In Defense of…Musical Reinventions

October 24, 2014

By: Nicole Marrow

Musicians have the unique privilege of becoming part of our lives in meaningful and sometimes overwhelming ways. They’re like family, which is why we get so unreasonably upset when they don’t give us what we want. It’s only natural for artists to grow throughout their careers, and we can usually make the leap with them from album to album because our tastes are changing too.

Some alterations are so jarring and unexpected, however, that we might be hesitant to embrace something new. For example, Ke$ha rebranding herself as Kesha Rose was one of the most difficult transitions I’ve had to come to terms with in a very long time. Ke$ha was the soundtrack to my college years, and the fact that her autotuned, synthesized masterpieces might morph into indie slow jams to accompany her new boho-chic persona is really taking a toll on me. Reinvention in pop music has almost necessarily become the norm, so I should be used to it by now. From Bowie to Madonna, the most iconic entertainers are the ones who built a career around surprise; never keeping one sound for long. That doesn’t mean that every change they make is a good one (see: Snoop Lion), and it’s scary to think that something that used to mean so much to you will never be the same.

When artists reinvent themselves, it’s not likely that they’ve done so lightly: Making millions of dollars is a good sign that what you’re doing is working.But if the artist isn’t fulfilled by what they’re creating, change is sometimes necessary. I’ve really appreciated Ke$ha’s contribution to my life, and the fact that her rebirth as a normal person is the result of a cleansing little trip to rehab is enough to convince me that this new beginning is a good thing. Change is probably just as scary for them as it is for you, so at least give their new work a listen. It might be terrible, in which case you can grieve for as long as you need, but it might be something that you become obsessed with.

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