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Genre Adultery

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Kurt Cobain: It's not going to be about food, is it?
Al: No, it's going to be about how no one understands your lyrics.
"Weird Al" Yankovic asking for permission to parody Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

So you've just bought a new novel from your favorite author. You've read every book thus far, and are outright giddy about this new book. You pop onto your couch and open it up, and... hey! This doesn't look like anything before it from this author, or, as you will learn later, after it. You've discovered the outlier; the author has committed Genre Adultery. Perhaps the sausage machine producer of crime novels has shifted from a light-hearted Great Detective to a hard-boiled Dirty Cop or is even experimenting with a completely different genre. Keep in mind that just because it's different doesn't mean it's bad. (Of course, some fans would have you think otherwise.)

This trope doesn't just exclusively apply to literature, but it's certainly an obvious way to phrase it. Music albums, movie sequels, even TV shows can be a radical departure from the creator's norm. The only thing that matters is that the new genre is never returned to again in such a manner (or is only sporadically revisited), which is what distinguishes it from He Also Did, its Supertrope.

For musicians, it may lead to a Black Sheep Hit and may occur when trying for New Sound Albums, but they never return to that sound. See also: Playing Against Type for acting-specific examples, Creator's Oddball for other sorts of one-time stylistic changes, and Genre Shift for genre changes within a single work. Compare with Genre Roulette.


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  • During his formative years, Alexandre Cabanel won two important art awards of the time that were indicative of his preference for Biblical Motifs. The Prix of Rome with his "Jesus in the Pretorium" and getting his "Christ in the Garden of Olives" admitted to the Salon of Paris. Some art historians speculate that he was playing it safe, what with making his characters' expressions as neutral as possible. However, a young Cabanel yearned to suffuse more emotion into his artworks, so he switched gears to Mythical Motifs and produced his "Orestes", a nude painting of the son of Agamemnon reaching his hand out. He soon returned to Christian themes with his (still very expressive) "The Fallen Angel" and, after a while, to apathetic, idealized paintings. It wasn't until some years later that he returned to Greek mythology and charmed the aristocrats with his Art Pompier frescos.

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  • The Monkey's Paw was the one and only horror story by a fellow who mostly wrote about sailors.
  • While it's in the sci-fi genre like most of his stories, Good Night, Mr. James by Clifford D. Simak has been described by the author himself as unique; it's much darker in tone than most of his work, and has a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending.
  • John Grisham usually writes legal fiction. Only five aren't of this genre, and one of them is Skipping Christmas (which was later adapted as Christmas with the Kranks). A Christmas Special, of all things. A Painted House, a coming-of-age story in Depression-era Arkansas, is another. He also wrote An Innocent Man which is legal nonfiction and the only nonfiction book he has written so far.
  • The Big U, a college campus satire novel by none other than Neal Stephenson, science-fiction writer and author of Snow Crash. He does not like the book and discontinued publishing for a while. Then people started paying hundreds of dollars for old copies of it, and he had it republished, saying that "the only thing worse than people reading the book was paying that much to read it." To be fair, it was his first novel.
  • Edgar Allan Poe, master of all things gothic and macabre:
    • He wrote The Gold Bug, where the main character tries to find Captain Kidd's buried treasure on an island in South Carolina.
    • Poe was also the father of detective fiction, with his C. Auguste Dupin appearing a full forty years before Sherlock Holmes in three stories prior to 1845, the very first "detective" stories.
    • Of course, while Poe is now best known for his gothic fiction, this by no means makes up the majority of his work, which also includes a remarkable amount of satire and of science fiction.
    • This was parodied in a Halloween Episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where Hilda and Zelda invite him over to the house in the hopes of hearing a scary story. He ends up reading poetry full of "rainbows and sparkles".
  • Elmore Leonard's short novel Touch seems glaringly out of place as a supernatural thriller compared with the rest of his collection of crime novels.
  • Ian Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me was the only James Bond novel written from a woman's point of view. Probably why he didn't like it and put in the film deal that an adaptation of that book should be In Name Only. Ian Fleming also wrote the children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (the film version was scripted by Roald Dahl), which features his famous love of cars.
  • Comic novelist Kingsley Amis (using the pseudonym "Robert Markham") wrote Colonel Sun, the first James Bond novel published after Ian Fleming's death.
  • Roald Dahl, world famous for his children's novels, also wrote My Uncle Oswald, an erotic softcore satire. Exactly why becomes more clear when one learns that he was an inveterate womanizer. One of his jobs in World War II actually required him to seduce well-connected American women into political compliance.
  • Joanna Russ, one of the angriest feminist science fiction writers ever, wrote a children's book (Kittatinny).
  • Roger Zelazny is primarily known for writing science fiction and fantasy, but he also co-wrote (with Gerald Hausman) the novel Wilderness, a straightforward story of frontier survival.
  • James Patterson is so well known for writing thrillers that when he wrote Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, a romance novel, the television commercial even lampshaded the trope by saying "By James Patterson. Yes, James Patterson."
  • H. P. Lovecraft wrote a comic short story "Sweet Ermengarde", a parody of romantic melodrama.
  • Robert W. Chambers, the author of the supremely creepy ''The Repairer of Reputations'' and ''The Yellow Sign,'' mostly wrote light, fluffy romantic comedy stories. A reader looking for more weirdness is likely to be very disappointed.
  • Orson Scott Card, writer of Ender's Game and other science fiction and fantasy stories, also wrote a series of soap-opera-ish books about women in the Bible. This makes more sense when you remember how much his religion impacts even his better-known stories.
  • Stephen Donaldson is famous for writing speculative fiction: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Mordant's Need, The Gap Cycle. He is not at all famous for his series of detective novels entitled The Man Who [did something]. (Interestingly, he's in the habit of writing a new detective story after completing a series of fantasy novels: it seems to be how he winds down.)
  • Suspense novelist Dean R. Koontz surprised his fan base with an uplifting but dark illustrated children's book called "Oddkins" in 1989. He then followed it with the illustrated kids' Christmas books "Santa's Twin," and its sequel "Robot Santa," though those were much more comedic in tone.
  • Po Bronson wrote the novels Bombardiers, about Wall Street greed, and then The First 20 Million Is Always the Hardest and The Nudist on the Late Shift, a novel and non-fiction books, respectively, about Silicon Valley. Then he wrote What Should I Do With My Life? and had this to say:
    My last three books were set in the world of business, and suddenly I'm writing about bodyworkers and high lamas? What's my dad going to think? Will the Wall Street Journal ever talk to me again?
  • Steve Martini started off writing courtroom dramas with twist endings. His series character suddenly found himself thrust into the world of international assassins and intrigue and has stopped a few weapons of mass destruction.
  • Robin McKinley, who usually writes YA fairy tale retellings, also wrote Sunshine, an urban fantasy book for adults.
  • Agatha Christie is mostly known for Mystery Fiction. But also wrote tales of occult and supernatural horror (The Hound of Death, The Fourth Man, etc), autobiographical novels with tragic elements (Unfinished Portrait, Absent in the Spring, etc), religious stories with Christian themes (Star Over Bethlehem, Promotion in the Highest, etc), and an autobiographical account of her experiences in the Middle East with her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan.
  • Robert E. Howard is mostly known for Heroic Fantasy tales. But also wrote several Westerns, "spicy tales" (adventures with implied sexual content), and a few comedies.
  • Norwegian Wood, a gentle, tragic coming of age tale, is this for Japanese surrealist author Haruki Murakami. His work is usually compared to Philip K. Dick.
  • P.D. James, a famous British crime writer, also wrote The Children of Men, a dystopian novel.
  • David Gemmell, one of the premier writers of Heroic Fantasy, wrote a Thriller named White Knight, Black Swan under the pseudonym Ross Harding, to avoid leading readers to expect another Heroic Fantasy.
  • Jean Racine was primarily a tragedian who wrote one comedy: Les Plaideurs.
  • China Miéville is well-known for his Steampunk, sci-fi, and Urban Fantasy which is why The City & the City leaves such a strong impression on the reader. The Reveal, which does in the wizard, is that the whole plot has nothing do to with magic, but was driven by a Mega Corp that used citizens' Selective Obliviousness for their own ends.
  • Stephen King is perhaps the most prolific and famous horror author of all time, but he has occasionally branched into other genres.
    • Two of his most famous departures are Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Interestingly, both stories are heartwarming tearjerkers about men wrongfully convicted of murder, and both were made into movies (by the same director) considered among the best ever made.
    • King also committed multiple counts of genre adultery with The Colorado Kid: Though it was part of the initial launch of "Hard Case Books" — a series in which successful writers depart their usual genres to write hard-bitten noir — King departed from that as well. The story is a mystery but there are no noir elements and the mystery remains unsolved at the end.
    • And then there's his various non-fiction books, like On Writing, a how-to for up-and-coming authors that also serves as a sort of autobiography, and Faithful, about a season in the life of a Boston Red Sox fan that had a far happier ending than anyone could've anticipated when the project began.
    • Stephen King commits genre adultery so often one has to wonder when he'll be considered just "general fiction". While there's a dark element to almost all his works, few of them fall squarely in "horror". The Stand is post-apocalyptic epic fantasy, The Dark Tower is epic fantasy, all the novellas collected in Different Seasons are straight dramas with no (or few) supernatural elements, The Dead Zone is sentimental drama, Firestarter is a semi-sci-fi thriller, Dolores Claiborne is about an abused woman, one could go on and on.
  • Val McDermid, well-known for her crime novels in which violence, torture, and murder in often described in disturbing detail, has also written a cutesy children's picture book called My Granny is a Pirate.
  • Jack London is famous for his adventure stories set in the 19th century American West.
    • He also wrote The Iron Heel, which is about the rise of an oligarchic regime in the United States and is often called the earliest of modern dystopias.
    • He also wrote "The Star Rover", about a man who astral travels into several previous lives.
    • Might is Right is a social Darwinist and egoist anarchist tract first published in 1896 that is credited to one "Ragnar Redbeard", a pseudonym for an unknown writer. Most scholars believe that either London or Arthur Desmond wrote it, even though both of them were staunch socialists; if so, it would diverge sharply from both authors' body of work. (London also would've had to be a teenager at the time if he wrote it, though to be fair, large chunks of it do read like the ramblings of an edgy teenage Übermensch wannabe.)
  • Jane Austen was known for her "light and bright and sparkling" romantic comedies about wealthy girls marrying wealthier men while dealing with pompous, annoying relatives and rivals during their courtship. Mansfield Park is basically a case study in child abuse, depicting how the psychological trauma the heroine has endured courtesy of her wicked aunt for eight years has made her grow up into an Extreme Doormat and Shrinking Violet who believes she has no right to be happy. Unsurprisingly, whether justly or not, it's her least popular novel.
  • Science Fiction author Stanisław Lem also wrote Hospital of the Transfiguration, a semi-autobiographical novel about a Polish doctor trying to survive the Nazi occupation of his (and Lem's) homeland. (This will frequently be found in the "Science Fiction" sections of libraries and bookstores, despite containing no sci-fi elements whatsoever.)
  • Jim Butcher was quite successful with The Dresden Files when all of sudden, he released Furies of Calderon, a huge departure from his typical hard-boiled, first-person magic detective stories. The idea came from a bet where he would take two bad ideas and write a successful story about them and was given The Lost Roman Legion and Pokemon. With the series The Cinder Spires he has also begun writing Steampunk.
  • After becoming famous for Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling hasn't returned to fantasy since, writing first general fiction and then mystery thrillers.
  • The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is reasonably hard sf, and while it has humorous moments, it's not a comedy. It might be based on an idea Sir Terry had before he became synonymous with funny fantasy, but it's very different from his usual works. And while his love of Victoriana is visible in later Discworld novels, Dodger is unique in that it contains no fantastic elements at all.
  • Ian Rankin is known for his Police Procedural novels, in particular the Rebus series. Early in his career he also wrote the techno-thriller Westwind, which for many years he considered an Old Shame though he eventually came around to it.
  • The exceptionally British Alistair Maclean is famous for his hard-bitten World War II and Spy Thrillers. He's also written Heartbreak Pass, a Spaghetti Western. Amusingly, as the story progresses, you can watch him struggling to keep the narrative from metamorphosing into one of his more typical works... and largely failing, to the point that the abrupt return of Western elements in the ending almost feels like a Ass Pull.
  • Eric Frank Russell is practically only known for his humoristic SF, but if you look closely into his oeuvre, you find the one or other crime novel.
  • Last of the Breed is a techno-thriller written by Louis L'Amour, who is generally better known for Westerns and other historical fiction.
  • Alan Moore's later career can be neatly summarised as a desperate, clawing escape from the shackles of superhero comic books (including his landmark deconstructivist works) and into literary areas that he finds much more interest in, namely psychogeographical epics, speculative fiction, occult how-to manuals, and the occasional drizzle of shameless pornography. Not only is Moore unconcerned with the prospect of alienating fans of his older work, he actively revels in it — not out of malice, but because he considers the rise of escapist fantasy to be a dangerous and infantilising blight on mass culture, one that he regrets his part in causing.
    • As a personal piece of catharsis, his 2022 short story (which is actually about as long as a novel) What We Can Know About Thunderman is a parodic evisceration of the superhero genre and comic book industry, detailing the damaging, reality-blurring effects they have had on society at large; Moore speculates that the proliferation of escapist fiction is partially to blame for the rise of alt-right movements like QAnon.
  • Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke wrote one non-science-fiction novel, Glide Path, a World War II novel giving a fictionalized account of the development of a radar-based ground-controlled landing system to allow aircraft to land at night or in bad weather. (Clarke had in fact worked on the real-life project his fictional system is closely based on.)

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  • Neil Young had made his name in the '70s as musician with roots in folk-rock and blues, but when he signed with Geffen Records in 1982, he released Trans (a synthesizer-based album) followed in the same year by Everybody's Rockin' (a rockabilly album). He was ready to release Old Ways (a country album) before Geffen actually filed a lawsuit against him for making music "unrepresentative" of his previous work.
  • LIGHTS, a Canadian Synth-Pop artist released an acoustic EP with re-workings of some of her previous songs, as well as a brand new song and a light re-imagining of an old punk song.
  • Remain in Light by Talking Heads traded out the band's typical, uptight & eccentric brand of Post-Punk for a highly experimental mix of rock and Afrobeat.
  • Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, with more complex arrangements and lyrics that mostly dealt with grown-up concerns that had nothing to do with surfing, was viewed as this upon release. Smile was viewed as this by the band itself, with Mike Love allegedly telling Brian Wilson "Don't fuck with the formula!"
  • Pinkerton by Weezer. Might be a bit premature, as the band hasn't broken up yet.
  • The Rolling Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request. The title implies that it's harsh and dark, but it was actually their big attempt at Psychedelic Rock. It has since become their most polarising release.
  • Elvis Costello's The Juliet Letters. This was a collection of songs based on letters written to Juliet (who's considered to be a help to the lovelorn). The album was done as a collaboration with the Brodsky String Quartet who had much more collaboration into the writing process than was usual on an Elvis Costello album.
  • The Queen album Hot Space is full of disco songs, a departure from their usual rock music. After Hot Space they never touched disco again.
    • Although Freddie Mercury continued to explore the genre in his solo music.
  • The Melvins have had several album-length left turns, but possibly the most surprising is The Bootlicker: while their sound usually involves sludgy walls of feedback, this album features absolutely no guitar distortion. The actual content doesn't get any lighter and softer, but the arrangements bring to mind Tom Waits and Krautrock more than they do grunge or stoner metal. Freak Puke by Melvins Lite is probably the closest they've come to returning to this sound - that album did prominently distorted guitars; However, with Trevor Dunn sitting in on standup bass and Dale Crover restricted to playing his drums with brushes, it also emphasized the more jazzy and experimental elements of their sound.
  • The Butthole Surfers' Weird Revolution, which is much more electronica-influenced than anything they'd previously done. It may have been an attempt to roll with their popular Black Sheep Hit "Pepper", although it was actually preceded by a couple of electronic-based soundtrack contributions, along with the similar but much more experimental After The Astronaut, which got shelved after promo copies got scathing reviews.
  • Fabio Lione is primarily known for singing Power Metal, most notably being the lead singer of Rhapsody of Fire for 21 years. But he's also dabbled in Eurobeat, with one song even being featured in Initial D! He also did a Eurobeat cover of "Ave Maria" for Disney of all things.
  • Brian Eno noted that he wanted the first reaction of U2 fans who bought Achtung Baby to think that either their stereos were broken or that they accidentally purchased the wrong album.
  • R.E.M.'s 1994 album Monster was this on purpose, featuring distorted, tremolo-heavy sex-rock songs compared to their usual folky alt-rock (with the exception of "Strange Currencies" and "Tongue"). Though it sold well at the time, many did not like the album (at least not at first), the band's mainstream presence would rapidly drop off with their next album (which actually was well-received upon release and is still well-regarded today), and to this day it can't be mentioned online without it being brought up how common it is in used CD stores. The unreleased demos included on its 25th Anniversary reissue are far more in the traditional R.E.M. mode, and them being finished might have led to it being better received. At the time though, the group was so against being typecast as a band that played ballads such as "Losing My Religion" and "Everybody Hurts" that they deliberately did an about-face.
  • Although it was recorded as a joke, Anal Cunt's Picnic Of Love is a complete inversion of their trademark style: instead of short grindcore songs with Black Comedy lyrics and song titles, it consists of 2-3 minute acoustic ballads sung in falsetto, with titles like "I'd Love To Have Your Daughter's Hand In Marriage".
  • KISS had the disco album Dynasty. Part of the reason for the violent backlash against disco was that this happened with so many artists that it began to appear that disco would engulf everything.
  • Ween's 12 Golden Country Greats was a country album, which used veteran country session musicians as a backing band. Though they'd had the odd country-influenced song before and since, it was still a pretty unexpected turn from their Genre Roulette-influenced sound, especially because the album generally plays it straight (well, aside from "Piss Up A Rope" and "Mr. Richard Smoker" anyway).
  • The vocalist Miko is primarily known for singing Touhou Project arranges with a few non-Touhou doujin songs here and there, but she also sang the opening to the commercial Otome Game Kaeru Batake De Tsukamaete and its fandisc. Stylistically the songs are very similar to her normal output, however.
  • "Anniversary" by Voltaire is a straight love song, with no references to death, goths, evil, or Sci Fi shows. His later country album may also count. The musical style is different, but the subjects of the songs are his usual fare. There's also his New Wave album, "What are the Oddz?".
  • Joy Electric is Synth-Pop, as the name implies. He dropped the "synth" half on the album Unelectric and recorded acoustic arrangements of prior songs. And he dropped the "pop" half for The Tick Tock Companion, which featured completely improvised, ambient synth jamming.
  • Pete Shelley, frontman of the punk group Buzzcocks, was regarded by fans as having invoked this trope in 1981 with the synthpop album Homosapien.
  • Most Pat Benatar albums are album-oriented rock and roll... except True Love, which is jump blues.
  • Alice in Chains' Sap and Jar Of Flies EPs. The albums surrounding them can best be described as grunge metal, but these eps are acoustic alternative rock.
  • Country Music singer Alan Jackson did a very blues-pop oriented album, Like Red on a Rose, in 2006. It was also the only album on which he did not work with producer Keith Stegall, instead choosing bluegrass pioneer Alison Krauss. Also, despite having written maybe 75% of his own songs, his only contribution as a writer on Like Red on a Rose was "A Woman's Love", a re-recording of a track from his 1999 album High Mileage.
  • This is what launched Ludwig van Beethoven's fame, for when got deaf, he moved out of his classical style and shifted music towards the romantic period.
  • Attention Please by Boris is a dance-rock album that sounds nothing like their usual metal/hardcore/noise oriented albums.
  • Composer Kikuo is most known for his dark and often disturbing Vocaloid music, but he's also done some happy and cute moe Denpa songs. Would you believe this is the same guy that did "I'm Sorry I'm Sorry"? Even within his Vocaloid works there's "Curry of Pure Water Song", a happy and upbeat song meant to advertise curry. There's also Infinite Dreamer, which sounds like a very mainstream pop song with none of Kikuo's signature surreal sounds, although the lyrics do have some dark implications.
  • Country legend Buck Owens had already displayed a lot of non-country influences in his music by 1969, but that year he released two singles that were much more rock than country: "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass", which featured fuzztone guitar and harpsichord (!) as lead instruments, and a live cover of "Johnny B. Goode" that would've put most garage bands to shame. However, he was a big enough star that they still managed to become #1 country hits.
    • Owens received some backlash from longtime fans for those two records, plus a bluegrass/gospel cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," due to a pledge he signed several years earlier stating he would never record a song he didn't consider a country song. Owens defended his choice of music, noting that he said he would not record in a pop-country vein, not record rockabilly or bluegrass (forms of country music).
    • That stated, from about the mid-1970s to early 1980s, in part due to massive grief over the death of his best friend Don Rich in a tragic accident in 1974, an apathetic Owens began recording pop-country. While the music itself isn't bad, it also did not represent Owens at his best, something he later admitted. It wasn't until the late 1980s, when he had a brief comeback with Dwight Yoakam on "Streets of Bakersfield", that he began to record in his classic styles and made vintage Buck Owens music.
  • Richard and Karen Carpenter were best known for soft rock ballads, but took the occasional unexpected left turn, like putting a furious fuzztone guitar solo in the otherwise sedate "Goodbye to Love", doing a cover of Klaatu's Progressive Rock hit "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft", and releasing the bouncy, slightly-bluegrass-flavored "Sweet, Sweet Smile" ... which became a top 10 hit on the Country Music chart in 1978. (Additionally, their 1981 single, "Touch Me When We're Dancing" was covered by Alabama and became a No. 1 hit for the group in 1986).
  • WASP had Kill, Fuck, Die, their industrial metal album. The song-writing itself wasn't actually that far removed from the band's previous few albums, just a bit angrier, but the production turned it into something totally unlike anything else the band has recorded before or since. Whether or not that's a good thing is highly dependent on who you ask.
  • Diary of Dreams is normally Dark Wave, but The Anatomy of Silence is entirely acoustic neoclassical songs.
  • An unusual case: country star Charley Pride recording the disco-flavored Dallas Cowboys theme song in 1979.
  • Happy hardcore act Dune released two albums of orchestral ballads; Forever and Forever and Ever.
  • Justified with alt-rockers Eels with Cold Dead Hand. In this instance, they teamed up (as the Clutterbusters) with Jim Carrey (Lonesome Earl) to record a Country Music-style satirical piece on gun politics. For good measure, the band members dressed up as Abraham Lincoln, John Lennon, and Mahatma Gandhi — peace advocates who were all shot dead.
  • In the Life of Chris Gaines, a rock album by Garth Brooks under the fictional identity of Chris Gaines, an Australian rocker. Brooks originally planned to play Gaines in a film, which never materialized, so fans simply thought he'd lost his mind.
  • In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy an album of metal and hard rock covers by family-friendly Pat Boone.
  • John Lennon, member of the most commercially successful rock band of all time, started a solo career in 1968. His first three albums were literally everything but commercial. They are all extreme Avant-Garde Music: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions and Wedding Album. Needless to say, many people across the world were surprised!
  • Rocker Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, a double-album of proto-noise music consisting entirely of guitar feedback. It was a long-standing assumption that the album was a Take That! at his record label to get out of his contract. However, Reed later admitted that he'd been completely serious about the album and also on a lot of drugs.
  • Frank Zappa's album Cruisin' With Ruben And The Jets was considered an unusual departure in his oeuvre. The album contains no pointed political Satire, no Bawdy Song material, no sudden musical experimentations, no clashing of different musical genres, but is just an honest, straight-faced Homage/Pastiche to the Doo-wop bands he adored. For his fans, this was a huge Audience-Alienating Premise.
  • 99% of Santana's songs are Latin-infused rock of some kind with some glimpses of other popular genres... except the song "America" off of Shaman, which is, of all things, Nu Metal, thanks to being performed with and written by P.O.D.
  • Navigatoria, Akiko Shikata's not-quite-first album was much more pop-rock oriented (and more uncluttered instrumentally) than her later, or even earlier works (Midori no Mori de Nemuru Tori and Haikyō to Rakuen namely). The songs mostly use electric drums, bass, solo violins, and folk guitars, flutes are absent, and there are even saxophones in one song (La Corolle). In her other albums, she's rather prone to use traditional percussions, a variety of strings, flutes, and a lot of multi-tracking.
  • TechN9ne is known for his incredibly fast, infinitely creative brand of Hip-Hop and all of his output reflects that except one: The Therapy EP, which changes his style to loud and abrasive Nu Metal. This is due to it being produced by Ross Robinson.
  • Metallica was accused of this once "Fade to Black" was partly acoustic. Then came actual ballads "Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven", which opened the way for more on that same vein.
    • Ditto to the Load records, which completely abandoned their classic thrash style for a bluesy hard rock style. Then, they experimented with Alternative/Nu Metal with St. Anger. They have, since, returned to said thrash style.
  • Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) was a rapper for many mixtapes and his first 2 albums. However, he moved to straight funk and R&B for his 2016 album Awaken, My Love.
  • Ronan Harris of the Futurepop group VNV Nation collaborated with the Goth Rock band Mono Inc. for the single "Boatman".
  • Disturbed is most well known for two things; their long and continuous career in metal, and their one-shot orchestral soft rock cover of The Sound of Silence.
  • Paul McCartney is best known for his pop-rock music (exemplified, of course, by The Beatles but also in the 1970s with Wings). However, he's also dabbled in classical music, film scores, and experimental ambient electronica, the last of which is usually credited to "The Fireman".
  • The Osmond Brothers, eager to shake up their white bread/bubblegum image, tried their hand at Hard Rock, of all things. "Crazy Horses" was a top 20 hit in America in 1972 and was their Breakthrough Hit in the UK, where it went all the way to #2. It has also attracted a number of semi-tongue-in-cheek/semi-serious Cover Versions from bands like KMFDM and Electric Six.
  • The "Electric Dylan" controversy is essentially this, as the fuss was mainly caused by folk music fans being angry, outraged, and betrayed by Bob Dylan's shift from political folk-rock to electric pop-rock in the mid-1960s, as exemplified by him switching from an acoustic guitar to an electric one midway through several of his gigs.
  • Snoop Dogg, famous of course for his Gangsta Rap, raised some eyebrows with 2018's "Bible of Love," a double album of Gospel Music played perfectly straight. Snoop argued that Real Men Love Jesus and audiences seemed to agree, sending it to #1 on the Gospel charts.
  • Rod Stewart is best known for his folk-rock and blues-rock albums. And then he spent much of the 2000s recording jazz and pop standards.
  • Willie Nelson's roots lie in country music but broke into jazz with his 1978 album Stardust, which consisted entirely of jazz standards. He has had no trouble experimenting with other genres since, including rock and alternative.
  • Dubstep producer Boregore took an abrupt turn to jazz in his 2018 EP Adventures in Time.
  • Blue Amazon's remix of Placebo's "Nancy Boy" is drum n bass rather than the former's usual progressive trance.
  • Tim Buckley, estranged father of Jeff Buckley, started out as a fairly successful folk singer, but his later attempts to dabble in different genres like R&B, soul, jazz, and a burgeoning sub-genre of his own invention called "sex-funk" alienated some of his fans. Of course, genre experimentation is expected of artists nowadays, but back in the '60s and '70s, it was seen as less acceptable for a singer to strafe between lanes.
  • Joji is widely regarded as an artist who successfully transitioned between genres. For many years, he stalled his music career because he feared alienating fans of his popular Filthy Frank/Pink Guy surreal comedy videos and hip-hop albums, his original claim to fame, but he acquired genuine mainstream success with his lo-fi, alt-R&B, and trip-hop tunes (much of which cover downbeat and sombre themes compared to the incredibly Vulgar Humor of his older content) and, to his pleasant surprise, was supported every step of the way by the majority of his online fanbase.

    Video Games 
  • Al Lowe, the creator of the very adult Leisure Suit Larry series, initially started out as an in-house developer of many Disney games for Sierra On-Line, The Black Cauldron being his most well-known at the time. Came to a complete circle when he created Torin's Passage, a game that harkened back to his pre-Larry days, which confused many people unfamiliar with Lowe's work prior to Leisure Suit Larry.
  • Croteam, creator of the fast-paced and violent Serious Sam series, also created The Talos Principle, a slow-paced puzzle game.
  • Telltale Games found their niche early on with their episodic, story-driven point-and-click adventure games, often based on popular licenced properties. However, their original output skewed towards comedic and cartoony IPs like Sam & Max, Wallace & Gromit, and Homestar Runner, all designed to appeal to the same core audience as LucasArts (which Telltale's developers originally splintered off from). Following a brief transitionary period where they started to adapt some high-profile Hollywood properties like Jurassic Park and Back to the Future, they made the leap towards the dark and dramatic with their biggest breakthrough hit, The Walking Dead. From then on, almost every episodic game series they produced blatantly tried to emulate the success of The Walking Dead (a focus on more mature IPs, inflicting much weightier decisions with often fatal consequences upon the player, and an overall de-emphasis on actual gameplay). Even Minecraft: Story Mode felt more like a kid-friendly TWD. This change in direction was largely successful, but their outdated development model and predictable, cookie-cutter approach to their game design contributed to their fast decline and bankruptcy.
    • Indeed, Telltale was originally founded in response to LucasArts' abandonment of the classic adventure game genre in favour of essentially becoming "the Star Wars spin-off game company".
  • Balan Wonderworld was the first 3D platformer published by legendary JRPG makers Square Enix, known for Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest. Granted, they did not develop Balan Wonderworld, they were only the publishers, but there have been many reports of Executive Meddling from Square Enix, who were keen to massively expand the game's story and lore (including a tie-in novel) similar to typical JRPGs, culminating in the removal of Yuji Naka as director. General consensus is that they interfered too much in the development of a game in a genre they had no experience with, and it shows in the final product.

    Web Animation 
  • Luke Lerdwichagul aka supermarioglitchy4 is best known for his self-titled, meme-filled, Rapid-Fire Gag Series Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers, as well as its sister show Guards N' Retards. In recent years, however, he also co-created (with his brother Kevin) Meta Runner, a completely original, all-CG animated series with a conventional story structure, and while it still has its comedic moments, the plot and tone is more mature and complex than Luke’s previous works, with the first season ending on a The Bad Guy Wins scenario and the second season ending with the Big Bad getting Killed Off for Real at the hands of an unexpected Greater-Scope Villain, with plenty of elaborate action setpieces and dramatic character moments happening inbetween.
    • Subverted with Sunset Paradise; While bring a direct Spin-Off of the main SMG4 series and thus much more comedic than Meta Runner (though the series does get darker in the second half, but still not to the heights of the drama in Meta Runner), not only is it also an conventional story with an original CG animation style, but the series builds on the major Character Development of its main protagonist, Meggy Spletzer, stemming from events during and after of both the Darker and Edgier Anime Arc and its follow-up movie Meggy’s Destiny.

  • David Herbert's Tnemrot is a serious manga story, which seems weird, since Living with Insanity is all about craziness and T&A.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation