It seems to be a requirement that when a rock star or band becomes big enough, they just have to do something wacky. Maybe it's for their own gratification, maybe it's to look "hip," or maybe they just want to piss people off. I'm not psychic. Today I'm posting songs by artists who at some point felt the need to just branch out and get all weird on their fans.
This thought first came to mind when a co-worker directed me to seek out the song Temporary Secretary by Paul McCartney, a truly bizarre attempt at danceable psychadelic new wave. The song kicks off with a hypnotic bloopy loop and things only get stranger from there with Devo-esque vocals and some acoustic guitar thrown in for good measure. Why not? The kitchen sink is probably already in there too. I've actually grown to really like the song, although I can't put my finger on exactly what about it appeals to me.
When U2 came off the Zoo TV tour, they felt anything smaller for their next tour would be viewed as a disappointment. The result was the gargantuan PopMart tour, a spectacle that confused, excited, angered, and inspired people all at the same time. Personally, I feel Bono should stop apologizing for the Pop album as an "unfinished" work. To be honest, I find it infinitely more interesting and satisfying than the last two U2 outings. Also, while PopMart's giant lemon prop may have been viewed as a gimmick, it was actually very impressive and beautiful to see live. The song Miami was dropped from the band's live sets partway through the tour to appease fans of more traditional U2, but it was actually a highlight when I saw them in Boston in 1997, enhanced by an explosive new guitar arrangement during the choruses.
For some further experiments in electronica, I'm including one of my favourite Smashing Pumpkins songs (Eye from the Lost Highway soundtrack) and a vocoder-heavy track by Neil Young titled Sample & Hold from his Trans album.
[mp3] Paul McCartney - Temporary Secretary
[mp3] U2 - Miami
[mp3] Smashing Pumpkins - Eye
[mp3] Neil Young - Sample & Hold
* Buy McCartney II
* Buy Pop
* Buy Lost Highway Soundtrack
* Buy Trans