All hail the genre-benders! Seriously, it’s one thing to be successful in a single genre, but to change things up and continue to excel? That’s the mark of a legend.
Admittedly, most artists go through some form of sonic progression over the course of their careers. But how many can you name that distinctly embody the “multi-genre” label?
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We’ll help you out. Here are 10 artists who started in one genre and then proceeded to dominate another.
If you went through your scene phase in the 2000s, then you probably remember Cash Cash as the poster children of Myspace bands. Believe it or not, though, they’ve come a long way since soundtracking our poorly coded profiles. The group have transcended from neon, synth-riddled pop punk (emphasis on the “pop”) to become a full-on EDM powerhouse. Listen to “Party In Your Bedroom” and “Take Me Home (feat. Bebe Rexha)” back to back for the full effect.
There’s no doubt that Paramore exemplify genre-bending. While they’ve always been markedly experimental, no one can deny that they’ve taken a sharp turn toward power pop over the years. That is, relative to their distinctly pop-punk foundations. The most jolting jump can be witnessed between Brand New Eyes and their self-titled album.
For the most part, PVRIS have demonstrated a rather predictable progression since their debut LP, White Noise, in 2014. But did you know that the band actually started off in the metalcore genre under the name Operation Guillotine? In an interview with Blast Magazine, Lynn Gunn said they “had a screamer and everything.” Their sound changed considerably when they dropped their first EP in 2013, angling notably toward post-hardcore. Since then, though, they’ve been wowing us with their pop-rock hits.
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There are two types of people in this world: those who associate Sonny Moore with From First To Last and those who think of Skrillex. Moore was notably a step ahead of his peers, ditching alternative music for EDM in 2007. We can’t imagine he’d know that half the scene would follow suit over the course of the next decade.
We’re not going to lie: This one still feels like a bit of a betrayal. Had you told us back in 2008 that we’d lose Cassadee Pope to country music, we would’ve gawked at the idea. As it turns out, though, her talent is hardly confined to one genre—a point that was validated without a doubt when she won The Voice. At the end of the day, we’re just happy to see her thriving, but would another Hey Monday reunion be too much to ask for?
It’s a bit hard to believe that our favorite emo prodigies went on to become electro-pop stars. Had you asked us during the Scream era, we would’ve assumed that they’d only get heavier from there. Oh well, just leave it to Tokio Hotel to surprise us. Side note: Did you know that Tom Kaulitz married Heidi Klum in 2019? We’re going to be reeling from that one for a while.
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We always knew Taylor Swift was bound to be a multi-genre artist. After all, she managed to get a good portion of the alternative scene on board with country music for a hot minute. Thinking back on it, it’s actually a wonder that she didn’t skew toward alt-rock. We can’t complain, though. Mainstream pop gives her all the room to shine like she deserves. Seriously though, how is “Teardrops On My Guitar” not widely considered an honorary emo song?
Take the widespread “alternative goes pop” trends, reverse them and you’ve got Ministry. You may not believe it listening to them now, but this industrial-metal band actually had their roots in ’80s synth-pop. Truthfully, we’re not sure which of the styles we like more. It’s all so good, albeit a bit whiplash-inducing if you listen to their discography on shuffle.
Bring Me The Horizon
You don’t often see metalcore outfits topping charts and garnering mainstream popularity. That’s exactly what Bring Me The Horizon did in light of their legendary pop-rock swing, though. Their 2019 album, amo, deviated significantly from all the works that had preceded it. Though a number of long-term fans were unsurprisingly critical of the genre change, the band found a solid middle ground with their next record, POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR.
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Machine Gun Kelly
You didn’t think we were going to create a list of multi-genre artists and leave MGK off it, did you? Opinions may vary significantly regarding Tickets To My Downfall, but there’s no denying that the rapper‘s divergence is the most iconic case of genre-bending in recent music history. We can only hope that other artists (Halsey) jump on the pop-punk train and catalyze a mainstream resurgence once and for all.
Who are your favorite genre-bending artists? Let us know in the comments below!