When Music Becomes Uncool

When a band finds themselves on MTV, do they smile in delight at the millions of fans that have suddenly fallen for them or do they hit themselves for losing thier oringinal fans?

Ultimate Guitar

When a band finds themselves on MTV, do they smile in delight at the millions of fans that have suddenly fallen for them or do they hit themselves for losing thier oringinal fans, those fans who were there in the beginning? I myself, can be sure that if i were in that same position, (and im sure many of you reading this would be the same ) i would be ecstatic to have gained so much support even if it had taken years to get. Yet alot of people fail to see it from the perspective of the band, refusing to join thier band in the joy that is fame. Instead, these same people that have adored their favourite band for so long desert them, labelling them 'sellouts'.

Over the many years i have been listening to music, i have seen many bands become big. And although sometimes I can proudly support these bands as they appear on TRL, aswell as the back of 12 year olds who can barely spell TRL, i can recall many times when my support for a band slowly decreased as thier new video is repeatedly shown minute by minute on TV. Bands like Blink 182, Nickelback, Incubus, Limp Bizkit, P.O.D, Staind, Korn, The Offspring, Greenday and a plethora of others have seen thier popularity propel to heights which have made them household names all around the world. Yet whilst thier popularity among 14 year olds is increasing, the hatred and resentment from the 'original' fans heightens.

Most of these original fans will claim that the bands have 'soldout', therefore suggesting the band have changed styles and beliefs to incorporate a mainstream audience. Yet upon closer inspection, the music usually stays the same, together with the same beliefs as back in the beginning. So what changed it all? What made these fans hate the sight of their favourite bands name on the back of some little kids t-shirt?

My opinion is that it is the public that have changed not the band. The way people perceive rock music, punk music and rap music has dramatically changed over the years. Nowadays, if you're a punk fan, you are a pop fan. Pop is no longer the description for bubble gum music, music which can be swallowed then thrown away after it loses its taste. Punk bands nowadays do not yearn to sound like The Sex Pistols; they attempt to be the next Blink 182. When the Pistols were proclaiming punk before most of these new stars were born, Punk was not just music, it was a lifestyle; a 'Fuck You' attitude and multi-coloured mohicans were the attributes you HAD to have if you were to call yourself a punk. Nowadays, it seems that the kids parading around in thier punk paraphanelia are trying to keep that same attitude, yet are not REALLY enforcing the attitude. We now have Good Charlotte singing 'I don't ever wanna be like you, I don't wanna dress like you' yet the effect is meaningless, and seems rather put upon. It seems the whole of punk as we know it has changed, not just the bands. So for all these people titleing these bands that have found fame on MTV 'sellouts' they really have to look at the whole spectrum, the fact that it is not the band that is the sellout, it is the whole of the Punk genre. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on which angle you are looking at. In my personal opinion, i have no problem with the fact that punk has changed to incorporate catchier hooks and user-friendly lyrics. However, i do have a problem with the vast array of bands coming out at the moment with the same generic sound that we've heard time and time again.

With the public changing so dramatically in the music they now see as 'cool' many people who consider themselves 'real fans' are blocking their ears to each new 'cool' band. Therefore, basically telling themselves they cannot like a band if other people like it. Now, if somebody who liked a band decides not to like them because a couple million people have suddenly found themselves liking them, does that not mean that person is being untrue to themselves? effectively selling out themselves? I remember when interest in Incubus, my favourite band at that time, began increasing following the release of the third album. As i over-heard more and more people saying things like 'the main singers hot!' and 'i loooove are you in?' i began to listen to Brandon Boyd and co. less, in fear that i may be seen as 'one of them'. Yet after a while, i thought to myself, 'why am i sacrificing my love for this band just because other people choose to share that love?' and made the decision that i do in fact like them, and no amount of public adoration could stop me from doing so. If i had chosen to dishelve them from my cd stack, would i not be lying to myself, lying to my actual real feelings? The answer is very loud yes.

Another thing many people do not seem to grasp is the fact that people ARE different. You may decide that A Perfect Circle are the greatest band ever, and that Paz is the coolest bitch on earth, but that does not mean everyone else MUST. And if someone chooses to like Madonna, no matter how stupid you may think they are, they are just expressing their opinions and deserve the right to listen to what they please. Moaning about the current crop of music on offer nowadays is stupid. Yes, music on offer may be dull in your opinion, but those 'dull' musicians may well be 'exciting' or 'refreshing' to another. Your perception of cool and uncool will differ to the next man. But in my perception, deciding somethings uncool just because theyre seen as cool by other people is totally UNCOOL. Thankyou for your time.

74 comments sorted by best / new / date

    So because you decided that saying that what other people thought of as cool was uncool is uncool, im going to favour the idea and believe that it is cool to think that what others think is cool is actually uncool.So i think its cool to think somethings uncool when its considered cool by others, and i ve just contradicted myself.... Anyway good article, people should really just listen to what they want to and stop flaming others just because they have different tastes
    i dont care wut anyone says, if a band is a sell out or anything. If i like a band i will listen to that band. Everyone at my school now likes some band called OAR and i listened to it and i think they suck. Even tho everyone else likes that band, i dont like it.
    this was a really good article that made me see things alot differently. even though i still think blink is a sell out. but yeah, most people probobly don't want the music that used to make them original to be popular. and sometimes a bands gonna have to make a record to please the label or the label will drop them.
    bassplr, were u there when the record companies told them that? did it occur to you that possibly thats what aaron lewis was feeling t=at the time.....but i hhave to agree with you about tool I love them and i have all their cds
    I think that if you make it famous, so what right? some bands DO sell out to stardom, but that doesnt give anyone any right to hate them, unless they completly change their outlook on everything, look at metallica, they were an excellent band, they hit it large, people still liked them but now they try to appeal to other audiences to make more money and that is most likely the main reason people hate bands for that, selling out to money or more fame is always something that is gonna be resented by old fans... Good article by the way
    Fudrucker, incubus is a great example because they said they weren't going to make the same album twice and morning view is make yourself part 2. Selling out is playing what the record company wants you to play. Did anyone see TOOL sell out, NO. They are one of the biggest bands in music now and probably the most uncompromised. Staind had huge hits with It's been awhile and epiphany and their record label said "hey we want more of that" so staind bent over and gave them what they wanted.
    you have to understand, though, that by seeling out, you are making fun of yourself. you are proving that you could give a damn as long as the money is there. you are showing how worthless you really are. and that's the ***in problem. everyone says they'd sell out. *** that, i'm going to the top my way, and even if it's harder and takes longer, it'll not only be more gratifying for me, but for all those who agree with me.
    Morning Veiw and Make Yourself hardly sound alike. Not Even. Morning Veiw is relaxing and soft all the way through except for "Have You Ever". If you think about it each album they come out with has one song that songs like the album before it. Morning Veiw - Have You Ever, Make Yourself - Out From Under, S.C.I.E.N.C.E. - Deep Inside. Think about it.
    a perfect example of a sell out would be incubus...buy there first cd fungus amongus...none of there cds after that cd sound the same...another example it Korn, they didnt know have a good cd after there first, they had a few good songs..
    so what, if the band becomes popular it's their fans fault for no longer supporting them just because of their newfound fame
    BaSk3tCaSe 13
    Uhh...I skipped the rest of the comments because it seemed like people were gonna rant about the same old shit again..but yeah, great article dude. your point gets across real good. haha, k den, peace.
    MTV Is purposely trying to kill ROCK AND ROLL AND ALL ITS FORMS FROM METAL TO REAL PUNK!!! MTV is the real enemy! Destroy MTV! lol
    Incubus's sound evolves from album to album you could say they sold out every CD because it changes everytime. Thats what makes them great but i hope they turn heavier again because S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and Make Yourself kicks ass.
    oh i and i have a question for all you follower people... why would you like a band just because everyone else likes that band? if u hated that band why the heck would u listen to it? that is just about stupid.
    lol .. how is it a bad thing to change what style of music you play? wouldnt that be boring if metallica's 6 cd's had no evolution? all sounded the same? well i dont really like what metallica has done recently but bands that "change" do it cus they feel that's what they should do... not usually becuase they need more money .. i mean come on... korn needs more money so they make there songs more radio friendly? ha.
    The article was pretty damned good. The thing is, every1 is going to like something different. Just because someone doesn't like it will not make it bad music. That right there is bullshit. Bands now have to stick to some type of formula to make it. Some have said f*** that and those are the best ones.
    Man stfu all of yall underground i hatemyself losers u all r just jelous that r arent popular like them
    lol, i forgot about this. I loved the comments from the people who have a problem with me on the forum. lol, you really showed how better you are than me "Fuck you", "Youre a douche" wow, well done.
    good article, i love seeing bands i've liked for years getting deals and appearing on t.v.-why shouldn't they get some big bucks for doing what they love?
    whats the deal with selling out? if you like a band, then just keep on likeing them, dont hate them cause they got famous and some money for it. except good charlotte. they suck
    I'd like to start by saying I agree with everything said in this article. And then, for my comments, I'd like to choose my favorite band as an example: Metallica. A lot of people have labeled Metallica as sellouts since the Black album era, which may or may not be true. They switched from producing their own music in Copenhagen to having Bob Rock (a genius) produce their music. He advised them to create slightly more radio-friendly music, and they did. And though it wasn't quite the same style we were all used to hearing, you have to realize that all of their albums before that were different! Kill 'Em All was a thrash album, Ride the Lightning was predominantly speed metal/thrash, Master of Puppets (their best in my opinion) was a masterpiece of a metal album, and ...And Justice for All was a dark, political album. Though it was all distinctly Metallica's sound, they were quite different. Black was no different. Load and Reload sounded the same because most of the songs were recorded in the same studio sessions. Reload was the album that caught the overflow of creativity and material from Load. Garage Inc. showed that they still appealed to their roots and at heart, they never changed. S&M was a brilliant idea. St. Anger, though I don't think it sounds like Metallica's music and I'm not a big fan, is simply a branch in a new creative direction. It can't be selling out, because those songs are NOT very radio-friendly. At all. But people started hating Metallica when they started playing huge sold out shows and selling 13 million albums, becoming the 7th best-selling act in American history. And if selling out means they've abandoned their old music, why is it that during every concert Metallica plays most of their old songs, too? In fact, at the Summer Sanitarium tour, they played about two new songs from St. Anger and went right into songs off of their previous albums. Classics like "Battery," "Fight Fire With Fire," "One," and "Four Horsemen," as well as hits like "Enter Sandman" and "Until it Sleeps." Well, now that I've rambled on long enough, I guess I'll leave you guys to continue arguing over a topic that is completely pointless anyway, as selling out generally is only in the minds of envious underground fans who feel they can't like a band unless no one else knows about it.
    And Stratplyr makes a completely out of the blue comment about punk that has very little application to the topic at hand.....except for the good article part...
    i just wanna say i agree with you so much, for so long i wanted to explain to the pop-punk fans that they are not punk. but punk is all about giving a *** you to all the bastards that ruin this world. good article
    Hey milton, the quote in Wayne's World was, "they left that to the bee gees." Not the Beatles. Their sound continued to evolve throughout their time as a band. And you mentioned Weezer? They never put out the same album twice.
    i totaly agree. never stop listening to a band if you like them. who gives a *** if a lot of other people like them too.
    i'd like to make a point. Selling out is bad term, because as Maynard says, everyone basically sells out when the sell records. So lets forget this stupid phrase. However, there is a problem with bands like Incubus. Incubus lost their creativity and stop creating true art when they released "Morning View." Here's why. You see, Make Yourself was a creative CD filled with good songs and creatively. "Morning View" is the same CD. Why? Because Make Yourself sold millions, they made the same cd again and sold millions more. This is not musicianship or being a true artist, like in the sense of Prince who did constantly change and alter his musical paths. Tool are great artists. After "Anema" sold millions and made them pretty popular, they did the opposite of what most other bands would do: They made a CD that was a changeover, just like "ANema" was a changeover from "Undertow". "Lateralus" was probably the most artistic release over the past couple of years. Instead of trying to make hits, they continued to make true art by making a NEW record. Tool did this, Rage against the Machine managed to do this very well, but most of all, Led Zeppelin. There is a very famous quote from Wayne's World. "Led Zeppelin didn't make music that everyone would like. They left that to the Beatles." Its very true. TOol, Led Zeppelin, bands like these make ART, make music that they love and they are making for themselves and for the world as an artistic statement, not making an album that everyone would like. So *** the sell-out terms. Bands like Weezer, Green Day, Incubus, Staind, all these bands just stop being artists, thats all. And yeah, *** them for doing so. Do I still enjoy incubus? Yeah, but I'm going to avoid Morning View, cause its the same as Make Yourself.
    same here, that wrecks my head. people think they are cool by saying that bands are sell-outs. they then listen to uncool music but then they all do it and therefore that music in turn is also cool. its a vicious circle. also those individuals that dress funny and say that they are not like everybody else and go on like they don't give a SHIT what they look like, they are so full of it. they are like loads of other people because loads of other people think the same and they are the ones who are most obsessed with their image. i didn't argue my point very well and its a bit all over the place but i'm tired. i hope somebody gets what i'm on about.
    i think we should look at metallica look at them stupid wankers they were such a good band until the black album that is a fucing obvious case of selling out the album was made to rake in the money and thats what it did but they lost their original fan base which to me would be the most important thing. i play in a band to make music not money. then they went and made st anger... makes me sick i tell you sick!!! blerrrrr
    dude, you lost me, lol. But my point is you shouldnt stop listening to music when it becomes popular (becoming 'cool' to a wider market). Or something like that.
    lets not get into a fight over spelling... Great article man, and a good argument. shame that you didn't try the "people who think bands who get famous are sell-outs and therefore hate the bands AND the people who still like the foresaid 'sell-out' bands".
    Stained sold out more than Sugar Ray and that's ***ing hard to top in selling out terms!!!
    I can't say anything about Nickelback, Blink 182, Green Day, and P.O.D. but Korn sold out.
    yeah, youre the kind of person im on about. You probably think youre better than everyone else cos you listen to a band they never have. Yet thats the saddest case, trying to be different.
    You legend. I totally agree with what your saying, and The Offspring will always be the best.
    and fayemond i think 'alot' is perfectly acceptable, and im not from america.
    thanks. And as for these Stranger people, if youre gonna write something at least write something amusing, or interesting. Saying "midgets" is hardly ground-breaking in terms of initiative when trying to attract attention on these boards.