These divisions aren’t unique to the modern era, though. Fall Out Boy’s 2008 record Folie à Deux, which is celebrating its 12th anniversary this week, had fans torn on whether or not it satisfied their emo needs. Even before the widespread use of social media gave us an easy outlet to voice our hot takes, we were debating the quality of various releases especially when bands went more of an experimental route.
Here are 10 experimental scene albums where a change in sound has proven totally divisive.
Cute Is What We Aim For – Rotation
Cute Is What We Aim For broke out on the scene pretty rapidly with their debut album, The Same Old Blood Rush With A New Touch. Given the widespread popularity of “The Curse Of Curves” and “There’s A Class For This,” it was pretty surprising that their sophomore album didn’t quite hit the mark for some fans. Rotation had some seriously standout tracks—”Practice Makes Perfect” being a notable example—but critics would argue that it felt flat overall.
Boys Like Girls – Love Drunk
Boys Like Girls had a lot to live up to with their sophomore record. Given the breakout success of their debut self-titled album, it’s not terribly surprising that their progression didn’t sit well with some fans. By all standards, Love Drunk was a well-produced release boasting a lot of heart and even a cameo by Taylor Swift. However, their divergence toward more pop-heavy leanings was criticized for being too derivative.
AFI – Crash Love
AFI‘s Crash Love was a technical masterpiece that just didn’t scratch the same itch as its predecessors. Though beautifully composed, the band’s experimental approach took them far away from their foundation. This move wasn’t received well by a number of fans, many of whom were already dissatisfied with their movement away from post-hardcore with DECEMBERUNDERGROUND.
From First To Last – From First To Last
Real talk, From First To Last could’ve done a lot worse in light of losing Sonny Moore and being dropped from Capitol Records. Nevertheless, they persevered to release an album that’s powerful, thematically evocative and emblematic of late-2000s post-hardcore. While a number of fans actually preferred Matt Good on vocals, others were too upset by the departure of Mooreto appreciate the album.
Sum 41 – Underclass Hero
While Sum 41‘s Underclass Hero could be the poster child of 2000s pop punk, it didn’t exactly stand out from their discography or the larger scene. The lack of substantial experimentation earned it favorable reactions from fans who were enamored with their established sound. However, those who anticipated a more distinct progression were left disappointed.
Avril Lavigne – The Best Damn Thing
It’s hard to believe that an album that brought us the likes of “Girlfriend” and “When You’re Gone” could’ve been anything but a hit. Many of us look back on Avril Lavigne‘s third album with fondness for its catchy riffs and bubblegum air. However, for a number of fans, it’s far too poppy relative to her earlier releases.
Read more: QUIZ: Which 2009 album are you?
Panic! At The Disco – Pretty. Odd.
The division over Panic! At The Disco‘s sophomore album wasn’t exactly surprising. Fans of A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out wanted more of the same, and Pretty. Odd. was… not that. It’s hard to argue against the artistry behind the record, which did succeed in showcasing the range and talent of the band. Still, a number of listeners were less than impressed by the diversion toward an overwhelmingly folk vibe.
The Starting Line – Based On A True Story
There are two types of people in the pop-punk scene… Those who love “Bedroom Talk” and those who think its catchy, pop-heavy sound is a bad take on the genre. No surprise, that divide extends to their sophomore album, Based On A True Story, as well. It seems that any controversy generated here is more indicative of pop-punk preferences than the Starting Line‘s unquestionable talent, though.
The Academy Is… – Fast Times At Barrington High
Fast Times At Barrington High marked the Academy Is…‘ progression into a sunnier sound. While it aligned well with the foundation set by Almost Here, fans of Santi‘s grittier vibe weren’t stoked on the record. Nevertheless, it managed to pull some positive reactions from seasoned fans and new listeners alike with its catchy riffs and relatable lyrics. Regardless of how you feel about it, it’s really no surprise that “About A Girl” remains their most streamed track.
Fall Out Boy – Folie À Deux
Fall Out Boy have made a reputation for themselves as being divisive within the scene. That’s just what happens when a band work actively to experiment and progress their sound. Folie À Deux was their first album to receive significantly mixed reactions, though. While many fans appreciated it as a transcendence toward a more sophisticated air, others felt that it diverged too far from their foundation. Ready to feel old? As of this week, the debate’s been going on for 12 years.
What are your favorite albums that have proven divisive within the scene? Sound off in the comments!