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Why does (almost) every band go through a "synth or pop phase"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Felken, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    Rush did it, Yes did it, Genesis did it, Queen did it, and much more than I could name. Why do so many bands who were determined to be non-conformists end up doing one or more albums heavy on synth?

    I'm not criticizing them, just curious! :bag:

    Why couldn't Grace Under Pressure be a metal album instead?
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    They all experimented with the current technology of the day. No more mysterious than that.
    wmmj, Felken, StyleOverShow and 3 others like this.
  3. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    Cuz the 80s?
    CaseyJ and JimK like this.
  4. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    And cocaine.
    PullThePlug, CaseyJ and shawshank72 like this.
  5. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    also: music which allows for real audience participation (e.g., dancing) gets more love from some.
  6. Most of the bands I've listened to over the decades never went synth, and only a few added keyboards.
    Although Ozzy bought a MOOG to fool around with on a Black Sabbath record, but he couldn't figure out how to use it.

    AFAIK, this is the one song they used it on:

    As far as "going POP" goes, the record companies were trying to make bands sound more like popular music from far back.
    More records sales = more money
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
    Spidey2112 and Felken like this.
  7. OldDog52

    OldDog52 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    At the time I didn't much like it when bands like The Beatles and CCR added keyboards.

    In retrospect, I still hate keyboards with CCR. Billy Preston's work with The Beatles is ok though. :)
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA

    Close thread.
    Jhengsman, Felken and Killed_by_Death like this.
  9. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Music artist always explore various media for their craft. It's a way to gain knowledge and evolve.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Pretty much covered already. Perhaps you are too young to know it. The 80s had Geddy rocking a sport coat and a mullet. Yes wore Shiney long....outfits. And they all threw synths in the mix. Heck, every single rock band had a Yamaha DX-7 or two on stage. I actually liked that period from all the bands you mentioned. I liked the pre-synth and post-synth stuff too.
    Felken likes this.
  11. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I would add to my statement that this is also still happening. Look at what is going on with Linkin Park right now. They have always utilized synths in their music, but their latest single is a straight up electronic pop song.

    Every musician\band has an arc to their career and anyone with half a brain knows what is going to take them where. Pop music for the last 40 years has been the most predictable, formulaic thing on the planet. It isn't hard to write a pop song, actually the biggest difficulty is deciding how stupid you can go before it hurts your soul. The more artistic or complex a piece of music is, the smaller its audience is going to be. Synths and computer generated music is easy for the listener to follow because it is simplistic and lacks any distracting nuance. It leaves the music open so the listener can focus on the vocals. I think 90% of the top hits on the Billboard charts for the last 10 years have been written by a handful of Swedish producer dudes.
  12. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    It was the times. Synths were new, or at least the ones that came without cables and patch-bays and it was easy to play massive lines with two fingers.
    Plus, IMO the artists you named had their best or most original work behind them and were gunning for radio play.
    JimK likes this.
  13. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    ime mister korg beat and his relatives are very fun folks to play with ;)
  14. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    The 1980's. Some of the best and worst music ever produced, IMO.

    But don't blame the band 100 percent--there was pressure from the record companies wanting material that would keep them relevant to the times. A prime example would be Heart and their 1985 release Heart--an album which produced 5 hits. The Wilson sisters later went on to almost regret this album and it's material, stating that they were manipulated by Capitol records---despite the fact that the album went quintuple platinum.

    In retrospect, I would guess that bands like Rush, Genesis and other bands who had their origins in the late 60's-early 70's, suffered a similar fate.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It might be hard to believe, but peoples tastes and interests do change over time. That goes for both the musicians and their listeners.

    BTW, I doubt anyone starts out trying to be non-conformist. Queen and Rush both had debuts that sounded like Led Zeppelin outtakes. Genesis was trying to be the Beatles by the sound of their debut.
  16. twinjet

    twinjet What does God need with a starship? Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Return to Forever executed this quite well. Others, maybe not so much. I think as lot of it was just the records companies' will. Play or no pay.
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    In those daze, I was a purist.
    Electronic drums, Linn Drums, etc? Garbage. :)
    Perfect example: Missing Persons Rhyme & Reason album. Hated the drum sounds on that thing. Friends told me "...I needed to catch up to the times".
    Years later, like 2-3 years ago, I read Ken Scott's book...Terry Bozxio himself now sex the drum sounds on that album are crap. Ken Scott, too, sez..a great drummer like Bozzio is reduced by playing those Mattel Toy-like objects.
  18. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Some of these albums aged very well. Somewhere in Time comes to mind.
  19. Ironically, the liner notes for Piece Of Mind (just 2 albums prior) make a point of saying it was recorded with no synthesizers. It's been a long time since I read them, but I'm pretty sure it's at the end of the notes - as in literally the last line if I'm remembering right. It says something like "recorded with no pretensions and no synthesizers."
    Jazz Ad likes this.
  20. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Yea, the 80's was the culprit in most of your examples. Just be glad the keytar was a shorter lived thing :eek:

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