During my freshman year of high school, I went through a punk phase, or at least that’s what my music reflected. I listened to Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Sleeping with Sirens, All Time Low and We the Kings. There were so many others, but you get the point.
Since then, I’ve gotten into classic rock and indie-alternative, but I hear my little sister listening to the same bands, and I’ve been thinking: most of these bands have been around so long their entire style of music is almost unrecognizable.
I mean it. Go listen to “Dear Maria, Count Me in” from 2008, and then “Birthday” from 2018. All Time Low completely changed from this raw, emotional garage band sound to what sounds like anything else from major pop radio today. It’s sad because fans want to remain loyal to bands they’ve loved, but it is hard to love a band that isn’t even the same style of music anymore.
I mean, my musical taste has changed since then, so I can’t be too mad at them. They want to produce new sounds, and if all their music sounded the same, people would get bored. I get it, but at what point do you sacrifice your entire band’s integrity to get the most listens on Spotify?
All Time Low isn’t the only one. Take Sleeping with Sirens for example; they will always have a unique sound, simply because of Kellin Quinn’s voice, but the actual music behind his voice changed dramatically from the hardcore guitar in “If you Can’t Hang” from 2011 to the more electric sound in “Legends” from 2018. Sleeping with Sirens hasn’t changed all too much, but just enough to make you question what comes next.
Death Cab For Cutie just released new music this month, and I have been contemplating whether or not it fits into this notion. If you think about “I Will Follow You Into The Dark,” it’s pretty slow punk and overall, has sad tones.
“Crooked Teeth” on the other hand is lighter and more upbeat. He pretty much talks for the beginning of the song, and it can easily be more indie. Their new music is even more upbeat, slow and pop-sounding. “Autumn Love” sounds like it could be Passenger and Twenty-One Pilots put together. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t punk. Also, take a look at Artic Monkeys. They started with a nice techno-alternative sound, but listen to their new album and you end up with something out of American Horror Story.
My argument isn’t if these bands are punk enough, or if they were to begin with, but rather that the changing of overall sound can compromise a band.
Some would like to argue these bands were never punk to begin with, and I would disagree. I like to classify a lot of these bands as punk, although I understand new punk is different than its origin in the ‘80s. Punk is not dead, it just has a newer sound. All Time Low and Panic! at the Disco are definitely alternative, but they also overlap into the punk genre. Especially when they change their sound so often, it is hard to confine bands into one lump category.
Punk is this huge genre that has punk-rock all the way to pop-punk, and it varies because bands don’t generally stay with the same sound, but they keep the same general following. Classifying music is difficult because it varies from album to album most of the time.
There are plenty of bands who have stayed the same, relatively. Panic and Fall Out Boy are both leaning toward more of a pop-rock, but the punk sound is still there. Plus, smaller bands are gaining attention and there will always be another band to listen to. I will just have to get over letting the old ones do their thing, especially if it makes them successful.
But to the bands I love with all of my heart, never change.