Way back when the hippest of cool jumped the shark. Leather jacket, slick hair and harley aside, the Fonz literally took the epitome of untouchable and, well, literally jumped a shark to become fallible and beckon the beginning of Happy Day’s saddest days. The cliche became an internet meme in the modern era which then brought the now 100 person snob-fest of a board to the conversation at hand: What band do you enjoy that jumped the shark.
Personally, (and what became the board definition), I believe: A single good song doesn’t preclude a band from jumping the shark in my eyes, nor does saying that that’s the album the band jumped the shark on necessarily imply the album is bad in-and-of itself, just that it was the gateway to the hellish misery the band put us through as a result of its existence.
That being said, I put together what became my off-the-cuff remarks to the initial request for such, including these additional notes:
three ways to tell when a band is on the ramp? 1) the live album 2) the covers album 3) the premature best of that features non-best of bonus tracks … props if they can pull all three into one release.
need two other notes of note to note? 1) a substantial line up change and 2) a change of label, usually up to a major, thus increasing expectation … double props if they can pull of both in one release.
Anthrax with John Bush – a case of the worst timing for a vocalist-band pairing ever, because Sound of… actually was a good album, just not a good Thrax album (see Metallica’s Black…)
Bad Religion with Stranger Than Fiction, solid record but the jump to Atlantic jumped the shark, only partially decided to jump back returning to Epitaph and their original construct
the Black Eyed Peas bringing in Fergie, just when the kitch-hop couldn’t go any further, they did
Chicago with the Carnegie Hall album, though I’ll accepted an argument for Hot Streets in the wake of Kath’s death
Def Leppard with Hysteria, hello power ballad, goodbye drummer’s arm
Green Day with American Idiot as a musical – ugh with these modern musicals, go away with your recycled music already!
Incubus with Make Yourself art to pop in one bold and debilitating move
In Flames with Claymen – everything after please don’t try and sing, even the autotune can’t help you and drop the groove, it doesn’t behoove you
Iron Maiden with blaze … they more or less had jaws at the ramp, sank the ship, etc. really tho, there was nothing to call jumping
Jefferson Airplane becoming Starship jumped more than a shark, though at least they were sensible enough to change their names
KMFDMDFMK on the name reversal, though the Ministry-esque guitars previous should earn you… well…
Led Zeppelin with Physical Graffiti it was a surly over the top unnecessarily long double album that spawned the ability for them to put out Presence, In Through & Coda…
Machine Head with the Burning Red, please don’t rap, white boy, though they jumped back over by the time Empires came out
Madonna with the founding of Maverick records, music took a back seat, not that it was ever the driver but after that it was like Clark Grizwald’s dog heading to Wally World
Metallica probably began on Justice or rather the Black Album, jumped more than a shark by the time the second load came out and they kept finding bigger things to jump ever since, are up to the tower in dubai at this point
Nirvana with Nevermind – because the smell of teen spirit resulted in the smell of spent shotgun shells (still too soon??)((nah)).
Queensryche with Hear in the Now Frontier changing their sound so completely, even before degarmo bailing though I’d accept that as the next best explanation
the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Freaky Styley – white boys don’t funk even with P-Funk in the house
Santana starting from Caravanserai but the biggest catastrophe was really Supernatural and the onset of the rotating guest vocals
Savatage with Dead Winter Dead – I like the album but it set them down the road to be a wanna be Queen and made TSO possible, that’s a big shark to be jumping
Sepultura with Roots, personally I like the album and I like some of what came after but that record was like turning head on into traffic for their career
Slayer Diabolus in Musica – ugh, it went all kinds of awry, and for me didn’t come back till War Painted Blood
Springsteen with Tunnel of Love – talk about the train falling off the tracks, arguements always welcome for other points, including Darkness and Nebraska for other turning points
Van Halen with Hagar, they might’ve sold more records but it’s debatable if the extra syllables at the end of every vocal phrase were really necessary
Yes with 90125, they could’ve stayed broken up