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‘Career Decline’ Indicators

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Siegmund, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    It’s been asserted that the following are definitive signs of career decline:

    1) Touring to ‘celebrate’ an album that was released more than two decades ago.

    2) Issuing Christmas (or ‘holiday’) albums

    3) Re-recording ‘greatest hits’.

    4) ‘Greatest Hits’ tours

    5) Issuing a live album (this wasn’t once suggestive of career decline, but may have become so recently)

    6) Reuniting with former collaborators whom you still have ‘issues’ with ‘because it’s what the fans want’ (trans: ‘we hate each other, but we could still do with the money’)

    Agree? Disagree? Tell!
  2. Jimmy B.

    Jimmy B. Just a human, a victim of the insane.

    Agree; and if one does it well enough (or have an overly worshipful fan base), an artist can easily fool the audience into thinking they're NOT in decline!
    Remember also, there's releasing a new album that was started and almost finished years ago as well.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  3. c-eling

    c-eling New horizons come and go...

    Tells me the band has had a massive, long career.
    OMD fits that criteria, minus the Christmas Album :laugh:
    Secret was re-recorded in 88.
    I see no decline from their output.
  4. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident

    There are no absolutes, but it does feel like many artists past their prime, which sounds nicer than saying they are on decline, do the majority of those things, the exception being the live album. Plenty of artists still in their prime release live albums.
  5. Stephen J

    Stephen J Forum Resident

    Austin, TX
    To me, those are all indicators of careers that declined long ago, that have basically been wallowing in purgatory for many years, and they are an attempt to revive the career or more realistically cash one last check.

    Think about the Smashing Pumpkins tour last year or the Motley Crue tour from 2015 or whatever. Both of those bands hadn't had a hit record in 20 years or more. That's the norm here, IMO.
  6. IanM007

    IanM007 Give me CDs or give me death...!

    Shrewsbury, UK
    Got Simple Minds stamped all over it. Their current live album is an utter embarrassment.
  7. Howard Bleach

    Howard Bleach Imperial Aerosol Kid

    green bay, wi
    1. back to basics / blues and / or covers album
    2. state fair
  8. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    The repackaging of Greatest Hits, then Best of’s, then Rare Tracks, then Retrospectives, ad nauseam. And then, the Covers album(s)...
  9. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    I guess it depends on what we are calling career decline. If you're still selling albums, and concert tickets, it isn't a decline.
    I guess the end of artistic vision? Idk, it's a tough call.

    I really don't like Christmas albums, but I think they get released because people buy them.
    The anniversary tour of an album seems to be a more recent thing.... I like the idea, but I guess it depends how it manifests.
    Most concerts end up being greatest hits tours, to some degree.
    The rerecording of greatest hits seems like desperation in a lot of ways. Though there have been some great and successful examples over the years.
    The issuing of live albums ... I guess it depends of the era the band belong to, and their fan base. Most bands I know released a lot of live albums.

    but number 6 there is a really interesting one. When two or more folks that hate each other, or are at least perceived to hate each other, work together - tour or album - that is always a subtle inference that something isn't right.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  10. BZync

    BZync Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Bingo. I'm always suspicious of back to basic albums. It suggests to me a lack of direction for an artist. Covers albums suggest writers block.
  11. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    South Florida
    Their new songs start sounding like retreads of their older ones, or of other artists’ songs.
  12. frozenpianos

    frozenpianos Looking for that Hook

    County fairs. Reality show on a lower level network.
  13. underthecovers

    underthecovers Well-Known Member

    United States
    digging into unreleased material to fill out an album.
  14. Somerset Scholar

    Somerset Scholar Ace of Spades

    Many artists go into decline after their debut or cannot (or will not) musically grow.
    Sometimes decline can be slow or so slow it doesn't register with the listener who is on their own personal decline into alcohol and middle age spread, resulting in wild fanboy claims that their latest album is the best since.......the masterpiece or landmark album.
    As a rule of thumb for lesser known artists I hunt out the debut as being on the balance of probability more vital.
  15. c-eling

    c-eling New horizons come and go...

    And then you have bands 30+ years still going strong
    No Christmas album from these guys either :winkgrin:
    BradB, tcj, negative1 and 5 others like this.
  16. Houston_Music_Fan

    Houston_Music_Fan Forum Resident

    Houston, Texas
    These things have to be judged on a case by case basis. Jeff Lynne has done at least 3 of the things on the original list, but he's still selling out arenas and his new album went to #1 in the UK. So hardly in decline.

    Christmas albums really depend on the artist. The Monkees released one last year and it seemed totally fitting for their fun brand of pop. But when the Moody Blues made one, and it in fact became their last studio album, I felt they just weren't trying anymore.
  17. Ray Blend

    Ray Blend that [format] guy

    The Midwest
    suspect releases to watch out for:

    The Great American Songbook album
    The Duets album
    [acclaimed older album] Unplugged
  18. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    Suppose in January, Neil Young’s website announces a ‘60 Years Since After The Gold Rush’ anniversary tour. Neil will play the whole album, as well as some choice cuts from the debut and EKTIN backed by Crazy Horse, with an appearance from ‘special guest’ Nils Lofgren.

    What would we all think (after ‘where’s my credit card?)?

    ‘Wow! That divorce must REALLY have cleaned him out.’

    ‘When did he last sell a significant amount of product? 1992?’

    (Even if he WAS actually broke, I doubt it’d ever happen).
  19. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe

    I think Duets albums are another sure sign. Except in the case of Sinatra, whose career was effectively over (through choice/medical issues) when he issued his.
    bzfgt, Atmospheric, ArneW and 3 others like this.
  20. Say It Right

    Say It Right Not for the Hearing Impaired

    Niagara Falls
    Recording orchestral versions of well-known songs from the back catalog (Gabriel, Sting, Ferry). To be fair, these are more career twilight than decline.
  21. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    I think Jethro Tull have done all but 6).
  22. Helter Skelter

    Helter Skelter A Dark Horse

    A duet album with someone else in a career decline.
    Bonus points if it's Christmas themed.
  23. BourbonAndVinyl

    BourbonAndVinyl Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    This list is a description of Rod Stewart's career since 2000... although the reunite with an old collaborator that you now hate would only be the Jeff Beck "encore" they shared at the Hollywood Bowl this year...
  24. Anytime a family member of a band member replaces another band member or mgmt

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