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It’s a common thing for artists to change in terms of music composition, genre and the general direction of what they were doing, this happens to bands as well as solo artists.

The music we make is a reflection of who we are as persons, so it’s not a surprise to see that music changes with us, as we evolve and the years pass, the things we make change as well.

There are some great examples to have a good idea of when or how this can happen, one great example is the strange but game changing album “Kid A” from Radiohead.

Radiohead’s Kid A

To start with the 2000s, in October, the great english rock band Radiohead, made its way into the history books when “Ok Computer” was released. It was their third album and it solidified the band as one of the greatest rock bands in the 21st century.

However, after that great success, the band decided to work on something a lot different, which for many critics and listeners, was going to be a commercial suicide. It was an experimental album with lots and lots of electronic

In an interview with Thom York with Rolling Stone in 2000, he talked a bit about the album.

There isn’t a straight rock beat anywhere on Kid A. Do you still think of Radiohead as a rock band?
There’s a lot of things about rock that are still valid, almost shamanic things: delving into drugs for creative reasons, not lifestyle reasons; music as a lifetime commitment. If that’s what someone means by rock, great. But I find it difficult to think of the path we’ve chosen as “rock music”. Kid A is like getting a massive eraser out and starting again.

Radiohead is a good example of not getteing too attached to a music genre, they let themselves explore music however they may feel like it, even if it feels like “starting again”, just like Thom says.

Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts

The latest album by Miley Cyrus has been a bit divisive among fans and critics but not because it’s bad, but because it’s different. The pop star turned pop rocker has been teasing this shift of personality and music genre for some time now, covering classic rock songs and country comedic stories in live shows.

The album not only shows us that there is always some hidden potential in the artists that we are used to listening, and whether they decide or not to experiment with it is up to them, but who would have thought that the Disney celebrity Miley Cyrus would rock alongside the legendary Joan Jett in pop rock album.

Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

This is an album that came after another incredible success by the Arctic Monkeys which was AM, it blew everyone away with the most polished album by the band and it’s considered one of the best Rock albums of the 2010s.

It came as a surprise when the band decided to come up with such a departure from their last album with more piano focused songs and less rock influenced. Some of the influences include: Ennio Morricone, Nino Ferrer and Evelyn “Champagne” King.

David Bowie’s Blackstar

Yes, a lot has been said about David Bowie, but it’s hard not to recognize his achivements of reasons, one of them is the fact that despite changing directions in music genres again and again, Bowie managed to keep its audience engaged, and to be able to keep this up until “Blackstar” which was his last album, is just an honorable mention that cannot be ignored.

The Public Opinion

One of the issues with getting a certain status in the music industry is that the people who listen, begin to expect something specific from the artists, however, music evolves and some people and even critics fail to accept that fact.

It’s interesting to see how much expectations matter to an artist, and that is one of the musicians dilemma, how much should they give the people what they want and how much should they explore new grounds. However some don’t even care and just release the music they want.

As listeners we should be excited for whatever music comes our way, in the end, it would be boring to always get what we expect right?

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Punk rock was a very powerful force when it came to cultural change as it was not only about the music, it was about the ones that didn’t fit into the establishment or in musical terms, the mainstream audience.

This was a way to finally show true colors, and scream with all honesty what is being lost, taken, or disrispected. This made punk something more than an opportunity to protest, it was powerful bomb made out of lost teenagers, outsiders, but also women.

Playing drums in an all female riot grrrl/new wave band in Manchester called Killerdolls was very empowering. Winning first prize in two business competitions made me feel proud and capable and empowered.

Before Riot Grrrls There Was…

It was not very common to find big women with hard hitting lyirics in leather in the 70s, it was mostly a men thing but, some women didn’t think so.

With artists such as Patti Smith and Joan Jett with the Runaways, it was clear that the world was about to see something that was so much more than just a feminist protest.

It’s always hard to break barriers, and if done right, everyone will come from all sides saying it’s wrong. Joan Jett said in an interview:

When I was starting out in the Runaways, we took a lot of shit from feminists. All teenage girls think about sex, but a lot of women felt we were using our sexuality. We were just acknowledging what all girls go through and took shit for it. It was very confusing. I didn’t quite get it

There was nothing like the Runaways when they came into the scene taking over the world with “Cherry Bomb”. There was Heart, but even they were not an all women band, and they were not punk.

The Runaways were raw and harsh with their lyrics, with a challenging tone.

The 90s

The Riot Grrrl movement really began in the 90s, as a group of women in Olympia, Washington, discussed the importance of sexuality and sexism in punk rock. In the end they decided that it was enough, and that girls should riot against a society that doesn’t properly tackle important issues such as rape, incest and eating disorders.

Kathleen Hanna was the first Riot Grrrl in a way, and made it clear what the Riot Grrrls were all about

The Riot Grrrl movement started by bands like Bikini Kill and made famous by bands like Hole and Babes In Toyland in the 90s are feminist. In fact, even mainstream pop, indie and rock was more feminist in the 90s… then came a backlash with disempowered female role models in pop presented to us, which was disheartening to see- the promotion of the 50s housewife style female blueprint came back with pop groups like Girls Aloud. Quite the contrast to the Spice Girls with their feminism lite message for the masses. I feel artists like Gwen Steffani are role models for femininity and empowerment at the same time. Courtney Love presented female anger (and suffered for it a lot) which was very important contribution to feminism. No one else seemed to have been such an angry woman in public before (to my eyes)… I feel like all women in punk with a voice or on drums or guitar are feminist icons to some extent.

grrrlswithguitars.com/

It was a way to scream about all the topics that were “not important” at the time, and what better way to scream than with punk rock? It was all about being sexually open, speaking against violence against women, and dressing for the ocassion with grunge inspired outfits and the irony of wearing red lipstick and pretty dresses.

However the movement doesn’t come without its fair share of criticism. Courtney Love is often associated with the movement, however she is not very happy with it.

It was a big movement that inspired many other musicians, and although it may be a thing for the past for some, it was an important step for punk rock music.

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In every form of art there is competition, or a need to prove something to the world, and maybe for some this is achieved by winning awards, going as far as to say winning a Grammy. But is this really that important? does it meassure how good an artist is or how popular? and how much has the standards for winning awards has have changed over the years.

Benefits of Winning Awards

One of the benefits of winning an award is that the winner gets money as a reward. This can be good because even though the money can be used for anything they want, it’s an obvious choice to use it as a way to push their musical career.

However this may just be something goode when it comes to a fairly new artist, in this case money is needed in order to start projects, video productions, tours, music equipment, and much more, but for an artist that is already very famous this may not be the goal.

Another good thing that can come out as a result of winning is of course more popularity and status in the industry. Again there is the fact that some musicians may benefit from this a lot more than others, still, it’s a guaranteed way to stay relevant.

Of course there is also the honor of winning the award. Some events such as the Grammys are considered to be one of the biggest awards in the industry and it certainly is a big moment for any musician.

The Grammys

The Grammy Awards had its first ceremony in 1959 and had 28 awards. As the years passed by the amount of awards increased due to more music genres being recognized such as rock in 1980 and rap in 1989.

In the year 2000 the first Latin Grammy awards were celebrated.

Nominations for the 2021 Grammy awards were announced recently and they include Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa, however one artist wasn’t nominated despite having the biggest selling album of 2020 in the US, The Weeknd.

He said in his twitter account:

“The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

The head of the Recording Academy responded with:

awards

“We understand that The Weeknd is disappointed at not being nominated. I was surprised and can empathise with what he’s feeling,” said Harvey Mason Jr.

“Unfortunately, every year, there are fewer nominations than the number of deserving artists. To be clear, voting in all categories ended well before The Weeknd’s performance at the Super Bowl was announced, so in no way could it have affected the nomination process.”

It’s not the first time that the Grammys have been called out by artists, in 2016 Frank Ocean declined having his music in the Grammys by saying that: “doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down.”

Drake also spoke against the awards by saying that the category in which he won, wasn’t the right one for the song which was the hit “Hotline Bling” and was attributed to Hip Hop.

On the other hand, Iggy Pop was finally recognized with an award by the grammys, by winning the lifetime awards.

When asked about it he said:

No. I was surprised. I was doing some voiceover work and was a little … grumpy already, and my manager said, “The head of the Grammys insists on speaking to you personally on the telephone.” I thought, “I don’t want to. Nothing good will come of it.” But as it turned out, that was a nice thing, and I was quite surprised. I thought, “Well, there must be a bit of a sea change going on.

Of course it’s hard to satisfy everyone but it’s also hard to deny the changes in the kind of artists the ceremony used to have in so little time.

It’s interesting to see how it affects different artists and how it may or may not influence in their career at the moment. Either way winning an award will have a lot of consecuences in a musicians career.

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