Passion vs. Success through the lens of Maroon 5

I like old Maroon 5.

I don’t think I could write a more hipster sentence if I tried. It’s practically a cliché, now, to say that you only like “old” songs from a popular band…but it’s so often true!

Old Mumford and Sons, old Imagine Dragons, old Maroon 5, old old old.

It annoys me when people follow success over their passion, whether it’s musicians following fads to stay relevant or regular people following fads to seem cool and in the loop. However annoying it is, though, I understand where they’re coming from.

After all, convention often leads to success, right? Maroon 5 took off once they started making cookie cutter pop. I might like Songs About Jane, but if 99% of the world prefers V, they’ll keep making songs that match V.

I can’t help but wonder if Maroon 5 misses their old style. Do they feel passionless? Do they feel like their money is unearned?

Conversely, Mumford and Sons dropped the folksy music style because they felt like they were a rock band at heart. I didn’t like the switch, and reviews were pretty mixed, but hey, they’re following their passions. It’s not fair for me to be angry at Maroon 5 for following success over passion if I’m also angry at Mumford and Sons for following passion over success.

Which is the right path to follow? Passion or Success?

There’s no correct answer. The dream is to find a path that involves both, but often we find we must make sacrifices, one way or another. Either we keep our passions buried in our stomachs or we constantly battle failure.

Which fight are you prepared to take on?

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2 thoughts on “Passion vs. Success through the lens of Maroon 5

  1. When it comes to modern music, (after the Romantic Era of classical music, such as Rachmaninoff) for me it is usually the first few albums that are the best. After that, it is often like romance novels. Preformed designs where they simply have to change the location and names of the characters. Rather than artistic performers, they become preformers. They seek to find what the audience seems to want, based on programming through commercialization. They try to change with the trends rather than staying true to their art.

    Art should create the trends, not the corporations and the programming of their commercialization of everything. One goes from being an artist to being a product being sold. Common exploitation in our modern world. Those first few albums come at a time when the artists are free, struggling and their creations are real and from the heart. Once they make it, just like those seeking power, they become corrupt. Just like people who seek power, they become parasites. No ethical foundation. Only the hunger for more power, at any cost. Even at the cost of their integrity.

    Now we have American Idol, (in it’s final season) and The Voice, to catapult artists from their raw individuality, into the mainstream of conformity. They mold them into commercial products to be sold at will by the corporations. They are not “talent search” shows. Instead they are merely factories to create future products based on what the powers that be want them to be. They are held to contracts that take away their freedom of true expression. In return, they are given money. They exchange their artistic soul for something that has no value, except for that which the corporate society places upon the money.

    The Internet has allowed great freedom for many artists who don’t want to enter the mainstream. They may not get to live the life of luxury, but they do get to express themselves to the world. Which is the true meaning of art. The expression of the artistic soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s a challenge to listeners when an artist is seeming to “change” because they are being true to their artistic integrity. But if you are a discerning listener, you give them a chance. Maybe they sold out, but maybe they’re going to take you to a new place you’ve never been and you’re going to be so glad you went. I love to stick with a band because I’ve seen that they are following their art. It usually pays off.

    Liked by 1 person

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