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Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Music
  • The Beastie Boys' sampling, particularly on Paul's Boutique - was a huge influence on rap producers and helped create the slicker, jazz-sampling style of rap music that would evolve into G-Funk. However, most new listeners will notice their high pitched rapping styles and the fact they are white, and not really see what has made them so popular.
    • Likewise, Hello Nasty was considered a remarkable achievement upon release in 1998 as, until then, nobody had ever heard a hip hop album with so much variety. The album seemed destined to become a classic along the lines of Paul's Boutique and Licensed To Ill. Over time, however, its critical standing has significantly diminished, thanks to the work of rappers like Kanye West (whose music has the same kind of variety but with more focus). It's now considered by most to be one of the band's weaker albums.
  • Trap rapper Ace Hood's once-distinctive flow (popular around 2010, when he had a single out with Rick Ross and Lil Wayne called "Hustle Hard"), has since had a legion of imitators, most of whom have had considerably more successful careers than Ace himself.
  • At The Gates's riffing style has been copied so much that AtG's album Slaughter of the Soul might seem predictable to a first time listener who's already acquainted with the knockoffs.
  • Barbra Streisand, Cher, Madonna, ...three leading ladies of the music industry, almost all possessing huge gay followings, who also spent a fair bit of time doing things in the movie biz. Hard to believe they're some of the most innovative girls around, considering (at least in Madonna's case) every blonde pop singer from the nineties onward is compared to them or called their Successor.
  • On that note, Lady Gaga appears to have fallen victim to this trope. When her debut album "The Fame" was released in 2008, she was seen as a renaissance for dance music, taking the blueprint established by Madonna and updating it for the new millennium while still having her own unique style. Today, with so many dance pop artists having risen to (pun not intended) fame in the wake of the album's success, Lady Gaga has become a bit of punch line among music fans. Her stage antics and constant media controversy certainly don't help matters.
  • The Beatles pioneered and popularized so many of the recording and musical techniques commonly heard in rock and pop music today that it can be hard for newcomers to truly appreciate how ground-breaking they actually were. In particular, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band can suffer from this. (It was particularly impressive for being recorded with only 4 tracks. In today's digital world, where everything can be done on a computer, most people don't understand what that even means and why it's so impressive.)
    • The Beatles do, for the most part, avert this trope, though - while people may not always recognize today how groundbreaking they are, they continue to be one of the most popular and beloved bands of all time, and their albums continue to sell out nearly a half-century after they were originally released. And every generation of teenagers seems to re-discover The Beatles (see there was the popularity of Across the Universe and the Beatles edition of Rock Band). And it's rare to find anyone who actually denies The Beatles' influence. Even a lot of the Hype Backlash will still admit The Beatles were innovative, just that they weren't the only ones pioneering those things and don't like how they're often discussed as though they were.
    • Their films, A Hard Days Night, Help!, and to a lesser degree, Magical Mystery Tour, went a long way towards codifying a lot of the visual techniques and tropes of Music Videos that dominated The Eighties music scene.
  • The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" used groundbreaking techniques that are so common now listeners unfamiliar with their history might not recognize how revolutionary the album is.
  • Memphis power pop band Big Star's debut album #1 Record drew inspiration from The Beatles and The Kinks. It now sounds incredibly conventional but was astonishing around its 1972 release.
  • Bob Dylan. In the documentary No Direction Home, Dave Van Ronk tells a story about "House of the Rising Sun," which Dylan recorded on his (self-titled) debut album. The version he recorded was arranged by Van Ronk and Dylan had learned it from hearing him perform it live. After Dylan recorded it, so many people accused Van Ronk of ripping it off from him that he finally stopped performing it. Later, when the Animals covered Dylan's version the song, the same thing happened to him.
    • And Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Roy Acuff had recorded the song back in the 1940s.
  • Boyd Rice. Play an old record by him to someone today and they might think that it's someone trying to learn to make a loop. They might not realize that Boyd was one of the earliest pioneers of sampling and record scratching.
  • Breaking guitars (or any other instrument). In the 60's, breaking your instruments on stage was seen as the epitome of badassness, rebellion and edginess. Today, breaking guitars is so overdone it's a rock n roll cliche.
    • There is an exception for Yoshiki Hayashi and his drum breaks, both because his actions actually weren't cliche in Japan when he first started doing it, and because he managed to successfully invoke the Rule of Cool enough that it's actually a part of his show.
  • Country Music sparked several of these:
    • Conway Twitty. Now seen as a linchpin of classic country, he was never part of the Grand Ole Opry in part due to his "rock and roll sound".
    • Billy Ray Cyrus became popular in 1992, at a time when there was a trend toward "traditional country", and his very rock- and pop-influenced "crossover country" style (complete with the ubiquitous novelty hit "Achy Breaky Heart") and mulleted, musclebound, hip-wiggling pretty-boy stage presence was both very uncommon in the genre, and polarized many country purists who saw him as a Scrappy. His success, however, brought a younger, hipper, more rock-influenced audience to country music, and helped to give the genre more mainstream attention and airplay. You can see more exaggerated influences in stars like Blake Shelton or Kenny Chesney topping the charts, but Billy is still not acknowledged, and his daughter is now more well-known than he is.
    • Faith Hill. When she hit it big in late 1999-early 2000 with the massive crossover hit "Breathe", every single female act in the genre was cutting Power Ballads with a similar sound and similar incentive to cross over. These attempts usually were met with failure (except for Martina McBride getting a few huge crossover hits — albeit in 2004, after the craze died down), and what's more, Faith ended up hoist by her own petard when country radio shunned her very heavily pop-influenced Cry album.
    • George Strait. When he first hit the charts in 1981, he was markedly more country than his peers, most of whom were following the pop crossovers of acts such as Alabama, Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers. The rise of similarly "neotraditionalist" acts like Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, and Clint Black in the late 1980s-early 1990s followed in George's footsteps. While many of his contemporaries have faded, George has somehow managed to keep his A-list status with minimal change to his sound, sometimes making it quite hard to remember just how much of a pioneer he is.
    • Gretchen Wilson seemed to spark not one, but two examples of this: besides being a rock-influenced creation of John Rich (one half of the gonzo, rock-influenced Big & Rich), her Signature Song "Redneck Woman" sparked a wave of spunky women-with-attitude types and anthemic songs about southern pride. The former trope has died down considerably thanks in part to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood's death grip on the genre, but the latter is still prevalent — albeit moreso with male artists.
    • Johnny Cash and other acoustic music in general gets this treatment these days. Most teenagers think singers like Johnny Cash are boring. In his day, Cash was shocking to the Moral Guardians. These days, the acoustic guitar seen as a starting point for learning the guitar. It's hard to imagine what music would be like today without the instrument.
  • Dance music. Most of it falls victim to this eventually. Not so long ago nobody had heard of acid house, rave, big beat, gabba, trip-hop, drum'n'bass, jungle... Anything that's new is so easily taken up and copied by imitators that it soon sounds totally conventional and often technologically primitive. (Think of MARRS "Pump Up the Volume", "Out of Space" by the Prodigy, or anything by Fatboy Slim for example).
    • Very few people nowadays might hear Suicide or Silver Apples, the two bands that arguably spawned electronic music, and guess that their origins are pre-disco.
  • Darkthrone (specifically, their early black metal albums) have spawned so many clones that some confused people think Darkthrone themselves sound "generic".
  • Dr Dre's "Nothin' But a 'G' Thang". At the time, a hip-hip video with low riders, backyard parties and lots of posing in front of the camera was something new and different. Needless to say, it was certainly influential.
  • Eiffel 65 sounds a lot less fresh today after thousands of rappers ran the Autotune gimmick into the ground.
  • Eric Clapton. Although he was never as experimental as his contemporary, Jimi Hendrix, Clapton was a major influence on all rock after 1966. He almost single-handedly resurrected the Gibson Les Paul, one of the most ubiquitous guitar designs today. Not only that, he created (or popularized) rock guitar as we know it. His playing during this era inspired the "Clapton is God" graffiti. Hendrix himself was an admirer. Today, although he's still a skilled guitarist (and almost 70 years old), Clapton is mostly known for the light pop he recorded from the 70's onward. Even his watered-down acoustic version of "Layla" is arguably more familiar to younger generations than the original (and with some justice, as it was presented in a much more pop-friendly and thus memorable format). He influenced just as many guitarists as Hendrix (usually both are cited), so his playing is often considered tired and clichéd. But he used to be kind of cool.
  • "Funk" effects in rock music (the "wah-wah" pedal, etc.). When these first appeared in the late '60s in works by bands like Cream, they sounded dangerous and even diabolical. But then, in the '70s, so many TV shows began to use mild funk flourishes in their theme songs that today a style that once offended so many people just sounds ridiculous. This was partially fixed in the early '80s, when (if only in that one instance) Michael Jackson's Thriller managed to make funk sound Badass again.
  • Gang Of Four's trademark sound to some extent: Starting around the Turn of the Millennium, a lot of post-punk/New Wave-influenced bands like Franz Ferdinand and Maxïmo Park started using minimalist, choppy guitar riffs and stiff but funk-influenced rhythms in a similar manner. This actually led to a resurgence of interest in Gang Of Four (and eventually, a partial reunion), but it also can make their debut album Entertainment! seem less innovative than it was at the time. The key thing that still sets Gang Of Four apart is that these newer bands usually lack their overtly political lyrics and occasionally really harsh guitar feedback.
  • Grunge suffers from this:
    • Nirvana and Pearl Jam making it big in the early '90s is heralded as a breath of fresh air, breaking the stranglehold hair metal had on mainstream rock and paving the way for grunge and alternative rock's ascendance from the College Radio ghetto. Today, however, it is hard to avoid Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or their millions of rip-offs on the radio for even 15 minutes.
    • By the time Pearl Jam released Riot Act, quite a few younger music fans accused the band of being a Creed ripoff. (helps that Creed singer Scott Stapp has a voice which sounds exactly like Eddie Vedder's)
    • Even Nirvana, and a number of other popular alt-rock/grunge groups, were highly influenced by The Pixies. Kurt Cobain even admitted that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was his attempt at ripping-off of a Pixies song, specifically "Debaser".
  • Heavy Metal:
    • Black Sabbath is often considered the first metal band. Take a moment and consider how weird that sounds.
    • That title is often given to King Crimson, which just sounds all the weirder.
    • It's kind of weird to hear that in the late '70s/early '80s, metal bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica were mistaken for punk. This was because "heavy metal" in the late '70s was seen as the slow or midtempo fare of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and it was punk bands that were known for playing at fast tempos. Thus, the early '80s genre of "speed metal" doesn't seem that fast compared to later shred-metal, power-metal and extreme metal bands, but in its day, metal played at the speed of punk rock was a novelty.
    • Iron Maiden suffers from this generally.
    • A serious casualty of this trope was NWOBHM pioneer Diamond Head. They were barely famous, in comparison to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Saxon, but their influence on Metallica was profound. Metallica's earliest recordings were covers of Am I Evil and Blitzkrieg and much later on in the late 1990s, It's Electric. However, Diamond Head never became as famous as the band they influenced, and ended up opening for them at the National Bowl event in 1993, and opened and ended their set with songs covered by Metallica to get accepted by the crowd. However, a relatively subdued performance and Diamond Head not being so famous made them look and sound like a band covering Metallica. They split up shortly afterwards.
    • When listening to Ozzy Osbourne after bands like Marilyn Manson and Gwar, it's hard to believe he was at one time almost as controversial.
    • Pantera is probably the biggest offender of them all. In the midst of their numerous copycats (really, just about every metalcore and nu-metal band in existence), it's hard to believe that, at one time, their style of metal was both unique and interesting.
  • Helmet virtually invented the start-stop metal riff that dominated the late 90's. You'd never know it to hear their successors (e.g. Ko Rn, Deftones, etc.) but the idea came from jazz.
  • Isis and their blend of post-rock and Sludge Metal. One mixed review of their album In The Absence of Truth remarked "it's not Isis' fault that they sound unoriginal these days. All you have to do is pick up a copy of Decibel, open it to any page, and you'll find someone counting the group as an influence..."
  • James Brown. The beats and breaks of many of his songs have been sampled or imitated so many times that his music would sound very cliché now, if it wasn't, you know, James Brown.
  • Jazz. It was considered radical and subversive when it came out, and many of the pioneers of the genre managed to push the limits of what their instruments could do farther than it was thought possible. Now, the genre as a whole is often overlooked as "old people's music," and the once-groundbreaking work of the likes of Louis Armstrong is basic stuff that every jazz student learns. (Student? They'd never teach this stuff, as recently as The Seventies!)
    • To be fair, some time between the 1940s and the 1950s, jazz fans and musicians started disagreeing about what kinds of jazz were acceptable and what kinds weren't, and by the late 50s the music had splintered into people who like traditional jazz, people who like swing, people who like bop, people who like free jazz, etc. In the 60s and 70s people developed a method for teaching jazz which concentrated on the advanced jazz of the late 50s and 60s, paying lipservice to what had gone before but pretty much ignoring anything that came later. In short, jazz started to behave like classical music, which hasn't helped its reputation for freshness and innovation.
  • Jimi Hendrix. He's been copied by almost every rock guitar player who followed ("There are two kinds of guitar players: those who'll admit to be influenced by Hendrix, and liars")
  • Averted by Kanye West - The man seems to immediately react to the moment he realises that what he's done has/will become a trend by moving as far away from it as possible. That being said, this trope has slightly hurt {{J.Cole}}, whose production style is very similar to West's early techniques.
  • The Kinks. Known in America mostly for "You Really Got Me" and "Lola", at the time they were a big hit in the UK, pioneering not only guitar hooks, but intelligent songwriting that would eventually lead to Britpop. Not to mention their riff for "Picture Book" getting ripped-off by Green Day. The fact that they were banned from the Americas for most of the 1960's didn't help.
  • "Black Diamond" by Kiss sounds like really primitive Hair Metal, but it wasn't so primitive in 1974. It was unprecedented at the time for a rock song to not only be loud and angry, but to have a "symphonic" sound evocative of opera or classical music. It could be argued that Alice Cooper pioneered this sound first, but he was never quite able to equal the Olympian grandeur of Kiss.
  • Kraftwerk. In the 70's, they were mind-blowing, because few people had heard pure electronic music before. These days, the band's early work sounds primitive, simple, and just plain dated compared to the legions of bands it inspired.
  • Though they've been the Butt Monkeys of metal for years now, there was actually a time when Ko Rn's blend of said genre, hardcore and hip-hop was considered fresh and unique, rather than a pejorative called Nu Metal. Ironic that their they titled their third album Follow the Leader, as a cynical nod to an industry that oversaturated their sound and drove it under.
  • Larry Graham. When he first came out, his bass style of slapping and popping was new and refreshing. Now people (bass players excluded) complain it's boring and flashy.
  • Led Zeppelin suffers heavily from this. In particular are John Bonham's drum beats. (Especially on "When The Levee Breaks") His influence is so pervasive in modern rock that many younger listeners are legitimately baffled as to what's the big deal about him.
    • Jimmy Page, aside from influencing many guitarists of the era, also is credited with changing the way producers would record in studio. His technique of using multiple microphones and different distances created an "ambient sound" with more dimension than was conventional at the time.
    • Just about everything associated with Zeppelin suffers from this. They practically created rock music as we recognize it today, and - without context - it's hard to imagine how revolutionary their entire style was in the late '60s and early '70s. While many British (and even some American) rock bands had dabbled a bit in Celtic folk music before, none of them had ever fused that style with hard rock, which is done on "Stairway to Heaven," "Over the Hills and Far Away," etc. Zeppelin also more or less invented the "Jesus hair" fashion aesthetic for rock bands, which was pretty standard from the 1970s to the '90s; previous rock musicians may have had long hair, but it had not been as flamboyantly styled. The "poodle hair" of '80s Hair Metal certainly could not have existed without Led Zeppelin.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven. The Mark Steel Lectures profile of Beethoven focused on this effect since his work is so old that it can't help but be merely another part of the classical repertoire. Beethoven was one of the first composers to write autobiographical tunes, one of the first to be independent of royal patronage, was unprecedentedly loud, and in behavior was the spiritual ancestor of the moody modern rock star. Mark imagined the same thing happening to today's pop music: (In an affected very posh BBC Radio 3 accent) "It's fascinating to note how the composer Mr Fifty Cent, blends the pianoforte with lyrics as they begin: 'I'm a cop killa, gonna shoot you up the ass'". And also notes how quickly the effect takes hold. Even now the kids can't really understand what was so different about punk rockers saying they were pretty 'vacant'.

    People still find Beethoven's music earth-shattering, mind you'; it's just that later stuff went even farther in some of the directions he started.
    • This trope turns up all over classical music. Even in the above paragraph it's taken for granted that the classical repertoire is a fixed thing, but there was a time when there wasn't a 'classical repertoire'. These days we assume that classical music is all symphonies and string quartets and piano sonatas but they haven't been there forever: for example, Joseph Haydn took a largely unpopular musical form called the sinfonia and turned it into the symphony as we know it. He ended up writing 104 of them, all of which are in the repertoire and some of which are amazingly inventive, entertaining and moving. As if that weren't enough, he did the same thing to the string quartet. Before Haydn: scattered pieces of music written for ensembles of string players. After Haydn: every composer has to at least attempt a string quartet in order to get taken seriously. The freshness and inventiveness of Haydn's music is only obvious when you listen to what people were writing immediately before him.
    • And it doesn`t stop there. When listening to the Kyrie movement from the D minor requiem of Mozart, have in mind he snatched the main theme from Händel`s Messiah, and the musical style from Antonio Vivaldi. To make it worse, Bach made a fugue on the same theme. Vivaldi was reckoned quite innovative in his day, but he stole a chunk of musical tropes from Giovanni Gabrieli, present in Venice even hundred years before his time. And so on...
  • Manowar is sometimes criticized for using "cliché" sword-and-sorcery themes in their lyrics, despite the fact that their usage goes all the way back to 1983 on their Into Glory Ride album, which predates the Power Metal genre by a couple of years, and that they were likely the first North American metal band to dare embrace these tropes.
  • In the four years since Meshuggah released their breakout album, Obzen, an entire genre - progressive groove metal, or "djent" - has come to the forefront of the metal world, based almost entirely on expanding the Meshuggah sound (the word "djent", the colloquial name for the entire genre, started as onomatopoeia for Meshuggah's guitar tone). Some, including major metal blog Metal Sucks, speculate that, in the wake of what bands like Periphery, Tesseract and Vildhjarta have been creating, the now-upcoming new Meshuggah album Koloss is going to come off as very uninteresting and behind-the-times.
  • Michael Jackson. In the U.S. those who grew up after the first round of child molestation charges leveled against him in 1993 knew him only as a far too easy target for comedians with his eccentric, even creepy lifestyle, as his post-1980s music wasn't successful enough to overcome his personal baggage. After his death in 2009, and hearing his Glory Days music played over and over again on the radio and seeing his videos re-run on MTV, they fail to see anything unique about his style, as the best aspects of it have been standard pop music fare for the past 20 years. His big-budget music videos often look cheesy and/or low-budget by today's standards — sure, that works for "Thriller" since it's a B-movie horror pastiche, but "Black or White" and the Moonwalker version of "Smooth Criminal" don't have that excuse (and are weighed down by ridiculous storylines and spectacle-for-spectacle's sake). Between that, the datedness of the fashions, and the synthetic sound, well, they could be forgiven for saying "Why was he ever famous to begin with?"
    • Even the moonwalk (which Jackson didn't invent, but rather perfected) looks dated and cheesy now compared to all the dance innovations that have come since; so much so that it's easy to forget that almost every one of those newer dance moves was created by someone who started dancing precisely because of how well and truly blown their minds were by Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk.
    • His live performances, be they concerts, award shows, or the Super Bowl halftime show in 1993, were once among the most Spectacle-filled in popular music, but pale next to the glittering spectaculars mounted by his successors and/or events such as the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony or any given MTV Video Music Awards.
  • The Misfits, a 1980s punk band that was considered edgy for their lyrics inspired by horror films and other horror related imagery. Now this, and their pop punk sound, would be considered mainstream emo.
  • Jaco Pastorius' signature fretless bass sound, imbued with warmth and charisma, was profoundly provocative when it emerged in the 70s, fuelling Weather Report's classic period and Joni Mitchell's sound in the latter half of that decade. It soon became imitated by the smooth jazz scene and is considered trite, out of his hands.
  • Punk:
    • The Ramones and the Sex Pistols were a reaction to the largely overproduced and masturbatory progressive rock genre, and decided to do the exact opposite by never really learning to play their instruments. The punk scene exploded into the mainstream in 1977, and to modern day listeners, both of the aforementioned bands sound either sloppy or overly melodic, depending on what you listen to.
    • Audiences raised on modern-day Punk Rock bands like Bad Religion and NOFX will sometimes hear about how "fast" and "heavy" the Ramones' music was back in the day, only to find it sounding like a string of Power Ballads in comparison.
    • The ubiquitous Ramones t-shirt on every wannabe "edgy" C-list celeb is borderline example in its own right. Some Guardian music journalist claimed that "the kids" were turning to wearing previously shunned Nirvana/Grunge-era logos as a kind of backlash against '70s rock t-shirts.
    • As mentioned above, the original punk rock was a rebellion against the traditional rock 'n' roll sound. But after hardcore punk came with its extremely short songs, simple music and aggresive lyrics, the original punk rock sounds a lot like 1950s rock 'n' roll (which, to be frank, was partly the point). Early punk music is now viable radio material, which it absolutely wasn't when it was current, and which it was never meant to be.
    • In photos from before he retired from music, Richard Hell could be seen dressed in a very typical punk rock style, with spiked hair and ripped-up, drawn-on shirts held together with safety pins. For this reason, it can be sort of surprising to hear his band Richard Hell & The Voidoids, since they didn't really play conventional punk rock. The thing is, Hell is actually credited with inspiring much of the early punk rock look - Malcolm McLaren has cited him as the main influence on how The Sex Pistols were dressed for instance.
    • Another factor is that punk — especially in its formative years — has always had an undercurrent of sociopolitical outrage, and many of the issues they sang about are no longer current. It was also part of a backlash against the Wide-Eyed Idealism of the Sixties and early Seventies, when such biting cynicism was genuinely shocking; in the modern climate of jaded acceptance that the world is a horrible place and constant exposure to Deadpan Snark, modern listeners tend to wonder why they took things so seriously.
    • The Black Flag album "Damaged" was groundbreaking when it came out in 1981, as it popularized the snarky-yet-socially-conscious attitude of many later-day punk bands. Now that its style has been not only frequently copied but also seriously cleaned up by other bands - including bands that are not and never were even in the punk genre - the album just sounds like an underproduced mess with seriously dated lyrical content to modern ears. (Or the later bands sound like Lighter and Softer versions of Black Flag.)
  • Ray Charles' fusion of R&B and Gospel vocal stylings in the 1950s (at a time when most R&B singers had more of a smoother show tunes vibe, a la Nat King Cole) was revolutionary and ground-breaking. Even controversial (Many Blacks saw such music as blasphemous). Sixty years later... Charles' sound sounds bog standard, if catchy.
  • Richard Wagner is one of the best examples of this in classical music/opera. There was nothing like what he was doing at the time. He pushed at the boundaries of tonality in a way no composer had done before; he invented the leitmotif (basically, a "theme song" for a character, object or concept), the staple of just about every film score ever; his writings about the Gesamtkunstwerk (the "total art work" that combined music and drama) had a huge influence on the development of not only opera but also musical theater. But these days, with over a century of increasingly weirder and more boundary-pushing work inbetween, Wagner's work sounds increasingly hackneyed and overwraught. Plus, pretty much every stereotype of opera in general - from fat ladies in horned helmets (though they were winged in the original), to the idea of opera as super-complex and daunting (previously, opera was divided into either lighthearted rom-coms or hammy melodrama) - comes largely from his work.
  • It may be lost with newer listeners to appreciate how revolutionary Sly And The Family Stone were in the late Sixties, to have a band performing a very raw, Afrocentric, psychedelic, rock-infused style of funk music, with a very radical and countercultural style of clothing and hairstyles, a multi-racial, multi-gender lineup, and very countercultural/socially conscious lyrics for the time period they were popular in. They helped set the direction for much of what black music, and music in general, would follow from The Seventies onward. The 1971 album, There's A Riot Going On, in fact, was one of the first funk albums to use a (very crude and early) drum/rhythm machine.
  • U2 When they first arrived, they were praised not only for being the first Irish band to hit it very big abroad, but also for the pure defiance in their lyrics. To have a group from Dublin speak so convincingly about issues that affected them was unheard of. Their music was like nothing else around. Years later They have become better known for Bono's preacherman antics while their political lyrics seem tame compared to bands like Rage Against the Machine.
    • The sound of U2, and in particular the guitar work of The Edge, eschewing solos and rock guitar conventions for an atmospheric/rhythmic, textural, chiming approach relying heaving on delay and effects was equally influential, but it's hard not to find an Edge-infuenced guitarist in a rock band (or generally U2-inspired group) since at least The Nineties.
    • Their album Achtung Baby gets swept under the rug these days thanks to a combination of Critical Backlash (especially by die-hard ''Joshua Tree'' fans) and countless Brit Pop bands aping its sound to the point where it no longer sounds as innovative as it once did.
  • The Velvet Underground, to a certain extent.
    • Humorously, the Velvet Underground was not terribly popular at the time, so people now theorize that every single person who liked Velvet Underground must have started a band.
  • The Who. At the time, the "sloppy" drumming by Keith Moon was revolutionary. Now it's a standard part of the rock landscape.
    • Yet, in turn, fans of The Who think Keith Moon invented the stereotype of the "wild and crazy drummer," when in reality it started much earlier with jazz drummers, particularly Gene Krupa.
      • It was, however, certainly a new thing in rock and pop music of the time, to approach the drum kit with ferocity and athleticism, and to use double-bass drums and more than five or six-piece drum kits and multiple cymbals on a pop or rock record. Even a drummer with the same energy like John Bonham shows more clear control and finesse.
  • The Compact Disc, introduced in 1982, was a revolutionary breakthrough in The Eighties, offering a cleaner, clearer way of listening to music than the vinyl formats of the previous sixty or seventy years. It brought, even in its 16-bit sound, more intimacy and detail, and captured the whole of the record, uninterrupted by record sides or weird formatting like the eight-tracks of The Seventies. It may have influenced the way new music is recorded, mixed, mastered and produced, as well, as music grew in complexity and digital precision to cater to CD listeners. The 78-minute storage capabilities might have led to longer albums. Nowadays, it (and the mp3) are the industry standard, and the novelty of it seems lost to newer generations.
    • In a hilariously ironic twist, vinyl has now become the "professional" "ideal" "hip new" "audiophile format", thanks to its lack of digital sampling and recording level limitations (the latter of which has been infamously abused since the dawn of the 21st century).
  • The "shock" factor in older music, especially Heavy Metal and Hip-Hop, tends to suffer from this a lot as time goes on. For instance, Screamin' Jay Hawkins (who would be one of the biggest sources of inspiration for Alice Cooper, who in turn was the source of inspiration for just about everyone else) terrified people with his stage performances and the tone of his music. Now days, the most likely reaction from footage of Jay strutting around in a witch doctor get-up is laughter. This is largely from an audience that has been so "shocked" over the years that many musicians say that the only way anyone these days could be genuinely shocked is if the authorities let someone commit suicide on-stage.
  • Synthesizer and sampling technology, particularly from The Eighties can count. With modern, increasingly realistic and expressive all-in-one-box digital workstations now the norm, it can be jarring to know that many of the features now taken for granted in newer instruments were once the exclusive property of $5,000 to $100,000+ instruments like the Fairlight CMI, the E-mu Emulators I and II, the New England Digital Synclavier and the Kurzweil 250 thirty or so years ago. Even with the Yamaha DX-7, Roland D-50 and Korg M1 (and samplers like the Akai S900 and Ensoniq Mirage), it was relatively crude technology. Computer software has often taken over for hardware, and things like the $30 Fairlight Pro app are derided as slow and crude, if not amusing for its retro qualities.
  • Radiohead. Their albums "The Bends" and "OK Computer" (along with their breakout hit "Creep") were so innovative that the band's combination of introspective darkness and falsetto vocals were promptly ripped off by massive numbers of alternative rock musicians, most of which went on to massive mainstream success greater than Radiohead had ever had at the time. Frustration with this led to the band's Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly album, "Kid A." The genre switch worked, and they've been quite successful and critically acclaimed since.
  • The arrival of Hilary Duff on the Disney Channel (and, to some extent, the rebooted Mickey Mouse Club as MMC) led to uxexpected success on the Disney Channel with the equally unexpected success of her show Lizzie McGuire, helped the network cultivate a tween and teen audience they rarely had before, and the push of Duff as a Teen Idol and pop princess, the family-friendly alternative to the increasingly spicy, MMC stars Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, was new and unprecedented. It helped Hollywood Records escape from being mostly well-known for rereleasing Queen albums, and her debut, Metamorphosis, was the biggest selling CD in the Disney-owned label's history at the time. As Hilary's receded from the background and stopped releasing pop albums, and successors such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers took Hilary's spotlight, it can be hard to picture the Disney Channel not heavily cross-promoting pop-music singing teen idols starring in tween-marketed kidcoms, all working from the same basic business model Hilary Duff popularized.
  • The Sepultura album Roots. Upon release, it was one of the most critically-acclaimed and commercially successful metal albums of the mid-90's. However, the legions of nu-metal bands that copied its sound (the album was, in fact, arguably the first true nu "metal" album - Korn's s/t being much more of a rap/hardcore album than a metal album) have led this album to gradually become far less acclaimed and celebrated as the years went by.
    • Chaos A.D also suffers from this to some extent.
  • While accounts about how Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring caused riots at its premiere are probably exaggerated, it was still a very bold composition for its time. Today, it may be a little hard for some to understand why it was once considered so controversial, as it influenced the score of countless action/thriller movies, not to mention we've been used to much more aggressive music since.
  • Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" has come to be associated so much with American pride that it's easy to forget that, at the time it was written, it was essentially a Protest Song. Guthrie originally wrote it as a Take That to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" note , responding to the song's nationalist undertones by singing about the importance of America's diversity and sense of inclusiveness. Hell, some early versions of the song are overtly political in nature—and a few of them even mention Guthrie's support of the Communist Party.
  • Visual Kei has developed a lot of these:
    • The first is the split of subgenres. At the beginning, Visual Kei was Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with a huge dose of inspiration from Hair Metal. Something similar happened with the mid-90s Goth influence. Now, while some HR/HM VK bands still exist (in the Kote Kei subgenre and the Eroguro Kei subgenre for the most part, with still-active or reunited Visual Shock or Veteran Kei making up the rest), and some Gothic/Industrial bands do still exist (these are mostly those influenced by or connected to Moi Dix Mois and Mana), the largest portion of active Visual Kei bands are generally Oshare Kei or Host Kei, and Oshare dance-pop and similar is often more common than harder rock or metal. That said, this is cyclical - as of 2013, a harder rock/metal influence seems to be returning as many of the Oshare bands fell into the same trap. Still, equating Visual Kei with HR/HM after around 2000 is almost laughable.
    • Ho Yay fanservice. In The Eighties and until the middle of The Nineties, the Yaoi Fangirl was not seen as a target market for Visual Kei (much less as specifically existing), and quite a few of the artists engaging in most of the Ho Yay were actual bisexual or gay men using the stage as a way to express themselves and their sexuality in a culture and world that rejected it. The idea caught on as a bandwagon trend for fanservice directed at the fangirls only once some straight bandmen noticed how much the fangirls liked it and with it becoming somewhat socially acceptable (at least within the subculture) to be a Yaoi Fangirl. Unfortunately this led to straight men using it as fanservice, and once some other fans found out about the Kayfabe, some fans insisting that no VK artist could actually be gay or bi for real.
    • '80s Hair and the Improbable Hairstyle fell out of style around the mid 90s. When even X Japan except for hide toned down their hairstyles, it pretty much called an end to the era of OTT Visual Kei hair, which was, at the time it was done, something entirely new and awesome. While exotic hairstyles are still common, and this trend may well swing around too, doing an Improbable Hairstyle beyond the "medusa" cut or a typical host cut is often seen as a marker of a bygone time or a parody.
    • ANYTHING that is almost exclusively tied to a specific artist will be, unless it is used as a direct tribute or Shout-Out, seen as this and derisively dismissed as a cheap attention grab or bad cosplay. Good examples were eyeliner swirls for much of the 2000s (anyone doing them was seen as a cheap Mana knockoff/wannabe), nosebands (Reita of the Gazette, and anyone wearing a noseband is seen as that), and almost anything connected to hide (if you go onstage with that yellow heart Fernandes and it's not a hide tribute and/or you're not a member of X Japan, Luna Sea, or an ex-member of Spread Beaver, you will get odd looks, and probably start a Flame War)
    • Oshare Kei developed one of its own: the Generic Sparkle Loop. By the time it made it to Maria Cross's PV, it was considered such an Oshare cliche that any band using it seriously was just asking to be mocked not only by fans of other genres but by Oshare fans as well.
  • The song "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles. Today, the song's simplistic and rather sappy lyrics don't seem like anything special. However, in 1960, both the song and group were actually very controversial. The reason why is because, until then, the idea of an all female singing group was almost unheard of in popular music (usually, musical groups were fronted by males, with women generally just brought in for singing duties on some songs). Thus, if not for the success of this song and group, we may have never had The Supremes, TLC, The Pussycat Dolls, etc.
    • The subject matter of the song, which essentially boiled down to a woman asking a man if he will respect her in the morning, if he truly loves her and cares for her as a person and will stay true to her and hoping she isn't just another sexual conquest of his ("Am I lasting treasure/Or just a moment's pleasure"), couched in terms which would allow the song to be played on the radio in 1961, was similarly groundbreaking. The quaintness and subtlety of the imagery might be lost on younger listeners. And it was co-written by a then-fifteen-year old Carole King!
  • Stereo sound. Up until the mid-to-late 1960s, AM radio was the go-to format for listening to popular music, FM was strictly for news, information and well, to find out what to do should the nukes drop, and hi-fi stereo sound was the province of the wealthy. Stereo records were manufactured, and pop songs mixed to stereo, but monaural (mono) sound was the default format of morst systems. Bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys in fact were only involved in the mono mixes of their records, and pop songs were mixed and mastered mainly to sound good on cheap single-speaker transistor radios or car radios. The rise of underground rock and jazz radio, "head music" and music labels determined to demonstrate their new multi-track and stereo technology led to the popularity of stereo recordings (and headphones), and mono eventually was phased out.
    • It should be noted that the early style of stereo was usually the vocal track and instrumental placed in the left and right channel respectively, rather than mixed together - so was effectively made from two mono tracks. Actual stereo recording didn't really come about till the late 60s, where the two tracks were similar sounding but with slight differences in the instruments or panning. Thus, the mono of the early 60s usually sounds more natural to headphone listeners today than the stereo does, as it is more similar to today's stereo.
  • Oasis . Today they might seem like just another mainstream British rock band, but were fairly revolutionary when they first came out. They drew their influence from the North's indie scene and stood out amongst their edgier contemporaries like Suede . People today have heard so much droning, anthemic pop-rock from bands like Coldplay that they've lost perspective on the originality of Oasis.
  • Suffocation. They were among the (if not the) first bands to pioneer the brutal death metal subgenre, and consequently all of its variations, like slam death and so on. Their sound has been so endlessly copied that a lot of people who listen to Suffocation for the first time after already being exposed to other BDM acts, will likely find them generic.
  • In an era where nearly anyone with a halfway decent singing voice and a copy of Garage Band can put up a comedic parody of popular music on YouTube, the appeal of "Weird Al" Yankovic and similar musicians who were parodists by trade can be lost on a younger generation.
  • The Jonas Brothers revived the teen heart-throb act after an almost six-year down period. Their success at the time was jaw-dropping. Nowadays, they don't seem that special due to all of their accomplishments being eclipsed by Justin Bieber. And then, when One Direction showed up, they made Bieber look puny in comparison.
    • Speaking of One Direction, they have finally made Take That look mundane due to their breakthrough in the U.S. While One Direction have come nowhere near Take That's heights in the UK, their international success is enough to offset their deficit.

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