November 22, 2017 / 7:09 PM

Stay Connected

7 Artists Who Switched Their Genre For One Album: Kanye West, George Harrison, And More

by Joey DeGroot   Sep 21, 2014 17:32 PM EDT

Close
Five things to know about the Xbox One X

Being a musician is a dream job for many, but it can get pretty frustrating and unfulfilling to keep releasing albums that all sound alike, which is why some artists choose to briefly venture into other genres occasionally. Here are seven artists who switched genres for one album.

1. George Harrison - Electronic Sound (1969)

Though 1970's All Things Must Pass is often thought of as George Harrison's debut as a solo artist, it was actually his third solo album. His second solo album was 1969's Electronic Sound, recorded while the Beatles were still together, and as its name suggests, the album consists of two lengthy instrumental pieces performed on a Moog synthesizer, which had recently been invented. All of Harrison's subsequent solo albums would stick to his more traditional rock and pop style.

2. Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music/Lulu (1975/2011)

For all of the (deserved) credit that Lou Reed gets for pioneering experimental rock, much of his solo work was actually pretty traditional, with a few notable exceptions. 1975's Metal Machine Music was his only studio excursion into aggressively non-commercial noise music, while his final album, the notorious Metallica-collaboration Lulu, marked his first and only exploration of heavy metal.


3. Neil Young - Trans/Everybody's Rockin (1982/1983)

After an untouchable run of classics during the '70s, Neil Young sort of lost his mind when the '80s came around and he signed with Geffen. His 1982 album Trans is an experimental synth-pop album, and when his label demanded that he follow it up with a more characteristic rock album, Young responded with the rockabilly throwback Everybody's Rockin'.


4. Bad Religion - Into The Unknown (1983)

Punk rock was created as a reaction to the often-bloated progressive rock of the '70s, so a punk band deciding to record a progressive rock album is pretty sacrilegious. When Bad Religion released its prog-influenced sophomore album Into The Unknown in 1983, it was predictably panned by the band's fanbase and the album tanked. Ever since then, Bad Religion has stuck with punk and alternative rock.

5. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak (2008)

It's very rare that you see rappers venture outside of hip-hop, and though some have managed the transition well (OutKast's The Love Below), there are others who have failed miserably (Lil Wayne's Rebirth). Kanye West found himself in the first category with his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak, which abandoned his typically lush hip-hop in favor of icy, Autotuned electropop. By 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, however, West had returned to hip-hop, albeit in a radically altered and monstrous state.

6. Ryan Adams - Orion (2010)

Though he's known as an alternative country artist, Ryan Adams' first love has always been heavy metal (take note of his cool Death t-shirt in this interview). In 2010, Adams finally put down the acoustic guitar and made a metal record, the sci-fi concept album Orion, which was his tribute to Voivod's Nothingface album.

7. Ty Segall - Sleeper (2013)

Ty Segall is one of the leading figures of modern garage rock (his new album Manipulator is killer, go check it out), but every once in a while he must get a little sick of electric guitar and fuzz pedals. This is where his 2013 album Sleeper came in, a 10-track album of psychedelic folk songs, almost all of which were recorded without drums.

Who are some other artists who changed their genre for one album? Let us know down in the comments section!

Real Time Analytics