Seems to me, when you put together a musical act, there has to be something of a concept... that unifies all your music together.
Maybe Kraftwerk is a prime example of this. Regardless of musical track, the concept is there:
* Let's do synthesis the likes of which no-one's heard before
* Let's condemn or mock the machine... while making the most machine-like music possible
* Maybe much of it should be danceable
* Let's have a distinctive, somewhat "cold" German sensibility
* Lets groom ourselves to look like kindly-but-insentient robots
Some concepts just arise from the nature of the people involved: Let's have The Andrews Sisters, three sisters who sing in perfect jazz harmonies, and who sing somewhat ribald songs, often with an eye towards military GI's.
Let's have Britney Spears, the image of a teenaged American high-school cheerleader... who sings sluttish songs often suggesting what used to be called miscegenation. And let's have Miley Cyrus who thumbs her nose at her Country-Western roots (White/Republican/Conservative/Christian/Right-Wing) to do much the same thing.
Let's have The Police, three white guys who, at height of the Brixton race riots, are hip to the inner-city black man's music, let's all bleach our hair blond; all songs should be a blend of both Punk and Reggae/Ska sensibilities.
Let's have Bob Dylan, a middle-class Jewish guy who poses as Manhattan homeless street trash, who appears to have beamed in from Woody Guthrie's poverty-stricken Depression Oklahoma or Appalachia, whose new original songs partake of Appalachian (or even 19thc Scots-Irish) forms.
You see where I'm going with this. The point is, the most important artists always figured out what their concept, their shtik, their gimmick was: looks-wise, culturally, tonally, musically, even production-wise. And groups who could not come up with a strong unifying concept were not good for longevity.... and would likely be one- or two-hit wonders.
What are your feelings about "concept", and/or musical acts with higher and lower degrees of embedded "concept" ? Why isn't it enough to simply throw together three twenty-something, smiling guitarists and hope for the best?
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