Let's start with The Clash. You never know what to expect—and that's the point. Sometimes their songs are driving. Sometimes their songs have groove. Other times their songs cruise. What I learned from listening to The Clash is that a good artist knows when it's time to switch it up.
Nobody wants to read the same story twice, nobody wants to listen to the same song over and over, and nobody wants to see the same image in front of them every day. It's why we change our desktop backgrounds frequently and why we criticize movie directors for producing the same film twice. We are creatures who crave suspense and the unexpected.
The image above is the original photo taken for the London Calling album, which features songs like this:
Yet on Sound System they're churning out absolute chaos with songs like this:
There's nothing better when you put a record on, go see a film, read a novel, and think what are they going to do next? Good creatives understand this, and they are constantly challenging themselves to switch it up.
Sure, it's easier to stay comfortable when creating media than it is to change things up, but it's amazing what happens when you push yourself just that little bit more to try a different sentence structure, chord progression, font, word, or anything else that keeps people guessing. Because it's the people who figure out how to switch it up who are the innovators.
They are the gifted artists who have a distinct voice, but let that voice express itself in a variety of compelling ways. They're sort of like those crystals on your grandma's windowsill, in that they're shiny and clear all the way through, until light hits them, and then they start to show off a wide array of colours.