7 Artists We Never In A Million Years Expected To Go Pop

Remember when Avril Lavigne traded men's ties for blonde hair?

Taylor Swift shook up the music scene in October 2014 when she officially announced her departure from country in favor of splashy pop. (For an artist who proudly declared, “I sing country music” at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, this was radical.) Whether it was for artistic or commercial gain is still up for debate, but Taylor isn’t the only artist to ditch the jukebox for a dance floor. Let’s dive into it, shall we?

  • 1 Taylor Swift
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    Five years ago, Ms. Swift was strumming her guitar singing adolescent country fare like “Sparks Fly” and “Picture to Burn.” Now, she sells out soccer stadiums pushing punchy, glossy pop kitsch (i.e.: “Bad Blood,” “Blank Space,” and “22”). Both are perfectly enjoyable. The change, nonetheless, is jarring.

  • 2 Maroon 5
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    The alternative, soul-fused wails of Songs About Jane (2002) sound radically different compared to M5’s current Max Martin-concocted goods. (“One More Night,” anyone?)

  • 3 Avril Lavigne
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    Once dubbed the “Anti-Britney (Spears)” Avril’s early work (“Complicated,” “Sk8er Boi”) was aggressively un-pop. Things took a turn with 2007’s The Best Damn Thing. Armed with blonde hair and Dr. Luke, Avril embraced sweet-and-sour pop (“Girlfriend,” “Hot”) with open arms. Her love affair with catchy choruses only intensified with Goodbye Lullaby (2011), which included a handful of Mr. Martin-produced tunes.

  • 4 Gwen Stefani
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    Gwen delivered fuck-the-system ska-punk as No Doubt’s HBIC. But for her solo career—which kicked off in 2004 with Love. Angel. Music. Baby.—she went from grunge to glam. Zipping, sugary tunes like “What You Waiting For?” and “Rich Girl” cemented Gwen’s place as a pop tour-de-force. (Who doesn’t love “Hollaback Girl”’s stomping, chant-like chorus? Answer: no one.)

  • 5 P!nk
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    The R&B, pop-rock vibe of P!nk’s earlier work sounds nothing like her modern, cheekier top 40 treats. Can you even put “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” and “Don’t Let Me Get Me” in the same category?

  • 6 Jewel
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    In 1995, we knew Jewel as a folky, soft-spoken artist with guitar-heavy tracks like “Who Will Save Your Soul.” But she traded instruments for crop-tops and big beats with 2003’s “Intuition.” The change was almost comical. (Even still, “Intuition” is a timeless bop.)

  • 7 Katy Perry
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    Hear us out, y’all. Yes, you know Katy now as a hook-magnet pop queen, but she actually released a Christian rock album, Katy Hudson, in 2001. She underwent a major change—from Jesus crooning to singing about lesbian experiences—in 2008. Talk about night and day.