Innovation Deprivation

While watching The The perform on Friday night, various thoughts swimming about in my head came together and trends became more clearly understood. When bands start out, rarely do they realize how innovative they really are. There is a tendancy among many bands to disregard early records because everything NEW they're working on is the most important to them at the time. Unfortunately, they could be completely missing why older stuff can be so important to the fans. On the first few attempts at a record, a band will generally have limited funds. Three (of many) possible scenarios can occur:
  1. The band has to be tight, aggressive, quick, fierce and talented. Recording studio rates can be expensive, and for bands like Wire, REM or The Police, funds were probably tight and songs had to be recorded in as few takes as possible to get the entire album in.
  2. Lack of resources forces a band to make more with less: 2-person and 1-person bands utilize the available technology. Groups like OMD, Human League and The The come to mind. Even Pink Floyd were playing with electronics long before they became classic rock dinosaurs.
  3. Shyness and a lack of self-confidence results in a band masking their songs with sound. This worked for blurry dreampop greats like Slowdive and Jesus and Mary Chain.
Alienating old fans, all of these innovators aged into their roles of generic rock musicians. Sure, their songwriting skills might have improved, their production skills too, but their popularity dwindled as time went on while they pursued more popular sounds rather than sticking with what worked and progressed along that route. All these examples have either given up, are pretty close to giving or should just give up because there's simply no interest any more. Keep in mind, not all bands end up like this, there's a whole list on the Music page of which includes many bands who didn't!