Early vs Late Career Music


The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
Well, maybe there is a market for that in the old country market. Didn't Toby Keith have a song about not being as good as he was once but good enough once or some such thing? Old fart bar fight?
There have been a lot of acts that ended up in Country as the years passed.


Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 11, 2015
Portland, OR
Something I've noticed is that some artists spent years writing before their first album was cut and every song is fantastic.
Then the second has fewer memorable pieces. And now they're on a schedule for releases and have to write X songs per year and they can't all be the best.

Well documented phenomena, it's called the Sophomore Slump. Strikes a lot of groups, but there are exceptions.

I'll probably get clobbered on the head for saying so, but honestly, I thought the Cramps' last studio album - Fiends of Dope Island - was a pretty spent affair. They were just out of new ideas on that one, recycling riffs and ideas from early work. It showed in their live gigs at the time too. Lux was slowing down, not quite the wild man he was in the early days.

It's awfully hard to keep the flame going over a 20 year period. Not many can do it. That's why the ones than can are so memorable!


Senior Gretsch-Talker
Double Platinum Member
May 17, 2009
Plymouth, MN
Hello, Kemp! I feel the same, I don't think their music is good enough today, and it seems like they are creating fast food music. If you heard what Mike Mills said on Twitter? He said you need to make music every year to make a good profit, so, unfortunately, all their music became just a product, not an art. Today music production companies are looking for money, not for good music. You can see a lot of propositions on the internet like - how to buy Spotify plays USA, or buy Spotify/TikTok followers now. Today it is hard to find good music, all went to fast food music, and it is sad.
Welcome to G-t!


Gold Supporting Member
May 25, 2022
New York
@drmilktruck makes an interesting point. I see changes from first albums which I often like across genres as bands sales increase. The way I see it is that with money rolling in, producers add orchestration to the cuts. The sound gets richer and lusher but loses its gritty edge. MTV had a very successful “Unplugged” series to get away from the over orchestration.

Another thing that happens is that lyrics lose their edge to broaden appeal. We like to think of musicians as artists, and they are. The successful ones have learned to commercialize their art. It’s inevitable.


Country Gent
May 29, 2016
Illinois USA
I lived in Tennessee for a summer and worked for a rafting place on the Ocoee river .
On the weekends this group of collage students from Chattanooga would come and campout party and guide the river.
They would bring their guitars and play around the campfire and their cassette music to listen to. There was a new collage band they were into and they played their music on guitar and their live recorded cassettes of the band ... the called them .... R.E.M.
Never heard of them before, it was my first taste of their music.


Mar 10, 2019
I like the first five albums by REM, and nothing much after that. Don't like anything by the Beatles.

An example of a band/ artist who did their best work last is Talk Talk/ Mark Hollis. Spirit of Eden, Laughing Stock and Hollis's solo album are incredible, and pushing way beyond his earlier work.

Tom Waits has had multiple different phases, with groundbreaking albums in each phase. Similar with King Crimson. Low are another who have continued to evolve without losing their edge.

I tend to like the early stuff by the classic rock bands because of the sound and style pre 1975, as much as anything else. Changes in personnel can make a difference too, eg AC/DC with Bon Scott, and Genesis with Peter Gabriel.


Aug 28, 2011
Early Pink Floyd up to Obscured by Clouds is better than Dark Side onward.

Meddle is the pinnacle

Dark Side was amazing as it was different but when Wish you came out I was not happy and Animals sealed the deal that this was no longer an organic band

Lou Coppolino

Country Gent
Jul 23, 2022
Howell, NJ
I'm not an REM fan.

I've heard interviews by them and I do without them.

Pete Buck sounds like he invented the guitar.

It's almost like a video of CBGB people.

Full of themselves and insipid.


Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
Firenze, Italy
I used to love early stages of almost any band but the Beatles. Although I don’t dislike them, I think that the Psychedelic Beatles’ songs are the best music ever written. Was it studio wizardry? Maybe, but anyone who ever wrote a song knows how hard it is to come up with songs that good.
Said that, I think that most of the bands reach their peak at a very early stage of their career. After that, it’s all about keeping a status up with the occasional good to very good record here and there.
Apart from the Beatles (that btw didn’t play live on their late career, and to me helped them a lot to develope creativity), I don’t recall any exception.
You can’t buy youth, sense of urgency, and being hungry.


Country Gent
Sep 12, 2014
Firenze, Italy
Speaking of crooners, maybe Nick Cave is one that did better on the mid than on his early solo career.
Said that I like Birthday Party (and Rowland Howard guitar work) more than the Bad Seeds, I guess that Cave it’s the only one that continued on a high writing standard even on his mid-late career. His records since Warren Ellis jumped on the bandwagon are as good as his early to me.

Latest posts