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One of the most enduring and stinging criticisms somebody can make of a rock artist is to complain that they’ve “gone pop”.

The term is usually delivered with barely concealed malice and the unspoken implication is that the artist has sold out. But whom did they sold out??? The rock fan of course, the ones who want… who NEED… more great rock songs to get them through each day. Chances are if you’ve spent much time here reading these reviews of rock songs long forgotten you probably know that feeling more than most.

Though an artist by definition should be allowed to pursue whatever strikes their fancy that’s rarely permissible in something as territorial as music fandom, where allegiance to those whose fires the artist first stoked is not only demanded but require constant reaffirmation with each new release. To a fervent audience it is acceptable for an artist to simply burn out or start releasing duds, but not to look elsewhere for commercial and critical fulfillment. That’s a sin from which there is no forgiveness.
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