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New Sound Album
"This album shocked fans by not sounding exactly like our previous album ... Which in turn didn't sound like the previous album, which also didn't sound like the album before that... etc..."

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

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

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

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

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


Examples

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    Bands and Artists 0-G 
  • You may remember the group 4hero for the breakbeat techno song "Mr Kirk's Nightmare" back in the early 90's. Well, in 2007, following a six-year hiatus, they made a complete Genre Shift to downtempo and nu-jazz with the appropriately named Play with the Changes.
  • "A" went for a similar trend-chasing shift from unique melodic punkiness to full on Offspring / Green Day style pop-punk... and subverted it by actually being quite good, recognisably the same Beach Boys -inspired band that made How Ace Are Buildings and A Vs Monkey Kong, and scoring some commercial success. Then subverting it even harder by sticking with a slight refinement of the same theme for Teen Dance Ordinance, somehow getting nowhere with anyone, and splitting out of frustration.
  • Aerosmith's Permanent Vacation saw the band employing outside songwriters for the first time and switching to the slicker, poppier, MTV-ready sound that would distinguish their later-period work, all while keeping their blues-based Hard Rock roots intact.
    • Indeed, for about 25 years, they just kept exploring the same hard rock/blues rock material they started with, refining and adding elements of pop rock, funk, hip hop, whatever they could, with varying degrees of success. That was all progression. Just Push Play on the other hand definitely seems to count.
  • AFI started off as a derivative hardcore punk band (a la Black Flag) but switched to a blend of post-hardcore, Emo, hardcore punk and alternative rock (exemplified with 1999's 'Black Sails In The Sunset'), they then perfected that new sound with 'Sing The Sorrow' (one of the key albums of early 2000's post-hardcore) and 'Decemberunderground' and have now gone to straightforward Punk with 'Crash Love' and back to The Sisters of Mercy-style operatic rock with 'Burials'.
  • The All-American Rejects started as a pop-punk band similar to blink-182. With "When the World Comes Down", they had more emphasis on the pop, and Kids in the Street had more emphasis on the punk.
  • Daniel Amos started off in 1975 with a self-titled country album. They considered themselves a rock band, with the country just being a temporary phase, so their followup Shotgun Angel mixed it with an ambitious rock opera. It was their third album, Horrendous Disc, that signalled their complete abandonment of country, and let fans know to expect more surprises in the future.
  • Tori Amos - Her three albums The Beekeeper, American Doll Posse, and Abnormally Attracted to Sin depart from her signature piano-based sound. The Beekeeper is a mixture of baroque pop and blue-eyed soul, American Doll Posse is alternative rock, and Abnormally Attracted to Sin is a mixture of electronica, baroque pop, and alternative rock. May fans dislike those albums (especially The Beekeeper). Also, her last three albums from the '90s count too. Boys for Pele is very minimalistic; the majority of songs on the album lack a bassline and a drum beat. From the Choirgirl Hotel is a mixture of electronica and alternative rock. To Venus and Back is even more electronic. These albums however, are way more popular with fans.
  • Infamous grindcore band Anal Cunt, who made it their mission to offend everyone with over-the-top aggressive lyrics condoning racism, homophobia, sexism, violence, etc., put out Picnic of Love, the most deliberately inoffensive album ever. In place of songs like "Women: Nature's Punching Bag," we're treated to songs such as "I Respect Your Feelings as a Woman and a Human." Aside from the lyrics, the music, itself, is also considerably Lighter and Softer, featuring acoustic guitars and Seth Putnam's signature squealing and screaming is replaced with an almost Elmo-esque falsetto.
  • Every single album Animal Collective ever released did that.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk were originally straight-up Industrial EBM, but went into the Lighter and Softer Futurepop subgenre starting with Welcome to Earth, and with their latest two albums, You and Me Against the World and Rocket Science, they completely jumped ship to indie-style synth rock.
  • Aqua's third album, Megalomania, was a major shift from their usual light-hearted Eurodance into a more "grown-up" electropop sound. It was not well-received: as a critic put it, "they now sound like every other generic dance-pop outfit out there", and some old fans mockingly call the band "Black Eyed Peas 2.0".
  • The Aquabats!, on their 1999 album The Aquabats vs. the Floating Eye of Death, radically changed direction from the ska style of their first two albums (released in 1996 and 1997), featuring no ska and a reduced use of brass instruments in favor of guitar and keyboard-driven New Wave-influenced rock and punk. The band continues to maintain this style, and in 2005, they released Charge!!, the first album which not only introduced a smaller five-member line-up but didn't feature any of the horns they once used in the '90s.
  • Arctic Monkeys' Humbug, a Pink Floyd-influenced psychedelic album, quite different from the frantic garage-rock of their previous material.
    • Their 2011 album Suck It And See is also much softer change from their earlier sound.
    • Their latest album AM is sort of a cross between Humbug and Suck It and See, with some R&B influences.
  • Death Metal band Autopsy did this constantly. The debut Severed Survival was fast and thrashy, while Mental Funeral was much more slow and doomy. Third album Acts of the Unspeakable moved more in the direction of Grindcore and Shitfun was basically Hardcore Punk.
  • Avenged Sevenfold started as pure Metalcore on "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet" before adding cleaner vocals on their sophomore album "Waking the Fallen". But their biggest change came on "City of Evil", which contained clear vocals and musically mixed old-school Thrash Metal with the melodic ferocity, breakdowns, and Pop Punk/Post-Hardcore elements of modern-day Metalcore. Their self titled album continued in this direction, although it was more polished. This rankled some fans, as well as having many examples of an Out-of-Genre Experience such as the Danny Elfman style "A Little Piece of Heaven" and the country ballad "Dear God". "Nightmare" was released after the death of drummer "The Rev" and was more reflective, as well as featuring a piano ballad called "Fiction" and the pure Metalcore (screamed lyrics and all) of "God Hates Us". Finally, there's "Hail to the King" - which has been described by lead singer M Shadows as "more Blues Rock-influenced and more like classic rock and classic metal in the vein of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin".
  • Backseat Goodbye and The Good Years. It diverges from his previous sound of pop-folk to a more solid folk-country (with pop elements). Some people thought it sucked, some were like "cool, whatever."
  • Bad Religion did this in Into The Unknown, then went back again to their old style, progressing into a new sound in a more subtle way. They made another big change in The New America, and their fanbase still argues if it's a great record or if it's a case of They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
    • Into the Unknown has since become the band's Old Shame, to the point that it is the only one of their early albums not to be reissued on CD.
  • The Beach Boys evolved pretty gradually away from surf-rock, but fully went baroque pop with what's considered their masterpiece, Pet Sounds (which sadly didn't have "Good Vibrations" on it). They went back to simplicity later due to intra-band conflict and drug abuse.
  • The Beastie Boys have done this a few times. First with Paul's Boutique they moved away from their more rap-oriented sound into eclectic genre hopping. Check Your Head and Ill Communication saw the band return to their roots as a late 70's hardcore punk band, resulting in a more alternative rock sound. Hello Nasty returned the band to rap, but added influences electronica and club dance music. To the 5 Boroughs featured a return to a more alternative rap sound. From what little that's been heard of their upcoming Hot Sauce Committee album, it seems that they're continuing with a more stripped down version of what they were doing on To the 5 Boroughs.
  • The Beatles did it twice. Starting with Revolver they dove headfirst into trippy, catchy psychedelic rock, and then with The White Album they went back to straightforward rock.
  • BECK, on every single album.
    • From Guero onward, he's no longer been radically changing his sound on each release: but maybe it only seems that way, because (by now) he's already explored every possible genre.
  • Behemoth started incorporating Death Metal into their mostly up to that point Black Metal sound in the album Satanica, and have continued this movement on each subsequent album
  • Dierks Bentley recorded a bluegrass album, Up on the Ridge, in 2010. It was a radical departure from his mainstream country music sound. Although the album netted him the most critical acclaim of his career, its singles completely failed to take off at radio. The album is also notable for being his first with Jon Randall as producer instead of Brett Beavers; Randall also produced the next album, Home, which is more in line with Dierks' usual style.
  • Beyoncé did this with "4", moving away (not entirely, but largely) from hip-hop and dance music, going more towards old-style R'n'B and orchestral music.
  • When Black Flag started they were a regular 2-minute Hardcore Punk band (all of their early singles/extended plays and the Damaged album); when they broke up they had 10 minute free style jazz jams (The Process of Weeding Out instrumental EP) and a more heavy metal/hard rock sound (the Loose Nut and In My Head albums in particular).
    • The bands second LP, My War, released a little more than two years after Damaged, featured three 6 minute songs on the B-side that later influenced the sludge metal genre.
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club started out with a loud, aggressive "rock revival" sound with noise rock and psychedelic influences. With Howl, they suddenly shifted to an acoustic-based Americana folk-rock sound influenced by blues, country and gospel. Baby 81 returned to the rock sound, and after the ambient instrumental album The Effects of 333, Beat the Devil's Tattoo was a sort of middle ground between the two sounds.
  • Black Sabbath's first six albums were based on huge heavy riffs with bits of sophistication sprinkled on top. Their sixth album Sabotage features the heaviest Black Sabbath song, "Symptom of the Universe", which is often considered to be the first thrash song. Their seventh album, Technical Ectasy? A great deal of the heaviness was gone, as well as the general apocolyptica that was dominent in Sabbath's earlier work and set them apart.
  • Black Veil Brides switched from Metalcore to modern day Hair Metal on their second album, and have stuck with this ever since.
  • blink-182 did this with their 2003 self-titled album. The band wanted to make a "serious" album after years of pop-punk and lighthearted lyrics about proms and humping dogs. The result of this was an emo/post hardcore-influenced sound.
    • Also, when frontman Tom Delonge went on to form Angels & Airwaves, which was radically different in nature from Blink.
  • Bloc Party's debut album Silent Alarm was well received and known for its heavy use of guitars and was generally considered an example of a good indie album. As the band's career progressed they released A Weekend in the City and Intimacy, two albums with increasingly dancier music and less emphasis on guitars and other standard indie fare.
  • Bloodrock started out as a hard rock band, albeit one that frequently employed Progressive Rock-esque organ playing and Epic Rocking. Passage saw them adopting a full-on prog rock sound without much use of distorted guitar, partially due to vocalist Jim Rutledge and lead guitarist Lee Pickens leaving the group and vocalist / flute player Warren Ham joining. The new sound stuck until their breakup one album later, and the newer lineup of the band had Creator Backlash towards much of their earlier material, especially morbid Signature Song "D.O.A.".
  • blur started as a roughly Madchester-style band with Leisure, before transitioning to Britpop with Modern Life Is Rubbish. Their later career basically consisted of three of these: Blur took inspiration from American indie rock and lo-fi bands such as Pavement, 13 continued into more experimental territory, and Think Tank was kind of like 13, but with more electronic influences.
  • Boards of Canada's first two main releases, Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi, which were laden with warm synthesizer sounds, were both greatly adored and critically acclaimed albums. Their third release, The Campfire Headphase which utilized guitar and a more pastoral sound, was released to a mixed reception. However, their fourth album, Tomorrow's Harvest, went back to their original sound.
  • Bon Jovi had two, maybe justified as the lineup underwent a slight change and lead singer/writer Jon aged and mellowed a little - and they went after the changing tastes of ladies more their own age (Hair Metal always being, in the end, all about the ladies)... but, the stylistic shift experienced between the classic but ironically titled Keep The Faith, and newer, poppier, mushier Crush (with "These Days" as a confused, halfway turning point, and "Crossroads" being a sort of "this is the Best Of the OLD Bon Jovi, now watch as we change it all") is still a heck of a jolt for male fans who enjoyed the heavier, more traditional rock flavour of their first 15 or so years. Those two start the Broken Base, with women (stereotypically) liking the new phase and rockers (of both genders) the old one.
    • There is also Lost Highway, the band's attempt at a country album, though most people don't hold it in high regard.
  • Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (just about every new release?)
  • The Boo Radleys did this a lot. Their studio albums went approximately, Shoegazing -> Dub-and-psychedlia-inflected Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly -> melodic pop -> rock -> melodic pop again, but with a bit of big beat thrown in.
  • Japanese stoner metal band Boris seem to shift their style quite frequently. The first album was the hour long drone and noise albums Absolutego and Amplifier Worship then followed with a more post-rock sounding drone album Flood. The following albums Akuma No Uta and Heavy Rocks seem to follow a more stoner metal approach which has become part of their staple sound. They have also released more noise based albums with Merzbow, a J-pop/J-rock album New Album and have experimented with other styles throughout their extensive discography.
    • Taken further with the release of their album Vein which was released in two identical versions that are nearly impossible to tell the difference of. One version of the album is a noise album, and the other version is hardcore punk.
  • David Bowie many times. In order of significant ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, his first self-titled album was 1960s British pop with touches of music hall fare, and then he moved on to...
    • Psychedelic folk (Space Oddity)
    • Heavy Metal (The Man Who Sold the World)
    • Glam Rock (Hunky Dory)
    • Proto-Punk Rock (Ziggy Stardust)
    • Blue-eyed Soul (Young Americans)
    • Electronic proto-Post Punk Krautrock (Low)
    • Goth Rock-influenced New Wave (Scary Monsters and Super Creeps)
    • Top 40 R&B-influenced material (Let's Dance)
    • Hard Rock (The two albums he recorded with Tin Machine)
    • Industrial/electronica (1. Outside)
    • Mainstream alt-rock (Reality)
  • The band Brand New changes their entire style each album. "Your Favorite Weapon" was pure pop punk and emo with quick witted lyrics and power chords. Their follow up "Deja Entendu" was much closer to post-hardcore emo, and featured literary lyrics, more mature song writting and a much darker sound. They than increased the darkness ten fold on "The Devil and God are Raging inside me" which featured an abrasive mix of emo, post-hardcore, screamo, indie folk, and art rock. "Daisy" continued with this sound with more emphasis on the screamo and art rock aspects.
  • Few bands have been as successful with continually updating their sound as Bring Me The Horizon has. Starting out as a rather generic and derivitive Deathcore band on "Count Your Blessings"; they had all the typical trappings of the genre such as breakdowns, pig squealed and high pitched screams. They than made a huge leap forward with "Suicide Season": switching towards straight Metalcore with much improved and more emotional screaming, better use of breakdowns and occasional use of ambient music. They got much more ambitious on their next album "There is a Hell...." which featured more elements of post-rock, Baroque Pop style orchestras, glitched out vocals, and electronic beats. F Inally they surprised everyone with the now critically acclaimed "Sempiternal" which fully integrates their metalcore and electronic sides with more mature song writing to create a unique sound. They now sound like a completely different and much better band.
  • BT has changed sounds several times. His first album Ima was deep/progressive house, then he changed to drum&bass/trance/ambient/trip-hop for ESCM and Movement in Still Life, then Emotional Technology was pop-trance, electro, and rock ballads. This Binary Universe was a complete Genre Shift to experimental ambient and new age material (influenced by Creator Breakdown due to his equipment being stolen and his daughter's kidnapping), then These Hopeful Machines ventured back down the Emotional Technology route, as well as incorporating elements of IDM and glitch-hop. If the Stars Are Eternal So are You and I is an ambient follow-up to TBU.
  • In a case of New Sound Career, after the squeaky-clean British boy band Busted split, member Charlie Simpson formed the critically acclaimed post-hardcore band Fightstar. And then in 2011, while on hiatus from Fightstar, he released his first solo album...a collection of acoustic folk songs.
  • Butthole Surfers were initially known for psychedelic noise rock, but slowly started sliding towards more conventional alternative rock as time went on. The real big change in sound came with Lost Episode album After The Astronaut (and The Weird Revolution, which had revamped versions of many of the same songs) - their sound became much more electronic and danceable, although Word Salad Lyrics and some sophomoric humor remained. The change wasn't entirely out of the blue though - their contribution to the Spawn soundtrack had them working with Moby, while "Whatever (I Had A Dream)" from William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet had a heavy trip-hop influence. Their Black Sheep Hit "Pepper", often compared (or just plain misattributed) to BECK, could be considered a precursor too. And finally, much earlier than any of this, there was The Jackofficers, an obscure and short-lived experimental electronic side project of members Gibby Haynes and Jeff Pinkus, who put out one album in 1990.
  • The Byrds moved from jangly psychedelic pop to traditionalist country rock with Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
  • John Cale reinvented himself several times, perhaps the first noticeable break with tradition being 1979's Sabotage/Live, his response to punk and foreign policy. Then he released an awful 80's pop album, Caribbean Sunset. He then released an album of classical interpretations of his previous catalogue, Fragments of a Rainy Season. More recently he's into hard rock (Circus Live).
  • Mariah Carey is easily this. Her debut album, Mariah Carey incorporated 80s synths with slight R&B dance vibes. It switched to a 50s/60s/70s Disco/Soul vibe in Emotions, which then suddenly changed into Adult Contemporary mellow-sounding ballads for Music Box. Daydream started to lean more towards modern, underground music and incorporated, and fused, pop, R&B, hip-hop and AC. Butterfly later dropped the noticeable Adult Contemporary aspects and went for a heavy R&B/hip-hop sound with slight pop/AC leanings (like 75% R&B/hip-hop, 25% pop). This eventually turned into full R&B/Hip-hop with a bit of pop (90% r&b/hip-hop, 10% pop) during Rainbow, where there was some pop but only because she was really popular at the time. It dropped the AC leanings completely. Then came the infamous Glitter which utilized a myriad of rappers and incorporated a bunch of 80s pop samples creating some weird 80s influence r&b/hip-hop with modern day rap. Then, during Charmbracelet she had slight r&b/hip-hop leanings and returned back to her old AC style only for her to return back to full R&B/Hip-Hop for The Emancipation of Mimi. Then, for E=MC 2, she adopted... whatever was popular in 2008 and used some reggae/dance hall music and returned to a more familiar pop/r&b/hip-hop/dance sound. Finally, for Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel she utilized an R&B style with heavily, electronic instrumentation which had some 80s influences. So, in short, we have:
    • 80s pop with slight R&B/Dance vibes (Mariah Carey)
    • 50s/60s/70s Soul/Disco/Pop (Emotions)
    • Adult Contemporary (Music Box)
    • AC/Pop with some mixture of R&B/Hip-Hop (Daydream)
    • Mostly R&B/Hip-Hop with some pop leanings (Butterfly)
    • Heavily R&B/Hip-Hop with little pop leanings (''Rainbow')
    • 80s R&B/Hip-Hop/Dance Pop with modern day rappers/rap styles (Glitter)
    • AC with some R&B/Hip-Hop leanings (Charmbracelet)
    • Full R&B/Hip-Hop (The Emancipation of Mimi)
    • Current trends in Pop/R&B/Hip-Hop/Dance (E=MC 2)
    • R&B/Hip-Hop with 80s Electronic Keyboards/Synths (Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel)
  • Vanessa Carlton, otherwise known as "that girl who sang A Thousand Miles" to most people, moved away from her pop roots to an indie label for Rabbits on the Run. Only the initial track, Carousel, is reminiscent of the past, and even it hints at the more atmospheric sound that would define the rest of the album. The woman who once sang about chasing after boys now sings about not wanting to be a bride and the distinction between love and marriage.
  • Cave In started out primarily as a metalcore band. With the Creative Eclipses EP and followup album Jupiter, they started embracing more of a Space Rock sound, and lead vocalist Stephen Brodsky started eschewing Harsh Vocals entirely due to fear of damaging his voice. Then Antenna, their only major label album, was another shift towards Alternative Metal, albeit with some hints of space rock remaining. After being dropped from RCA, they started combining elements of all three of the above styles, with bassist Caleb Scofield stepping up to the microphone whenever a song requires Harsh Vocals: Now they could sort of be described as shoegazing alternative metalcore space rock.
  • Celtic Frost started out as a straight-up heavy metal band of the black/death style, with a Venom look. Then they incorporated electronica into their sound, a heresy at the time. Then they came out of nowhere with 'Cold Lake', which had them looking like a hair metal band and with a glam rock sound. Then they came out again with a new school black metal sound, their current incarnation, with a different band member singing and a more Rob Zombie-esque visual look.
  • Chicago is well known for their transition from being an experimental "rock band with horns" in the '70s to a ballad-heavy and synth-heavy band in the '80s, with the transition point being Chicago X, with Throw It In ballad "If You Leave Me Now" becoming their first number 1 hit.
  • Chiodos has done this multiple times. Their first few E Ps were emo-tinged pop rock with some post-hardcore influences, with the first full length album All's Well That Ends Well going straight into post-hardcore territory. The second full length Bone Palace Ballet had more influences from classical music (with some gothic tinges in certain songs). 2010's Illuminaudio is alternative rock with electronic influences.
  • The soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna is very different from that of their previous shows, featuring many heavy metal/hard rock tunes, with touches of electronica/techno elements and their traditional contemporary classical sounds.
  • Clan of Xymox began as Dark Wave, then after their first couple albums renamed themselves Xymox and switched to a Lighter and Softer Alternative Dance type sound. Upon reforming as Clan of Xymox in 1997, they changed style again to straight Goth Rock with minimal synthesizers. They later returned to their goth-electronic roots. Their latest (not counting the Cover Album Kindred Spirits), Darkest Hour, has a gritty, Industrial-influenced sound.
  • The Clash changed their sound with London Calling, moving from outright punk to a heavily reggae and blues influenced sound. The seeds of this were seen on the previous album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, most notably on Julie's Been Working From The Drug Squad that displayed heavy New Orleans Jazz influences. At the time it was derided for betraying "punk" but has since go on to be considered one of the best albums of all time. Later albums also experimented with stylistic, however to a lesser degree of success, although there are fans of Sandinista! and Combat Rock. Most fans consider Cut The Crap (the bands final album) to be, well, crap.
  • Cobra Starship pulled this a few times. Their first album was mostly just Pop Punk with synths. Their second album moved them into the mix of dance-pop, pop punk and synthpop and sarcasm that they became famous for. Their third continued with this, leading to their breakthrough song "Good Girls Go Bad". Their fourth album Night Shades has lead to many outcries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks due to them embracing a streamlined dance-pop club sound without an inch of irony.
  • Coldplay started as a soft, early-Radiohead-esque band with 2000's Parachutes, then switched to a harder, more U2-like sound on A Rush of Blood to the Head in 2002. 2005's X&Y averted this trope (which many didn't like), but in 2008 Viva La Vida introduced a radically different art-rock/baroque pop/world beat sound reminiscent of Arcade Fire. And then they changed again, with 2011 seeing the heavily electro-rock/R&B-influenced Mylo Xyloto (with guest vocals from, of all people, Rihanna.)
  • Chris Cornell's Scream, combining his rock crooning with producer Timbaland's trademark R&B and pop. It tanked miserably, being described as "an exercise in misguided ambition that makes no sense outside of pure theory".
  • Elvis Costello did this throughout his career, beginning with his second album This Year's Model, which had a harder, louder and more new-wave edge than his first album, My Name Is True. Since then he has explored country, chamber pop, torch songs, shiny contemporary pop, even opera. He is known to release albums of wildly differing styles back to back and even in the same year.
  • Cathal Coughlan. To begin with, his duo Microdisney played post punk that consisted of him yelling political rants over an uneasy backing track (evidenced by the compilation only track 'National Anthem'). By the time they had released their first record, they had acquired a minimilalist indie sound, with melodic synths, jangly guitars and drum machines, the vocals despairing and cynical. Come their second album, they had acquired a proper backing band including a drummer and bassist. He also changed his vocal style so that it was louder and more positive sounding. The resulting album almost sounds like adult orientated pop music, but there are still traces of the old sound in there. The next album was an even greater change, the band adding violins and female backing singers. The following album, their last, was far more lyrically biting, and with less of a chart orientated sound. The music was still fairly upbeat though. When Microdisney broke up Cathal went on to form The Fatima Mansions, who played a combination of American influenced noise rock, grunge and electronica with a mostly completely different vocal style, many songs shouting instead of singing. After that band broke up, he recorded some somber solo albums. His latest album however is far more reminiscent of the music he used to make in the mid 80s, suggesting that some things come full circle. As he is somebody who has never been after a hit, the return to form seems all the more remarkable.
  • Cocteau Twins: Their first few albums reflect their Post Punk origins, with a sort of Goth edginess that earned them fans from that genre (although it was always pushing the envelope to call them that). Treasure, in 1984, shed that, embracing some jazzier and Eastern influences and generally giving their sound its distinctive airy Dream Pop quality. A couple of albums later, the band is starting to get more popular in the U.S. and making 4AD some serious money, so the label starts to invest more in the recording process, resulting in the fuller, more polished sound of Blue Bell Knoll and the three albums after that.
  • Crash Test Dummies - Give Yourself A Hand, which is a radical departure from their earlier folk rock. The album mixes Funk Rock, Rn B, Chillout, Trip Hop, Drum & Bass and even includes a string ballad. Brad Roberts tries new vocal styles - in addition to his original baritone, he pulls off an impressive falsetto and even unleashes his inner Mike Patton/Anthony Kiedis on some of the funkier tracks, which have very raunchy lyrics. Ellen Reid, previously the backing singer, has lead vocals on a few songs. It is hard to believe this is the same band who did "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" a few years before.
  • The Cruxshadows were standard darkwave up until Wishfire, whence they changed to a blend of Futurepop and Gothic Alternative Dance.
  • The Crystal Method's Divided By Night consists mainly of chilled midtempo/downtempo pieces, as opposed to their usual upbeat breaks, although it has a few of those too.
  • The Crystalline Effect's sound is generally electronic/trip-hop, and doesn't tend to have very heavy beats. Their latest EP, Industrial Re-Evolution, sounds very much like industrial and does.
  • When The Cult started out, they were playing trippy psychedelic post-punk. With their third album, Electric, they suddenly started playing AC/DC-esque hard rock.
  • The Cure started off as a pop-punk group and completely changed their sound with the melancholic tones of Seventeen Seconds and Faith, which got them lumped with the gothic rock scene, culminating in their dark tower of angst, Pornography. After Pornography, the band balanced melancholic and upbeat on their next few albums, until their masterpiece Disintegration which was a tad darker than the previous couple albums before it. After Disintegration, they increased the pop quotient with Wish, and since then their style is pretty much a mix between bleak goth and upbeat pop, with varying degrees of happiness.
    • The Top was a MAJOR turn away from their previous effort, Pornography.
  • Miley Cyrus' first non-Hannah Montana solo album, Meet Miley Cyrus, was more traditionally Teen Pop influenced, while Breakout showed more rock influences. Her EP, The Time Of Our Lives brought a harder sound on some tracks, with hip-hop influences and power ballads. Can't Be Tamed is more electro-pop.
    • And then Bangerz came along.
  • Pretty much every Dead or Alive album.
  • The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love: Kept the folk influences, but replaced the baroque pop influences with prog.
    • Followed up with The King Is Dead in a way that proves that labels can be deceptive. Both their previous work and this album could be described as indie folk, but before this the "folk" element was Old World folk songs, particularly English and Irish ones. The folk in The King Is Dead is pure Americana, and a fair assessment of it would be "The Boss gone Country".
  • Decoded Feedback's Shockwave was more minimalistic than their other albums. They returned to the Hellectro-EBM style afterwards.
  • Deep Purple's sound changed with every new line-up, starting off as hard-edged psychedelic rock and moving to progressive rock by their third album, at which point they changed line-ups and shifted to straight hard rock/heavy metal until they changed line-ups again, playing more blues-rock and funk-flavored hard rock. Their sound has stabilized nowadays to a classic-flavored hard rock, however.
  • Def Leppard went with a more organic sound with darker lyrical content in 1996 with the Slang album. Their rationale at the time was that, with Hair Metal being Deader Than Disco, they may as well make the most "Un-Def Leppard" album they could (Though one member said that, in hindsight, they probably included some of those ideas a little too eagerly, without doing proper quality control beforehand), because they were going to get slammed no matter what they did. Reaction was mixed, the album wasn't very successful in the USA, and the band returned to their trademark sound with 1999s Euphoria.
  • Deftones have had something of a shift in sound with every album. Adrenaline was pretty much straight-out Nu Metal, while Around the Fur had a similar direction, but included electronics and an overall slightly more experimental sound. White Pony was the biggest shift, switching the band from nu-metal to experimental rock with heavy use of samples. Their self-titled album had Frank Delgado using keyboards instead of turntables, and had a very eclectic sound (but overall heavier than White Pony). Saturday Night Wrist and Diamond Eyes are the second big shift, being a lot more melodic and positive than their previous work.
  • Depeche Mode, at least six times. When main songwriter Vince Clarke left after the first album ("Speak and Spell") and Martin Gore (who had contributed a few songs) took over, the second album ("A Broken Frame") was much more "moody" sounding than Clarke's work while they were oddly marketed as a "boy band." For the next album ("Construction Time Again"), the classically trained Alan Wilder, Clarke's replacement at live shows as a keyboard player, became an official member while Gareth Jones engineered and later produced, and they helped shape what we know now as the band's sound as they started using samplers and the songs took a more dark and industrial turn, epitomized in "Black Celebration". After 3 albums together, DM and Jones had an amicable split and the next album, "Music For the Masses" had a similar sound but was largely self-produced with Dave Bascombe engineering. The biggest change may have been when Flood (who made a great team with Wilder) came in to produce "Violator," which introduced guitars as a staple and gave the world "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence." With grunge becoming huge and drug addled leader singer Dave Gahan immersing himself in the local music scene after moving to LA, "Songs of Faith and Devotion," the second album with Flood, was full on rock, while still recognizably Depeche Mode with the recognizable songwriting and layered arrangements. Wilder left, and while "Ultra" was billed as a return to the "Violator" era sound, "Exciter" was essentially "the soft and sensual side of Depeche Mode." "Playing the Angel" went back to the more "Violator" style sound, and then in 2009, they released "Sounds of the Universe," which was yet again completely different from all of their other albums as they used old analog synthesizers that Gore bought on eBay in new and bizarre ways. That's it so far. Whew.
  • When their original vocalist was swapped out for one with a much softer voice, Destroy the Runner went from hard-hitting Christian metalcore on their debut album Saints, to melodic ambiguously-spiritual metal on their second album, I, Lucifer. Many fans were not pleased.
  • Dir En Grey started with experimental alternative rock, sometimes with a more poppy sound, and with a Visual Kei look. This was largely dropped on Macabre, in favour of a simpler look and a more progressive feel. The Six Ugly EP was where they began to focus more on the metal elements of their sound, moving towards more elements of nu-metal and metalcore on Withering to Death and The Marrow of a Bone. With the release of Uroboros, they began gravitating back to a progressive metal style, but in a distinctly different way than on Macabre and Kisou.
  • The Doobie Brothers — During the Tom Johnston era, the band was known for hard-rocking and bluesy songs. After Michael McDonald became lead singer, the band became much more concentrated on falsetto and harmony-heavy pop songs. By Minute by Minute, they were completely rid of their old sound. They got their old sound back, however, when the band reunited with Johnston on lead vocals.
  • The Doors. The first two albums contained the brand of organ based psychedelic rock that they're known for. Waiting For The Sun was more eclectic based, having pop tunes, ballads and other oddities. The Soft Parade has a more big band sound, Morrison Hotel goes over the styles of the previous albums and L.A. Woman showcased the band during barroom blues.
  • Nick Drake's first two albums featured a backing band to give his music a fuller sound. His third and final album, Pink Moon, went for a more stripped down sound with Drake being the sole performer; most tracks feature no other instruments besides guitar and vocals, with the only exception being a bit of piano overdubs in the title track.
  • Dream Theater does this quite often, the most notable one being when Executive Meddling forced Falling Into Infinity to take on a more mainstream rock sound than the Progressive Metal of their earlier albums.
  • Bob Dylan many times, including:
    • Electric folk rock with Bringin' it All Back Home
    • Country (Nashville Skyline)
    • Gospel rock (Slow Train Coming and Saved)
    • Synth-pop (several tracks on Empire Burlesque)
    • Return to traditional acoustic folk (Good as I Been to You, World Gone Wrong)
    • Blues rock (Time Out of Mind)
  • Eighteen Visions Initially started out as a hardcore/metal band with a lot of screaming lyrics. In their final, self-titled album, they mostly dropped the screaming and worked a lot more 80s rock influences into their songs, creating an album that turned off a lot of long-time fans, but appealed to a new set of fans. Unfortunately, the band broke up shortly after the release of that album.
  • Electric Light Orchestra's Discovery: Compared to their previous work, it's well, very disco.
  • Emilie Autumn went from jazz pop with Rnb influences to electronic industrial power rock/metal in her second album, influenced by her Creator Breakdown.
  • Enter Shikari's first album, 2007's Take To The Skies, was more or less screamo with some synthesizers. Their second full-length, 2009's Common Dreads, aimed for a less heavy but more experimental sound and also made the lyrical change from singing about more or less anything to highly political, anti-capitalist lyrics. 2010's one-off single Destabilise went even heavier on the synths and also added some hip hop elements. According to the band, the forthcoming album is going to include influences by both Sigur Rós and Rammstein.
  • Erasure's 2000 album Loveboat. It can best be described as "Erasure goes indie", with a lo-fi, "basement-y" feel, heavier bass, and much greater use of acoustic instruments. in stark contrast to their typical campy, danceable synthpop. Fans hated it because the style was so different. A sizable majority of the fanbase consider it Fanon Discontinuity and the end of classic Erasure. It sold terribly in both the UK and the US and it didn't get released in the US until 2003 because Maverick Records dropped them like a hot potato when they refused to remix a good portion of the tracks. Even lead singer Andy Bell panned it years later. The worst part? Critics tended to like it, and it's a well-written album with a subdued, personal sound to it.
  • One of the most radical shifts in style would be Everything but the Girl, the jazzy adult pop duo. When their song “Missing” became a massive hit after being subjected to a dance-oriented remix, they reinvented them as a synth-based techno-styled act. The result was another major case of Broken Base.
  • Fall Out Boy started out with a mix of fast paced Pop Punk and dark emo introspection (with occasional background screams from pete) on their first album. They're follow up (and breakthrough) album ''From Under the Cork Tree" continued this sound with a much more anthemic vibe. "Infinity on high" added elements of Soul, {{R&B}}, and Baroque Pop. Their last album before the hiatus was "Folie A Deux" which featured a schizophrenic blend of emo, blue eyed soul, Beatles-esque psychedelia, arena rock riffs, and new wave.
    • Save Rock & Roll; their come back album veered much closer to pure pop, combining elements of alot of modern trends.
    • PAX AM Days is a total reverse of that direction since it's throwback 80's Hardcore Punk.
  • Falling In Reverse started as a Metalcore band mixed with Pop Punk and Hair Metal elements. It was decently received and was a large seller. For the next album they decided to make their sound more distinctive, resulting in the absolute genre mess that is "Fashionably Late", a bizarre mish mash of Metalcore, Trap Music, Dubstep, and Electropop. It would border on Crunkcore if that hadn't died out with Myspace. It was universally panned by everyone including former fans.
  • Every one of Falling Up's five records sounded generally different from the rest, as they moved more and more in the direction of experimental rock. They took it to a new level with Fangs! though, which saw a complete restructuring of their sound and how the band performed and recorded. Unfortunately it was also their last album.
  • Fear Factory started off with a death metal sound on Soul of a New Machine. It wasn't until Demanufacture when they found their signature sound.
  • Feeder seem to have a habit of changing every two albums. Swim and Polythene are pretty heavy grungey style stuff, Yesterday Went Too Soon and Echo Park are more straightforward rock albums, with a bit of punk influence, Comfort In Sound and Pushing The Senses are much softer (but still with some straight up rock songs, like "Godzilla" and "Helium"). Silent Cry and Renegades seem to be if you shoved all their previous albums into a blender, with the softer stuff on Silent Cry and the heavier stuff on Renegades.
  • Lupe Fiasco, with his third album Lasers, due to heavy Executive Meddling. Atlantic Records saw the success the single 'Superstar' had made upon his previous album The Cool, and thus wanted him to continue going down that path. It must also be noted at the time, Lasers was heavily anticipated, due to the solid approbation of his first two albums and especially with back-and-forth rumors of Lupe going into early retirement. After molding the album accordingly, Lasers finally got a release date. While the lyricism was still mostly genuine, it featured a heavy pop-oriented slightly electro sound that a good portion of the fanbase didn't sit well with.
  • Finch's Say Hello to Sunshine, which was a huge departure from their poppier 2000s Emo sound that they helped to helm on their first album, and their foray into heavier, more experimental territory. Needless to say, it alienated a lot of fans of their old sound.
  • The Flaming Lips kind of had a series of these after 1995, probably owed to lead guitarist Ronald Jones departing: the last time they had a guitarist leave (Jonathan Donahue, also of Mercury Rev) they replaced him with another one, but this time they expanded drummer Steven Drozd's role to include guitar and synthesizers. Thus, Zaireeka and especially The Soft Bulletin had him using synthesized strings for an orchestral effect, while Yoshimi Vs. The Pink Robots added drum machines and more of an electronic influence. Guitars were more prominent on At War With The Mystics and Embryonic, but even those weren't quite the same: AWWTM felt a little like Yoshimi mixed with their earlier material, but Embryonic was actually Darker and Edgier than usual, with lots of ominous bass and more of a Krautrock influence.
  • Fleetwood Mac started as a moderately successful blues-rock band led by guitarist Peter Green known for hard-rockin' songs with heavy riffs such as "Oh Well" and "The Green Manalishi (with the Two Pronged Crown)". One long complicated history later, including Green and the other guitarist quitting due to mental illness and joining a cult and other replacements that didn't go much anywhere, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band, now relocated to California. With Fleetwood Mac they changed to a pop/rock style inspired mostly by the Beatles, Beach Boys and the mellow Californian soft rock scene. They refined the formula and obtained massive success with Rumours and Tusk, and never looked back.
    • Between all of the Peter Green era guitarists leaving and Buckingham/Nicks joining, the band was led by singers/songwriters Bob Welch and Christine Mc Vie, sounding closer to the Rumours lineup but with a slight psychedelic vibe.
    • There were still a few New Sound Albums even in their pop era. Tusk, the follow up to Rumours, is experimental, with new wave and punk rock influences (but still with enough radio-friendly pop to ensure it a hit), and Tango in the Night is chock full of synthesizeritis.
  • The Foo Fighters, after their Post-Grunge-heavy first two albums (Self-Titled Album and The Colour and The Shape), have decided to explore different styles - including an all-acoustic disc for their double-disc set, In Your Honour.
    • The Colour And The Shape is also their only album with a notable Emo influence, which was caused by the band's bassist and then drummer (who had both been in the genre's Trope Codifier Sunny Day Real Estate) contributing to the songwriting process. "My Hero" is the primary example of this, though so are the verses of "Hey Johnny Park". Awkwardly, it remains the band's most popular album despite the fact they rock much harder these days.
  • 60s pop vocal group the Four Seasons went psychedelic with their album ''Genuine Imitation Life Gazette'.
  • Franz Ferdinand executed one of these with Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, breaking with the fairly typical (if well-executed) guitar-driven post-punk revival sound of their first two albums for a synthesizer-driven, dance-y sound. It works well, and they remain recognizably them.
  • Freaky Chakra shifted from the trancy acid techno of Lowdown Motivator to Darker and Edgier cyberpunk-esque techno breaks with Blacklight Fantasy, then to Lighter and Softer electro/tech house with Moonroof Operator.
  • Front Line Assembly started out as an Industrial band and weren't averse to occasional use of guitars. Then they decided to Follow the Leader and make an entirely Industrial Metal album called Millenium. They went back to Industrial for their next album (although they used quite a bit of guitar on it), and for the album after that (FLAvour Of The Weak) they made a complete Genre Shift to IDM and Drum 'n' Bass. They began to get back to Industrial over time, although they retained elements from IDM and Drum 'n' Bass in their sound. Improvised Electronic Device returned to the Industrial Metal elements of Millenium, and their latest two albums venture into dubstep territory.
  • fun.'s Some Nights: Their debut, Aim And Ignite, was Baroque Pop-leaning indie, not that dissimilar from Nate Ruess's previous band The Format. Some Nights still had the Baroque Pop elements, but had a much more electronic sound, with heavy use of drum machines, synthesizers, and even some vocoder. The change was reportedly due to the band starting to listen to newer hip hop, with Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy being noted as a particular influence.
  • Better known for funky house, Funkstar De Luxe had a total Out-of-Genre Experience with No Man's Planet, which consisted of techno-industrial/EBM and dark ambient. He appears to have switched back to more familiar sounds as of late.
  • Genesis, which began as a vaguely psychedelic pop band with From Genesis To Revelation in 1969, changed to Progressive Rock a year later with Trespass. They stayed this way even after Peter Gabriel's departure(and replacement by drummer Phil Collins) in 1975. After the departure of longtime guitarist Steve Hackett and their reduction to a trio in 1978, they gradually began including shorter and more commercial-sounding songs (starting with "Follow You, Follow Me") into their repertoire by the late 1970's. The Abacab album of 1981 found the group almost entierly abandoning their prog roots for a more streamlined, high-tech prog-pop sound, winning success on MTV and the Top 40. Though they gained a new audience, much of the older fanbase was alienated from the new style.
  • Gentle Giant has seen this happen twice: a mild case occurred when Phil Shulman (who played saxophones, trumpets, and occasional other winds) left the band, and their next album, In A Glass House, had a harder edge and none of the literary allusions that Phil had put in their earlier albums. This shift was nothing compared to their later album The Missing Piece, released around the time that Progressive Rock was falling out of favor, and attempting to appeal to a pop audience with shorter, simpler songs. It didn't work.
  • Life In The So-Called Space Age by God Lives Underwater. Their earlier releases were a mix of Industrial Metal and Alternative Metal, but this one had them shift towards a much more electronic, SynthPop-influenced sound. Fittingly, the album title was a Shout-Out to the back cover of Depeche Mode's Black Celebration. The long-delayed followup Up Off The Floor largely went back to their earlier sound.
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor's last album, Yanqui U.X.O.. In terms of composition, it's not a huge Genre Shift, but there is more of an emphasis on notes and less on drones, guitar washes, and noise. More noticeably, the album is missing 2 things the band was well-known for: cryptic, spoken-word field recordings and individually named movements that made up larger tracks. Also, thanks to engineer Steve Albini, the album's sound was more raw and direct than the others. The reception of the album has been fairly divided among both critics and fans.
  • Believe it or not, The Goo Goo Dolls started as a punk rock band. After 2 punk albums, with 1990's Hold Me Up they gradually began to change over to the lighter pop-rock they became known for in The Nineties. Their 1987 debut album isn't even in print today.
  • Nina Gordon, one of the two singer/songwriters for 90's alt-rockers Veruca Salt went adult contemporary pop for her debut solo album Tonight and the Rest of My Life.
  • The third Gorillaz album 'Plastic Beach' has a larger pop element to it than the previous albums,and also features more collaboration with other artists, ranging from Mos Def to Mick Jones. This album was originally said to be their last, but things seem to be going differently.
    • With Demon Days, they went from the more hip hop influenced first album towards a more alternative direction, but still including some hip hop.
    • The Fall ranges from techno to trip hop to nobody knows. It's awesome, still, and it has the touch of Gorillaz.
  • Ellie Goulding with "Halycon". Justified in that her boyfriend (at the time) was Skrillex.
  • Grand Funk Railroad had this with their 1972 album Phoenix. It was their first without producer/manager Terry Knight, the first with newly-added keyboardist Craig Frost and marked the beginning of more involvement in singing and songwriting by drummer Don Brewer.
  • Amy Grant started out being strictly inspirational contemporary Christian music - then, by Unguarded, she's taken on a more mainstream pop style. Then, by Heart In Motion, she started performing songs that weren't explicitly Christian - and started getting airplay on mainstream pop stations.
  • Green Day in The Nineties used to be a pop-punk band who wrote catchy songs about being lazy, being insane, masturbating, being bored the works. Cue American Idiot and their shift to a more complex style inspired by Rock Opera and The Who.
  • Guns N' Roses did this for every album. From the sleazy L.A. club rock of Appetite for Destruction to mellow acoustic tracks on Lies to a double album full of epics and ballads with plenty of synth and pianos. Then Chinese Democracy came out with an entirely new band and featured hip hop drum samples, copious amounts of synth and strings, trip hop beats, industrial songs, elephant noises, alt rock, choirs, walls of Axl, some songs featuring upwards of FIVE guitar players. Sometimes all in one song.

    Bands and Artists H-O 
  • Heart changed styles several times. Their debut album Dreamboat Annie is trippy psych-folk. The following album Little Queen abandoned the psychedelia of the debut in favor of straightfoward hard rock. In The Eighties, they signed a record deal requiring them to adopt a pop sound and image and use outside professional songwriters. The first result of this was the 1985 self-titled album Heart. This was followed by the very synth-heavy Bad Animals album, then Brigade, which was a return to guitars, but was still very polished pop. With Desire Walks On, the band regained creative control and began moving back to their traditional sound.
  • HIM's Screamworks diverges from their long-standing sound of dark goth with...something more pop and upbeat. The lyrics are still quite dark, although they too have taken quite a change. Venus Doom, their previous album began off as incredibly metal, so it too was a bit of a new sound album—the transition can be...difficult.
    • Basically, going from the incredibly messed up song "Gone With the Sin" (Razorblade Romance) from all the way back in 1999 to "Scared to Death" (Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice) may leave people wondering just who the hell they're listening to.
  • The Horrors switched from the gothy garage-punk of their first album Strange House to Shoegazing on their second album, Primary Colours. They've kept this style for their third album Skying.
  • A rather different example: Houkago Tea Time's songs are quite different in types of rock genres: "Fuwa Fuwa Time" is alternative rock (with some rapping at one point, even), "Don't Say Lazy" has some sort of melodic, but also a bit of post-hardcore rock feel into it. "Happy? Sorry!" is Synthpop, "Sweet Bitter Beauty Song" kinda sounds Grunge-esque due to the guitar shredding. "Shrew Way To Go" is mathrock due to the different time sculptures, and "Hello Little Girl" being no doubt their softest song. These are just the first season songs.
    • Examples for the second season songs include both "Go! Go! Maniac!" and "Utauyo! Miracle", which sound eerily mathcore-esque, but is still mathrock since they don't even scream. "Girls In Wonderland" has tumpets used, "Listen" sounds quite jazzy thanks to the keyboards, "Early Summer Rain (20 Love)" sounds quite much like a radio-friendly modern rock song.
    • For a slightly-straight example, the "Second" album feels like listening through a children's album. Yui's vocals sound baby-ish for most of it. Note that songs done by Mio always seem to be the more heavier songs.
  • Ill Nino has done this with every album. They are a Latin-infused metal band, but they have a different sound with time. Their debut was straightforward nu-metal with an aggressive sound and simple song structures. Confession is pretty much a heavier version of pre-MTM Linkin Park. One Nation Underground is a metal Genre Roulette, going from a Groove Metal-esque anthem to a Metalcore song to a mainstream hard rock song in the album's first few minutes. Enigma took the Latin influences to another level, and erasing the band's Nu Metal influence in place of a Progressive Metal sound. Dead New World left behind much of the Latin, and switched to a much more aggressive sound similar to Thrash Metal / Groove Metal, but with a much more modern feel than the former. Epidemia is heavily influenced by Deathcore, with one song even featuring Frankie Palmeri of Emmure as a guest singer.
  • After helping define Melodic Death Metal in Sweden, In Flames began changing their style with Colony and to a greater extent with Clayman. Then they released Reroute to Remain which is now considered by fans where "Old" In Flames ends and "New" In Flames begins. Each album after that has had its own distinct sound. This has lead to one hell of a Broken Base. Just check the comments on any of their music videos.
  • Incubus have done this roughly twice. A Crow Left of the Murder... had a much less polished sound (and a new bass player), with the trend continuing on Light Grenades, though heavy songs were still present. If Not Now, When? was a significant departure, with slower, simpler songs and an intentional absence of aggressive guitars.
  • Carnival of Carnage sounds very little like later Insane Clown Posse albums; it makes little reference to circus tropes and is much more a "Fuck the rich" album. Ringmaster introduced the Dark Carnival, but the group's sound didn't codify until Riddlebox.
  • Iron Maiden incorporated guitar synths on Somewhere In Time, and full-fledged synthesizers on the Concept Album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Though the biggest change was when Blaze Bayley joined the band, showing a darker and more Progressive Rock-influenced sound which attracted many detractors.
  • Michael Jackson had a few. Off the Wall was a much more mature effort after his four previous teen-pop Motown albums (MJ was not allowed any creative control during his Motown tenure). Dangerous incorporated hip hop elements for the first time. His final album Invincible has a sound that can best be described as remiscent of the late 90s-early 00s teen-pop wave.
  • James started with a more folky sounds with songs like "Hymn From A Village" and "What For". They then progressed to a bigger sound on Gold Mother and Seven with the addition of a trumpet player. With Laid they lost the trumpets and returned to a more stripped down sound. Whiplash contained a few straight up pop rock songs like "She's a Star", "Tomorrow", "Homeboy" and "Lost a Friend" while also containing what can only be described as "experimental" tracks such as "Greenpeace" and "Go To The Bank".
  • Most of Jean Michel Jarre's albums were New Sound Albums. Oxygène made him famous. Equinoxe sounded almost the same. Then came six albums (not counting Music For Supermarkets and live albums), none of which sounded like any of their respective predecessors, especially not like Oxygène and Equinoxe, because both Jarre's style and electronic instrument technology evolved. Oxygène 7-13 from 1997 was a partial return to Jarre's old sound, but all releases from then to the re-recording of Oxygène from 2007 were individual New Sound Albums again.
  • Jars of Clay does one of these every second album or so.
  • Jethro Tull began as a Cream-like blues-rock band tinged with bluesy/jazzy flute playing with This Was, then added more folk and pop influences with Stand Up. Benefit introduced a harder rock sound. Aqualung brought the group into a more progressive/conceptual style, which they followed up with two Epic Rocking album-length concept albums. War Child, Minstrel In The Gallery, and Too Old To Rock And Roll, Too Young too Die, introduced an Elizabethan folk/hard rock/prog/classic rock style with shorter songs. Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses and Stormwatch rounded off the decade with progressive folk-rock and more of the acoustic side. The Eighties saw Tull dabble in synthesizeritis and modern production techniques, with more emphasis on electric guitar by the late eighties (1987's comeback album Crest Of A Knave would even beat Metallica fot Best Hard Rock/Hevy Metal album at the Grammy's). They would gradually return to more folk influences (and some world music flavors) by The Nineties. Tull's last album is a very acoustic-based Christmas Album reminiscent of their folk-rock Seventies style.
  • Jewel. One example would be 0304, the synthesizer heavy dance pop album she put out after primarily being known for acoustic adult alternative. Strangely averted with her country album Perfectly Clear, which differed only in that John Rich wrote some of the songs and others had hints of steel guitar.
  • After establishing his style in the 1970s, Billy Joel began jumping all over the place in The Eighties. Glass Houses in 1980 was mostly guitar rock (for a piano player), followed by The Nylon Curtain, a Beatles-esque album with a lot of synth in 1982, and only one year later came An Innocent Man, which was a retro doo-wop album. His next release, 1986's The Bridge, was pretty standard mid-80s radio rock.
  • Elton John, a prolific and eclectic singer-songwriter, had several New Sound Albums. Tumbleweed Connection was a country-rock album inspired by the Old West. Honky Chateau featured the classic Elton John Band in full for the first time, abandoning the use of heavy and dramatic orchestration for a more group-based rock sound and more use of the guitar. Rock Of The Westies saw a new group lineup and a harder blues-rock sound in places. Victim Of Love, released in 1979, was Elton's attempt at disco. Too Low For Zero, hiscomeback album, combined the classic Elton sound with heavier use of modern synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines and a modern production, and saw the return of his classic backing band. Ice On Fire saw a new backing band and a more modern MOR/synth-pop sound, which continued until the more organic Songs From The West Coast in 2001.
  • Judas Priest. They simplified their sound (but still sticking to metal) with Killing Machine and British Steel, and continued to get more commercial throughout the decade, culminating in the synthesizer-laden pop-metal of Turbo. They returned to speed metal again with Painkiller, and during the Tim "Ripper" Owens era they took on a bit more of a late-80's thrash influence. With Angel of Retribution and their reunion with Rob Halford, they basically went back to their pre-Killing Machine sound.
  • Julien K started off as Industrial Metal with electronic and dance elements. For their sophomore album they moved to a much more poppy, dancey, 80s-influenced sound. Their former bassist wasn't thrilled with the direction they were taking, and left the band.
  • Juno Reactor started out as goa/psy trance (aside from the dark Ambient album Luciana), but gradually evolved into a tribal EBM-type sound. Gods and Monsters took an even more radical shift, dabbling in jazz, trip-hop, and dubstep. The Golden Sun of the Great East revisits their trance heritage, while retaining elements of their contemporary style.
  • Kamelot started as a standard power metal band with a god-awful Geoff Tate wanna be of a vocalist, but upon said vocalist quitting and the subsequent addition of Norwegian opera-style vocalist Roy Khan, plus the switch to a more progressive metal influenced style has made their album The Fourth Legacy both a New Sound Album as well as the start of their beard growth.
  • Vinyl Confessions by Kansas represented a major lyrical shift towards Christian themes with replacement of Steve Walsh (who quit over philosophical differences with guitarist Kerry Livgren, who was mostly responsible for their new, Christian influences) with John Elefante.
  • With Discouraged Ones, Katatonia shifted from death/doom into alternative metal, using exclusively clean vocals. Viva Emptiness was another one, Returning to it's heavier roots towards a Gothic/Doom sound with the progressive ambient guitar work of the early career making a return.
  • Keane's first 2 albums were straight piano pop-rock. Their 3rd album onward were an 80s synthpop revival, full of synths, amplified basslines, and electronic drums.
  • Kerli's second album, which includes the electropop singles "Army of Love" and "Zero Gravity", is very different in style from her first album, which was alternative/indie rock. She describes the album's style as "bubblegum goth".
  • King Crimson changes their sound every other album.
    • In The Court of the Crimson King and In the Wake of Poseidon are progressive rock with a good bit of jazz thrown in.
    • Lizard and Islands are slightly more symphonic.
    • The ditched their wind instruments and went totally metal on Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black and Red.
    • A couple of years later (after a hiatus) they were suddenly making new-wave-esque prog.
    • THRAK was kind of a combination of the metal and new-wave incarnations.
    • The ConstruKction of Light featured only electronic percussion and was produced much more cleanly than THRAK.
    • The Power To Believe refined the style explored on THRAK and The Constru Kction of Light, but also included some influence from ambient music in the various parts of the title track.
  • KISS's Music From The Elder was hated by fans, and later, the band themselves, and Revenge was met with lukewarm responses, both changing from the classic KISS style. Both were followed by returns to classic KISS (Creatures of the Night for the former, the reunion album Psycho Circus for the latter).
  • Korn has had a few of these, generally followed by a return to form on their next album. As the band seeks to either improve itself artistically or Win Back the Crowd, its sound has become more complex, less complex, and even dipped into other genres. The most noticeable of these changes was The Path of Totality, an album that took a break from metal for Dubstep.
  • Ingo Kunzi, for his second Ayla album, Unreleased Secrets, after a nearly 8 year hiatus, shifted more to a mid/downtempo chillout style, with "Tribal Symphony" being the only standard trance tune on the album.
  • Laserdance, from Hypermagic to The Guardian of Forever, shifted to a faster Hi-NRG-esque sound, and TGOF had a Halfway Genre Switch to techno-trance. Their sound changed again with their swan song album, Strikes Back, due to being co-produced by Julius Wijnmalen, although rekindling the spirit of their original style.
  • Led Zeppelin, with their third album. The first two are mostly heavy blues-rock material; the third features only one blues song and an entire side of acoustic folk songs. Later albums would continue to explore different styles, but with hard rock being dominant.
    • In Through The Out Door features an uncharacteristic amount of synthesizer on a number of tracks, courtesy of John Paul Jones' then-cutting edge Yamaha GX-1.
  • Lampshaded by Lemon Jelly, who wrote on their album '64 to '95: "This is our new album. It's not like our old albums."
  • Lights' second album, Siberia, is more experimental and dubstep-influenced.
  • Rap superstar Lil Wayne decided to follow in the footsteps of his friend Kid Rock and record a Rap Rock album entitled Rebirth.
  • Linkin Park - After managing to breath a bit more life into Nu Metal with their IDM and electronica influenced Hybrid Theory and Meteora, Minutes to Midnight led the band in a new direction more influenced by hard rock and U2's arena filling Post-punk. Their next few albums took them in a direction that they may not know.
    • A Thousand Suns, on the other hand, decided to focus more on synths and electronic rock.
  • Little Boots' debut album, Hands was 80's-style electro/synthpop, now she has genre shifted to a retraux house-type sound in her latest few singles.
  • Demi Lovato is exploring a grittier, more hip-hop/R&B-influenced style on her third album, Unbroken, than her earlier pop-rock sound.
  • Machine Head started off as straightforward Groove Metal for their first two albums. Their next two albums brought in Nu Metal, but for some reason, they switched back to Groove Metal for Through the Ashes of Empires. Four years later, they made the ultimate change; switching to Thrash Metal with The Blackening, even adding several long songs, a then-first for the band. Unto the Locust continued this and turned it Up to Eleven, and whatever they do next...well, we'll have to wait and see.
  • Madonna - Bedtime Stories was R&B, which lead to Ray of Light and Music, which were electronic albums. Hard Candy sounds most like her '80s albums with urban and electronic influences.
  • Marilyn Manson has done this with almost every album. His first album was pretty much straight Industrial Metal, with "Antichrist Superstar" following the same lines with more elements of traditional Industrial. "Mechanical Animals" was a much Lighter and Softer mix of his old sound with Glam Rock. "Holy Wood" combined the accesibility of mechanical animals with the darkness of his first two resulting in a perfect combination of his two styles, and the completion of his concept trilogy.
    • "Golden Age of the Grotesque" was the first whereTwiggy Ramirez was not co-writing (or a part of the band) was more Industrial Metal.
    • Eat Me, Drink Me was one of his biggest shifts, completely abandoning Industrial for a sound influenced by 80's Goth Rock, New Wave, and 2000's post-hardcore style Emo, and less of a focus on shocking and more of a focus on his recent heartbreaks.
    • After Twiggy returned, having founded Goon Moon, been a part of A Perfect Circle and been the live bassist for Nine Inch Nails, the next album, The High End of Low, had a much different sound, incorporating some Industrial Metal elements, folk ("Four Rusted Horses" is actually an unreleased Goon Moon song, with a new set of lyrics, the original Twiggy version is on Youtube), more Glam Rock, metal and pretty much just a hopping into every genre that they had ever touched (which, as a result, makes it just as eclectic as what Twiggy was doing with Goon Moon, in its own way). Their latest album, Born Villain, is more of a metal sound.
  • Midnight Resistance was trancy Future Pop on his first album, but for his second album, he switched to Emo/Goth Rock with a touch of Dark Wave.
  • Mike Mareen's 1988 sophomore album, Let's Start Now, started to shift from his Italo-Disco/Hi-NRG roots to more contemporary dance/synthpop, as well as being somewhat Darker and Edgier.
  • Marina And The Diamonds (It's only one person!) started off with indie pop with Retraux influences, but starting with Electra Heart she switched to an electropop sound. Apparantly, the critics were the only ones saying "She Changed Her Music, Now She Sucks", as it was acclaimed by her fans.
  • McFly, a band commonly known for their chirpy Pop-Rock music. In 2010, they released Above The Noise, an album filled with mostly electro-pop music, with heavy involvement from Taio Cruz. Fans weren't impressed.
  • mewithoutYou- It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright! contained more acoustic than electric, a highly folky campire sound, and actual SINGING by Aaron Weiss.
    • The album contains the most specific Christian ("A Stick, a Carrot, and a String") and at the same time Sufi and Buddhist ("Allah! Allah! Allah!" and "Cattail Down") influences so far, confusing some Christian fans unaware of Weiss's Religious history.
  • Men Without Hats were a Synth Pop/ New Wave band throughout the eighties. The 1991 album Sideways was a surprising shift towards Alternative Rock, based around distorted electric guitar instead of the synthesizer. They broke up for about a decade due to the album's lack of commercial success, and the two albums under the Men Without Hats name that were released since, No Hats Beyond This Point and Love in the Age of War, both heavily featured synthesizers again.
  • Metallica and Megadeth simplified their style almost simultaneously, with Metallica (The Black Album) for the former and Countdown to Extinction for the latter. While initially successful, both bands continued with the simplification for the rest of The Nineties, to predictably diminishing returns.
    • The low points for each band were St. Anger (Metallica, in 2003) and Risk (Megadeth, in 1999). The former stripped down for a rough, unpolished sound while the other tried to be more commercial after the success of the previous album's efforts. Their later efforts were mostly a U-turn: Metallica's Death Magnetic kept the longer songs of St. Anger with a turn back to their late-80s sound, and the three Megadeth albums after the band's reformation (The System Has Failed, United Abominations, and Endgame) steadily shifted more towards the seminal Rust In Peace. Incidentally, the Megadeth albums tend to be overall better received than Death Magnetic is (blame the Metallica fans), though the latter's still pretty good.
    • Then Metallica collaborated with Lou Reed in Lulu, a weird Concept Album based on an opera which was panned by almost everyone who heard it. At the same time, Megadeth released Th1rt3en. An album that, while well received overall, was criticized by some for having a decidedly lighter and more stripped down style of metal than their previous three albums. Less than two years later, they released Super Collider. An album that was almost as badly received as Risk.
  • Mind.in.a.box is mainly darkwave/futurepop, but R.E.T.R.O took an unexpected detour to chiptunes and Commodore 64 remixes.
  • Few bands have pulled off a radical Genre Shift more successfully than Ministry. Their first two albums were ordinary, if slightly pessimistic, New Wave '80s pop (one reviewer dubbed them "The Human League's surly little brother"). On their third album, The Land of Rape and Honey they revamped their lineup and completely changed their sound, abandoning pop for a brand new musical style that would become known as Industrial Metal and catapulting themselves to stardom in the process.
  • Joni Mitchell began injecting jazzy sounds into her folk-rock as early as 1972’s For the Roses, but that still didn’t prepare listeners for the almost abstract, full-tilt jazz-rock of 1975’s The Hissing of Summer Lawns and ensuing albums.
  • Modest Mouse changes their sound on each of their albums, starting with the pixies-esque "This Is A Long Drive...", followed up with the more western sounding "Lonesome Crowded West", and the spacey "Moon & Antarctica." "Good News For People Who Love Bad News" was more straightforward rock with a few soft ballads, and "We Were Dead.." has a more produced feel.
  • Prior to breaking internationally, Alanis Morissette had recorded two teen pop albums. Then, for Jagged Little Pill(her first album to reach international success), she decided to go with a harder rocking decidedly Post-Grunge style.
  • Mötley Crüe was a great hard rock 80's hair metal band. In 1992 lead singer Vince Neil left the band, he was than replaced by John Corabi. At this point, Hair Metal/Hard Rock is dead, and Grunge/Alt Rock became mainstream. John Corabi morphed the sound of Mötley Crüe into an grunge band. It did not fit well with their fans, they stop touring in arena, went to theaters, then eventually canceled the tour. This went on for a decade, with Vince Neil and Tommy Lee leave then return again from time to time.
  • The Move's first album, along with the handful of singles that accompanied it like "Night of Fear" and "I Can Hear The Grass Grow", were light pop tunes typical of the late 1960s. The release of their second album, Shazam, showcased the band embracing hard rock which would become the band's forte throughout the rest of their existence.
  • Muse's The Resistance has raised cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks. Really, every single Muse album makes changes to their sound. Compare Showbiz to Origin Of Symmetry, Origin Of Symmetry to Absolution and so on. Frankly, it wasn't that radical departure from Black Holes at all. Other than the song with no guitar parts, which was a first. But still Muse.
  • My Chemical Romance pulls this with pretty much every album. I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love was straight ahead post-hardcore/Classic Emo with a lot of screamed lyrics, distorted guitars, and even a few straight ahead Hardcore Punk songs. Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge largely continued with this sound but added Post Punk, Goth Rock and Pop Punk, decreased the amount of screamed lyrics and focused more on Gerard Way's emotional vocals. This coupled with better song writing and the big hits "Helena" and "I'm not okay (I Promise)" made it a hit. Around this time they also embraced their neo-goth meets horror punk image. The Black Parade was a major shift since it was a full on Concept Album influenced by 70's rock styles such as Progressive Rock and the artier side of Glam Rock, all while still staying true to their Emo roots and becoming their Magnum Opus in the process. Danger Days was the biggest change as it had a very modern indie pop influenced sound, incorporating elements of Synth Pop, garage rock, and Pop Punk. It also had a much more vibrant feel to it which contrasted with their original sound and image, creating a Broken Base.
  • Napalm Death: Harmony Corruption onwards, when they started to take on death metal influences.
  • New Found Glory's music has always been steeped in pop-punk and hardcore influences, but their album Coming Home is considered their most different as the melodies were Lighter and Softer, with more involvement with piano, acoustics, and some female backing vocals. Their next few releases after this album went back to their hardcore roots.
  • Although they'd released a couple of dance floor classics already such as "Everything's Gone Green" and "Tempation", and of course "Blue Monday", New Order's album Power, Corruption and Lies was where the band fully dived into their alternative dance persona. Their previous album, Movement, sounded rather similar to Joy Division.
  • These New Puritans' first album, Beat Pyramid, had a fairly normal post-punk revival sound. Their follow-up, Hidden, was a dark and bizarre album based mostly on electronic beats, orchestral and choir arrangements and odd samples.
    • And now their new album, Field of Reeds, seems to be going in a more Post-Rock direction.
  • Nilsson Schmilsson saw Harry Nilsson switch from Tin Pan Alley-styled pop (with a heavy Beatles influence) to more straight-ahead (though eclectic) rock.
    • And A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night consisted of nothing but traditional pop standards.
  • Nirvana with the depressive In Utero.
    • They did it with every single album of theirs. Bleach was a mix of sludgy hard rock/metal based off bands like Green River along with some more pop rock and punk fare. Nevermind was polished, glossy produced (for them, commercial) hard rock much more similar to The Pixies and Mudhoney along with the acoustic song Polly. Incesticide was a hodge podge mixture of Bleach era songs, straight punk rock covers, and covers turned into pop rock such as the song Son Of A Gun. In Utero was more of a hodge podge of heavy metal, heavily distorted hard rock like Sonic Youth, straight punk, and acoustic ballads such as the song Dumb. Finally MTV Unplugged was acoustic rock with more of a progressive focus such as the inclusion of the Cello on several songs and the addition of a second guitarist in Pat Smear. If anything, Nirvana managed to constantly revolve around certain elements within each album (metal/hard rock focused songs, an acoustic song or two, and a straight punk song or two.)
  • Nits are known for doing this with almost every album, to the point where critics and fans are disappointed when they don't.
  • No Doubt's second big album, Return of Saturn, was a different sound from that heard in the wildly popular Tragic Kingdom, but it was more an evolution than any sort of sudden shift. But Rock Steady was a drastic change, so drastic that (for better or worse) it barely sounded like No Doubt at all. Ska/punk had morphed into a pop/dance sound.
  • American metal band Nonpoint has always been a very recognizable band, but each of their major studio albums feature a distinctly different sound. Statement, their first album, features an aggressive Nu Metal sound, with R&B-influenced vocal delivery and occasional rapped vocals. This was largely dropped on their second album Development, which went towards a much more commercial Alternative Metal direction very similar to Chevelle, which featured no trace of harsh vocals and very radio friendly melodies. Recoil was a much heavier album with very throaty vocals and crunchy distortion, even featuring some double-bass drumming moments. The album still maintained the catchy melodies from the previous album, though not as commercial. To the Pain essentially took the previous album and took it Up to Eleven, with some songs featuring extremely harsh, lightning-fast vocal delivery, chugging riffs, and a very strong Groove Metal sound. Vengeance was rawer and even more aggressive, though the vocals aren't quite as fast. Miracle is another slightly more commercial album, though nowhere near as radio friendly as Development; it features less melody and harsher singing than the latter album.
  • While Oasis roughly kept the same "Beatlesesque songs" style through their whole career, their albums from the third to fifth fall into this: Be Here Now focused on Epic Rocking, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants was psychedelic and Heathen Chemistry had a crude sound.
  • Of Montreal's "Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?" represented and, to a degree, chronicled their transition from quirky twee pop to bizarre neo-glam.
  • The Offspring became popular as a punk rock band with catchy upbeat songs. Their album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace has only two songs in their signature style with the rest being slow and more thoughtful.
    • There breakout album, 1994's Smash, is itself a New Sound Album. Their previous two albums are much rougher hardcore punk, while Smash marked the debut of better hooks and a strong metal influence.
    • To be fair, they often had slower, "more thoughtful" songs and interludes on almost all of their albums (except maybe Smash), such as the Grief Song "Gone Away".
  • UK thrash metal band Onslaught's album In Search of Sanity features a more melodic and complex style of thrash than the simpler, Slayer-esque sound they had on their previous release. It also featured vocalist Steve Grimmett from Grim Reaper, whose soaring and clean vocal style was a point of contention at the time of the album's release.
    • On the topic of Onslaught, their first album was more of a thrash and hardcore punk hybrid than the full-on thrash they would play on their second album.
  • Orbital's In Sides and The Altogether.
  • Cyrus' ex-co-star, Emily Osment, used an adult alternative sound on her debut EP, All The Right Wrongs, while Fight Or Flight is more techno/dubstep/dance-oriented.
  • Owl City, post-Shooting Star.

    Bands and Artists P-Z 
  • Progressive Metal band Pain Of Salvation did this with every album, too. Entropia had a very eclectic prog-metal sound with a funk influence in some tracks. One Hour by the Concrete Lake was much more streamlined and had a slight industrial influence. The Perfect Element - Part 1 was a softer, darker, and more complex effort. Remedy Lane was the same, but slightly heavier. BE was very experimental, featuring tracks in other genres away from metal or progressive rock. Scarsick was more commercial, even adding a bit of Nu Metal in the sound. Both Road Salt albums are heavily influenced by 1970s prog-rock and hard rock, and are their softest work to date.
  • Panic! at the Disco may stand as the only band to have changed their sound half way through an album, since their first album transitioned from emo influenced dance-punk, to vaudeville and musical theater inflected emo influenced by danny elfman. They than completely changed their sound again on "Pretty.Odd." which switched to a 60's inspired psychedelic and folk pop sound with the modern production and lyrics of emo. This triggered a Broken Base who still rage top this day. After the band split in two the band came back with "Vices and Virtues", which bizzarely enough returned them to the dark, synthesizer based, dance rock of their debut.
    • Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die switched to a sound influenced by '80s Synthpop and New Wave Music as well as modern day R&B and electro-rock.
  • Pearl Jam moved towards more experimental waters starting with No Code, and they eventually returned to head-on grunge/hard rock with either Riot Act or Pearl Jam (depends who you ask).
  • Pendulum started out as a mainly D'n'B band when their first album, Hold Your Colour, was released. The next two albums, In Silico & Immersion, branched out more into different genres and styles. Despite the albums selling like hot cakes, it still doesn't stop people from complaining.
    • Their next album is reportedly going to be more punk rock influenced. Time will tell how that ends up going.
  • After little success cranking out generic J-pop, Perfume brought on producer Yasutaka Nakata for their album "Game" as a last ditch attempt at popularity. The switch to a techno sound quickly turned them into one of the most successful groups in Japan's history.
  • Pet Shop Boys albums are pretty consistent—almost entirely electronic and typically dance-pop or house-influenced beatfests with the occasional political snark, historical reference, or cultural observation. Then, out of left field, 2002's Release: a guitar-based album full of sixties-ish pop (with Johnny Marr playing the guitar parts, no less), the occasional use of Autotune (mostly to simulate a phone line, but fans still cried "they ruined Neil's voice!"), and slow, sincere ballads, with only two dance-oriented tracks. Critics tended to like it, but many fans hated it for being "too acoustic".
  • Petra, the original Christian Rock band, did this nearly every album, essentially following the current trends in rock music (or trying to, at least) from start to finish. The standouts, however, are the various times they tried to tone down the "rock" part in order to get airplay on Christian radio. Only to snap right back by the next album. Usually.
  • P!nk has done this with pretty much every album.
    • Mostly due to heavy Executive Meddling in her first albums. The ones with her pink hair. Her first album was R&B/Hip-Hop, due to Executive Meddling (P!nk was supposed to have fronted an R&B girl-group, but was then offered a solo deal). She fought for more creative control with her second album, deciding to sing music in her preferred style. Each album reflects the people she worked with closely during the writing process (Linda Perry on "Missundaztood", Tim Armstrong of Rancid on "Try This", Max Martin for much of "I'm Not Dead"). The albums are also pretty good reflections of different periods in her life ("Missundaztood" dealt with much of her childhood, "Funhouse" was written during the time she had separated from husband Carey Hart).
  • Pink Floyd. Listening to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, then The Dark Side of the Moon, then The Wall, then The Final Cut, it's like four different bands (Justified for Piper, as their lead singer/songwriter became a Cloud Cuckoolander shortly after it was finished.)
    • More like five if you take into account their experimental albums like Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother.
    • However the transitions are so gradual that in many cases it's difficult to pinpoint exactly which one is the New Sound Album. The Dark Side of the Moon is not so different from Obscured By Clouds, which is not so different from Meddle, which is not so different from Atom Heart Mother... yet Atom Heart Mother and The Dark Side Of The Moon are worlds apart.
    • Where it is evident is usually when a major change occurs in the band. Animals sounds different from Wish You Were Here because Roger Waters took control of the band at that point, and Momentary Lapse of Reason sounds different from The Final Cut because Roger Waters left the band and David Gilmour took charge.
  • The Police's first two albums were inspired by reggae and punk music (what they termed "Reggatta de Blanc" and indeed named their second album that) and involved a lot of Sting screaming over sped-up reggae riffs. Their third album, Zenyatta Mondatta slowed things down and largely abandoned the reggae elements, before the complete Genre Shift took hold with Ghost in the Machine (apart from the hits, it was mostly funk-inspired) and Synchronicity (straight pop album).
  • Porcupine Tree definitely deserve this. The first album, On The Sunday Of Life, was the musical equivalent of an acid-trip. The second album, Up the Downstair, was more dance and trance-based whilst still retaining elements of being on drugs. The third album, The Sky Moves Sideways, was a homage to Pink Floyd, whilst the fourth album, Signify, was a more rock-oriented and faster-paced album than any of its previous friends, and introduced a very jazzy feeling, and Stupid Dream, the fifth album, has been described as a pop album, as it's one of the most accessible albums by PT. Lightbulb Sun is the Tree's take on emo, being the break-up album, so filled with lots of sad lyrics, and the seventh album, In Absentia, decides to further mess with your head by going progressive metal a lot of the time, whilst still retaining acoustic elements found in Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream. Prog metal gave way to ambience for the next album, Deadwing, which did keep some of the heavier moments from In Absentia. Fear of a Blank Planet has been the heaviest album overall, following on from Deadwing, and includes a 17 minute long epic rocking moment, which is also one of the heaviest pieces they've done, featuring some death-metal-esque drumming at points. The Incident blends together metal with ambience and acoustic guitars, as well as hints of industrial at times. It's fair to say, the only genre they've not attempted yet has been soul, but there's still time yet.
  • Florida band Presence was a pretty standard Nu Metal / Rap Metal outfit. Their last album was a straightforward Post-Grunge album with nary a rap on it. Out of nowhere.
  • Primal Scream shifted their sound repeatedly throughout the 1990s, first moving from the indie jangle sound of their '80s albums to house rock with Screamadelica. After a brief dip into a more traditional sound with the bluesy Give Out, But Don't Give Up, the band closed out the decade with the dark, claustrophobic Vanishing Point and the angrily-political XTRMNTR.
  • After two albums of generic R&B, Prince finally took the gloves off for Dirty Mind, the album which codified his now-famous style of New Wave-funk-pop-rock with highly sexual lyrics. He has had several others over his career:
    • Purple Rain emphasised the rock and pop parts of the equation with a slight influence from psychedelic rock and represented the debut of The Revolution.
    • Around the World in a Day dialed up the psychedelia.
    • Sign o' the Times was made after The Revolution disbanded and emphasised stripped-down arrangements.
    • The Black Album was pure funk but got cancelled - its replacement Lovesexy was more poppy.
    • With Graffiti Bridge, Prince bought new drum machines and sequencers but otherwise continued with Lovesexy-style pop-funk-rock.
    • Diamonds and Pearls saw him ditch the New Wave elements, reduce the pop/rock and switch more towards an urban/R&B-oriented style and heavily featured Tony M's clumsy rapping in an attempt to appeal to his supposedly dwindling black audience.
    • After changing his name to the unpronounceable symbol, The Gold Experience dialled down the clumsy rapping and continued otherwise with the funk/R&B with some extra bits of pop and rock, a style he's pretty much stayed in ever since.
  • Project Pitchfork appear to have jumped on the Aggrotech/Hellectro bandwagon with their more recent albums, although retaining aspects of their Darkwave past.
  • While each of Pulp's albums progress from the last, His 'N' Hers shows a marked difference from their more introspective, artsy records of the 80s, and is generally considered a vast improvement. We Love Life could also be considered this to a lesser extent, as it sounds much more naturalistic and organic than the albums that preceded it.
  • Queen weren't exactly prog to start with, but were known for highly overdubbed vocal harmonies and guitar work. Starting with The Game they pushed the guitar to the background and focused more on the pop side of their personality instead of rock. This development went hand in hand with synthesizeritis and reduced songwriting quality, causing them to lose their popularity in America.
  • REM has a lot of these, especially the experimental New Adventures in Hi-Fi'. Monster'' to an extent too, as it introduced a louder, more grunge-influenced sound, coming after two popular albums emphasizing orchestration and acoustic guitars. Don't forget Up, the first album after Bill Berry's departure. It introduced drum machines and synthesizers to their sound.
  • Radiohead - Kid A, Amnesiac, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs.
    • They reached extreme critical acclaim in 1997 with OK Computer, an album featuring spacey rock with recurring themes of globalization and alienation. The massive hype and the highly positive reception gave them much popularity and attention, but the amount of touring and inter-band strife forced the band to re-think itself.
    • ...Eventually creating Kid A. The album featured more electronic sounds than guitars (as Thom Yorke was allegedly bored of guitars by that point), distorted vocals and much more abstract lyrics and experimental instrumentation, splintering their massive fanbase (many of whom had expected a straight-up continuation of OK Computer) and becoming a highly polarizing album. 2001 saw the release of Amnesiac, which was recorded alongside Kid A and was just as confusing as its predecessor, but both albums would receive much praise.
    • With 2007 came In Rainbows, which was a much Lighter and Softer version of Radiohead (but just as Radiohead as it could be) and much more accessible than one could say about their previous work.
    • 2011 would bring The King of Limbs, which is way too hard to categorize as a whole.
  • The Ramones' pop experiment, the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century.
  • The Rasmus did this with the release of Dead Letters. Possibly a case of Executive Meddling, maybe just a bad change of direction whilst trying to Break America / Rest-of-English-Speaking World, but... Energetic and thoroughly enjoyable (if not particularly special) Finnish pop-rock band tries for some strange pop-goth-electronica vibe, falls spectacularly flat, ends up generally derided by the English-Speaking-World goth rock-listening public and having one single, solitary, not very representative song played to death on commercial rock radio. Shame, a couple of the album tracks that hark slightly back to their old sound (which would likely have done well in the pop charts) are excellent, but the rest of it is a pretty forgettable dirge. - YMMV, naturally. They made 2 future albums in a similar genre.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers had Blood Sugar Sex Magik, abandoning heavy metal riffs for full-fledged funk rock. It proved to be their breakthrough album. To see how much they changed, listen to Greatest Hits and compare "Higher Ground" (the only song from before BSSMnote ) to the rest of the tracks. One Hot Minute (after guitarist John Frusciante departed) and Californication (when Frusciante returned) kinda count too.
  • Relient K left their punk rock sound for more alt-rock with Mmhmm; segueing to alt-folk-ish for Five Score and Seven Years Ago. Their latest album, Forget and Not Slow Down, is a blend of all their genres.
  • REO Speedwagon was a hard rock band for the entire duration of The Seventies, but transformed into pop with Hi Infidelity. Although initially sucessful, this move caused the band to lose credibility and dissapeared off the radar after the 1980s.
  • Rhapsody of Fire underwent a rather drastic change between Power of the Dragonflame and Symphony of Enchanted Lands II. Whereas albums up until Power were more like music that told a story, Symphony II onward focused more and more on the story rather than the music, building up the cinematic feel almost to the point where the Dark Secret Saga feels more like a movie without the pictures as opposed to the story-telling music of the Emerald Sword Saga. Fan opinion on which style is better tends to be divided.
  • After the disappointing sales of the jazzy, often times soul-influenced indietronica album Ruby Blue, Roisin Murphy decided to completely overhaul her sound and image. The result was Overpowered, a throwback to 1980s disco and synthpop that retains a few certain elements from Ruby Blue. Unlike most eamples on here, it was actually critically acclaimed, but while it was a modest success in the UK, it was never physically released in America (it did however pop up on the iTunes Store starting February 2012).
  • The Rolling Stones shifted from their early R&B-based British Invasion sound to a quirkier, Kinks-like pop with Between the Buttons, went to full-blown psychadelia on Their Satanic Majesties Request, then perfected their bluesy rock formula on Beggars Banquet.
  • Hard to imagine this topic without a mention of Todd Rundgren, who was notorious for changing his style on a regular basis.
  • Rush has many. The self-titled debut album (released prior to virtuoso drummer/lyricist Neil Peart joining the band) is pretty straightfoward 70s bar-band fare ala Bad Company. Enter Peart with Fly by Night, and suddenly the lyrics become sci-fi and the drumming much more technical, but the overall song structures still pretty straightfoward hard rock. However, with Caress of Steel, the band started to move into prog territory, with very long multi-part epics. This remained until Permanent Waves, which found the band abandoning the long epics and "wail" vocals in favor of a more accessable sound. Signals threw the band into synthesizeritis mode, which lasted throughout The Eighties, until Counterparts, when the band shed the synths in favor of a grunge-influenced sound sound they've stuck with since. However, based on interviews and the two new preview tracks, their upcoming album Clockwork Angels may move the band back to prog.
    • Some Rush fans have noticed that the album following an official Live Album would be a New Sound Album. They seem to have abandoned this since their 2003 return to regular recording and touring.
  • S Club 7 were known for a bubblegum pop sound on their debut album S Club. Their second album 7 was similar though introduced a few R&B tracks. Their third album Sunshine was definitely this, marking a more mature direction for the group. The album's first single "Don't Stop Moving" is widely recognised as their best song ever. Their fourth album Seeing Double was almost completely dance and R&B influenced. Although it didn't sell as well as their previous albums, it received good reviews from critics.
  • Asobi Seksu were criticized by some fans upon the release of their album Hush for changing their sound from shoe-gaze to a more dream-poppy sound with less guitars.
  • Sevendust's first album featured rawer production, simpler writing, harsher vocals, less melody, and a more aggressive sound. Home was more melodic, leaning a little closer to the band's signature style, but still maintaining a similar sound to their debut. Animosity brought in the real change, with much stronger songwriting and a much more melodic sound. From then on, the band has made little alterations to their music.
  • The Shins' Wincing The Night Away, which has a more contemporary indie-rock sound, as opposed to the faux 60's Britpop sound of their first two albums.
  • With their second album, Season of Poison Shiny Toy Guns mostly abandoned their previous retro synthpop/rock style and went for a Darker and Edgier emo sound, which had many fans clamoring that it was ruined. III returned to their roots.
  • About half of Shudder to Think's discography consisted of these. For their first four albums they were primarily Post-Hardcore. Their 1994 album Pony Express Record combined their original sound with elements of Math Rock and Noise Rock - interestingly, it was their major label debut but also the least commercial material they'd released up to that point.50,000 B.C. then abandoned that sound almost entirely in favor of Alternative Rock and Glam Rock... Though the album also included a re-recording of "Red House", a song from their Post-Hardcore era. Their last two albums were shifts in style in part due to being film soundtracks: First Love, Last Rites consisted of retraux pastiches of different styles popular in the sixties (which tied in with one of the main characters of the film being a collector of rare records), while High Art was a foray into trip-hop and Ambient music. First Love, Last Rites and High Art are also notable for how rarely lead vocalist Craig Wedren is heard - the former primarily uses guest vocalists, the latter is mostly instrumental.
  • A soundtrack example would be the Silent Hill series. The first game's soundtrack consisted mostly of scary mechanical and industrial noise tracks, with only a handful of tracks which are actually 'music'. Silent Hill 2 saw a much greater focus on music and acoustic tracks. The third game started the trend of tracks with vocals by Mary Elizabeth McGuinn and Joe Romersa. The series' sound stayed like this for years, but is changing again with the departure of longtime series sound developer Akira Yamaoka. His replacement for Silent Hill: Downpour is Daniel Licht, whose style is very different.
  • Subversion: Chinese band Silver Ash had one single New Sound song in 2007. It was pop- a long way from their previous goth/glam rock style, and in the PV they were dressed casually- unsual, as they had up until then considered themselves China's first Visual Kei band. It seems the change was brought about, not because the band fancied a change, but because they had finally been forced to comply with the Chinese government, who had been making life very tough for them for years. However, after the release of this song, the band disappeared into the wilderness, and very little news has been heard of them since. There is a lot of speculation, but nobody really knows whether they are going to continue with their new pop sound or are planning to return to rock and VK as best they can- under the assumption that they are returning at all, of course.
  • Silverchair were a Post-Grunge band for their first three albums, then Diorama had them change direction dramatically towards more of an art-rock sound with orchestral instrumentation. They had first started experimenting with string arrangements on Freak Show though, and Neon Ballroom could sort of be seen as a weird transition between their "old" and "new" sounds, as it had both softer, more contemplative songs and some of their most grunge-like material.
  • Speculative: Paul Simon, with Graceland. Wildly popular, but notable in history because of how much of a stylistic shift it was.
  • Simon & Garfunkel's debut album (Wednesday Morning, 3 AM) had more of a traditional acoustic folk sound; the second album, Sound of Silence, was where they shifted to more of a rock instrumentation and approach.
  • Sister Machine Gun is an odd case in which every album can be considered to be a New Sound Album. The only person who appears on every single release is the singer/songwriter and even during live concerts some songs are often performed differently than they were on the album they originate from.
    • In the later years the shifts happened a bit less often, for example the 5th and 6th albums had EPs come after them that were each in the same style as the album they followed (for example the album 6 was followed by the EPs '6.1' and '6.2') but then the next album release would be another New Sound Album.
  • Skinny Puppy, while still mainly Industrial, have more IDM influences on their latest two albums.
  • Slayer had two instances of this. First, there was 1988's South Of Heaven, which sacrificed the blisteringly fast thrash metal of Reign In Blood for a slower, more groove-oriented style of metal. Two albums and a new drummer later, there was 1998's Diabolus In Musica, which combined their signature thrash metal style with substantial Nu Metal and Industrial Metal influences. It also showed the band using mostly C# tuning rather than the Eb tuning they used on every previous album (sans their debut, which used standard tuning). Needless to say, this caused a very large fan backlash, with many accusing the band of selling out. Subsequent albums, perhaps in response to DIM's backlash, gradually toned down the "modern metal" influences, with 2009's World Painted Blood being an almost complete return to their classic style. The band has also returned to mostly Eb tuning.
  • Michael W. Smith started out performing pop-rock, and some of his songs even crossed over into the mainstream. Then by I'll Lead You Home, he's gone to strictly pop - abandoning the "rock" aspect of his genre. Since then, his music has taken on a more inspirational type of contemporary Christian music.
  • When iconic rapper Snoop Dogg changed his name to Snoop Lion and released a straightforward reggae album; if you didn't know better, you'd think they were two different people. However, it turns out that name is either just a moniker or only a one-time thing: he released a song for DreamWorks' Turbo under his original name.
  • Solar Fields was initially experimental ambient electronica, but shifted to trance for his Earthshine album, then returned to his former style for Movements and the Mirror's Edge soundtrack.
  • Solarstone's Touchstone is still trance at heart, but includes more eclectic styles such as synthpop, breaks, and D n' B.
  • Sonata Arctica started introducing some progressive elements to their fully Power Metal music in 2004, with Reckoning Night, but it was quite subtle and no fans cried out loud... until 2007, when their album Unia brought complex, slower and heavily progressive songs. About half their fanbase liked it, while the rest hated it. Their 2009 album, The Days Of Grays, toned down this complexity and progressiveness, but their sound has definitely changed, likely a result of the band Growing the Beard.
  • Christian Metal band Soul Embraced started as a fairly straight forward Death Metal band. Their second album brought a bit of Melodic Death Metal into the mix, but it didn't sound too different. Then came their third album Immune. This album was a mix of death metal and Nu Metal, for whatever reason. After that album, they changed their sound again for Dead Alive, a Progressive Metal / Death Metal mix. Their next album Mythos is promised to be their most brutal, so we can only guess where it will be...
  • Soulwax has shifted over time from alt-rock in the 90s to "Dance-Punk". Their album Any Minute Now marked the start of the change, as it was an electronic-influenced rock album, and the remix/re-creation of Any Minute Now in the album Nite Versions sealed the deal (rock-influenced electronica album!). This has been largely seen as a good thing, as well as somewhat of a natural progression, as Soulwax's alter egos, 2 Many Dj's, have been electronica-ing it up for a while now.
  • Sound Horizon made a significant shift in musical stylings between Elysion and Roman - songs became longer, the primary genre shifted from Baroque Pop to Symphonic-Progressive, and a larger, rotating roster of vocalists (including the band's founder/composer/lyricist/guitarist/accordionist/bagpipes player/occasional pianist, Revo) was introduced to replace Aramary, who had resigned from the band for personal reasons. While there were (and still are) some detractors that weren't happy with Aramary's resignation, the change has worked out rather well for them, and they've been carrying on in this direction since.
  • Space did this with practically every album. Spiders was groove-heavy and influenced by Cypress Hill, with much use of drum loops and samples, and Tommy Scott doing what he called a 'Speedy Gonzales' voice. Tin Planet was much poppier, with most of the songs by Tommy, and a mixture of styles from Frank Sintra-esque crooning and disco to showtunes, straight up indie rock and techno. Lost album Love You More Than Football was even more so. Then Jamie Murphy left and the band got Darker and Edgier with Suburban Rock 'n' Roll, which was musically more homogeneous, but had rougher production, synth bass and much slower-paced songs. When the band got back together, thanks to three new members joining, Space changed direction again with Attack Of The Mutant 50ft Kebab, which was heavily influenced by ska, rockabilly and punk, with much faster songs.
  • Sparks did this several times. While their first four albums were quirky glam rock, 1975's "Indiscreet" saw them exploring a wide variety of styles. Then, with "Big Beat" they turned into a hard rock band, and 1977's "Introducing Sparks" was a Beach Boys/Surf Rock pastiche. All of these are at least still mostly identifiable as rock music, but in 1979, they teamed up with electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder to produce "No. 1 in Heaven," a purely electronic disco-style album. They did another in this vein, 1980's "Terminal Jive", then went in a Synthpop direction for the rest of the 80s. With 1995's "Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins" they went Eurodisco. Finally,2002's "Lil' Beethoven" turned Sparks into Orchestral Rock.
  • The Spice Girls released a third album, after Geri's departure titled Forever. Their previous two albums had been pure bubblegum pop while Forever had a more R&B sound to it in an attempt to cultivate a maturer image. Reaction was incredibly mixed and it was the lowest selling Spice Girls album (though it did sell over 4 million copies worldwide).
  • Parodied in the exhaustive fictional back-story of Spinal Tap. Their discography touches on moptop rock (the "Gimme Some Money" 45), psychedelic rock (their debut LP and We Are All Flower People), extended live jams (Silent But Deadly), proto-metal (Brainhammer), progressive rock (The Sun Never Sweats), glam rock (Bent For The Rent), disco (Tap Dancing), and of course, heavy metal itself.
  • Rebecca St. James' first self-titled album was of a bouncy teen pop style. Then, for God (her second album), she has also decided to go with a harder rock decidedly Post-Grunge style (in the style of Alanis Morissette, no less). Oddly enough, she claims to have never listened to her secular counterpart while recording that album.
  • Starflyer 59 moved from their previous shoegazing-influenced guitar-heavy sound to a synthpop-influenced sound with keyboards starting with The Fashion Focus.
  • Steely Dan have had two:
    • Pretzel Logic sort of half qualifies, as they were in the process of ending the early "real band" phase of their career in favor of their later approach of putting together whatever studio musicians could best accompany them on each track. As a result you get material like "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Barrytown", which seem like the same group that did the first two albums next to more experimental, esoteric stuff like the title track, "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" (both their only instrumental and only cover) and "With a Gun" (their only song based around an acoustic guitar part, which actually sounds downright folky)
    • Aja is much jazzier as a whole than their earlier albums, and abandons most of the pop-rock influences they had up to that point, to the point of having two tracks longer than seven minutes.
  • Stone Temple Pilots started as a 90s grunge band typical of the era, but switched to 60s/70s-inspired psychedelic rock with Tiny Music.
  • Styx started as a hard rock band with prog influences. They abandoned the prog element relatively early on, and then went completely pop with Cornerstone.
    • Then tried to go back halfway with Kilroy was Here, which is at least part of the reason it broke the band up.
  • Alan Vega initially produced proto-industrial avant-rock with the group Suicide in The Seventies, but in The Eighties, he switched to New Wave, then went back down the Darker and Edgier path to Industrial.
  • Summoning went through a pretty dramatic change in Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (and subsequent albums), switching from black metal to a much more relaxed, epic style.
  • Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album was firmly rooted in country music. While she had been gradually moving in a more pop direction since then, her fourth album, Red, definitely qualifies as this, featuring an eclectic mix of genres ranging from electronic pop and even dubstep to straight up rock. Many reviewers noted this shift as a sign that the former teen superstar was officially an adult now.
  • Talk Talk started out as a New Wave band that already experimented with their sound as soon as during production of the second album. By the fourth one - titled Spirit of Eden - they may have became a Ur Example of Post-Rock.
  • Talking Heads had a few; Remain In Light was filled with repetitious, dense African rhythms that sounded way different from their previous albums (Although it was hinted on in "I Zimbra" from Fear of Music). Three years later, they had Speaking in Tongues which was a more funky, synth-poppy album. Two years after, Little Creatures had more Latin influences, with some Americana which their next and final two albums both took inspiration from.
  • t.A.T.u. did this. Twice. Their sophomore album Dangerous And Moving was considered by some as the Base Breaker album. However, some of the fans consider said album as their favorite. This led to them having different sets of fans. Some only like the first album, some only like the second album, some only like the third album, etc.
  • Steve Taylor released the bulk of his albums in the mid-eighties, full of synthesizers and eighties sensibilities. During the break between I Predict 1990 and Squint, not only did he spend time working with a whole different band, but grunge happened. The result is Squint, perhaps his finest album ever. And his last.
  • They Might Be Giants moved up from "Two guys, an accordion, a guitar and a drum machine" to a full band for their fifth album, John Henry.
  • Metalcore band In This Moment went for a less heavy sound in their second album The Dream, diitching most of the growling vocals and Metal Screams after vocalist Maria Brink expressed a desire to challenge herself with more clean-vocals songs.
  • Christian alternative metal band Thousand Foot Krutch did this with every single album. Their first album was essentially rap-metal with a couple of pop-punk songs thrown in. Their second album was pretty straightforward nu metal. Their third album was soft alt-rock/alt-metal with little screaming and only a few heavier songs. Their fourth album was more traditional alt-rock mixed with post-grunge and heavy metal. Their fifth release is mostly heavy metal with some heavier alt-metal and some slower rock tracks of a much different quality than their others, and the album is the band's heaviest to date. The End Is Where We Begin is essentially a mix of everything, even the rapping.
  • TNT evolved from straightforward metal on their self titled album and Knights of The New Thunder, to somewhat of a fusion of Hair Metal and Hard Rock on Tell No Tales and Intuition, with some touches of more traditional metal. Then in 1992 we got Realized Fantasies, which completely shifted to melodic glam metal. In 97, we got Firefly, which somewhat cashed in on the grunge/alternative metal trend that was occuring at the time. Then in 2004 the classic lineup was brought back and the return to melodic rock was made with My Religion. In 2007, new singer Tony Mills was brought in and the new album The New Territory was released, coming in with a sound similar to that of 70s bands fused with the classic TNT sound. Cue Broken Base.
  • Trentemoller was originally minimal dance / glitch house / neo trance, but he seems to have mostly abandoned dance beats for his second album, Into the Great Wide Yonder.
  • Indie band TV on the Radio had a more organic, experimental post-punk sound on their album Return to Cookie Mountain, which was a critical darling. Following that one was Dear Science, which has a more electric sound and is more accessible in general. That one was rather well-liked as well.
  • U2 evolved from post-punk on Boy to a more straightforward rock sound by War, then they looked into blues and country for The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum. With Achtung Baby, they had a complete Genre Shift to a more modern alternative rock sound and added more electronics, eventually culminating in the ambient concept album Original Soundtracks 1 (released under the pseudonym Passengers) and the largely electronic Pop. After that, they went back to a more Joshua Tree style sound with All That You Can't Leave Behind. No Line on the Horizon manages to combine just about everything from the rest of their career, with Joshua Tree anthems and Achtung rockers right next to Passengers-style ambient pieces on the track listing.
  • British reggae band UB40 started off with a reverb-y, dub-influenced sound and very political lyrics. Their fourth LP, the Cover Album Labour of Love, introduced a significant pop element which gradually grew until, on Promises and Lies, they were pretty much an adult contemporary pop band with some reggae for flavor. Since that point, their mix of pop and reggae has varied from album to album.
  • Urge Overkill started as a crappy noise-rock band ripping off The Jesus Lizard, Big Black and other contemporary Chicago bands. With Americruiser they hit upon their style, a combination of punk, power pop and arena rock. They never looked back and continued perfecting the formula until they struck the jackpot with Saturation.
  • 5150 by Van Halen. After 6 albums defined mostly by the combination of Eddie Van Halen's guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth's comic persona, Roth left the band. He was replaced with Sammy Hagar, Eddie started including more and more synths, and their songs became poppier. Cue Broken Base, which endures to this day despite Roth having returned.
    • Also the largely forgotten Balance album, Van Halen's rather misguided attempt at grunge.
  • If you listen to the The Velvet Underground's four albums, none of them sound exactly the same:
    • The Velvet Underground & Nico: Eclectic art rock
    • White Light/White Heat: Loud garage rock
    • The Velvet Underground: Mainly folk rock
    • Loaded: Pop
  • The Veronicas going from typical princess pop rock to synthetic pop with a classical edge on their second album. Acoustic pop rock in their debut, eletronic classic elemental 80's pop in their second album and RNB sampled rock pop in their third.
  • With A Northern Soul, The Verve changed their orientation from their previous spacey psychedelic rock to alternative rock. They continued with this style on Urban Hymns.
  • Village People (The Renaissance Album)
  • It's hard to tell exactly what Tom Waits became after swordfishtrombones, but it's nothing like what he was before. And it made him a legend.
  • Ween seems to like to change it up quite a bit.
    • One might say they've had new sounds on every song on many albums. Compare this to this. the fact that even Gener's vocals change a lot helps. (this and this are sung by the same guy.)
    • In fact, the interesting thing about Ween is that they're typically so all over the place that 12 Golden Country Greats is not a New Sound Album because it's all country music, but because it's all one genre at all.
  • Kanye West pulls this with every album; although all of them stick to his signature style of mixing Alternative Rap and Glam Rap they all do it in a different way.
    • His first album The College Dropout relied more on old, sped up, soul samples
    • Late Registration had more of a jazz and Baroque Pop influence, as well lush instrumental backgrounds
    • Graduation mixed in elements of pop, Hard Rock, and house music to create a more poppy anthemic sound,
    • 808s & Heartbreak was the most drastic shift since it wasn't even hip hop, instead it is an almost unclassifiable mix of synthpop, {{R&B}}, experimental minimalism, and pop music with auto-tuned singing to intentionally create a cold, robotic feel that reinforces the depressive themes of the album.
    • He than took all of those styles and mishmashed them all into one glorious package along with elements of modern indie rock and Pop Revival to create what is considered his Magnum Opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Which is now considered one of the greatest alternative hip hop/pop albums of all time.
    • He pulled it again with Cruel Summer, which pushed his music more towards the Glam Rap side of his music, in addition to Trap Music, although it still has alot of progressive elements tha keep it unique.
    • Yeezus is proably his Darkest album yet. Lyrically, it contiunes on the Glam Rap path set by Cruel Summer and Watch the Throne while throwing in the occasional political tune. Musically, its a smorgasbord of genres, combining Trap and Dancehall with elements of Acid House, Dark Ambient, Punk Rock, Industrial Hip Hop, Dubstep, and Glitch. All of this in 40 minutes.
  • The Who changed sound very frequently. Their debut album My Generation is blues-rock, similar to to what The Rolling Stones were doing at the time. They then moved into psychedelic pop with A Quick One and The Who Sell Out, and then then keyboard-heavy art rock with Tommy, Who's Next and Quadrophenia. In contrast, The Who by Numbers is stripped down and back-to-basics. The last three albums of their initial run (Who Are You, Face Dances, It's Hard) have a more AOR arena rock sound.
  • XTC started out as a hyperactive New Wave band with punk, reggae and funk influences. These were mostly dropped after the departure of Barry Andrews and arrival of Dave Gregory, which steered them towards a more complex sound inspired by 60's pop on Drums and Wires (though still definitely New Wave). When the band stopped performing live, they produced the gentle pastoral folk rock album Mummer, and expanded on this sound - by their Magnum Opus Skylarking, they had evolved into full-on 60's-inspired pop rock with psychedelic, folk rock and baroque pop elements.
  • Parodied in "Weird Al" Yankovic's mockumentary "The Compleat Al", where it was suggested that after a few albums of comedy music, he became deeply introspective and wrote/recorded an album ("Me, Myself, and I") of a rather different, serious tone. Unfortunately, the story goes, the master tapes were accidentally erased by an airport metal detector, and the world would never know Al's new sound.
    • This was possibly influenced by Rolling Stone's completely false 1969 article about the supposed lost Beatles album Hot As Sun, which was wiped from existence in the same manner.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs practically went alternative dance with "It's Blitz!", an album that still sounds like them (largely because of Karen O's unmistakable voice) but is vastly different than "Show Your Bones", and DEFINITELY different than "Fever To Tell".
  • 90125 by Yes. The first album by a reunited band with a new guitarist (Trevor Rabin), 90125 saw the band reduce their song lengths and simplify their structures, while retaining enough weirdness and instrumental proficiency to remind fans that it was still a Yes album despite its newfound accessibility. It resulted in the band's only #1 hit, "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Some parts of the fanbase went straight for Old Guard Versus New Blood, with the "Troopers" representing the former and the "Generators" (named after the band's followup Big Generator) the latter, but the majority seem to enjoy both periods just fine.
    • This was actually intended as a spinoff project (named "Cinema"), until Yes vocalist Jon Anderson liked the sound of the demos and decided to make it a Yes album.
    • Drama from the same band is worth mentioning here, as it brought a new wave influence to Yes (courtesy of The Buggles' Trevor Horn, who helped define that musical style throughout the 1980s) years before 90125. Some critics, like Jeremy Parish of Game Spite, argue that it did a better job of bringing the band into the new decade than the two subsequent albums. Not satisfied with taking Yes in one new direction, Horn and his bandmates also wrote Machine Messiah, the heavy metal-flavored lead track that would become an influence for the harder sound of neo-prog artists like Dream Theater.
  • Internet Glitchgrind band Zombie Sneak Attack had two of these, after seven albums of what even the band themselves describes as "unbelievably horrible noises" they released Psychotropic Seminiferous Tubules, a broadly sweeping concept album complete with narration and bits that can almost be described as music. They returned to their signature sound with A New Kind of Unlistenable and then put out Handsniffer, an ambient soundscape style album that sounds like the soundtrack to an avant-garde horror film, oddly punctuated with voice samples from cartoons such as The Simpsons and South Park.
  • British post-industrial group Zoviet France does this every album, but most would agree that Shouting at the Ground marked their transition to more strait forward ambient and drone, but thats not to say that any of their music is any less potent.


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