Essay Series: A Career in Music

To add some variety to what I write about here on Sound Judgement, I thought I would introduce a new series of articles about music. Rather than just reviewing new music, I thought it would be interesting to look back on the careers of musicians and bands, looking at how their music progressed over the years and drawing connections to how they have grown over time (or did, as the case may be). However, while there are certain bands like The Beatles and Radiohead, and musicians like Bob Dylan and Madonna that have went through many phases in their music and are obvious choices for a series like this, I thought it would be somewhat fascinating to look not just at these examples, but at examples of band who might not be known for radically changing through their career. If they have been around for a long time, there is inevitably going to be some sort of movement within their music, even if it is within a very distinctive or limited range, which is worth looking into. It is also the case that any band or musician that has survived and thrived with a fan-base for a long time has something that draws people to them, so I believe that even bands or musicians I might not have a preference for at least have earned their place for consideration in a serious way. To demonstrate this point in full, I have decided to make the inaugural entry in this series about a band that often gets put in the nu-metal or post-grunge bucket, yet have long outlived both of these sub-genres periods of popularity to still be commercially relevant to this day: Godsmack.

The process of this is pretty straightforward.  I will go through each album and every other major release or record that indicates something about the musical development of the band (so EP’s, Mixtapes, Playlists, and possibly even live albums might apply). The purpose of this is not to do a historical look at the band or musician, breaking down everything they do strictly based on what occurred around them. Unless it is observable directly within the music itself, I will put little to no emphasis on what happened surrounding the music. The whole point of this is to really look at how the bands progressed in their sound, lyricism, and songwriting. By doing this I hope to look at music in a bit of a different way, not just looking at what I might like or dislike (though not ignoring this, by any means) but looking at what a band seemed to be doing (though with little speculation aside from if I am trying to make a point).

As I go release by release, I will give a short summary/review of what content is there, and even give a score at the end for reference; however, these are not full reviews and might not cover everything I think. The focus here is in looking at the music’s development through the career of the band or musician, and I hope to keep that the focus of each entry and each section within each entry. At the end,  I will give a summary of what I think overall, and then give my pick for the band’s best album, worst album, best song, most overrated album, and most underrated album, just to possibly shine more light on what I am thinking here and recommend certain moments within their career that I think should be listened to for those interested, and those that should be avoided (or possibly checked into, for the morbidly curious).

This is as much an exercise for me to get better at listening to music and becoming more aware in my listening as it is supposed to informative and entertaining. With that long intro out of the way, I will post the Godsmack entry soon, and will have more to follow as soon as I am able. This one took a little while to listen to the whole discography of the band and really pen down my thoughts on all of it, and some entries might take longer or shorter periods of time to finish, even in ideal conditions. Each entry is likely going to be pretty long, since even this one has been a quite extensive project overall compared to what I expected to finish with. Still, I look forward to seeing how this works out, and hope this all achieves what I am wanting for it, as well as what anyone who might look into it is wanting as well.

2 Comments

    1. Thanks for the recommendation; Kanye West was actually someone I thought of as well for the same reason. I actually have a few artists I thought I would do of all different shades, it just might take a while for those to all get fleshed out.

      Liked by 1 person

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