Specifically in music. I’m conflicted here. I will explain why. In 2006/7 me and one of my friends chanced upon an up-and-coming rapper whose guise was satire. He’d rap about topics in a light, almost nonchalant manner which would belie his often serious observations. It was witty. It was real. It wasn’t important that he was relatively unknown. We didn’t much care for that; “hipster” was a dirty word yet to be invented in the universe we inhabited.
So what’s my problem?
I can’t decide if it is morally just to completely change everything about you as an artist, because you know that is what appeals to record label suits, and people who listen to Radio 1. Is there merit in distancing yourself from your niche, from where your true talent resided in order to play festival stages at 3pm.
I feel at this juncture I ought to explain that I have no problem with a natural progression of styles. I love “Humbug” just as much as I love “Whatever People Say I Am…” for example. What concerns me, is how quickly and willingly artists are shedding their former skin for a chance at pop success.
I am also aware that living as an impoverished artist is not ennobling. Alas, we all need to have something we can market and exploit for financial gain. That is sadly the state of the world. But to what end? Is it callous and cynical to switch from making challenging music about nuclear weapons to songs about saying nothing? It is not that it sounds like the sort of thing that the blokes from Panic! At The Disco and The Killers would throw up after a heavy night out “clubbing”, but; there is no substance.
Also, I suppose with the change in target audience, there is (paradoxically) a lowering of expectations and criticism from your fan base. If the only reason they listen to your music is as a soundtrack to drinking holidays in the south of Europe or for lounging in a field, then they aren’t really too fussy. So long as it has absurd synths and vocodaed vocals. The more successful you are, the more your fans think you are capable of driving the bus per se.
This is not an anti-Example rant. I own lots of his early stuff on records, I’ve seen him in intimate venues and supporting Faithless. He was just the best example I could find, when considering wholesale changes in style for popularity. I wish him all the success he can garner, I really do; I just wish he would sometimes acknowledge and perform as his persona from What We Made.
Artists should never be bound by convention, that is a given. True art is forever pushing taboos and tastes and expectations. That is what art does- it holds up a mirror to reflect how distorted a people we have become.

 

If Example’s latest stuff is reflecting the true state of this people, and this generation then I am definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time.