So what's the deal with bands suddenly/randomly deciding to make an album that sounds completely unlike anything they've ever made before? I don't ask this a ranting sort of way, but more out of curiosity. I can understand a band evolving, and I don't resent anyone's right to experiment with and expand their musical vocabulary. Musicians should grow and learn over time, even change if thats how they want to express themselves.
What I don't understand is what makes an artist/band choose, just out of the blue, to completely abandon everything about the music they've made and make something so unrecognizable that it alienates their original fan base. Some bands by the second album have completely changed the line-up, vocal style, even style of music! At that point it doesn't seem to matter how "good" it is, when you picked up what you thought was smooth acoustic folk and it starts playing some weird electric pop (or maybe you're into heavy stuff and find your band's gone soft) it just kind of takes you off guard. Not that they don't have a right to make whatever they want to, but its just hard for me to grasp the reasoning. When people support your music in a way that actually makes you successful, why make such a sudden change?
Some bands transition over time. Kings of Leon is the first example that comes to mind, because you really could hear the direction their sound was going from album to album. Whether you like the newer stuff or the older stuff better you could see it coming and understand where it came from.
Is it record companies pushing for such big changes? Are independant bands suddenly under creative censorship when they land a contract? What do you guys think? And has this happened to you recently?