Should Fans Dictate The Artist?
Author: Oscar Rendon
I am writing this article for many reasons but the most important one is this, "Should the artist be beholden to the spectator or the fan?". As always, social media made it pretty clear for me when scrolling through my timeline I saw an old tweet that called Linkin Park sell outs after last years release of One More Light hit every digital platform. Devoted fans of the band for years claiming and crying in anger that their beloved band had sold out and forgotten about their roots as musicians. I didn't pay much attention to it because everyone today believes themselves to be critics. This site itself has reviews but we only review and critique on categories and media we have knowledge or experience in. As someone who has dabbled in music I can say it's not so simple as everyone makes it out to be. Yes, there are songs that sometimes come to you and feel easy to write or compose but those come very rarely. Imagine writing, composing, mixing and producing an entire album. Ten to twelve songs you have to dedicate yourself to while also feeling the pressure from a record label to produce single's before the big launch. Suddenly you're fighting the clock and to some, fan expectation. Linkin Park got a lot of hate for their last album and it saddened me. Were all the songs on the album going to be loved? No. Were there very unique and personal songs on the album? Yes. The reason I bring this up as it has almost been a year since the release of One More Light is because recently Thirty Seconds To Mars have released a string of songs from their upcoming album America set to drop next week (April 6th). Tweets, comments, and YouTuber's have all dictated that the band has gone commercial or strayed too far from what they believe the band should sound like and the type of music they release.
For those who don't know, Thirty Seconds To Mars is a rock-alt band fronted by Jared Leto an Academy Award winner, his Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic. These new songs are not what 'true' fans of the band have come to know from the trio but suddenly and rapidly people have quickly jumped on the hate-train. I've read comments like "this isn't MARS" or "the album name is awful" and even "a vanity project for Jared Leto". These comments are concerning for many reasons but again I'll stick to my main point, when did we take ownership over someone else's artistic freedom? When we click 'buy' on a song or an album do we own the song/album? We pay to listen to it, but we don't pay to own the music. In doing my research and also having been a listener of the band for years myself I noticed something significant. Each album the band has produced has been drastically different from the last. Self-Titled album sounds nothing like A Beautiful Lie and so on and so forth. Each album has changed because the artists have changed, and sometimes it shows in the music they write. Many artists and bands draw the same comparison like Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and the list goes on and on. I think it's a terrible way to look at music, musicians and ourselves quite frankly. This article may be more about accepting change as well. In life everything changes. We change as people and artists do too and it reflects the work they produce. I am not saying that you shouldn't have an opinion, what I am saying is does your opinion add anything to the discussion? If you can answer that truthfully then maybe you're just like me who only shares the love of music. An opinion is different for taste and that is what it really comes down to too. Does the music your favorite band puts out meet your criteria/taste in what you look for in a song? We can only appreciate and listen to the music given to us and the music we choose to listen to.