead and in fact is rising in popularity, essentially died the second metal discovered Punk Rock and Hard Rock and ran with it.
- Progressive Rock fell hard in the late '70s, thanks to both Punk Rock and disco. Both Yes and Genesis managed to avert this in the '80s by retooling their sounds to fit the new decade. Prog Rock bands tended to write music that tackled deep topics (not just political but often metaphysics, mysticism, and freqeuntly Science Fiction and Fantasy themes) as opposed to being simply catchy tunes. This alienated them from the less cerebral mainstream. While the genre has survived and had an influence on later bands (such as Muse), it's unlikely to return to its earlier prominence anytime soon.
- Jam bands such as the Grateful Dead and Phish. Nowadays jam bands are mostly remembered for having a grand example of Fan Dumb, fans who follow the bands around everywhere and essentially nothing else related to them.
- Kayokyoku, somewhat of a modern precursor to J-pop. The 1980s and 1990s saw heavier western influences seep into Japanese music, and for the most part heavily Japanese associated popular tunes are left to enka. Virtually overnight, western influences killed "kayo" as a musical form and formed modern J-pop, with much of the remaining active kayokyoku artists such as Kenji Sawada and Momoe Yamaguchi have taken up the label of J-pop or J-rock and essentially leaving more traditional musical output behind.
- Related to this, "ero-kayo" or erotic kayokyoku. Entire albums of sexually charged psychedelic pop usually sung by supple-bodied young women with sexual groans and moans by the women thrown in. Yeah, the novelty wore off VERY fast.
- Related to hair metal, gratuitous shred guitar solos with session musicians in many non-rock genres became popular around the same time, even in places where no one today would want them, like an adult contemporary ballad or a bubbly pop song. Even by the late '80s, this had descended into self-parody and was seen as overindulgent, and by the rise of grunge, this trend was already dead. Today, the only non-rock artists that seem to use guitar soloing are country artists like Brad Paisley.
- Both Greatest Hits albums and compilation albums (such as the surprisingly popular “Now! That's What I Call Music” albums) are flatlining for exactly the same reason. Both operated on the same premise: an album filled with popular songs without unwanted filler (either a cross-section of popular songs from a certain year, genre, etc., or collection of hits from a single artist, with the occasional new song thrown in in the case of the latter.) Admittedly something of a cash-grab by record labels, admittedly one that was actually popular, as many people enjoyed having the ease of one album playing several hits instead of constantly changing CD's around (both ABBA Gold and The Immaculate Collection by Madonna were incredibly popular.)
However, the rise of mp3s and digital music have caused both to collapse. Now that mp3 players offer listeners the ability to place songs in whatever order they so choose in the form of playlists, alongside the move to a more singles-based market instead of the previous album-based, listeners can get whichever songs they want, in whatever order they want, without the songs they don't. There's the occasional outlier, but Greatest Hits albums and compilation albums have become the Variety shows of the music industry.
- Japanese Pop Music did not have it easy in the age of the digital revolution. The Japanese record labels were, in many ways, even more out-of-touch than their American counterparts, with their digital side being Orwellian and difficult to access, Johnny Entertainment being the greatest example with their anti digital stance and refusing to upload on youtube. Furthermore, the music was seen as "childish" and bland by non-Japanese listeners, and the way the system was designed to gouge money by encouraging bulk-buy sale incentives (popularized by AKB48) led to a rise of uninspired J-Idol groups trying to get a slice of the pie. Finally, the fandom itself does not promote inclusion in any way, which gave it a poor reputation overseas. All of this combined allowed Korean Pop Music to supplant it in popularity.
- Most J-Pop or J-Rock artists who still have a significant fandom outside of Japan have either gone indie and/or separated themselves from the politics of the record industry(Kenji Sawada, X Japan) or else have such a significant role and personality outside of music that music itself doesn't seem to be the main factor (Gackt, Miyavi).
- The rise of digital music formats has killed off albums in general, as the music industry has become much more single-oriented. Many people just skip the filler tracks altogether and listen to the hits. The music industry has responded by selling Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Editions to dedicated fans, especially classic rock acts like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
- The '90s vogue for Gregorian chants and/or New Agey music mixed in with modern instruments. Canto Gregoriano, Adiemus, Enigma and the like sold ridiculous amounts of discs back then but soon receded back into semi-obscurity.
- In the mid-2000s, Mashup Albums were a popular trend in rap and hip hop. Popularized by Danger Mouse in 2004 with his controversial The Grey Album (which combined "The Black Album" by Jay-Z with The White Album" by The Beatles), the idea was to layer A Cappella renditions of popular rap albums over instrumental versions of popular rock albums. Unfortunately, once more people started cashing in on the phenomenon, Sturgeon's Law kicked in. For every one clever and well constructed mashup album, you had about nine or ten that were poorly sequenced and paired rap and rock albums that really didn't go together. Due to this horrible saturation of junk, the Mashup Album trend died a pretty quick death (although individual song mashups have remained popular on Youtube to this day).
- As with video game magazines, the Internet has largely killed off music magazines. Who needs some critic driving a Bias Steamroller to tell you which music is worthwhile when you can just stream songs on Spotify or YouTube and hear for yourself? It's not surprising that many of the major publications folded around the same time digital music distribution took off. Most people seem to prefer to find out about new music from social media and Pandora. Rolling Stone still maintains a large Internet presence, but it seems to be coasting on its own legacy.
- Melodic metalcore is dead at this point. Instrumental in killing off nu-metal and absolutely gargantuan in popularity from 2003-2008, the Gothenburg-meets-Western-Massachusetts variety of the genre as played by Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Shadows Fall, and like-minded peers (Unearth, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Atreyu, Bleeding Through, God Forbid, etc.) was THE face of heavy music as far as the public was concerned thanks to its ability to mix various forms of metal and rock in a way that wasn't mindlessly aggressive or childishly angsty. Its death came from two main sources: deathcore pulled away the fans of the heavier bands, while a Lighter and Softer variety that mixed the genre with elements of pop-punk, melodic post-hardcore and (often, but not always) electronica drew in the fans who were there for the catchy choruses. This left most of the older bands in a conundrum: they couldn't really change their sound to fit with the changing landscape of the genre without alienating a sufficient portion of their fans, but they couldn't stay afloat without changing either. By The New Tens, dwindling sales and show attendances led to multiple breakups and indefinite hiatuses, and the big bands that survived either moved towards modern rock (All That Remains, Trivium) or melodic death metal (Killswitch Engage, Unearth). Some newer metalcore bands such as Issues and Of Mice & Men have also achieved popularity by mixing it with (ironically enough) nu-metal. Most people consider the 2013 arrest of Tim Lambesis for attempting to arrange for his ex-wife's murder to be the final nail in the genre's coffin; while most of the bigger bands that survived are still doing well, Miss May I is the ONLY example of a new Gothenburg-styled melodic metalcore band being met with any major degree of success in this day and age.
- Post-Grunge is dead in the water today. Initially emerging in the mid-90s as a Lighter and Softer alternative to Grunge in the wake of Kurt Cobain's suicide, it quickly killed off grunge's place in the mainstream and got heavy airplay on pop radio, and the frontrunners of the genre such as the Foo Fighters, Matchbox 20, and Creed became some of the biggest rock bands in the world. It only continued to grow in the '00s, with bands like Three Doors Down, Nickelback, Hinder, Daughtry, and Puddle of Mudd taking over the airwaves. It was during this time that post-grunge became omnipresent on the radio; since it qualified as rock music yet was also mainstream friendly, it was played in equal measure on both rock and pop radio, and many flocked to it to get away from the more "dangerous" rock genres that were popular during its reign, such as Hard Rock, Nu Metal, and Pop Punk. On the other hand, when "dangerous" music was in vogue again, a new wave of Hair Metal-tinged acts like Hinder, Saving Abel, Burn Halo, and Pop Evil began to take over, with their more raunchy, hedonistic themes matching the more hard rock-oriented nature of their music; still very marketable, just now catering to the people who were beginning to write off the original acts as too light. This also led to various established acts (particularly Nickelback, Godsmack, and Theory of a Deadman) taking this route as well and enjoying even greater levels of popularity.
However, its reign was over towards the end of the '00s, with the rise of EDM and the dance-pop craze wiping it out overnight. Since post-grunge had built up a massive hatedom from rock fans over the years due to its oversaturation of rock radio and its often formulaic lyrical and musical structure, it quickly became a punchline when talking about how bad rock music got in the late '90s and '00s, with bands like Creed and Nickelback seen as having "killed rock music" even by the rock radio stations that used to put them in heavy rotation. The highly misogynistic and childishly hedonistic themes of many of the newer acts also left a bad taste in the mouths of many, and made the complaints and the comparisons to Hair Metal stick even more easily. Today, the only airplay post-grunge gets is with the lighter crossover hits on adult contemporary stations, while airplay on mainstream Top 40 and rock radio is virtually non-existent aside from the highest-charting hits.
Nowadays, post-grunge is viewed as a cautionary tale of what happens when you take a genre as unique as grunge and turn it into a mass-produced commercial product. The only bands to emerge from the aftermath relatively unscathed are the Foo Fightersnote , Godsmack (a heavier band able to shift their sound to meet whatever's in vogue at the moment without seeming like trendhoppers), and to a lesser extent, Three Days Grace (mostly in the northern Midwest). The other bands listed here are still around too, but they're playing to far, far smaller crowds than they were in their prime. Generally, when someone uses the term "butt rock", they're referring to post-grunge. You'd be hard-pressed to find a rock band formed in the last five years that plays it, instead the current trend leads towards lighter electronic-infused rock and Indie Pop. Worst of all, though, when post-grunge fell, it largely took rock music in general with it, as it had so thoroughly taken over the rock mainstream by the mid-late '00s that it did lasting damage to the genre's reputation. The amount of non-post-grunge rock songs that crossed over to pop radio might be around how much you can count with your hands and feetnote , and oftentimes, the only way to escape it was to turn to classic rock, indie, or College Radio stations. The '00s lacked rock crossover hits that weren't post-grunge, while the '10s lack rock crossover hits period.
- From 2006-2010, the retro-thrash movement was a big thing in heavy music. After over a decade of thrash being out of style and melodic metalcore acts playing cursory homage to it in the past few years preceding the movement, people were ready for the real deal again. It wasn't actually that new - acts like Dekapitator, Hypnosia, and Cranium had been playing old-school thrash back in the late 90s, and Municipal Waste had been a name since at least 2003. What was new, however, was the success that the new wave of retro acts found; it wasn't amazing by mainstream standards, but it was still something. From 2007-2009, retro-thrash acts were getting signed left and right, usually by Metal Blade or Earache. In fact, it was likely due to the retro-thrash acts that Earache (whose success had been dwindling) enjoyed a temporary resurgence in profile. By 2011, however, a backlash that had been slowly mounting reached its peak. People began to notice that most of the bands were half-assed Exodus, Slayer, Anthrax, or Nuclear Assault clones with lyrics about nothing but partying, killing posers, zombies, and 80s action movies, and metal fans from both sides of the coin attacked it. Newer metal fans attacked it for being derivative, trite, and lazy, while older thrashers attacked it for being a Flanderized version of the bands that they loved. Bands began dying off in droves, usually after being dropped by their label, and new signings have been very few and mostly relegated to modern thrash or death metal-tinged acts. Some acts hung on; Warbringer, Lich King, and Vektor escaped largely unscathed (though Warbringer later wound up having some troubles of their own), and both Evile and Municipal Waste also managed to hang on to something resembling their old status. Furthermore, Havok and Exmortus (though the latter was never thrash and was just part of the scene) are experiencing nothing but rising success. The rest, however, are functioning on a local basis at best (down from being national or international touring acts) and are almost completely inactive at worst if they haven't broken up. The only new act that's finding any major success in this day and age is Noisem, and that's largely because they are as much death metal as they are thrash. For the most part, however, playing in a retro-thrash act nowadays will leave you stuck as a perpetual local opener; there is no hope of Earache or Metal Blade rushing to sign you any more.
- The internet turned the record industry upside-down in the '00s, leaving it a shell of its former self in the course of just a few years.
- Even after file-sharing was brought under control, the legal avenues that took its place, such as YouTube, iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify, effectively destroyed the LP album, which had been the most reliable moneymaker for record companies for decades. Not only did this do crippling damage to their finances (downloadable singles weren't nearly as profitable), it also destroyed the record store, with chains like Tower Records and Sam Goody going bust by mid-decade. As late as 2002, it was all but expected for any pop act with at Top 20 hit to go platinum; today, only the absolute biggest artists can pull that off.
- Furthermore, the internet cut out the middleman, allowing artists to communicate directly with their fans and publish their music by themselves. Starting with Myspace and continuing with Twitter and other social media sites, it became far easier to build hype without the backing of a major label, and indie music and labels boomed as a result. Again, this left the major labels redundant and struggling to play catch-up.
- The castrati were mainstays in 18th century opera until Mozart, who himself had several roles for them, came along; and they very rapidly fell into disuse in the 19th century as composers wrote more male roles with high voices for women and tenors. Since most of them came from poor families in Italy, where the process of making one a castrato became illegal in 1861, the "elephant songbirds," as described during the premiere of Adelaide di Borgogna, an opera by Gioachino Rossini that had a more common travesti role, became "dodos" when the last castrato, Alessandro Moreschi, died in 1922.
- CDs can be classified as this. While they're still manufactured today, they don't sell nearly as well as they did prior to the advent of iTunes and YouTube. Starbucks and many bookstores stopped selling them physically, and your best bet to find CD's nowadays would be stores like Best Buy and Walmart (or order them on Amazon or eBay). Labels have moved upmarket with CD releases, coming out with Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Editions aimed at serious fans. Zig-zagged with vinyl, which has been getting a massive resurrection, being sold everywhere from Barnes and Noble to Whole Foods.
Specific artists (hip-hop)
Hip-hop/rap music is especially known for being a very cutthroat industry, even by pop music standards, and is full of stories of artists who released a hit radio single, became wildly popular for a brief period, and then promptly faded back into obscurity (as the examples below demonstrate). In fact, the success stories of long-running rappers such as Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, and Jay-Z are major exceptions to the rule. The vicious nature of the rap industry has been the subject of many a rap single; one of the most famous examples is Cypress Hill's "(Rap) Superstar".
- MC Hammer is a notable example of a single musician succumbing to this trope. In the early '90s, he was one of the biggest rap stars in the world, with the album Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em going diamond (ten million sold — the first rap album to accomplish that feat) and "U Can't Touch This" becoming a sensation. He made flaunting flashy clothes and lifestyle fashionable (rather than the strictly "hood" styles of most rappers of the time), and was on the leading edge of rappers acting as commercial pitchmen. Then, however, came three factors that derailed his success and caused him to fall harder and faster than even Michael Jackson, turning him into an almost overnight punchline:
- Switching his sound to Gangsta Rap in order to stay relevant. Whilst his 1994 album The Funky Headhunter was a platinum-selling success upon its release, and spawned the Memetic Mutation "it's all good", not only did it get him labeled a sellout by other rappers (the fact that he recorded several diss tracks probably didn't help), it ruined the clean-and-wholesome image that he had cultivated (he was, and still is, a Pentecostal minister, and included a Christian song on every one of his albums), which had allowed him to sell rap to mainstream America without the controversy raised by the more hardcore artists.
- Overexposure. Even at his height, rivals like LL Cool J were dissing him for what they saw as over-the-top commercialization, which included shoes, T-shirts, Hammer pants and his Saturday Morning Cartoon Hammerman. This may have actually provoked his switch to gangsta rap, as it's possible that he felt he needed to prove to his detractors that he wasn't a one-trick pony.
- Redefining the phrase "Conspicuous Consumption" for Generation X. There was his infamous mansion, for starters. Then there were his expensive music videos, which set records at the time. Throw in the cars, the thoroughbred racehorses, an entourage that ballooned up to nearly 200 people at one point (allegedly, he would "hire" friends and relatives who needed a job to do nothing as a form of charity) and to top it all off, the gold chains for his Rottweilers. He had to file for bankruptcy in 1996 as a result of this, and he remains a symbol of living beyond one's means. This is referenced in Nelly's song "Country Grammar (Hot S**t)", where he talks about how he's going to "blow 30 mil like I'm Hammer."
- Hammer's reputation been damaged to the point that he is today remembered as a one-hit wonder. Many younger audiences are shocked to discover that, not only did he have six top 40 hitsnote , but "U Can't Touch This" wasn't even his highest charting song on the Hot 100note .
- MC Hammer's contemporary, Vanilla Ice, had what was then the fastest-selling hip-hop album ever with To the Extreme, and for a time "Ice Ice Baby" was as omnipresent as "U Can't Touch This". However, his film Cool as Ice bombed, his ganja-themed follow-up album Mind Blowin was a dud, and he soon fell into drug addiction and at one point tried to kill himself. Furthermore, he made a public mockery of himself by awkwardly denying that "Ice Ice Baby" sampled the main riff from "Under Pressure". Now, while he's back to recording new music (with Psychopathic Records!), and has made a small fortune flipping houses, of all things, to most people in America he is the punchline about white rappers.
- 50 Cent was one of the hottest rappers of the early 21st century. His 2003 debut Get Rich or Die Tryin' was one of the most popular rap albums of all time (more than 8 million albums sold in the United States alone), and thanks to his business savvy, he appeared to be on top of the world. Unfortunately, however, his rap career steadily declined not long after, thanks to both a polarizing fan reaction to his second album The Massacre and his rather pretentious, over-the-top public demeanor.
The latter in particular seriously damaged his music career in 2007, when it was revealed that Kanye West would release his third album Graduation on the same day 50 released his third album Curtis. This led him to boastfully declare that if Kanye's album sold more copies than his, he would officially retire from rapping. Sure enough, Graduation outsold Curtis by a landslide, and while 50 hastily retracted his declaration, the damage had already been done. His most recent album, 2009's Before I Self Destruct, garnered mediocre reviews and just barely managed to reach Gold certification, and his follow-up Animal Ambition was stuck in Development Hell before being released in 2014 and subsequently flopping. While Get Rich or Die Tryin' is still highly regarded by professional critics and hip hop fans, 50 Cent is not nearly as popular as he once was, and now he seems to be concentrating more on acting than his music career.
- The same applies to 50 Cent's one-time rival, Ja Rule. After being mentored by Jay-Z on the hit song "Can I Get A..." (which was also popularized by the film Rush Hour), Ja Rule followed up with an extremely successful solo album and quickly rose to become one of hip-hop's biggest stars of the late '90s and early '00s. He would release a multi-platinum album every year from 1999 to 2002, and also started a short-lived acting career.
However, his fall came swiftly and precipitously in the year 2003, primarily for two reasons. The first was the rise of the aforementioned Fifty, who was a long-time underground rival from Queens, NY and seemed to make antagonizing Ja Rule and his Murder Inc. record label the main goal of his early career. Furthermore, the fact that Ja Rule had started out with a tough Gangsta Rap attitude but then softened his image over the years (by the peak of his career, he was primarily known for performing pop-oriented love ballads/duets with female R&B singers) only made his critics' attacks on him all the easier to stick. Ja Rule responded to the critics with several attack albums, but they were mostly critical and commercial disappointments and a far cry to his earlier success. By 2005, he had disappeared from the public eye, which was further compounded by the collapse of Murder Inc. due to various legal issues. He has since released a few independent albums, but the only time he has really been relevant in the news was for going to jail on a gun-possession charge.
- Another of 50 Cent and Ja Rule's contemporaries to fall victim to this was DMX, who in The Nineties was once one of the best-selling artists in hip-hop. He released numerous platinum-selling albums, peaking with his Magnum Opus ...And Then There Was X in 1999, which included the Signature Song "Party Up" (Up in here! Up in here!). He also collaborated with many other rappers (including legends such as Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Eminem, and Nas) and became one of the best-known examples of Wolverine Publicity in hip-hop singles. And like Fifty and Ja, he briefly dabbed into an acting career as well.
Unfortunately, DMX would also become infamous for his other rap sheet and soon found himself unable to stay out of trouble with the law as his fame rose. Although he initially was able to still sell well in spite of his legal troubles, his arrest record and jail sentences eventually took their toll in preventing him from being able to record music and by the latter half of the 2000s, he was widely regarded as a has-been laughingstock. 2008 was a particularly bad year for X when he was arrested over a dozen times for various offenses and also embarrassed himself in a bizarre interview in which he professed ignorance over who then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was (and made fun of Obama's name). He attempted a bit of a comeback in 2012, releasing a new album for the first time in 6 years, but he has recently also filed for bankruptcy (after being arrested several more times), showing that he still has quite a bit to recover from.
- While never without haters, there was a time when Soulja Boy was actually fairly well-liked by the general public. In 2007, at just 17-years-old his debut single "Crank That (Soulja Boy)" topped the Billboard charts and was inescapable that year. He built up a large fanbase mainly consisting of kids and young teens but also casual listeners, even if he was already disliked by the rap community. However, overtime his music got worse and worse combined with his extremely obnoxious behavior. His once large fanbase dwindled as they grew up and/or moved onto other things while his hatedom has only gotten bigger and bigger. Once one of the most popular rappers on the market, he could seriously rival Justin Bieber as one of the most hated artists of all time, and "Crank That" is only brought up nowadays as Snark Bait.
- After arriving on the scene in the mid-'90s as a protege of The Notorious BIG, Lil Kim would soon go on to become the only female rapper besides Missy Elliott to have at least 3 platinum albums. She was also featured on the single, "Lady Marmalade", which also had guest vocals by fellow recording artists Mya, P!nk and Christina Aguilera (a remake of the 1975 smash hit, originally recorded by La Belle) which went to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making her the first female rapper to have a No. 1 on that chart. Lil' Kim also held the record for having the longest number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 for a female rapper, with "Lady Marmalade" being on the top of the charts for 5 consecutive weeks, until Australian female rapper Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" held on to the number one position for 7 weeks in 2014. "Lady Marmalade" wound up winning the Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and two MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year. Unfortunately for Kim, in 2005, she served a yearlong prison sentence for lying to a jury about her friends' involvement in a shooting four years earlier. During her incarceration, her fourth album The Naked Truth was released. Despite mostly positive reviews (it's still, still the only female rap album to be rated with 5 mics by The Source), the album became her shortest run on the album charts, falling out of the 200 albums chart after eight weeks. It has to date, only sold over 394,000 copies in the United States. The Naked Truth would be Kim's last studio album released by Atlantic Records before deciding to part ways in 2008. She returned to the public eye in 2009 with an appearance on Dancing with the Stars. But by that point in time, Kim was getting more and more scrutiny for her drastic plastic surgery (and subsequently, her feud with Nicki Minaj) than her music. Two years later, Kim released her second mixtape, Black Friday, to negative reviews from critics. It was made available for purchase via PayPal with the first 100,000 copies sold being signed by the rapper. In the summer of 2011, Kim began recording material for her fifth studio album, as a restriction banning her from releasing new material as a result of her settlement with Trackmasters was lifted. The final nail in the coffin was the aforementioned "Fancy" breaking "Lady Marmalade"'s record, ultimately leaving her with no major accomplishments to be remembered by.
- Rap group Arrested Development were once one of the most popular artists in the U.S. They had their debut album sell over four million copies in the U.S. alone, had three smash top 10 singles, were given year-end number-one honors by Rolling Stone, Pazz and Jop, and The Wire magazines, and won the Best New Artist grammy in 1993. Unfortunately, their next album was a massive failure, and the group soon broke up. Dionne Farris, the group's female vocalist, had a hit in 1995 with "I Know", but by then it was too late to reverse the band's damaged reputation. Today, Arrested Development is best remembered for sharing its name with a highly acclaimed sitcom (one that it filed a lawsuit over, no less).
Male solo artists
- Liberace, the flamboyant piano player, was one of the most popular and highest paid music performers of The Fifties. He was especially popular among teenage girls who swooned over him the way their big sisters used to swoon over the young Frank Sinatra. His popularity extended well into The Sixties, as a pleasant alternative to rock 'n' roll. Most popular non-rock music performers of the Fifties are forgotten today, but not Liberace, oh no. He's still remembered, all right... as a ridiculously camp figure, a joke on that era's cluelessness of his obvious closet homosexuality. If a character refers to Liberace (Superman II, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series), they're Ambiguously Gay. His fall from grace appeared complete when his Las Vegas museum closed due to waning popularity in The New Tens.
- Not helping his legacy in modern times was the fact that Liberace was, during his life, very adamant about denying that he was gay, giving him a Periphery Hatedom in today's LGBT community. Even after his death, his estate and personal physician went through great efforts to cover up the fact that he died from AIDS-related complications.
- The entire city of Branson, Missouri, owes its existence to this trope. When Garth Brooks and other younger stars took over Country Music in the early '90s, they brought in new fans and, more importantly, new Nashville record execs who didn't care about most of the established stars of country (although a few, like Reba McEntire and George Strait, managed to cross generational lines). Almost figuratively overnight, singers like Charley Pride and Barbara Mandrell went from having #1 hits to not even making the charts. Branson was the only place they could get anyone to pay to see their shows. So they all just moved there and opened up theaters. As The Simpsons put it...
Nelson: What is this place?Bart: Branson, Missouri. My dad says it's like Vegas, if it were run by Ned Flanders.
- During The Fifties, Pat Boone was one of the biggest pop performers in America. He explicitly served as The Moral Substitute to the edgy Rock & Roll artists of the day by singing Bowdlerised covers of their songs, with a number of them (such as his versions of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame") actually making it higher on the charts than the originals. Nowadays, though, the original songs serve as the First and Foremost versions, while his covers have faded into obscurity. When he is remembered, it's usually as a symbol of the buttoned-up cultural conservatism of '50s pop culture; the fact that he's since found steady work as a right-wing Christian commentator hasn't done much to challenge that image.
- He does have a cult following among metalheads for his album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, which featured covers of classic metal songs in his big-band style. (Ronnie James Dio even sang backing vocals on Boone's cover of "Holy Diver"!) Even then, though, it's chiefly an ironic fandom, akin to that of Chuck Norris.
- Justin Bieber. He was one of the first "internet celebrities" to become a legitimate, mainstream pop star, having started out posting YouTube videos of himself singing covers of R&B songs in the late '00s. He was a pop music sensation among teenage girls, known as "Beliebers", and while he also had a massive Hatedom (mostly revolving around his high-pitched singing voice, his bishie appearance, and of course his fans themselves), it did little to slow his popularity. Things started to change in 2012, however. First, his fanbase turned out to be dependent on a Fleeting Demographic, as shown when the British/Irish Boy Band One Direction underwent a meteoric rise in popularity in the US. (It didn't help that many of his other fans grew too old for him). Bieber's fanbase was gutted by the rise of One Direction; his sophomore album Believe sold an underwhelming 374,000 copies in its opening week and took nearly half a year to be certified platinum (In turn, One Direction's Take Me Home opened with 540,000 copies sold and went platinum in just five weeks), while One Direction started winning all of the awards that Bieber would've claimed just the prior year.
It was in 2013 when the second, and arguably bigger, cause of his Deader Than Disco status kicked in. Bieber's public demeanor took an increasing turn for the jerkass, which battered his already-negative public image and turned many of his remaining fans against him (which benefited One Direction even more). He attempted to remain in the music world with a second concert film, Justin Bieber's Believe, and with the new album Journals, both released in late 2013, but Believe was a Box Office Bomb (especially compared to his first concert film just two years prior), and Journals flopped so badly that iTunes withheld sales figures. By the end of 2013, he had become better known for his tabloid antics, his on-and-off relationship with Selena Gomez, and as the victim of arguably the most infamous musical equivalent of the MySpace vs. Facebook battle than for his music, and many former "Beliebers" now hold him in very poor regard. When you have a Smash Mouth song named after you and an entire Comedy Central roast where many celebrities practically suck the piss out of you in their jokes (regardless of Self-Deprecation), you know you've gone downhill.
- Not for lack of trying on his part, but people are already beginning to call time of death on Robin Thicke's musical career. Kicking around the business for years, he finally broke through in 2013, riding a wave of No Such Thing as Bad Publicity thanks to his kinda-sleazy song “Blurred Lines”, which became the unofficial Song of the Summer, and an equally controversial performance with Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMAs. This seemed to work primarily because of a carefully constructed image of a Rule-Abiding Rebel: he played the part of a lecherous womanizer, but got something of a pass because he was clearly devoted to his wife and high school sweetheart, actress Paula Patton, who appeared on the cover of his debut A Beautiful World.
However, throughout 2013 and 2014, stories began to emerge that his sleazy creep persona wasn't all an act, and after getting proof in the form of a Tumblr post with rape victims holding up cards with their rapist's quotes on them that eerily echo "Blurred Lines", and a photo taken in an elevator with mirrored walls showed him groping a female fan, Patton finally left him. His follow-up album Paula, as the name implies, was a transparent, desperate, and somewhat depressing attempt to win her back, only digging him further down, while a Twitter Q&A went haywire fast when Thicke was inundated with angry messages. The trust between Thicke and his female fans was broken, potentially irreparably, and Paula bombed with only 24,000 copies sold in the US in its first week (compared to 177,000 for his debut) and international numbers even worse (only 550 copies in Canada, 530 in the UK, and 158 in Australia. The album that took the place of #500 in Australian charts instead of Paula? A greatest hits compilation by Blondie, which sold 159 units. By the summer of 2014, Thicke's name is more synonymous with "that rape-y song" than anything else, with few people defending the Unfortunate Implications of "Blurred Lines" anymore. Of course, music is a business with "never say never" as a mantra, but for him to recover from falling that far that fast will take nothing short of a miracle... and with the allegations that he copied his signature song from Marvin Gaye, that miracle appears to be a vanishing possibility...
...and indeed it is. In March 2015, BuzzFeed reported that Robin Thicke and Pharrell now have to pay Gaye's descendants $7.5 million due to the jury finding that "Blurred Lines" infringed the rights of "Got to Give It Up". Today, most of the R&B and urban stations that he had been a staple of for over a decade have dropped him from the airwaves, or at least significantly downplayed his presence. Even airplay of his mega-hit nowadays is sporadic as the Unfortunate Implications and infringement of the song have become its most famous aspect. It's likely he'll be seen as an Old Shame for many of his former fans, and for those who actually liked "Blurred Lines" at the height of its popularity.
- Chris Brown exploded onto the scene in 2005 at just a mere 15 years old, and quickly became one of the more successful pop acts of the naughties, charming teens with his hip hop/R&B music style and his dance moves. He sang hit after hit after hit with songs like "Forever", "With You", "Run It!" and "Kiss Kiss". Some even said he would dethrone Michael Jackson as the King of Pop.
That all changed, however, when media reports sprang up in 2009 revealing that his rocky relationship with his girlfriend Rihanna ended with him beating her to a pulp, and he was forced to serve 5 years of probation and 6 months of community service. The media turned a complete 180 and quickly shunned him out for his misogynist actions. (In an also unfortunate case, he probably took down the career of American Idol contestant Jordin Sparks in the process, as her duet with him "No Air" [a song widely to believed at the time to be a likely staple of adult contemporary stations for the next decade at least] saw its airplay [and her exposure to most pop audiences] die overnight.) His next album released that year, Graffiti, tanked miserably, and he spent 2010 mostly attempting to rebuild his image. It seemed to have paid off, as 2011's F.A.M.E. became a smash hit, garnering several successful singles such as "Yeah 3x", "Deuces" and "Look at Me Now" and a Grammy. He even won back Rihanna's love and did the duet "Birthday Cake" with her.
Then, after even more incidents that brought his public image down even further and practically turned him into a convicted felon (including public fights with Drake and Frank Ocean, messy love triangles with Rihanna and Karrueche Tran, even more arrests and continuous deletions of messages of his family-unfriendly Twitter account), what remaining redemption the media had to Brown quickly descended (throwing a tantrum on Good Morning America, breaking a dressing room window and cursing out Robin Roberts for merely mentioning Rihanna certainly didn't help at all), and it shows. Fortune started up pretty well (with "Don't Wake Me Up" and "Turn Up the Music" being very minor hits) and then quickly bombed in 2012, and his second and third attempted comebacks X and Fan of a Fan: The Album debuted pretty well on the Billboard 200 before quickly dropping from the top 20 like flies. He's still around, but he seems to be on the fast track to vanishing for good, which is helped in no small part by the current (and likely permanent) public perception that he's a violent, misogynistic psychopath who can't stop getting unbearably terrible tattoos.
- The Big Bopper scored one hit in 1958, "Chantilly Lace", and then died in the plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. While both Holly and Valens still remain popular and even have movie adaptations based around them, The Big Bopper has never had any revival outside of appearing on oldies/'50s music compilation C Ds. This may be because of the sad fact that, with only one notable hit song outside of many other obscure compositions, he is an unfortunate One-Hit Wonder due to his early death.
- Shabba Ranks emerged in the early 1990s as the most popular musician to come out of Jamaica since Bob Marley, with several international hits. Unfortunately, Shabba was also a homophobe who sang numbers where he advocated crucifying and murdering gay people. Interviews also showed he was very serious about the matter, including an appearance on Channel 4's The Word, where Mark Lamarr famously told him "That's absolute crap and you know it." This effectively torpedoed his career beyond repair and made him very swiftly forgotten, exact perhaps in his home country. It also had the side effect of seriously damaging the image of dancehall as a whole (as these themes were not limited to him at all; he just had a high enough profile to call attention to himself about them), and also helped feed into a growing backlash against the violence and "slackness"-obsessed nature of contemporary dancehall, leading to a lot of existing and new artists turning towards more conscious and religious themes.
- Gary Glitter (birth name Paul Gadd) became a household name when he released "Rock and Roll" as a single in 1972 and it became a worldwide hit, often associated with American Football. This led to a string of 11 top 10 hits in the UK during the mid '70s of extremely campy yet anthemic Glam Rock songs. While his career never quite reached that stride after that period of time, he did enjoy some intermittent chart successes afterwards in the same way of many older stars and became known for touring university campuses through the '80s and '90s. However, after his laptop was discovered to contain child pornography in late 1997, he virtually became a pariah afterwards, having references to both himself and his songs removed from pop culture; outside of a brave few clubs, only a few sports teams still play the original Glitter songs, while the rest who do do play the Cover Version of his songs so Glitter doesn't get a dime from royalties, and his appearance in Spice World was removed. His only album since then, On had to be officially clarified that it could be legally released by the BPI, could only be released independently through his website because no label would dare touch him, and sold around 5000 copies before going out of print. Further interest in his music was chipped away when he was sent to prison again for sex offences, this time in Vietnam, in 2006. Whatever little hope for a revival existed finally evaporated when historical cases from 1975 to 1980 were brought up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. In 2015, he was sentenced to 16 years in jail, and is at such an age where many believe he won't be able to serve his full jail term. Now, even those who enjoy Glitter's music won't defend the man himself.
- Yngwie Malmsteen, for all intents and purposes, created shred guitar in its modern form. He definitely didn't lay the groundwork for shred (Eddie Van Halen created a lot of the tropes that Malmsteen didn't, and there were plenty of guitarists who were using the techniques that he popularized well before he was even a recording artist), but he did codify a lot of the tropes that are still commonplace in shred today. When Rising Force came out in 1984, people were simply blown away; not only was he playing circles around virtually all of the time's established guitar heroes, but he was doing it despite not even being twenty years old. With one album, he set the stage for rock guitar in the Eighties and inspired a ton of up-and-coming guitarists to outdo him. He managed to maintain his place in the guitar world for virtually the entire decade, but as time went on and shred started to turn into more of a niche genre, people began to realize that he was something of a one-trick pony. He could play unbelievably fast and complex material and could also write some catchy Power Metal songs here and there, but as he began to repeat himself more and more, people began to move away from him and towards more versatile, song-oriented peers like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine, and Paul Gilbert.
By the mid-Nineties, popular opinion of him was largely restricted to "boring, overindulgent, out-of-touch joke", and even the people who had clung to shred guitar had started to veer towards several promising new faces like John Petrucci and Michael Romeo. Indeed, he had to abandon the American market altogether; the less-disillusioned European and Japanese markets were the only things that kept him from completely falling off the face of the earth around this time. When the new millennium hit and shred began to regain mainstream acceptability, people still treated him as a joke (which was not helped by some widely-publicized accounts of his repellent personality). While he briefly enjoyed something of a resurgence with the surprisingly decent critical reception of Perpetual Flame and a downloadable three-pack of songs in Rock Band, he fell off the radar once again. Furthermore, with a new wave of modern guitar icons like Jeff Loomis, Christian Muenzner, Per Nilsson, Tosin Abasi, and Dave Davidson who have all improved upon the groundwork that he laid even further, he has become nothing but a glorified footnote in the development of shredding. His accomplishments may still be impressive, but he fell off the radar because he never caught up with the times or evolved as a player.
- Psy was already a long-player in the music business when he took the world by storm with "Gangnam Style" in 2012. Celebrities shared the video like crazy, and it eventually spread to their fans, and then the fans spread it to many other people. Within months it went viral beyond belief for its eccentric, awesomely catchy feel and Psy's famous dance moves. By the end of 2012, it became the most-viewed and liked video on YouTube, and still remains in that position to this day, and topped many, many charts. It was Psy's first big break in other countries besides Korea, and luckily for him not even the revelation that he did a couple of anti-America songs earlier in his career took him down.
However, eventually his career fizzled out. The next year, he released "Gentleman", which was mostly seen as So Okay, It's Average. While it eventually gained many views, it was mostly seen as a retread of "Gangnam Style" and audiences eventually flocked away. The final nail in the coffin was when he appeared in pistachio commercials and The Nut Job, long after he was no longer popular, not to mention "Hangover", which still gained many views but didn't regain the success that he originally had. By 2015, his popularity is completely dead despite plans for a new album, and he's mostly seen nowadays as "that guy who did that 'Gangnam Style' song".
Female solo artists
- While never overly popular, Anita Bryant had a notable career in music during the 1960s. Come the '70s, she became better-known as a vocal, pretentious Heteronormative Crusader. This killed any chance of future interest in Bryant's music. Fans of her music today are extremely rare, even among elderly people, to the point where many people now are unaware that she was once a singer. Maybe she should have stuck to music...
- Liz Phair was one of the most highly respected indie/alternative rock artists of The Nineties. Her debut album Exile in Guyville in 1993 went on to become one of the most acclaimed albums of that decade, with Phair becoming known for her combination of Three Chords and the Truth with emotionally honest and sexually explicit songwriting. While the two albums that followed it (Whip-Smart in '94 and Whitechocolatespaceegg in '98) didn't have quite as big an impact, they were still highly regarded in their own right.
Then in 2003, her self-titled and unapologetically commercial fourth album turned her into a piñata for critics, who felt that she had sold out her indie roots by going in a radio-friendly pop-rock direction that turned her into little more than a clone of Avril Lavigne. Pitchfork Media went as far as to give the album a 0.0 out of 10, one of the few times that it has "awarded" such a score. The album did admittedly get a decent reception from fans and, more importantly, give Liz her first Top 40 single with "Why Can't I?", but in the long run, it would also be her last hit single. Her subsequent albums, 2005's Somebody's Miracle and 2010's Funstyle, saw her retreating from her fourth album's pop sound, but they both received mixed reviews and failed to generate any hits. Today, while her first three albums are still acclaimed as '90s alt-rock classics, she's otherwise seen as a cautionary tale of the dangers of selling out and alienating one's fans.
- When Lady Gaga burst onto the scene in the late 2000s, she was inescapable. She was credited for bringing dance-pop back into the mainstream with her songs "Just Dance" and "Poker Face" being two of the biggest hits of 2008, while "Bad Romance" made her easily the biggest artist of 2009. Her debut album The Fame and its Updated Re-release The Fame Monster sold a combined total of over 20 million albums worldwide, a rarity in the post-digital age, while her eccentric behavior and insane fashion sense always kept her in the news and on people's minds. She continued her dominance well into The New Tens, with songs like "Telephone" (with Beyoncé), "Born This Way", and "The Edge of Glory" off her 2011 sophomore album Born This Way (which was the biggest hit album in six years) all being massive hits. Critics and fans alike declared her the new Queen of Pop, and it seemed like nothing could stop her.
However, by 2013 it seemed like people had grown bored with her. Lady Gaga's famous behavior and fashion sense lost its shock value, which was one of her selling points; by that point the rest of the pop world had long since caught up with her in terms of edginess. This left her music, which people didn't see much in that hadn't been done before. This came to show with her third album ARTPOP. While it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, its sales afterward were dismal; it fell off almost immediately and ultimately failed to go platinum after over a year.note This wasn't helped by her album switching from her signature dance-pop style to a more generic EDM sound with failed attempts at being experimental (like "Swine", which features nails-on-a-chalkboard whirring noises that ascend and ascend to resemble pig noises after the chorus). The failure of ARTPOP not only took the wind out of Gaga's sails, but had an effect on other performers; Nicki Minaj, for instance, ditched her similar gimmick of insane costumes for a more natural look after noticing Lady Gaga's underwhelming sales. Since then, Lady Gaga has been focusing on much smaller-scale projects, such as her jazz cover album Cheek to Cheek with Tony Bennett, instead of trying to be the world's biggest pop star. While many of her hits will likely remain a mainstay on pop radio for some time to come, the idea of her as "the new Queen of Pop" is long in the past as other female performers have risen to fill the void.
- Faith Hill hit it big right out of the gate, scoring #1 smashes in late 1993-early 1994 with her first two singles, "Wild One" and "Piece of My Heart". Although she cooled down a bit, she still had six more Top 10 hits by 1996. Then, she had a highly-publicized marriage to Tim McGraw, already firmly entrenched as a star in his own right. This relation culminated in 1997 with the duet "It's Your Love", a six-week #1 smash on country and #7 pop hit. Faith then continued to skirt the line between pop and country, getting further crossover smashes between 1998 and 2000 with "This Kiss", "Breathe" (which also went to #1 at AC, and was even the top pop hit of 2000 despite only peaking at #2 on the Hot 100), and "The Way You Love Me", plus crossover soundtrack hits with "There You'll Be" from Pearl Harbor and "Where Are You, Christmas?" from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
Then came her next album, Cry, in 2002. While it netted her two Grammys and yet another #1 AC hit in its title track, the album was largely given the cold shoulder by country audiences, with some fans labeling her as a sellout. In addition, country-pop female crossovers were starting to die off at this point, with acts like Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, and Jo Dee Messina all hitting the skids around the same time for varying reasons. Hill had a momentary return to country in 2005-06 with Fireflies, which was more-or-less seen as a return to her strengths, and returned her to the top of the country charts with lead single "Mississippi Girl". But a 2007 Greatest Hits Album saw both of its singles bomb (the Cliché Storm ballad "Lost" and the Word Salad Lyrics-laden "Red Umbrella"). After a Christmas album and a short hiatus, she attempted to mount a return in 2011-12, but her only subsequent releases (a cover of OneRepublic's "Come Home" and the original song "American Heart") came and went with little more than a So Okay, It's Average reaction from fans and critics, although she was also an Advertised Extra on McGraw's 2014 hit "Meanwhile Back at Mama's". Between the fact that the market for females in country still hasn't fully recovered from its early-2000s plunge, and the fact that Hill isn't getting any younger, it's very unlikely that she will continue to be remembered as anything other than "Tim McGraw's wife" for a while.
- During the mid-late '90s, Jewel was one of the premier adult alternative performers, with her debut album Pieces Of You being one of the very few debuts to reach Diamond certification in the US. While the following two albums (Spirit and This Way) weren't quite as successful, they sold very well and spawned several songs (i.e, "Standing Still") that played in regular rotation on MTV. Unfortunately, her switch to a more dance pop oriented style on her fourth album 0304, particularly the licensing of its song "Intuition" for use in Schick razor commercials, caused a major fan backlash and put a massive dent in her career that she was never really able to recover from. While she's found some recent success performing children's music and soft country, the commercial performance of her post-0304 work has not come close to matching that of her work in the '90s and early-2000s.
- Almost immediately after she took off in late 2001, Michelle Branch became one of the hottest young female singers in America. A singer/songwriter/guitarist who mixed pop music with a harder rock style, she was viewed as a Spiritual Successor to Alanis Morissette, even being signed to the same label as her (Maverick Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records). Her debut album The Spirit Room was a huge success, with singles "Everywhere" and "All You Wanted" being played by almost every pop radio station in the country. Immediately afterwards, the media was hyping Branch up as the face of a movement of female singer/songwriter/instrumentalists who revolted against manufactured teen pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. A slew of such artists popped up behind her, like Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, and Stacie Orrico, while veteran acts in that style like Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, and Liz Phair (see above) had a resurgence in popularity. Even P!nk, who was part of the "manufactured" group, quickly adapted to the new trend.
By the end of 2002, however, the future was not looking as bright for Branch. By then, Lavigne had supplanted her as the face of the new movement, and her song "Goodbye to You" wasn't nearly as successful as her first two hits. To compensate, she collaborated with Santana for another hit, "The Game of Love". It kept Branch's career going, even if it was viewed as something of a disappointment for Santana. 2003 brought her sophomore album Hotel Paper, which, while also a hit and giving her another successful single in "Are You Happy Now?", did not reach the heights of The Spirit Room. To make matters worse, Maverick Records was suffering from financial problems at the time and her career was effectively put on hold. The final nail in the coffin was a sexy photo shoot for Maxim magazine that irrevocably tarnished her "anti-Britney" image, and marked the end of her career. Unable to record on her own at the time, Branch switched over to side projects. A second collaboration with Santana in 2005 for the single "I'm Feeling You" completely bombed outside of hot AC radio, and she shifted to Country Music in 2006, forming the duo The Wreckers with Jessica Harp; they had one big hit with "Leave The Pieces" but fizzled out immediately afterwards. Branch continues recording music to this day but has long since faded into obscurity; she never had another hit on any chart and has yet to release a third album. Today, when the pop music scene of the 2000s is recounted, names like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, and Avril Lavigne are commonly cited; when Michelle Branch is remembered, it's only for being one of the biggest flashes-in-the-pan of that decade.
- Branch's contemporary and successor Avril Lavigne suffered a similar fate. In 2002, she burst onto the scene at only 17 years old with her Top 10 hits "Complicated", "Sk8er Boi", and "I'm With You", which propelled her album Let Go to 6x platinum status. Already, she had more success through her first album alone than Branch had in her entire career, making her viewed as Morissette's true successor. She had built a reputation as a girl with an attitude, but also with a sweet spot on the inside, with her combination of rock and Pop Punk with mainstream sensibilities giving her a large magnitude of teenage fans, girls and boys alike. Not only that, she also built up a large following in Asia, especially Japan. In 2004, she released the Darker and Edgier Under My Skin, which was also a massive success and spawned the hit "My Happy Ending". She even tried her hand at acting in a number of films, such as Over the Hedge and the film adaptation of Fast Food Nation. Her popularity as an artist peaked in 2007 when she released "Girlfriend", which became her first song to hit #1 on the Hot 100. Its music video was, for a time, the most-viewed video on YouTube, and its parent album The Best Damn Thing was the best-selling album of 2007.
Unfortunately for her, she simply couldn't keep up the momentum after "Girlfriend" was released. Her 2011 follow-up Goodbye Lullaby only debuted at #4, and failed to even reach Gold status in the US, while many fans saw it as a sellout that took a far more commercial direction as opposed to her more personal and angsty earlier albums. She'd also long had a brewing hatedom among Punk Rock fans who saw her Pop Punk style (along with that of contemporary artists like Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco) as borderline blasphemy; her increasingly pop-oriented direction only made their charges easier to stick. The album did spawn a Top 20 single with "What the Hell", but it didn't have anywhere near the staying power that her previous singles did, while her follow-up singles barely scraped the Top 70 on the chart.
She seemed to be making a comeback in 2013 with her Top 20 single "Here's to Never Growing Up", which managed to attain platinum status in the US, but she might have blown it completely the following year with "Hello Kitty", an attempt to capitalize on both the dubstep craze and her continued popularity in Japan. It certainly got attention...but not the kind she was looking for. The video, which was filmed in Japan and had emotionless, robotic backup dancers filled with exaggerated Japanese imagery, was widely derided for being racist and stereotypical, and the song barely charted on the American or Japanese charts. Her self-titled album was the biggest flop in her career, selling even worse than her previous release (although admittedly, it was released against the red-hot Marshall Mathers LP 2 from Eminem). Nowadays, she's seen as a relic of the early-to-mid 2000s who made annoying pop songs like "Complicated" and "Girlfriend" that got stuck in your head for the wrong reasons. The fact that she's married to Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger doesn't help matters either.
- The revolving door of female pop-rockers in the early-mid '00s continued with Ashlee Simpson. She was billed as a Darker and Edgier version of her big sister Jessica, and was expected to follow her and Lavigne's footsteps to become a major pop star. Her first album, Autobiography, went triple platinum. Then it all came crashing down with her disastrous performance on Saturday Night Live in October 2004, where she was caught lip-syncing when her band started playing the wrong song, followed by an embarrassing "hoe-down" when she realized what was happening. Following an equally disastrous half-time performance at the Orange Bowl a few months later (in which she was singing live, and it showed), Ashlee's music career was all but over. Her following album, 2005's I Am Me, sold far less than Autobiography and didn't even reach the platinum mark, and she only released one more album after that, the commercial bomb Bittersweet World in 2008. She's had a bit more success as an actress, playing Violet Foster on the short-lived Melrose Place Sequel Series and Roxie Hart in Broadway and West End productions of Chicago, but when she's brought up today (outside the tabloids), it's usually in the same breath as Milli Vanilli, as the punchline of jokes about lip-syncing and manufactured pop stars.
- As this article in The Atlantic explains, Ashlee's SNL mishap also marked the moment when the wheels started coming off of the Simpson family dynasty. At the time, Jessica Simpson had a Reality TV hit in Newlyweds Nick And Jessica with her husband, former 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey, and even though her music career was fading, she was fast becoming one of the pioneers of the reality TV subgenre known as "celebreality". After SNL, however, the Simpson family seemed to be hit with nothing but misfortune. Nick and Jessica broke up in 2005, and Jessica's subsequent relationship with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earned a Yoko Oh No reaction from Cowboys fans who blamed her for Romo's ensuing poor performance. Meanwhile, their father and manager, former youth pastor Joe Simpson, got in hot water for comments he made about Jessica's breasts, and later split with his wife Tina amid rumors that he was gay. While Jessica now runs a very successful fashion company, the perception of her family has gone from some of the most famous people in the world to a Big Screwed-Up Family if they're even remembered today.
- Canadian folk-pop singer Nelly Furtado first gained fame with her debut album, Whoa, Nelly! in 2000, which spawned two successful singles, "I'm Like a Bird" and "Turn Off the Light". It was acclaimed by critics for its unique approach to pop that was very organic, and was seen as a true antidote to the nu-metal and teen-pop bands that dominated the radio at the time. "I'm Like a Bird" won a 2001 Juno Award for Single of the Year and a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2003, Furtado released Folklore, which produced three international singles — "Powerless (Say What You Want)", "Try", and "Força". However, its slightly darker edge (which Furtado attributed to her being pregnant at the time) made it gain a mixed reception, and it wasn't nearly as successful as her previous album was. In 2006 she released Loose, a Hotter and Sexier New Sound Album inspired by contemporary American Hip Hop and R&B. While many of her older fans hated it, accusing Furtado of selling out and sexing up her image to sell records, Loose would go on to become the most successful album of Furtado's career, selling ten million copies and reaching number one not only in Canada and the United States, but also several other countries worldwide. The album spawned four number-one hits: "Promiscuous", "Maneater", "Say It Right", "In God's Hands" and "All Good Things (Come to an End)".
Unfortunately, Furtado took too long of a break afterwards, not releasing another English-language studio album for another six years, a very long time in the music business. That album, The Spirit Indestructible in 2012, failed to replicate the success of Loose due to poor promotion and minimal chart impact of the album's singles. The album saw success only in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and her native Canada, and bombed in the US with only six thousand copies sold in its first week. Many of her older fans had moved on after Loose, while the fans she'd acquired from that album had also moved on in the six years since. Furthermore, the mainstream success of Loose owed a lot to Timbaland's production and piggybacking off the hype of Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds, and now that Timbaland had moved on and Timberlake was out of the spotlight, she was never going to replicate the same success again. (And even better for her was that Justin Timberlake would later spawn a huge comeback, with some tracks even produced with Timbaland.) As a result, she fell into the same pit as all the other formerly successful artists of her time.
- LeAnn Rimes was one of the most popular women in country music through the '90s and into the early '00s. Debuting at the age of 13 with her hit single "Blue," and winning a Grammy for Best New Artist, she even achieved a decent amount of pop crossover success with "Can't Fight The Moonlight" off the Coyote Ugly soundtrack.
However, in 2009, while filming the Lifetime movie Northern Lights, she had an extramarital affair with her co-star, Eddie Cibrian. In the wake of this, both her and Cibrian's marriages, and Rimes's career, imploded. Since marrying Cibrian, she's recorded very little music, frequently cancels concerts (reportedly to keep an eye on Cibrian and his alleged philandering) and constantly feuds on Twitter and through the tabloids with Cibrian's ex-wife Brandi Glanville. Nowadays she's little more than gossip fodder.
- As I Lay Dying had been hailed as one of the kings of Metalcore, most notably with their release of An Ocean Between Us. When melodic metalcore began to die, they were one of the few acts that managed to hang on to something resembling their old success, and while they weren't quite as big as they once were by the 2010s, they were still big enough to not be in danger of disappearing any time soon. They were more than likely going to continue to avert this trope. This all changed in 2013 when Tim Lambesis was arrested for attempting to hire a hitman to murder his ex-wife. Aside from a few cases of Fan Dumb who accused his ex-wife of "having it coming", both fans and the band were absolutely revolted by this and the As I Lay Dying name became poisonous overnight. And then things got even worse when Tim angrily proclaimed that the band's whole Christian imagenote was a sham and that all the bandmembers were atheists posing as Christians for the sake of record salesnote . The remaining members went on to start Wovenwar with Shane Blay of Oh, Sleeper, while the fans abandoned As I Lay Dying and Lambesis' other projects (Austrian Death Machine and Pyrithion) in droves. At this point, it's safe to say that As I Lay Dying and Lambesis' musical career in general are completely dead.
- The Black Eyed Peas were one of the biggest music acts in the world during the 2000s. It all started in 2002, when they inducted Fergie and largely abandoned their Alternative Hip Hop roots, moving to a pop- and dance-oriented sound with Fergie front and center. They released numerous songs that all turned into massive hits, such as "Where Is The Love?", "Lets Get It Started", and "My Humps" from 2003 to 2005 and turned them into a mainstream act. Their numerous endorsements in advertisements kept them in the public spotlight as they released hit after hit. Their popularity peaked in 2009, when they released "I Gotta Feeling", which topped numerous charts and sold 15 million units worldwide, making it the best-selling digital single of all time. Also impressive was the album that "I Gotta Feeling" came off of, The E.N.D., which sold 11 million units in a time when it seemed as though albums themselves had become Deader Than Disco. It seemed like they were on top of the world, and nothing could stop them.
But a backlash had been building for years, with many people accusing them of simplistic lyrics and an over-reliance on Auto-Tune, citing songs like "My Humps" and "Boom Boom Pow" as proof. In the '10s, that backlash grew to massive proportions. Their 2010 album The Beginning only debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200 just a year after The E.N.D. was released, but worse was their Super Bowl halftime show performance in 2011. Live on a national stage without Auto-Tune, the Black Eyed Peas delivered what is often held to be one of the worst live performances in recent history, and their massive popularity was shattered overnight. Liking the Black Eyed Peas went from being socially acceptable to something that made everyone in the room seriously question your taste in music. Their single "Don't Stop The Party", released shortly after the performance, was a complete bomb, only peaking at #86 and failing to reach any certification. The video game that was meant to capitalize on their once-massive popularity, The Black Eyed Peas Experience, was also a complete flop. By the end of the year, the Black Eyed Peas went on an indefinite hiatus with little talk of reuniting and releasing a new album. Although the two faces of the band, will.i.am and Fergie, are now focusing on solo careers with some success (although the former was hit with this trope hard—see below), airplay of their music nowadays is irregular, and they are viewed in much the same light as Nickelback as a symbol of everything wrong with pop music in the '00s.
- will.i.am attempted a comeback in the mid-2010s after The Black-Eyed Peas collapsed. His comeback solo album was first planned to be released in 2011 with the lead single being "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)"...and then it was pushed to next year...and the year after that. By the time the album was finally released, the singles were already being criticized for being annoying and typical, generic EDM, not to mention the fact that both the album name and one of its singles ("#thatPOWER", specifically) are hashtags. The final nail in the coffin for him was when #willpower was finally released and he got caught under fire for copying parts of the song "Rebound" by Arty and Mat Zo for "Let's Go" without even gaining permission first. And it's not just a subtle Suspiciously Similar Song, either—the "sampled" parts are almost virtually the same as the original, to the point where even Shazam will recognize "Let's Go" as "Rebound". This alone eventually lead to the album gaining a flood of negative reviews on iTunes, and some people thought it wasn't a mere coincidence that the background color for the album page of the iTunes Store was the same as the color of the 5-star rating system. The album was re-released in November 2013 with "Feelin' Myself" replacing "Let's Go", but by then the damage had already been done—both that song and "It's My Birthday" flopped hard in America, and by then most audiences were probably unaware that the album was re-released anyway. While Fergie maintained a successful solo career in the late 2000s and even managed a modest success with "L.A. Love (La La)", it's highly unlikely that will.i.am will ever recover from that massive bump in the road.
- Blind Melon rose to the top of the charts in 1993 with "No Rain" on the strength of its striking video featuring a girl in a bumblebee costume. The band had a psychedelic, classic-rock influenced sound that appealed to people who didn't like grunge. Unfortunately, the band never really got to capitalize on this success, owing to lead singer Shannon Hoon's drug problems. He died in 1995 of a drug overdose, shortly after the release of the band's second album, Soup, which failed to have the same success as the first album. Sadly, the Dead Artists Are Better effect never kicked in for Hoon like it did for Kurt Cobain and Bradley Nowell. Blind Melon will always be remembered at "the band that did that bee girl song."
- Comedian Harmonists: Back between 1928 and 1933 they were one of the most popular groups in the world, attracting audiences in the USA as well as in Europe with their amazing harmony singing. But unfortunately, in 1933 Adolf Hitler took over Germany and the band, which had two Jewish members, was forced to disband. All members survived World War II, but they never reunited, causing them to fade away in obscurity until the 1970s. They enjoyed a small revival in the German-speaking world, garnering some celebrity fans such as Matt Groening and Art Spiegelman as well as a 1997 Biopic based on their amazing career, but they still remain a band that is obscure to this day. Seeing that harmony singing has never had much of a revival and German lyrics bring up unfortunate associations to most non-German listeners, it doesn't seem that they will regain their popularity soon.
- Country Joe and the Fish was considered one of the seminal rock groups of the 1960s, with their contributions to the psychedelic rock genre and their lyrics relating to the issues of the time (the band was even a major highlight of Woodstock). After they broke up in 1971, their music managed to date horribly and today is nothing more than a footnote of the history of rock music.
- Creed was arguably the biggest band in the world around the turn of the 21st century, reaching their peak with their sophomore album Human Clay in 1999, which went Diamond. However, between frontman Scott Stapp's jerkass antics, "With Arms Wide Open" and "Higher" being played on an infinite loop on the radio, and the continuing argument as to whether or not they were a Christian band (a question that the band itself frequently dodged so as to avoid alienating one group of fans or the other), a backlash formed, and when it hit circa 2002, it hit hard. While the effect wasn't immediately noticeable, as Creed's last album had been in 2001 before breaking up three years later, to this day Creed remains one of the biggest pariahs of the music world, being voted as the worst band of the '90s by the readers of Rolling Stone in 2013 by such an overwhelming margin that the editors said the competition "wasn't even close" between Creed and second-place Nickelback (itself a band with no shortage of anti-fans).
Today, it is a social taboo to admit to being a Creed fan or even admitting to owning one of their albums during their Glory Days, the general consensus on them being that they were a poor man's ripoff of Pearl Jam with an obnoxious frontman (both on and off the stage). Airplay of their music is sporadic at best, and while the non-Scott Stapp members of the band went on to form Alter Bridge with Myles Kennedy to much acclaim, their success has not rubbed off on their work with Creed. When Creed got back together in 2009 and released Full Circle, it was slammed by critics and barely managed to go Gold, and the subsequent concert tour fared little better. The kicker came in 2014, when it was revealed that Stapp was not only flat broke, living out of a Holiday Inn after being bilked out of money and royalty payments, but also quite possibly insane, believing that he was an assassin destined to kill the Obamas. Along with various other things, this was enough to cause him to lose custody of his kids.
- The Darkness: They were huge in 2004, won loads of awards, album sold over a million copies in the United Kingdom alone. Then the follow-up album arrived in 2005, sold less well and the band subsequently split. Now, despite probably still having a copy of Permission To Land kicking-around, most people pretend they never liked them in the first place.
- Others did enjoy the second album, the follow-up bands Hot Leg and Stone Gods (of singer Justin Hawkins and of the rest of the band + new singer, respectively) and are looking forward to the upcoming reunion.
- The Dixie Chicks were among the biggest acts in Country Music in the late '90s and early '00s. They had an eclectic style that mixed mainstream country and bluegrass with just enough pop edge and "girl power" attitude to be cool outside the typical country demographic. Then in late 2002 and early '03, lead singer Natalie Maines got in a feud with Toby Keith over his post-9/11 Patriotic Fervor anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue", and later (in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq) said in a concert that she was ashamed that then-President George W. Bush was from her home state of Texas.
This went over very badly in the country music fandom. While this may seem very rare nowadays, much of the country music fandom at the time were pro-Bush and pro-war. Overnight, country radio dropped the Chicks like a hot potato — their then-current single "Travelin' Soldier" plummeted from #1, their next single went nowhere, Maines received death threats over her comment, and one station organized an event where people could bring their Dixie Chicks albums and merchandise to be destroyed by a bulldozer. Their only subsequent album, Taking the Long Way in 2006, was largely made in response to the backlash, and while it did receive critical acclaim, go double-platinum and gain a huge adult contemporary crossover hit with "Not Ready to Make Nice", that was in spite of a total rejection from the country fandom and radio stations. Not only did the controversy destroy their career, but a solid case could be made that the backlash against the Dixie Chicks was one of the factors in ending the "girl power" era in country music, combined with the collapse of other tentpole female artists (Faith Hill, Shania Twain, and Martina McBride) in the same timespan. Since then, no all-woman group has risen to take the Chicks' place in country music (although a couple male-and-female bands have had success with female lead singers, such as Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and The Band Perry), and even solo females have struggled to get a foothold outside Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, or (before her Genre Shift to outright pop) Taylor Swift.
- Evanescence in 2003 were not only the biggest female-fronted rock band in the world, they were one of the biggest music acts period. It started with their song "Bring Me to Life" being the theme song to the much-anticipated film Daredevil. While the movie itself turned out to be a dud, the song itself blew up to epic proportions. With its combination of Nu Metal, Gothic Metal, Alternative Metal, and Rap Rock with mainstream sensibilities, the song was omnipresent on alternative, rock, and pop radio. Practically overnight, it launched Evanescence as one of the biggest acts in the industry. Sales for the album "Bring Me to Life" came from, Fallen, exploded afterwards, and it went on the sell over 17 million units worldwide and was the fourth best-selling album of that year. They even won two Grammy awards for "Best Hard Rock Performance" and "Best New Artist". It seemed like they were destined to join Linkin Park as the faces of 21st century Nu Metal.
Unfortunately, not long after they became a household name, Nu Metal became a Dead Horse Genre due to the ever-growing backlash and Limp Bizkit's Results May Vary having practically killed it overnight. While other Nu Metal bands evolved and changed their sound to stay relevant, Evanescence largely stuck with the Nu Metal sound on both their subsequent albums, only venturing out into electronic influence on the third. Their 2006 sophomore album The Open Door went platinum and spawned a hit single with "Call Me When You're Sober", but didn't have anywhere near the success Fallen had. Their third album in 2011, Evanescence, failed to even reach Gold status, and in 2012 the band went on an indefinite hiatus that lasted three whole years. While they announced their return in 2015, this so far has only impacted Japanese audiences, where they'll headline Ozzfest Japan. The announcement did not make waves in the west, and there are currently no talks of a new album and tour. Despite finding consistent critical success throughout their career even long after Nu Metal had died, quoting their music nowadays ("WAKE ME UP INSIDE!") is often used to make fun of whiny emo teens and depressed 13-year-old girls. Asking what you think of them now will likely get the response "What is this? 2003?". Suffice to say, they were hit hard by Nu Metal becoming a Dead Horse Genre. The fact that their song "My Immortal", possibly the only song that most people know outside of "Bring Me to Life", shares its name with a notorious fanfiction really doesn't help matters. Although Nu Metal has made something of a return to acceptability in the mid-'10s, this has not rubbed off on Evanescence, while frontwoman Amy Lee has become of the most notorious cases of the overly-controlling Face of the Band.
- Hinder, after spending some time in the underground, signed a deal with Universal Records in 2005. While "Get Stoned", their first single off of Extreme Behavior, their major-label debut, was a hit, it wasn't explosive, but it was enough to make the album debut at #6 on the Billboard 200. That changed when "Lips of an Angel" was released. One word described their rise after that song: meteoric. To put it simply, you could not escape that song. Topping multiple charts and staying there for a while, it was ubiquitous. The other two singles off of the album ("How Long" and "Better than Me") soon followed suit and managed to essentially take over the airwaves for this band, and this was all enough to propel the parent album to triple-platinum sales. Hinder was one of the biggest modern rock acts on the planet at this time. Take It to the Limit, their 2008 followup, debuted even higher at #4, and while its main singles "Use Me" and "Without You" weren't quite as huge as "Lips of an Angel", they still filled up rock radio. That being said, it was obvious that the band had slid some, as it took forever to even reach Gold and has still not reached Platinum; some of this may have been their move towards a sound more reminiscent of Hair Metal as opposed to the hard rock-tinged post-grunge of Extreme Behavior.
2010's All American Nightmare was the first sign of serious trouble, as both of its singles barely charted and the album itself only debuted at #37; while plenty of bands would still see this as a big success, it was a massive slide from where they were. Not only did this not correct itself by 2012, but Welcome to the Freakshow, their fourth major-label album, didn't even make the Top 200, and "Save Me", the lead single, charted even smaller. Sales were so bad that their major label Republic Records unceremoniously dropped them. While still around, the band has gone from playing massive arenas and being all over the airwaves to playing small clubs with other has-beens and barely making the charts, and their music is viewed as emblematic of everything that was wrong with modern rock in the mid-2000s and early 2010s: trashy, misogynistic, childishly hedonistic, and generally moronic, and when people refer to an act as "buttrock", they're talking about bands like Hinder. The final nail in the coffin was when frontman and founder Austin Winkler left the band due to his drug issues. Now signed to The End Records, an (admittedly large-ish) independent record label, they are set to release their fifth album When The Smoke Clears with a complete unknown on vocals. The music video for their single "Hit the Ground" has gotten a whopping 43,071 views since its release and has not charted anywhere; additionally, the band had to crowdfund the album just to try and build some buzz due to generally nonexistent promotion. Also, it's pretty much well-known by now that "Lips of an Angel" is about a man pining for his wife despite his other girlfriend being in the next room, and saying he has to whisper even though he belts out the chorus.....in other words, it's a song that's all about cheating. Suffice to say, Hinder is a forgotten act and a punchline of how bad rock music got in the '00s.
- Hootie & the Blowfish came out of nowhere in 1994 with their debut album Cracked Rear View, which went on to become one of the biggest albums of the '90s, selling 16 million copies by the end of the decade. Their brand of twang-infused roots rock was seen as an antidote to the Darker and Edgier attitudes of grunge that many Americans, especially those in the heartland, had grown disaffected with by that point. That same style, of course, seriously grated on rock fans, who viewed Hootie as a slap in the face to alternative rock, writing and playing a watered-down mockery of folk rock that all sounded the same and had zero creativity. Allegations that they ripped off the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind" for one of their biggest hits, "Only Wanna Be With You" (which they ultimately settled out of court), only made the criticisms that much louder. While they released two more platinum-selling albums that decade, neither one came close to the success of Cracked Rear View, while their two albums in the '00s (as well as frontman Darius Rucker's attempt at a solo R&B career) sank without a trace. By the end of the '90s, "Hootie Sucks" shirts had become a common sight. While Rucker has since enjoyed solo success in Country Music, recording songs not too dissimilar from his Hootie days and where that sort of earnestness was more at home, Hootie & the Blowfish has largely been forgotten by their former fans, and is still loathed by rock fans as a shining example of the worst sort of bland, milquetoast, easy-listening rock music.
- Job For A Cowboy exploded from out of nowhere and without any label help in late 2005 when they released the Doom EP; while they had been a name on MySpace for a while, they never went beyond regional players until it dropped. With nothing but a demo and an EP under their belt and having only been around for just a little bit over two years, they got a deal with Metal Blade Records (who rereleased Doom, giving it far greater reach) and began touring relentlessly. Anticipation for their full-length debut had reached the boiling point; when Genesis hit in 2007, it debuted at #54 on the Billboard 200, selling 13,000 copies in its first week. This was the highest-selling debut from a heavy band since Slipknot released their self-titled in 1999, ergo it was an extremely impressive start. Reactions were mixed, however, as they had abandoned the deathcore style that had made them famous in the first place in favor of a straightforward death metal sound. People who hated Doom tended to like it, while the fans of Doom were all over the place on it. It was clear that they weren't going away, however, as they toured constantly in support of it and found placement on many high-profile touring and festival bills. 2009's Ruination was an even deeper plunge into death metal, which made it clear that, despite the pleas of the Doom fans, they weren't going back to that sound ever again. Debuting at #42 and selling 10,600 copies in its first week, it quickly became clear that their change in direction was going over better critically than it was commercially. This became all too clear in 2012, when Demonocracy debuted at #87 and sold 4,900 copies in its first week despite being the best-reviewed album of their career. After a year and a half of frequent (but not AS frequent) touring, they stopped playing shows altogether after the 2013 Mayhem Fest, with the Word of God being that they were buckling down to write a new album.
After over a year of nothing other than studio updates, fans wondered what the hell was going on. Finally, a new song was posted in October of 2014 that made it clear that they were making yet another change of sound, this time to something even further from Doom. While Sun Eater wound up being critically lauded and won them no small amount of respect from the metal community (which had previously been indifferent about them at best and actively despised them at worst), it only debuted at #115 and sold 3,900 copies in its opening week, and they still have not played any shows in support of the album. While they have finally gained the respect that they never saw until this point and do still have a lot of dedicated fans, the deathcore crowd has completely abandoned them and tends to look upon them as sellouts, and when you compare their current status of the rest of their original peers (Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, All Shall Perish, Despised Icon), it's a jarring contrast. While they certainly aren't going away any time soon, they will never be half as big as they once were again.
- The Jonas Brothers (consisting of brothers Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas) were the face (well, the first one) of the Boy Band revival movement. Sponsored (though not manufactured) by Disney, they scored a massive following with young girls with their good looks and their supposed premise of being a pop punk band. Songs like "SOS" and "Burnin' Up" were huge hits on the pop charts, and they were able to sell over 18 million albums worldwide in just a couple of years. They also took part in acting on the Disney Channel, starring in Camp Rock alongside Demi Lovato, and they eventually got their own show called Jonas, and later Jonas L.A.. Unfortunately for them, they built up such a massive hatedom on the internet right from the get-go that they could have been described as the late-'00s version of N Sync. On forums, they were treated with nothing but scorn and were subject to constant ridicule in many parodies. This would come back to bite them hard, since the girls that flocked to them grew older or left them for the fast-rising Justin Bieber. This left only the hatedom to remain. Touring eventually died down because no one wanted to see them, Jonas L.A. was unceremoniously cancelled due to low ratings, and they faded into near-obscurity. And by then, even their hatedom had shifted their focus over to Bieber. In 2013, they released their first single in years, "Pom Poms," in hopes of reclaiming the crown they lost to Bieber, but by then it was too late, as even he wasn't the reigning idol anymore. On top of the world now was a new face of the Boy Band movement — One Direction. That October, they broke up for good, but the response averted And There Was Much Rejoicing — by that point, they had long since been irrelevant to the extent where most people didn't even know about it. Although Face of the Band Nick Jonas has since gone on a solo career (producing Billboard hits such as "Jealous" and "Chains"), and has found success in acting (starring in the drama series Kingdom), he has been very careful to distance himself from his involvement with Disney and the Jonas Brothers. As it stands, the Jonas Brothers are seen as yet another victim of the Disney Star Machine that has been going on for at least 60 years, and an act forgotten by even their former fans.
- Limp Bizkit. Around the Turn of the Millennium, they were one of the most popular bands in America, garnering tremendous commercial success and helping to bring Nu Metal into the mainstream with their 1999 album Significant Other and 2000 follow-up Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water. However, the band's popularity rapidly collapsed in the early-mid '00s, with their 2003 album Results May Vary regarded as being not only a Creator Killer, but also a Genre-Killer for nu metal in general. Though their 2011 comeback album Gold Cobra saw some success, debuting at number 16 on the Billboard 200 list and becoming the band's best acclaimed album by far, they haven't come close to returning to their peak. Nowadays, they're seen as emblematic of everything that was wrong with nu metal and a general punchline for jokes about the '90s. While they are still touring, they've gone from playing arenas to mid-sized theaters and large clubs with support acts that are more than likely the ones who are attracting most of the ticket sales (Machine Gun Kelly in particular), and "Endless Slaughter", their most recent single off of the oft-delayed Stampede of the Disco Elephants, was met with near-unanimous derision and was widely decried as an incoherent, nonsensical mess. In fact, almost all of their touring nowadays is overseas, since touring back home dried simply because nobody wanted to see them. It's telling that, even with nu metal starting to make something of a return to acceptability (even if it isn't as prominent as it was back in its original run), Limp Bizkit is still despised and treated as a joke by most people, even those who otherwise don't mind the genre.
- The Welsh rock band Lostprophets hit it big in 2004 with their album Start Something, which was a trans-Atlantic success that earned them acclaim and, for a long time, was viewed as a modern rock classic. While their American popularity faded, they were still huge in the UK, with their subsequent albums all doing well and the band winning and being nominated for several Kerrang! Awards. Then the band collapsed overnight in 2012 when frontman Ian Watkins was exposed as a predatory child molester, after being arrested for and subsequently confessing to several counts of heinous crimes that we will not be detailing here. The band broke up immediately, the other members forming No Devotion with Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly, and nowadays liking Lostprophets will often get you funny looks from everyone else in the room.
- In 1989 and 1990, German pop duo Milli Vanilli was one of the biggest pop acts on the planet. Best known for their hit single "Blame It On The Rain", the group managed to sell over six million copies of their North American debut album Girl You Know It's True over the course of a few months. In February of 1990 they were awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. They were on top of the world.
There was just one problem, though: the duo's members, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice "Fab" Morvan, didn't actually sing their own material on the album. Over the course of 1990, after a series of onstage lip-synching mistakes (highlighted by a Repetitive Audio Glitch) and an MTV interview in which they displayed a spectacularly poor grasp of the English language (much worse than on their album), rumors began to circulate that Pilatus and Morvan weren't the real singers. When their manager confessed in November 1990 that the rumors were true, there was a huge public backlash against the band, with 27 lawsuits demanding refunds being filed, their Grammy Award being revoked, and Arista Records deleting their music from their archives, putting them out of print (probably the highest-selling act to do so). Milli Vanilli's popularity collapsed overnight, and for the next several years they were only brought up as the butt of jokes by stand-up comedians. They would not make headlines again until 1998, when Pilatus was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in a hotel room. Morvan continues to pursue pop stardom, on his own terms, to this day.
- The MuzikMafia, a singer-songwriter aggregation spearheaded by the duo Big & Rich. After a few years of underground work in Nashville, the MuzikMafia scene exploded in 2004 with Gretchen Wilson's #1 smash "Redneck Woman" and Big & Rich's "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" becoming hits within a few months of each other. Big & Rich were praised for their unabashed rock influences, their take-no-prisoners approach that mixed elements of hard rock and rap into mainstream country, and their tongue-in-cheek humor, while Gretchen was praised as the new voice of women in country music after a dry spell (no song by a solo female country act went to #1 in all of 2003; in addition, "Redneck Woman" was the first #1 hit for Epic Records Nashville since 1998). They were also known for their wildly varied live shows featuring both musical and non-musical acts, including little person comedian Two-Foot Fred, a poet named Spoken Word Jen, and a painter named Rachel Kice. John Rich, one half of the duo (and previously a member of Lonestar on their first two albums), also co-wrote and produced much of the MuzikMafia's material, as well as writing several Top 10 hits for Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill among others. Big & Rich's and Wilson's debut albums, Horse of a Different Color and Here for the Party respectively, were multi-platinum smashes. Other acts in the Mafia, such as Country Rapper Cowboy Troy, scored underground success without radio hits, and the group's label, Raybaw Records, released a well-received but unsuccessful album from former 80's and early 90's hitmaker John Anderson (of "Swingin'" and "Seminole Wind" fame).
But between 2005 and 2008, the wheels started coming off. First, Gretchen hit a Sophomore Slump from which she never recovered: the lead single and title track to her second album "All Jacked Up" zoomed to #8 in less than two months and quickly reversed course, and none of its other singles went anywhere. Epic sold its Nashville division to Columbia Records after that album's cycle. Gretchen released only one dud album for Columbia, followed by two unsuccessful singles (one of which didn't even chart) for a never-released fourth album before Columbia rushed out a Greatest Hits Album and gave her the boot. Big & Rich had no big hits off their second album (Comin' to Your City) despite decent sales, and their third album (Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace), despite landing them their only #1 hit with the Black Sheep Hit "Lost in This Moment" in 2007, was a commercial and critical flop. In addition, many of the critics felt that the MuzikMafia acts were starting to sound tired and no longer had the same sense of fun as before. Rich kept himself active independently of the Mafia by collaborating with everyone from Bon Jovi to Jewel as a producer and/or songwriter, in addition to appearing on The Apprentice and judging on the singing competition Nashville Star. The MuzikMafia's label (Raybaw Records) closed, causing James Otto to be a One-Hit Wonder with "Just Got Started Lovin' You" only a couple months later. Ultimately, Big & Rich went on hiatus so that Big Kenny, the other half of the duo, could recover from a neck injury. Wilson quietly released a few well-received independent country-rock albums, but "Work Hard, Play Harder" was the only semi-hit from any of them (and even so, this was mainly due to it also being the subject of a lawsuit by rock group The Black Crowes). Big Kenny and John Rich both released solo albums during their hiatus, and Rich scored a minor hit with the Protest Song "Shuttin' Detroit Down", but its Unintentional Period Piece nature meant that it had an extremely short shelf life. In addition, former MuzikMafia member Damien Horne started a new band called The Farm (not to be confused with the Madchester group of the same name), who had a minor Top 20 hit in 2011 with "Home Sweet Home".
Big & Rich finally reunited in 2011 for a couple cuts from the soundtrack to the remake of Footloose, and a poorly-received album (Hillbilly Jedi) that was again hit with criticism for sounding tired and forced. It seems they finally got the message, as upon their departure from Warner Bros. Records in 2014, the duo released the more serious album Gravity. This album was praised by critics, and it netted them their first bona fide hit in years with "Look at You". Whether this is a sign of things to come for Big & Rich remains to be seen, but it's still obvious that the wild and crazy days of the MuzikMafia are behind them.
- Canadian rock group Nickelback exploded on the scene in 2001 with their album Silver Side Up, with its lead single "How You Remind Me" topping the charts for four weeks and being named the biggest single of 2002. It was also the most played song on American radio stations through the entire decade! As reigning rock band Creed was starting to face massive Hype Backlash, Chad Kroeger and his band were looking to inherit the throne from them. Silver Side Up would go on to sell more than six million copies in the United States alone. As the band went to work on their next album, Kroeger remained in the spotlight by recording a song for the Spider-Man soundtrack. "Hero", a collaboration with Saliva's Josey Scott, became another massive hit on both the rock and pop charts. 2003's The Long Road gave Nickelback yet another hit album and another crossover hit with "Someday." In 2005, the band would release All The Right Reasons, which became their first #1 album and marked the peak of their career. To date, it has sold almost eight million copies in the US, producing a whopping five crossover hits: "Photograph", "Savin' Me", "Far Away", "If Everyone Cared", and "Rockstar", plus a number of other rock-specific radio hits like "Animals". By that point, Nickelback could be said to have defined rock music in the '00s as much as Nirvana did in the '90s.
In 2008, signs of fatigue were starting to show. Despite its success, All The Right Reasons got a lukewarm reception from critics (its Metacritic score was only 41 out of 100). 2008's Dark Horse, while slightly outdoing its predecessor in terms of first-week sales (only missing #1 because of Beyoncé's new album), tumbled down the charts quickly, and its singles "Gotta Be Somebody" and "If Today Was Your Last Day", while hits, were not smashes the way their older hits were. Worst of all, though, the group was starting to become one of the biggest Snark Bait targets on the internet, with many rock fans holding nothing but unbridled hate for the band as a mockery of true rock music whose continued success was leaving the genre stagnant. Their 2011 release Here & Now, despite gaining a viral YouTube Poop from cs188 and just narrowly missing out the #1 spot to Michael Buble, would fail to produce any hits and barely make it past platinum. The bottom completely fell out in 2014 when their New Sound Album No Fixed Address flat-out bombed. It sold only 60,000 copies in its opening week and looks unlikely to even go gold. Nowadays, any mention of the name "Nickelback" will provoke nothing but laughter and memories of how the biggest band in the world turned into a complete joke. In fact, if you were to ask a rock fan why rock music had declined from the mainstream, there's a good chance they'll blame Nickelback for it.
- The Osmonds: In the early 1970s they were literally the biggest band on Earth: a truly commercial success that spawned both hit singles as well as a family TV show. They were even considered to be the main rival of The Jackson Five. Yet the band called it quits around 1973. Nowadays the Osmond members are literally forgotten by anyone who isn't old enough to remember the 1970s. Seeing their bubblegum pop music is not exactly the greatest music around they are nothing but Nostalgia Filter for people from that generation.
- Out of all the Hinder clones, none of them are more Deader than Disco than Saving Abel. They went from the biggest new artist on Mainstream Rock radio in 2008, whose song "Addicted" became a surprise crossover hit, to a laughingstock in a matter of three years.
- The Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed metal bands in existence during the '90s. However, the departure of their charismatic lead vocalist (Max Cavalera), coupled with the band's perceived pandering to the Nu Metal trend of that era (ironic when you consider that Roots came out a little before the Nu-Metal movement really took off), caused a rapid decline in their popularity. Today, the band is forgotten by all but a few loyal and dedicated fans, despite how popular and influential they were during the 90's.
- Their first four albums are almost universally revered among metal fans, however, and Chaos A.D. (despite being a bit of a Base Breaker) also has many fans - some of which even consider it to be their overall best album despite the stylistic shift. Roots, on the other hand, is now remembered mostly for the nostalgia factor present among those who loved it when it came out.
- Shadows Fall, in their heyday, was one of the biggest names in heavy music. While The Art of Balance had put them on the map, 2004's The War Within made them blow up. Along with Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Bleeding Through, and As I Lay Dying, Shadows Fall were among the most prominent practitioners of melodic metalcore, and their mix of classic metallic hardcore, melodic death metal, thrash metal, and glam managed to attract tons of rock fans and disaffected older metal fans who had been alienated by nu metal's simplicity, mindless aggression, and adolescent emotional histrionics. It was practically an overnight success; they went from being huge regional players who were mostly unknown in the rest of the US (let alone the world) to worldwide stars. It also landed them a major-label contract; while Threads of Life failed to sell anywhere near as much as The War Within, they still toured constantly and played to huge audiences.
Their downfall came as deathcore became the new crossover sensation in heavy music, and their problem was twofold: their sound had started to become dated by 2009 or so, and their failure to adapt to the changing landscape (most of their peers were either beginning to flirt with deathcore or were moving towards a more rock-oriented sound) decided their fate, which was hinted at with the similarly lower sales of Retribution. They tried testing the waters of a rock sound with the ballad "Another Hero Lost", but that angered many of their existing fans and failed to attract new ones because the rest of Threads of Life was definitely not something that the average radio rock fan would want to listen to. By 2012, they were largely relegated to a support act, and while Fire from the Sky did okay on the charts, it was pretty clear that they were old news.
After Jon Donais joined Anthrax, the band announced that they were going to do a final tour before going on indefinite hiatus, and the final tour proved to be one of the most effective indicators of how far they had fallen, with disappointing attendances at small venues being the norm. Between Donais' aforementioned spot with Anthrax, Bittner's session career and clinic work, and Fair's current preoccupation with Death Ray Vision and the occasional Overcast show (which, while restricted to New England, is easily capable of selling out venues there, which Shadows Fall was not able to do on their farewell tour in their home territory, let alone elsewhere), it's safe to say that they can tell that Shadows Fall is a done deal.
- The Spice Girls were one of the few British pop groups between The Eighties and The New Tens to successfully cross The Pond and make it big in the United States. At their peak from 1996 to 1998, they were everywhere. "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life" were inescapable, "Girl Power" was the slogan of a whole generation of tween girls, and the movie Spice World was an inexplicable blockbuster hit (though it was a HUGE critical disaster). Wikipedia's article on them refers to that period of time, unironically, as "Spicemania". They remain the highest-selling Girl Group of all time even after their backlash... and oh, what a backlash. By 2000 Geri Halliwell was long gone from the group, their album Forever was shaping up to be nothing short of a disappointment, and all of the remaining members were pursuing solo careers. Today, the band is chiefly remembered for its campiness and flamboyance, and its members are better known for their work and lives after the Spice Girls, though they almost always still have "Former Spice Girl" attached to their name at some point. The only one to remain in the public eye (outside the US at least) is Victoria Beckham, who married soccer player David Beckham.
- The Wanted were never massive to begin with, but were able to establish themselves as a popular group in the UK; in the U.S., not so much. They were billed as part of a "new wave" of Boy Bands alongside One Direction, and scored a massive American hit in 2012 with "Glad You Came". There was just one problem: at the time of their American breakthrough, four out of The Wanted's five members were in their early 20s, and the group was starting to get a little too old to market themselves as a boy band. Still, they kept firmly targeted at the teen market, and the "fangirl" demographic didn't show interest in the group whereas other audiences were alienated by the boy band premise. A controversy erupted shortly after "Glad You Came" peaked in where one of the group's members made an offensive comment about Christina Aguilera, which precipitated their downfall. The band's generic dance-pop sound led to poor album sales in the U.S., and because the genre was starting to get tons of backlash at that point, radio quickly gave up on them. However, the main factor that brought their demise was the existence of One Direction themselves, whose younger members, nicer personalities, and more unique sound helped win over teenage girls in ways that The Wanted couldn't.
- Winds of Plague, while never massive, were hardly a small name at the same time; in the crowded playing field of deathcore, their mix of symphonic black metal and hardcore managed to make them stand out and won them a fair amount of crossover appeal with the Hot Topic crowd, and while Decimate the Weak started out as a blip on the charts, they managed to quickly work their way up, getting high placement on numerous touring and festival bills and just generally looking like hard work would pay off for them. 2009's The Great Stone War took a more serious, less party-oriented turn, and while it charted well, fan reaction was lukewarm and they quickly returned to the style and aesthetic of their first album, resulting in Against the World, their highest-charting album. That being said, their decision to have Ultimate Warrior guest on a spoken-word interlude was seen as more than a little ridiculous, and they began to quickly lose fans as it became clear that they had no clue what the hell they wanted to be. The black metal elements had been relegated to some faint, inconsequential keyboard textures, the hardcore influences were of the sort that most dedicated hardcore fans would despise, and the wiggeriness that had always been present had reached hilarious, near-self-parody levels with this album.
Desperate to keep their foothold, they decided to cater to the hardcore crowd (who were largely the only people who were still buying their albums and going to their shows; the deathcore kids had long since abandoned them), and the result, 2013's Resistance, was the death of their career. Not only did it barely chart, but reviews were scathing at best, show attendances grew worse and worse, and the touring (which was once relentless) simply dried up because no one wanted to see them. While they're still around, they're barely doing anything at this point, and a breakup seems likely. A cautionary tale in what happens when you stretch your sound too thin in an effort to avoid being pigeonholed, fail to attract a truly cohesive fanbase, and then frantically try and attract the part of the fanbase that looks like it's the most likely to stick around when things start to go south and descend into self-parody as a result, Winds of Plague is one of the best examples of why creating an identity that can comfortably adapt to changing circumstances when you're part of a trend is a must.
- Woe, Is Me was never a big name in the field of metalcore, but they built up a strong cult following with their mixture of metalcore, post-hardcore, and atmospheric electronica with a Soprano and Gravel dynamic between vocalists Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn. Their debut album Number[s] put them on the maps, hitting #16 on the Heatseekers chart, and they worked their way up festival bills while getting steady exposure on Hot Topic.
Unfortunately, due to Creative Differences, Tyler Carter was unceremoniously fired from the band, and co-vocalist Michael Bohn left soon afterwards. The band took a huge blow to their identity, since the faces were gone. Things got even worse for them, since those two vocalists formed Issues, which quickly rose up the metal scene with their innovative mix of metalcore, Nu Metal, and Pop music. Many of their fans started migrating over to Issues, and their crowds got smaller and smaller. After this, WIM started to enter the Revolving Door Band zone, with all the original members leaving (with the exception of rhythm guitarist Kevin Hanson and drummer Austin Thornton), effectively making it a completely different band. The bottom completely fell out when they released their second album, the deathcore-tinged Genesi[s], which had pitifully low sales and was mostly ignored. It actually did manage to chart on the Billboard 200... charting at #167. To add insult to injury, Issues' debut EP, released just a week before charted higher... 71 spaces highernote . Making matters worse for them was the fact that rumors were going around about them being on cocaine, which further hurt their already damaged image. In 2013, their drummer Austin Thornton left the band, and after releasing an EP (which did not chart), the band broke up entirely, all because no one wanted to see them anymore since they were just a hollow shell of its former self and all of their fans migrated over to Issues. The final nail in the coffin was when Issues released their debut Self-Titled Album, which hit the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, and immediately established themselves as being bigger than Woe, Is Me ever was. Nowadays, WIM is remembered almost entirely as "Tyler and Michael's former band", merely a footnote to a description of a much larger band. Woe, Is Me indeed.
- Neil Young's 1979 song "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" from Rust Never Sleeps was the source of the line "It's better to burn out than to fade away", which quickly became a popular Badass Boast and Shout-Out both in music and beyond (e.g. Highlander). But that ended after Kurt Cobain famously used it in his suicide note in 1994. Since then, Neil places greater emphasis on the line "Once you're gone, you can't come back."
- Before performing a cover of Madonna's "Material Girl" in one of her 2009 concerts, Sarah Slean remarked that it was a song emblematic of 1980s greed and that it sounded grotesque in the era of The Great Recession. (Apparently, no one ever told her that "Material Girl" actually amounts to a repudiation of that lifestyle if you listen closely to the lyrics and watch the video. In fact, it's the combination of that particular Misaimed Fandom and the fact that "the Material Girl" became the media's default nickname for her that had led to Madonna being more than a little sick of the song.)
- "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies was the best-selling song of 1969. Today, when it is remembered, it's used to show that there was bad pop music in every decade, not just in today's music; such as on A Dose Of Buckley, for example.
- The classic Christmas song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" was actually seen as progressive in its day, due to the woman choosing to stay with the man despite what the neighbors might say about her reputation. To younger generations, however, it's probably better known for its questionably Date Rape-y lyrics than anything else, and as a result, it's seen as a song about a man pressuring a woman into sex and possibly drugging her to do so. (It's essential to note that the date rape feeling is caused by looking at the lyrics as if they were written today. The way the woman never actually says she doesn't want to stay the night was unusually forward according to the values of the time. "What's in this drink?" was originally the woman's attempt to blame her behaviour on the alcohol.) Many modern covers of the song either Bowdlerise it or play it with tongue firmly in cheek.
- A more modern Christmas example would be the Band Aid 5 & Band Aid 20 versions of "Do They Know It's Christmas?". They were definitely not as successful as the original, but the former managed to top the UK & Ireland charts, & the latter was more successful, becoming a hit in multiple countries & repeating the original's feat of topping the end-of-year charts in the UK. However, when the causes they stood for at the time are put aside, they didn't hold up in terms of popularity like the original over the years. The original was a definite Love It or Hate It affair, with some finding both the concept & the song itself questionable (Africa has a pretty large Christian population; many of them do have calendars and know it is Christmas, but celebrate it as a reverent holiday rather than the Western's commercial-faced gift-giving celebration), but those who liked it genuinely thought well of it, so much that any re-recording was bound to be negatively compared to the original. 5 dated extremely fast to the point of being absolutely cringeworthy now, while 20 is considered a forgettable So Okay, It's Average number at best. Time will tell if this also applies to the Band Aid 30 recording.
- Megadeth's two "Hangar 18"-themed songs ("Hangar 18" and "Return To Hangar") have this happen to the fictional "Hangar 18" facility. In "Hangar 18," it's a thriving, high-powered cryogenics laboratory with state of the art technology and excellent security. In the song's "sequel," however, it's a forgotten wasteland, abandoned when a team of cryogenic test subjects broke free and wreaked havoc on the facility. The song's rather dark and dreary tone (compared with the original's more upbeat and energetic tone) helps to represent this unfortunate turn of events.