Jumping Darkness Parade




“They sold out.” Three words that have been said about so many bands. But what does the phrase actually mean?

I know what I think it means. I think that selling out means changing your artistic direction drastically and unnaturally in an attempt to make more money.

Notice I said “unnaturally.” I said that because artists and bands change directions all the time. I know that some fans take this very personally. They can feel very strongly, and usually in a negative way, when their favorite band changes their sound or direction. A true artist follows their inner muse and nobody can predict where that shit will take them.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and has the right to express them. Its perfectly fine if you don’t like a new direction an artist took. What baffles me is when people take it so personally that it inspires deep hate. Here’s an example: Metallica. Most people on earth prefer their Black Album and everything prior over anything that’s come since. Some even argue that the key records were …And Justice For All and earlier. Whatever. To each his own. I’m in the same boat as most. I prefer their old shit. However, I don’t take their changes in direction as a personal offense. I’ve seen grown men reduced to tears over this. Seriously. But I’m not butthurt by their transformations, and I also don’t think that their sound will ever go back to what it used to be.

Here’s something I think I’ve figured out about great records. There’s the actual musical content, meaning the notes being played, the lyrics being sung, etc. But then there are the time and place factors. The time and place factors are all the different psychologies and life situations of the people working on the record, synergizing to create the vibe and overall intent of the sound. You can’t recreate that. When you nail it you nail it, and that’s that. It’s never coming back. There are too many elements that need to align perfectly in order to create a great record. And to get more specific, there are too many elements that depend on things you have no control over.

Don’t take it so personally if you only like one era of a band’s career. Be thankful you have those albums to listen to. No matter what, they still exist. No one can take them away from you. They’re not going to be unwritten. And knowing that, do you think there could ever be a Rust in Peace, Part 2? Or a Slaughter the Soul, Part 2? Or insert one of your landmark records into that question?

No. Of course not. There’s no going back. Ever. So take musical art for what it is. A work of sound created during a certain period in time. People change. Situations change. Motivations change. How authentic would it be for a band to try and copy what is considered their best work in an attempt to cash in? Isn’t that another form of selling out? Or is that a band just refining its sound? Think about it. How can you really know what an artist’s motivation for a change or lack of change is? Answer is, you can’t. Even if the answer to that question comes directly from the source. Most of the time even artists don’t truly know where their art comes from.

So taking all the above into consideration, who do you think is a sell out and who isn’t?


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