There are plenty of good reasons for an artist to release a solo album. Maybe their band broke up, or maybe they want to write some songs in a different style. However, sometimes musicians go ahead and release solo music that could have been easily been released with their band. Here are five musicians who didn't need to go solo.
1. Bradford Cox
Being the frontman and lead songwriter for Deerhunter, Bradford Cox can do pretty much whatever he wants with the band musically. Though its sound may shift between albums, the core to Deerhunter's music is psychedelia, which is also the core to Cox's solo project Atlas Sound. When listening to an Atlas Sound track like "Criminals" or "The Shakes," it's not difficult at all to imagine them being found on a Deerhunter LP.
2. Conor Oberst
Conor Oberst began releasing music under his own name all the way back when he was 13, but started releasing his music as Bright Eyes when he was 18. Since Bright Eyes is basically the Conor Oberst show, there doesn't seem to be a reason why he would release another album under his name, but he's released a total of five albums as Conor Oberst, despite the fact that Bright Eyes is still active. His "solo" music tends to lean towards country, but Bright Eyes has plenty of country-ish songs as well, which makes it all more confusing.
3. Robert Pollard
Guided By Voices singer Robert Pollard is such an insanely prolific songwriter (he has over 1,600 songs registered with BMI) that he could write for 10 different bands and still not run out of ideas. However, the biggest complaint against Pollard and Guided By Voices is that they're so prolific that many of their songs end up being duds. Maybe if Pollard slowed down and focused all of his songwriting energy into Guided By Voices, he could release one great album every year, instead of five decent ones.
4. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez
Right behind Bob Pollard on the list of insanely prolific musicians is Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, former guitarist of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, and current guitarist for Bosnian Rainbows. During his years with the Mars Volta, which released six studio LPs from 2003-2012, he released a staggering 25 solo LP's, with a similar psych-prog sound as the Mars Volta. Maybe he was simply writing songs faster than the Mars Volta could learn them.
5. Steve Harris
While the other musicians I've listed took time from writing songs for their bands to write songs for themselves, Steve Harris took another route. He's the bassist and primary songwriter for Iron Maiden, but his "solo" album British Lion seems more of a collaborative effort than any of the Iron Maiden albums. He shares songwriting credit with his new band mates, and he doesn't even sing. This might be excusable if Iron Maiden broke up, but it didn't, and Harris's solo songs are shockingly bad to have come from the same guy that wrote "Rime of the Ancient Mariner".