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When do artists become "past their best"


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Old 20-04-2013, 17:35
Lewnaticc
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You look at artists like Madonna or Mariah Carey and, fan or not, it's clear to see they're past their best. But why? Because Madonna's old? Because Mariah's voice isn't in the shape it once was?

I find the industry to be painfully ageist, it's like you reach a certain point and that's it. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you've become a has-been. But when and why does it happen?
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Old 20-04-2013, 17:59
O.Michel
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Artists are "past their best" when their new material constantly fails to match their older stuff in terms of quality, success or both.

There's no specific reason why artists pass their peak at some point. It's just the way it is. Every artist has to come full circle. Some artists lose their talent, some lose their passion, some lose their instinct and their knowledge about the market, some lose their fans. It's just the way it is.

But interestingly enough, the two artists you mentioned, Madonna and Mariah Carey, are two of the very few acts that have managed to make dramatic comebacks just when everybody was writing them off, so you never know if they're really "past their best" or not.
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Old 20-04-2013, 18:04
Hav_mor91
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Artists are "past their best" when their new material constantly fails to match their older stuff in terms of quality, success or both.

There's no specific reason why artists pass their peak at some point. It's just the way it is. Every artist has to come full circle. Some artists lose their talent, some lose their passion, some lose their instinct and their knowledge about the market, some lose their fans. It's just the way it is.

But interestingly enough, the two artists you mentioned, Madonna and Mariah Carey, are two of the very few acts that have managed to make dramatic comebacks just when everybody was writing them off, so you never know if they're really "past their best" or not.
Exactly if their current output never matches or exceeds their previous bet or work in general they are ''padt their best''not rocket science
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Old 20-04-2013, 18:16
thelifeofbrian
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Well in terms of age, acts who essentially make pop music (like the two examples you've given) I think are generally expected to have made some kind of artistic progress after such a long time. People say that the negative reaction to Madonna's last album was down to ageism but I personally think it was at least partially because it wasn't offering anything new or interesting which justified the legacy that she's built. I think people see older artists trying to still chase that top 10 position and think why bother when you've already done it a million times before, why not be a bit more creative? Mariah, as well, just seems to be making the same music she was making ten years ago. Kylie seems to still do well commercially, whilst playing it safe musically, but I think that's more to do with her being seen as a lot more likeable and down to earth than the other two.
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Old 20-04-2013, 19:20
Gigi4
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People may say it's about "quality" or "artistic progression" but in reality most artists are seen as past their best if their sales don't reach the level of their older records or their songs aren't played on the radio anymore.
People talk about artists being more "creative", but if an artist enjoys doing a certain style of music and are good at it why not continue in that vein? Why change for the sake of changing? There are few artists who can be good at every genre of music. Most artists tend to be better at and their voice more suited to a certain kind of music.
But to me being past their best, is more when artists stop releasing new music and do the nostalgia circuit just for the money or there's a radical decline in their voice. I think as long as an artist still has passion for what they do and they sound good vocally and are good performers, they aren't past their best even if their sales aren't as high as they used to be. Quality and artistic progress is such a subjective thing.
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Old 20-04-2013, 20:36
elasticlove
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I don't think Madonna's 'past her best'. I think a lot of people would have said that throughout her career around Erotica/Bedtime Stories and again with American Life, but she comes back with another hit album. I think she still has potential.

But I agree with the sentiments, yes.
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Old 20-04-2013, 21:53
Littlegreen42
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When a guest rapper is added onto your single...
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Old 20-04-2013, 22:39
zummigummi
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In hindsight if Madonna had ended her career with "Confessions on a Dancefloor" it would have been for the best.
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Old 21-04-2013, 00:39
mmeister2
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When a guest rapper is added onto your single...
Someone better tell Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry they're all 'past their best' then.
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Old 21-04-2013, 00:43
mgvsmith
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Exactly if their current output never matches or exceeds their previous bet or work in general they are ''padt their best''not rocket science
It depends if you measure that simply as sales which seems to be what most people here seem to think. Some of the artists I like have considerable longevity like Springsteen, Dylan, Van Morrison, U2, PiL, Prince...a lot of the recognition is critical recognition as well as popular support.

Springsteen's last album has been critically acclaimed and sold well, he's taken it on a successful tour and most importantly unlike many of the current younger artists the subject matter of Wrecking Ball is more socially pertinent.

Springsteen is 62, Dylan is 70, U2 are in their 50s and they are still producing excellent original works, little ageism there!

I feel some fans are a little quick to suggest an artist is past their best after one flop album or something.
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Old 21-04-2013, 03:39
Mark-Anthony
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I would say Britney is past her best and she's not old or losing her voice-some would argue her voice wasn't very good to begin with...and christina aguilera is past her best and she isn't old either and hasn't lost her voice-its still as loud and shouty as ever. And I'm a massive fan of both but a spades a spade...
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Old 21-04-2013, 09:15
rbautz
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You look at artists like Madonna or Mariah Carey and, fan or not, it's clear to see they're past their best. But why? Because Madonna's old? Because Mariah's voice isn't in the shape it once was?

I find the industry to be painfully ageist, it's like you reach a certain point and that's it. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you've become a has-been. But when and why does it happen?
It isn't right for two artists, interestingly women, Cher and Tina Turner were most successful at the end of their career.
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Old 21-04-2013, 19:02
crazymonk
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I don't think success has anything to do with it, an artist has passed it if the new material feels uninspired and it doesn't interest me anymore, repetition is a sign of it.

People are so obsessed with the success of an artist, it doesn't always mean that much in deciding how good an artist is imo.
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Old 21-04-2013, 19:19
CLL Dodge
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Someone better tell Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry they're all 'past their best' then.
Are they not?
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Old 21-04-2013, 20:06
Lewnaticc
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When a guest rapper is added onto your single...
Ironically that's what gave Mariah her popularity...
Fantasy - ODB.
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Old 21-04-2013, 22:12
Glenn A
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I think it's when a band go for the easy option to make money. Pink Floyd were fantastic when Roger Waters was in charge, bit after that, they became a bland AOR band, same as when Fleetwood Mac decided to move away from blues and prog rock and develop a bland American sound.
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Old 21-04-2013, 22:39
marcusgv
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I think it's when a band go for the easy option to make money. Pink Floyd were fantastic when Roger Waters was in charge, bit after that, they became a bland AOR band, same as when Fleetwood Mac decided to move away from blues and prog rock and develop a bland American sound.
I hope you are not suggesting that 'Rumours', 'Tusk' and 'Tango in the Night' have a bland American sound. They don't.

And I'm not sure exactly when Roger Waters was in charge of Pink Floyd but I assume you are talking about Floyd's post 'The Wall' work which was really the story of a split in the band. I'm not sure you call that 'past their best' or easy money but you might.
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Old 22-04-2013, 01:15
mmeister2
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Perhaps. We won't know until they release their next albums. At the moment however, no, they are most definitely not.
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Old 22-04-2013, 11:43
Ancient IDTV
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for me, the most extreme example of a musical act going from great to abysmal is The Pogues. I love their first three albums, and 'If I Should Fall From Grace With God' (1988) is probably their best one. Then they released 'Peace and Love' in 1989, which imo is utter crap, and I completely lost interest in their subsequent releases.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:49
UKNikey
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You look at artists like Madonna or Mariah Carey and, fan or not, it's clear to see they're past their best. But why? Because Madonna's old? Because Mariah's voice isn't in the shape it once was?

I find the industry to be painfully ageist, it's like you reach a certain point and that's it. It doesn't matter how hard you try, you've become a has-been. But when and why does it happen?
Madonna sjould let go of the past and leave it to her daughter now. She could be a granny now LOL
Likewise Pink she's past it nowadays. Just lame. They're not hot no more.
Mariah Carey just never was anyway.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:55
Lewnaticc
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Madonna sjould let go of the past and leave it to her daughter now. She could be a granny now LOL
Likewise Pink she's past it nowadays. Just lame. They're not hot no more.
Mariah Carey just never was anyway.
This is fairly incorrect considering she's the second best selling female artist in history behind Madonna...
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Old 22-04-2013, 17:04
UKNikey
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This is fairly incorrect considering she's the second best selling female artist in history behind Madonna...
Madonna and Pink were like maybe cool in the 80s but Mariah carey's just always been no talent and uggs. Ewwww she lurves herself and she's uggs. Just cos she's got Christmas record every year LOL LOL LOL
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Old 22-04-2013, 17:40
Lewnaticc
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Is it that difficult for you to just say she's ugly, rather than simplifying it to the name of a brand of shoes?

And just how old do you think Pink is?
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Old 22-04-2013, 17:45
Rooftopcowboy
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Generally when they stop setting the music agenda and releasing unique and interesting records.

Christina Aguilera for example delivered a worldwide smash album that set the template for many others with Stripped back in the early 00s, had a moderate hit with her 1940's themed album in the mid-00's....but now she's slipped to appearing on Pitbull songs to get a hit.

Madonna is another example, throughout her career she's shocked, brought new trends to the mainstream at her peak...but the last 2 albums have just followed other trends (Hard Candy was a good year or 2 after the Timberland sound went worldwide, MDNA was again a good year or two after David Guetta and others brought dance music back to the pop masses) and after 2 forgettable albums her careers now reduced to touring really.
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Old 22-04-2013, 20:34
dodger0703
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artists sometimes just need to do something completely different, look at Johnny Cash, the American Recordings series he did just before he passed away was some of the finest stuff he ever did
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