6 Bands That Pivoted, 4 That Didn’t
Tegan & Sara's last album – The Con – was an indie folk rock dream while this year's model is full of 80's pop. On 'Heartthrob' you can literally see montage scenes play as the album starts with “Closer.” This change in style doesn't appear to be anything other than the sisters exploring new territory, rather than chasing a fad.
If preppy-rock is a genre then Ra Ra Riot mastered in on their 2010 album, 'The Orchard'. 2013's 'Beta Love' yielded a different genre style though, one with a lot more beeps and boops. I would never accuse a band of changing their style to get in on a trend, but from a glance, it sort of seems like it. Still, the band did the songs justice and put out a great release.
Passion Pit went the opposite way of most bands and actually used less computerized effects on the new album than the previous one. It didn't hurt their career, but rather now appears to be the defining point, raising their popularity by leaps and bounds.
Sleeping At Last has silently reigned the last few years with appearances popping up all over, including on the Twilight soundtrack and more recently in SoulPancake's Kid President 'Pep Talk' video. Sleeping At Last pivoted after 2003's major label release, 'Ghosts', to get to the mellow spot they're currently at.
The Killers are one of the best examples of bands that successfully pivoted to a wildly different style. After going from 'Hot Fuss' to 'Sam's Town' and bringing the fans along, the band felt permission to do any type of music they wanted.
Hellogoodbye rose up on the back of “Here In Your Arms” a semi electronic auto-tuned song from an album filled with similar tracks. Pivoting to a more rock based sound on 'Would It Kill You?' and added plenty of ukulele. Expect their new album out this year to continue running from the auto-tune era.
The Postal Service - Just kidding, we know the music scene would have pivoted around them.
Those that didn't pivoted and created side projects
Instead of using their existing famed band to promote a new style, these artists chose to use a new band/name to try something new.
Jon Foreman has put out a handful of solo acoustic EPs and also formed Fiction Family with Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek fame. All the material obviously has a familiar tone given Foreman's distinct voice and approach, but none of his side project material fits in Switchfoot's wheelhouse and the choice to do solo work was probably the right one.
Maybe it was Fall Out Boy's hiatus that kept Patrick Stump's dance/pop material out of the pop/punk group, or maybe it was another factor, but either way it was a good thing. Stump's hit, “This City” blew up big and quick, only fall as equally as fast. Fall Out Boy is now, of course, back.
No one knew about The Format and their dog problems, but Fun. won a Grammy for best new group. The difference? Maybe timing, maybe big pop anthems, switching up members? I don't think anyone will ever know.
Mxpx front man, Mike Herrera, is a touring maniac and when the other members other the long time pop/punk band needed some time off he was off starting a new country band called Tumbledown.