My opinion on the recent change of band styles, inspired by Evanescence's new music

Martin_Canine
Today, Evanescence released the single "Imperfections" off their forthcoming and much anticipated album "Synthesis", and the first you'll notice is it's different. More electronic, less rock-ish. But more about that later on.
The moment when a big group radically changes its style is always tricky, and quite often, I personally don't like it. The problem is often not so much that's it's bad, but that it both isn't what you wanted to hear and can't keep with others doing a similar genre.

May Chester Bennington rest in peace, but Linkin Park's last album "One More Light" wasn't the best. Technically, it was fine. Well produced, well written and well performed. But it had nothing memorable, and that's not because it was a pop album, but because it's not as infectious as other pop by full pop artists. Say what you want about Katy Perry, but she knows how to write and record an earworm. Linkin Park's final record is pleasantly listenable throughout, and the lyrics are actually far superior to most other American pop artists that are not Anastacia, Christina Aguilera or P!nk, but that's about it. Nothing stands out as incredibly strong. "A Thousand Suns" didn't have that problem. It was a change in style, but it worked. The soundscape blew me away and you could feel a certain emotion and energy. Then "Living Things" was already like "One More Light". Done much better by a ton of other artists. What "One More Light" makes more frustrating is that in between they released the awesome "Hunting Party", which was the style they always did best, done best. The album has energy, rough emotion, and each track could become an essential in their discography. The other albums felt like a bunch of fillers put together, this one has much creativity and will have its part in their legacy.

Now that's about it with Linkin Park, Tokio Hotel were arguably the biggest German band of the 2000s and introduced this emo style alternative rock in Germany, while most similar American weren't successful. Then they went to America and adapted their scene culture with its more electronica based music. They did not sell out because in Germany electro based pop music was actually less successful than pop rock at that time (partly due to the combined success of Silbermond, Wir sind Helden, Herbert Grönemeyer, Juli, LaFee, Rosenstolz, Revolverheld and Tokio Hotel themselves in the mid-2000s), and it brought them a far more positive critical feedback, because this sound was new, as scene wasn't a thing over here and it was seen as inventive. But for me it lacked that typical sound that made them so huge in Germany, and was not what I wanted to hear when buying a Tokio Hotel album. "Kings of Suburbia" is probably the best scene album of all time because their fame allowed them a professional budget, plus they actually can write songs with a focus, but "Dream Machine" is much like Linkin Park's "One More Light", a solid dreamy pop album with no personality or outstanding material whatsoever.
But I need to clarify again, Tokio Hotel's change in style is a product of three things colliding. Firstly, they moved to America and totally digged the pop culture, secondly they had more creative freedom after their hiatus and had enough of playing the emo pop rockers (you can already hear this on "Humanoid", where they produced for the first time), thirdly the general recent interest of German indie artists with experimenting with Autotune. Just ask Dat Adam, an independent trio that combines hip hop with electronica, uses Autotune throughout and electro instrumentals and raps/sings about issues and values that bothers them.

There was a point when I thought Nickelback would be the next in line. I know Americans don't like them as much as we do, but this site seems to be more humane towards them. Nickelback stand for cool poppy yet heavy rock music, but still rock music, that sometimes may have some more raunchy lyrics, but the amount of meaningful songwriting they have more than makes up for that, apart from the fact that it isn't something bad in the first place. Now, "Here and Now" still sounded like the Nickelback I love, even though it was more like fillers than great new music. But "No Fixed Address" was truly underwhelming. Like the others, they became more pop. Unlike the others, it was only a reduction of power, energy and rock, with some songs sounding tame as can be, with no memorable melody or lyric, and one song even having a Flo Rida feature. This is the first time I feel like this was not done for creative reasons, but simply to put out an album the fans buy. The 2017 follow up "Feed the Machine" was amazing. Never before had the group released a record so full of perfectly thought out material. The rock-ish energy is back and at a level they never had before. I am not exaggerating. This is unusually heavy and melodious. Plus never before have they had an album on which every song (except the instrumental one) had such a focused and beautiful wording. The title track furthermore has them political for the first time, which is absolutely nothing you would do if you sold out. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were busy working on this record for years and only released "No Fixed Address" so the fans have something to listen to until the real albums is released.

The extremely popular German band Silbermond have also been confronted with having sold out. In the mid-2000s they made this punk-ish alternative pop rock with cheeky lyrics and attitude, now they make slow and calm indie pop with introverted lyricism, which is fairly successful in Germany, and many assumed they just did it to stay successful. But I disagree. They just matured. They released five albums as of today, the first and the last sound like from two different band, but the ones in between clearly indicate a slow but steady change. The first one was punkish and cheeky, the second one still punkish but they already had more emotive lyrics, the third one toned down the punk for the most part, became slower but still had a powerful alternative sound, the fourth was already indie and so is the fifth one. They were pretty young when they began, they were rebellious, they didn't give a damn, now they want each album to sound thought out.

Now, we come to Evanescence. They always had big time spans between their albums, especially for a band with such a big fanbase and standing. But the six years between their last album "Evanescence" and their forthcoming "Synthesis" is the biggest. We don't know what happened in those 6 years, and how they changed, but I can say for sure it isn't a sell out move. For two reasons. Firstly, a band of this popularity that takes so much time between individual albums doesn't sell out. If they did, they would release material every two years. Secondly, their musical style is actually less mainstream than before. Both on "Imperfection" and the reworked version of "Bring Me to Life". Sure, there are new electronic elements added, but how are they used? Do they make a stomping beat? A catchy synth melody? Alter Amy Lee's singing voice? No, they are used because it fits the music. There is also an orchestra playing, and Lee still sings with the strong and powerful singing voice she always owned. The songs are elegant and graceful, emotive in tone and composition. This is exactly what made their previous songs so wonderful, it just trades the guitars for electronic elements, but it is still as beautiful as before, in fact it is a development that prevents the music from becoming repetitive while still keeping the essence of what made them such an outstanding band. I also love how they updated "Bring Me to Life". While their biggest hit and signature song, it is also a bit overplayed, in a way you forget to appreciate its greatness. This ballad version makes you realize that again.
So, I am actually looking forward to that album and to hearing more of their songs in a new light.

Comments

I kinda disagree about your claim on Katy Perry, I thought "Bon Appetit" was so unsexy and uncatchy that it was sad. But I do agree with Linkin Park's new album being pretty weak.

Also, as one of the most popular Evanescence fans on the site, I was kind of skeptical of Amy's new song, but it really did grow on me afterwards and now I like it. It's just not as good as a lot of the songs from Fallen and The Open Door.

I'm also pretty sure that Synthesis is just an experimental album and they're just trying to have fun with this one. Their next album should be rock. - DCfnaf

I really liked her entire last album Witness and I really don't know what happened to her reputation. I recall when she was seen as a good pop artist with her 2012 Prism album, and this album feels just the same. I wasn't disappointed. And I don't see what's so wrong about Bon Appetit either. It's not sexy, it's goofy. She didn't aim for sexiness, she probably just wanted to be funny. But even if you don't like this song, there's 14 other songs on the album, pure fun, though with a few more serious songs in between. It currently ranks at number 10 on my Top Albums of 2017 list, it will probably move down a bit when Kollegah, Evanescence, P! nk, Kool Savas and Taddl release their albums later this year.
What I meant to say was: you can tell One More Light isn't pop made by a pop band. Therefore it doesn't have enough pop appeal. It has all the elements of pop but doesn't feel like it, and can't compete with the pop by welk known pop artist.

I actually think "Synthesis" will be better than their self titled album. "Evanescence" was very good, but compared to the othet two albums this icy, sentimental, melodramatic sound was toned down a bit. I don't know if you know what I mean. They went a bit more for the rock elements than the melodious ones. Now on here it sounds like the other way around.
"Synthesis" probably will be an experiment, as actually it is not a regular studio album but consists of reworked versions, and maybe for this they tried out the new style. But to be honest, I could perfectly live with it if this was how they sound like. Just hope it won't take them 6 years again before creating new music. - Martin_Canine

I thought Witness was a very weak, generic, and passionless album. I was never really a Katy Perry fan though anyway, but at least she sounded like she was having fun in One Of the Boys. "Bon Appetit" is a bad song in my opinion because it's trying to be sexy, but fails and it sounds like it's about cannibalism. The rest of the album isn't "fun" to me, it just sounds forced. I thought "Miss You More" and "Witness" were okay, but other that...

It was a sellout move. I'm sorry, but it was. They threw a female pop singer in "Heavy" and managed to chart thanks to the new sound. It's also very, very lame in its lyrics.

Maybe. Their self-titled album was great, but I still felt like it paled in comparison to the phenomenal, jaw-dropping masterpieces they made in "The Open Door" (easily their best album) and "Fallen". Lyrically, musically, and vocally, both albums were perfection to music and still are. Synthesis will not be better than those two, but it will still be great cause it is Evanescence and they're the best band ever.

It is 100% experimental. Amy said she wanted to have fun with this one and decided to use the album to experiment with their already existing work and change the sound up a bit. I'd rather they not make this their primary sound because I love their alternative/piano rock sound the most, but this sound will be fine anyway. And I don't think it will take long because I am pretty sure their next album, which should be a rock album, will be out in 2018. - DCfnaf

I think for One More Light, the biggest factor to it's negative response was how jarring the change of sound was from The Hunting Party. Normally with Linkin Park, the band evolves with certain concepts that they eventually move on from and onto newer concepts.
Minutes to Midnight (quite possibly my favorite record by them) felt like the early step to A Thousand Suns which took ideas from MtM and explored them further. Living Things took the more Electronic stylistic choices of ATS and made that the main theme of the album. The Hunting Party took the aggression that LT carried along with various heavy elements from past works, and crafted it to this great rock album that personally, I think Linkin Park and the fanbase needed. With One More Light what exactly seems like a continuation of an idea or conceptual sound? It was a pretty opposite sound from their previous work and many took it not so well. In my opinion, the album grew on me and I no longer really dislike it. I'm fine with it but it is no where near my favorite record by them.

As for Evanescence, a band that I haven't really fully enjoyed like I did when I was younger, I find the song pretty decent actually. I believe Amy did say that this was an experiment and they were just having fun with it as stated. I will probably check out Synthesis when it comes out. I may be not that same big fan as I was a few years ago but I still am curious and overall just want to hear some new music from the band. - cjWriter1997

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