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Artists Who Need to Go Away For Awhile

Updated on January 3, 2013

You're Absence is Requested...

I don't wish to upset any fans of the following artists, but I think there is an unnecessary trend prevalent among some people in music. The problem is that, they're too ubiquitous. They haven't slowed down from day one or day whatever that they decided to make music.

I'm not saying that their music is bad, but every creative person needs time to recharge, experiment, and do other things. While some people can do that in a shorter period of time, it doesn't always produce the best results.

The most successful artists, in my opinion, are creative in different ways and can develop and promote new ventures and ideas across genres and mediums. It doesn't mean you abandon your first love, but it just means that you take the time to give your fans the best music possible.

Ross Had a Point

A lot of people are familiar with Friends and the infamous "We Were On a Break" argument that Ross pioneered. He wasn't saying that he was right , but that Rachel had determined the parameters of their split before he acted and therefore, he reacted. Of course, Ross would live to regret those words, but really they were on a break.

What does this have to do with artists? A lot. If you want to break into film, start a clothing line, or what not what better way to do that than to take a break. It's easier to expand your horizons when not trying to pull double duty in music and movies. So I present a couple of examples of people who've employed the Ross argument to their careers.

Maxwell: What amazes me most about Maxwell is not his amazing music, his sweet lyrics, or his lovely voice, but how he manages to maintain a life outside of the spotlight and be successful. Maxwell burst onto the scene in the mid 1990s and led the neo-soul movement to prominence. After 2001's Now, he seemingly disappeared from music. He didn't act, make a fashion line, or anything- that we know of. He just took a break and then somehow reappeared in 2009 to release a critically and commercially successful album called BLACKsummers' night. He makes great music when he wants to and then does his thing, when he wants to. Who can't respect that?

Missy Elliott: Missy Elliott exploded in 1996 and seemed to keep going for a while. There was a time when she was on every R& B song with a guest rap, hip-hop remix, and hip-hop posse cut. However, after a health scare and the death of close friend and collaborator, Aaliyah, she slowed down. However, she continued on until 2005's The Cookbook, after which she didn't release a studio album. She continued to make guest appearances, but after a recent diagnosis of Grave's Disease, Missy dipped out of the public eye. However, in a recent episode of Behind the Music, she revealed she's working on a new album. As of early 2013, Missy Elliott has released 3 singles- all collaborations with close friend and fellow hip-hop producer extraordinaire, Timbaland.

Justin Timberlake: Justin Timberlake has been in front of a camera about as long as the internet has been around. Starting off as one of the many Mouseketeers in the Mickey Mouse Club reboot he quickly rose to fame as a member of *NSYNC and then went solo shortly after *NSYNC's brief run of the charts. He hasn't faded from the public eye, but continues to remain relevant by various SNL appearances, movies, a clothing line, restaurants, and attempting to revamp MySpace. Did I mention he also got married? Recently there have been a series of tweets and other rumors floating around that Mr. JT is back in the lab. He was spotted with Beyonce' and Jay-Z in a New York City studio in late 2012. So maybe it's almost time for him to bring something back to the music scene- how about Parcheesi?

Let the Rihanna Rain Let Up

Rihanna has just relesased her seventh album in just as mean years. That's right. She's not even twenty five yet and she's made twice as many albums as Maxwell and three times as many albums as Justin Timberlake and both of them have been around a lot longer.

My problem with Rihanna is not her work ethic, but the approach she takes to her music. She first came out as part of the new Reggaeton craze with her debut single "Pon De Replay" from her first album, Music of the Sun. The songs were catchy, but she didn't make much of a splash. About a year later, she went more in the direction of mainstream pop and released A Girl Like Me most notably featuring the Ne-Yo penned, "Unfaithful." Again, it did okay and maintained her public profile but it still wasn't a blockbuster.

"Umbrella," the lead single from her third album became her signature song from the career-transforming Good Girl Gone Bad. Since then, it's been all Rihanna all the time. The only year she didn't release an album of original material was 2008. She even released an album in 2009 after the infamous Chris Brown domestic abuse incident.

If you ask me, I think she piqued creatively with Good Girl Gone Bad. All of the singles seemed to really deal with her coming of age, the sound was tailored to her vocals, and she was sassy but not overtly sexual. With 2009's Rated R, the tone is darker and more jaded while at the same time not totally abandoning her pop stylings.

2010's Loud was fairly lighter, but didn't really sound interesting or dynamic enough to really do anything. The biggest thing from that album was the flack she suffered after the "S&M" video controversy. In 2011, she released Talk that Talk to great critical acclaim and controversy. She paired with her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown for a track named "Birthday Cake" and that was just the beginning of Chrianna part 2.

In late 2012, after months of rumors. Chris Brown and Rihanna paired up on her seventh album, Unapologetic for a duet called "Nobody's Business". Well, as nice as that thought sounds they made their antics everyone's business by flaunting their on-again relationship on Twitter.

Aside from setting a bad example about domestic abuse and co-dependent relationships, it's just plain irritating. Maybe the next course of action is for the public to stop buying her albums until she straightens up and flies right.

I think Rihanna just needs a change of scenery from the pop landscape. A little time away doesn't hurt anyone. Her songs now seem to just be whatever a producer can give her and not material that actually fits her mood. Another thing I think she's trying to do is ensure her place in pop culture.

She wants to make sure that she's officially distinguished herself as a pop star rather than actually trying to grow into a unique artist. That is reflected in her approach because now she's known more for revealing outfits and outrageous tattoos than actual musicality and growth. Besides, I'm tired of hearing eh, you know this, and yup after everything she sings. Anybody with me?

Biebs Be Gone

Now, I know I might run the risk of alienating the dedicated Beliebers out there but let me state my case.

I think Justin Bieber has done a decent job in recent years as the only young male pop star on the scene. He did manage to get the attention of both Usher and Justin Timberlake when he was trying to be signed. Usher ultimately signed and mentored the Biebs and helped guide him into the pop limelight.

However, he is close to being overexposed. It was fine in the beginning when he had that iconic haircut and the sweet YouTube videos, but now it seems like everywhere you turn he's in the headlines for one reason or another.

His debut album, My World made a decent dent in the charts with singles like One Less Lonely Girl and One Time. Justin Bieber made an impact by being in touch with his fans and close to his mom. He then pulled the ultimate marketing move in providing a second part to the album. He had the world at his feet with the smash single "Baby" and never looked back.

In early 2011 he released the concert biopic Never Say Never to massive ticket sales. The song he released in tandem with that film became a hit as well.

Everyone had Bieber fever, haircuts, and so much more. But he didn't stop there. He did the ultimate teen idol move and made a Christmas album, title Under the Mistletoe in 2011. He had a hit in Mistletoe and even made the bold move of remaking Mariah Carey's classic" All I Want for Christmas is You" as a duet with Mariah Carey!

But in 2012, he decided to transition into adulthood with his third album, Believe. The style of the album was a noted departure from his first album. He went in a more R&B direction. The album did well and garnered comparisons to near-mentor Justin Timberlake. But JT, he isn't.

Recent personal antics have distracted fans from Bieber's music. He and girlfriend Selena Gomez broke up in late 2012 only to get back together soon after and breakup again. Let's not also forget the onslaught of tattoos he's adorned himself with. Not that tats are bad, but he seems to only do so for the attention or bad boy persona. Other rumors have him being in love with Mary Jane.

Among other things his car was recently tied to a paparazzo death on New Year's Day. While, that wasn't his fault directly, this series of events is giving us a new kind of Bieber fever, the kind that feels like the flu.

Kanye, Please Go West

It seems like Kanye West has been around a lot longer than his antics, but in actuality it's only going on eight years. And while he does rap, produce, and make really bad Hitler analogies- it's enough to be said that we're in the mood for something a little different.

His debut, The College Dropout, was a commercial and critical success. At the time Kanye was considered a real unique talent that was in stark contrast to the bling-bling era that was still going on in hip-hop. His combination of soul samples and original beats helped put him on the map as a rising star.

That star was further cemented with Late Registration the following year which yielded super-hit, "Gold Digger." Kanye then established himself as a controversial outlaw by publicly creating the low-point of George W. Bush's presidency by calling him out on Katrina relief efforts.

His third album, 2007's Graduation was becoming more and more of a repeat of his previous efforts despite yielding huge hits like Stronger. The creativity was beginning to diminish and his antics were starting to get super-old.

There was a brief moment of public sympathy after his mom's untimely death at the hands of a plastic surgeon. This along with his broken engagement to fashion designer Alexis Jordan yielded the result that became 2008's 808s & Heartbreak.

It didn't end there. He would interrupt awards shows on several occasions to get his point across as to why he should have won the award. This began with him storming out of the AMAs in 2004 for not winning Best New Artist. He then continued this streak with his most famous outburst being the 2009 VMA Taylor Swift incident.

His last solo release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did well with hits like All of the Lights and Kanye slowed down enough to make a few collaborations.

In 2011, he and mentor Jay-Z finally teamed up on the album Watch the Throne. While it received raved reviews, we still were subjected to Kanye's general craziness and Twitter rants. In 2012, he fell madly in love with the one and only Kim Kardashian in addition to releasing the collaborative album of him and artists on his label, Cruel Summer. The album did fairly well but did not live up to expectations.

That didn't deter Kanye who's currently making a follow up to Cruel Summer, the creatively titled Cruel Winter. The album will feature the same roster including 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Big Sean, and now hip-hop icon and founder of landmark group A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip.

But if that wasn't enough Yeezy, he's about to multiply, literally. He and Kim Kardashian made a huge announcement on New Year's Eve 2013, they're now expecting a baby together. I don't know whether to be glad that he might not be making as much music or scared that he could be the craziest dad of all time. I guess we'll know in a few months.

Not Everyone Needs a Break..

Some artists are very successful releasing albums in rapid succession. They're creatively tuned in to consistently make great music, but eventually they need time to reinvent their sound, be influenced by the work of their peers, or just plain relax. The following artists just delayed their need for rest and prolonged their working periods into long chunks of time.

Stevie Wonder: In the 1970s, Stevie Wonder was the man. But in the sixties, when he was still considered a child star novelty, he struggled at Motown. The problem was that Stevie was so constrained by the factory-like conditions and was desperate to break out. In the mid sixties he came into his own with hits like, "Uptight" and "My Cherie Amour" but that wasn't enough. It wasn't until the early 70s with albums like Innervisions and Talking Book that he really evolved into the musical force he's known as today.

Prince: The Purple One always seems to be at work. But not nearly as much now as he was between the late 70s and the mid 90s when he released more than a dozen albums. His unique combination of funk, rock, pop and soul made him stand out. Prince wrote, produced, and arranged most of his material, which created outstanding results such as "Purple Rain", 1999 and Lovesexy. He's slowed down but his impact remains.

The Beatles: Between being the biggest band in the world and giving pop culture an irreplaceable soundtrack, the Beatles were no slouches. They released over twelve albums and thirteen EPs in less than ten years, filled with endless gems such as "Let It Be", "She Loves You" and "Can't Buy Me Love". These songs live on through television, movies, and an incessant amount of covers but no group will ever be able to duplicate the creativity and authenticity of the Fab Four.

Of course in not taking a break, these artists did suffer a lot of personal heartache, emotional issues, and drug dependencies among other things but they counted the reward greater than the price. Even in the current climate of music, creativity and honesty should be valued more than sales and commercial appeal.


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    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Pamela,

      I think it depends on what type of artist you like but generally I think most people don't want to be surrounded by one artists non-stop. Thanks so much for coming by!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks teaches12345! I hope they understand it's not personal, it's just my ears :-).

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This is really a very interesting hub and I agree with most of your remarks. I don't know as much about some of the artists as you, but you made a lot of sense to me.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Agree some of these artists need to take a break. Good review if the work and reasons for retiring.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Kelley! I miss real music too :)...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with most of what you said here. I'd love to have some of the Real music back. Voted up and across! Take care, Kelley

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Jools! I definitely understand your perspective- people think about the money and accolades not the quality. But some artists are real geniuses like Stevie Wonder so you understand why he kept coming out consistently. But yeah I think everyone's sick of Rihanna and if they aren't they should be :)!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thanks Sunshine!

      I think good ol' Tay Tay could use a break if not for the fact she's dating 18 year old Kennedys. Her fans can wait- good music is worth a break.

      Tim McGraw to me is a consistent artist like Mary J. Blige- they know how to tailor whatever they're doing to their audience so you don't mind them going.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Alecia, interesting hub - I wonder just how much 'say' any of these artistes have over their publicity and career. I think there seems to be a whole 'screw it for all it's worth...and do it quick' about music now and it has gotten worse since X Factor and all of the other talent spotting shows. It's like they know the lights will go out at some point so they hog the TV screens, stadiums and video music channels as much as they can. Rihanna needs a break...I'm sick of her!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I could so picture Ross' goofy expression when he said "but, We were on a break!" Too funny!

      How about Taylor Swift taking a break? That girl is non-stop. She wouldn't want to take too long of a break since her fans might move on.

      Also, Tim McGraw oh my, he's like the energizer bunny...from movies to music to concerts to Las Vegas shows to colognes, need I go on? I envy his energy.

      Superb hub. I need a break too! :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for stopping by. I love Stevie Wonder. And I really hope he tours one more time before he retires but I think I missed my chance!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Agree with your Hub . Especially so Stevie Wonder I have been following him since 1970. Still an incredible performer.

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      You're right Tammy! I haven't really been into Maroon 5 since the days of "This Love." But I do like to see Adam on The Voice. Thanks for commenting!

    • tammyswallow profile image


      6 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree with these choices. I think Maroon 5 should take a break as well! Great job!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      7 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Yeah, I have to agree. They both have had their moments of putting out pretty interesting music, but I have to agree with you I do miss some people. I was watching Pop Up Video the other day and "Ex-Factor" came up, it made me so sad because she was awesome and so unique. And I totally agree with Outkast and the others as well. While I'm not too familiar with their catalog, they should really make more music. Thanks for commenting Weestro!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Lady Gaga and Kanye could just quit forever and I would have no problem with it. Why is it the good ones, Lauryn Hill(even though she's crazy), Outkast, Badu, and Mos Def leave you wanting more while the others just saturate the charts with awful music?

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      7 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      @ Neerizzle: Thanks again for commenting!

      @ Nu-flowerchild: I think you are right. What I should've said is that this album didn't appeal to me as much as the first album. But I totally agree that newer artists need to pace themselves and not keep working just to work. Thanks again for your insights!

    • nu-flowerchild profile image


      7 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana

      I have to disagree with Lady Gaga not being as innovative compared to her debut. I found Born This Way to be a very impressive album and don't think her innovation is drying up, but she is working herself too much. She along with a lot of artists need to sit back and enjoy their newfound successes or it will hit them in the long-run. Yes, your music is your work, but you don't have to constantly be in the public eye doing it and dropping projects.

    • Neerizzle profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I just had to come back to say that this was indeed a very awesome and interesting hub, voted up and everything else. Even funny because of the "Ross had a point" part LOL. You really have a thing with pop culture and I enjoy reading all of your hubs, keep at it. :)

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      7 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      Thank you vperry!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I completely agree as well! I think that's why some younger artists "lose it" after a while - it's a strain!

      Good write!

    • Alecia Murphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Alecia Murphy 

      7 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      @nu-flower child: I totally agree with you. The old school artists knew how to keep us enticed and intrigued but really gave us quality music that was different and unique. I agree with you about at least 3-4 years between projects because sometimes an artist needs to have a valid life experience to really go back in and write, but Rihanna's problem is she doesn't really write. Also, I was debating about including Lady Gaga and Beyonce but decided against it. Lady Gaga is not as innovative as she was when she first came out and I agree with you she's running herself ragged. Beyonce is going to have to break to have a baby and I once again I agree with you she really needs some quality music because it hasn't been there for a while. Thanks for your comments!

      @Neerizzle: Yeah, I think Rihanna deserves credit for Rated R because it was different and unique but the delivery was a little too soon especially considering what happened to her that year. I also think she's just trying to stay in the limelight because like nu-flowerchild says she could fade into obscurity rather than a legitimate artist.

    • Neerizzle profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I agree with the Rihanna part entirely! I had the exact same reaction when I found she was releasing a new single. I was like, ALREADY? I felt the same way when Loud came out. The thing with Rihanna's songs are they seem to be really catchy at first and then quickly fall off the charts and becoming forgettable. Her last song that I really liked was Rude Boy because it was actually different, and even though I didn't really like the Rated R album as much it was a new music style from her previous albums which was good to hear. She tried something new, which alot of artists don't do these days. Now however, the way you described it is perfect, she's just releasing whatever a producer can give her. I think maybe she should sit back and release a Greatest Hits album or something at the most.

    • nu-flowerchild profile image


      7 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana

      Your Hub is amazing. I feel EXACTLY the same way. I was saying the same thing about Rihanna a few days ago. She works too much. She's about to be on her sixth album in six years. Compare that to Britney Spears who released her seventh album this year and she's been around for 13 years. If you are producing that many albums so quick, it makes me question how creative you really are.

      For example, Sade. She and the group have been around for almost 30 years and they have only released SIX albums, and are recognized as music pioneers. If you release music, only time will tell if they have aged for good, and in this case, Sade is on a successful world tour performing all their hits... from only those six albums.

      I consider myself a Kanye West fan, but he likes attention. Even though he does amazing work, he really should reboot. The only time I can remember him taking a break was between Late Registration and Graduation.

      Beyonce and Lady Gaga top my list of artists who should take major breaks. I love Gaga, but I feel she's going to kill herself if she keeps on with a hectic schedule of singles, music videos, and tours. Beyonce, who I'm not so personally fond of, is losing her touch. The reason why her stuff sells is because of her name. 4 was really not a good album. Another artist, Trey Songz. He's going to kill himself if he keeps going as well.

      Artists like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Janet Jackson, etc... These people I've listed took time with their albums when they dominated the music scene. It would take 3 to 4 years to wait on a Janet or Michael album. Why so? Because artists put their heart into it and an album lasted them for years before they felt it was time to work on another one. Music legends today are sitting back and enjoying the success that they have had and a lot of them are going independent now, such as Madonna. They do things on their own terms because they want to, not for commercial success like a lot of today's fresh artists. They really need to learn a lot from the old school, or one day soon, they will have to hang it up.


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