Thursday, February 21, 2013

10 Great Bands Who Have Jumped the Shark

The term "jumping the shark" refers to a person, band, TV show, or anything that was once great, but has now surpassed that greatness with their new releases. There are many bands that made some outstanding albums, but are now releasing material that doesn't even come close to the greatness of their older work. We've identified some of these bands below.

1. Green Day
    Best Album: Dookie
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: 21st Century Breakdown
    Why? There really is nothing like old Green Day. Dookie, Insomnia, and Nimrod were all fantastic albums. Warning was more experimental for the band, but good and American Idiot was a solid rock opera. 21st Century Breakdown, however, felt like a B-sides compilation of American Idiot, which could be forgiven if it wasn't for the horrendous Uno, Dos, Tres albums that followed. Those felt like it came from a mediocre band trying to imitate Green Day. Gone are the glory days of Dookie

2. Smashing Pumpkins
    Best Album: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: Machina: The Machine of Gods
    Why? Smashing Pumpkins were one of the 90's best rock outfits. After some lineup changes and Billy Corgan becoming more experimental, they really haven't been the same since Mellon Collie. Adore was different, not as good as Mellon Collie and Siamese Dream, but still a good album. Then Machina came out and it was very disappointing. They haven't put out a good release since then (although their most recent album, Oceania, is the best of the worst). 

3. Weezer
    Best Album: Weezer (Blue Album)
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: Make Believe
    Why? I remember the days when entire Weezer albums were great. This was the case with the Blue Album and Pinkerton. Most of the Green Album and Maladroit were excellent as well. Then Make Believe came out and there was this wrong of mediocrity. 2-3 great songs followed by  mostly filler that has spanned their last four albums.
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Best Album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: By The Way
    Why? You should expect a band's sound to evolve and change 20+ years into a career, but the Chili Peppers changed for the worse. Blood Sugar Sex Magik was the best album they released and did their signature funk rock better than any other album. One Hot Minute wasn't a good album (with the exception of 2 or 3 songs), but they redeemed themselves with Californication. That album wasn't as good as Blood Sugar, but was still a great album loaded with some of their best songs. I was excited for By The Way after hearing the title track, but was extremely disappointed when I realized that was the only great song on the album. Their last two releases haven't been much better. Stadium Arcadium did have some good songs, but the double album concept didn't work for them.

5. 311
    Best Album: 311
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: Evolver
    Why? A band with a sound like 311 can hardly be described as "boring", but since Evolver that has been the case. I loved Music through From Chaos (some might argue that they jumped the shark starting with From Chaos), but Evolver is a disappointing album bookend with two great tracks: "Creatures" and "Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm". It's only gotten worse from Evolver making it very improbable that 311 will release anything on par with their self-titled album, Grassroots, or Soundsystem.

6. Oasis
    Best Album: (What's the Story) Morning Glory
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: Be Here Now
    Why? Oasis is on most people's "bands that jumped the shark" list and with good reason. Very rarely have I seen a band go from legendary to bad as quickly as Oasis. Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory were two genre defining albums and one of the best of the 90's. Then all of a sudden Be Here Now came out and you're left wondering what happened to this band? Since then, all of their releases have been bad. It's actually good to see that Oasis is no more since I don't know if I can tolerate another bad Oasis release.

7. Led Zeppelin
    Best Album: Led Zeppelin IV
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: Presence
    Why? Led Zeppelin still stands as one of the greatest bands of all time, but even they jumped the shark when it comes to album releases. I don't think any band in rock history has had a good of a six album run as Led Zeppelin did for Led Zeppelin through Physical Graffiti. Their two releases after, Presence and Coda, weren't that good (with the exception of a handful of songs). It makes you wish that the band stopped making music after Physical Graffiti and just toured with those 6 albums.

8. Jimmy Eat World
    Best Album: Clarity
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: Chase This Light
    Why? Jimmy Eat World doesn't fit the mold of the other bands here, but I'm including them because I really think Clarity is the best emo album ever made. Bleed American, their follow up, was an outstanding punk pop album. Futures, which followed after, was kind of a mix between Clarity and Bleed American's sounds. Not as good as those two, but still decent. Chase This Light and Invented (two albums after) are just middle of the road emo music. You might find a song or two that's good, but it doesn't even come close to the greatness of Clarity or Bleed American.

9. Guns 'N Roses
    Best Album: Appetite for Destruction
    Album Where they Jumped the Shark: The Spaghetti Incident
    Why? I almost didn't include them because The Spaghetti Incident was only one album and Chinese Democracy was a completely different lineup (minus Axl and Dizzy Reed and Dizzy didn't even show up until the Illusion albums). However, the Spaghetti Incident was so bad and Chinese Democracy was such a letdown that I'm including them on the list, especially when you consider how great their prior four albums were.

10. Live
      Best Album: Throwing Copper
      Album Where they Jumped the Shark: V
      Why? Live peaked too early with their sophomore album, Throwing Copper, which was an outstanding album that the band never came close to achieving again. Secret Samadhi and The Distance to Here weren't as good, but they were worthy follow ups. Since V, the band has been taken pride in mediocrity making it seem highly unlikely we'll ever hear an album like Throwing Copper again from the band. 

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