General Question

Knotmyday's avatar

Why does the second album generally suck?

Asked by Knotmyday (7483points) July 16th, 2008

I know there are exceptions, but usually a band’s sophomore effort is disappointing. Por que, amigos(as)?

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10 Answers

jlm11f's avatar

same reason as why most movie sequels generally suck….:(

marinelife's avatar

Actually, I think there are a few factors:

1. The band has a large backlog of material built up allowing them to pick and choose the best for the first album.

2. The band is excited and really up for the first album.

3. Once the second album hits, the record company and other outside influences start to tinker with the pure band sound.

4. The band is now touring, dealing with fame, and lost of other distractions.

5. Related to 1. There may be pressure for a second album quickly and their time for creating new music is cut down by 4 above.

wildflower's avatar

A hit record is a hard act to follow. Do you ‘stick to the formula’ that brought you success or do you try to be original again and run the risk of a flop?
Throw in a good bit of pressure from the record company to equal the quality and success of the first record, and you’re just bound to end up with something that can’t quite measure up. Whether it’s because it’s not original, it’s a copy of the first or because the creative process was stifled by the stress of success.

flameboi's avatar

It’s hard to hit the same success, maybe they just try to reinvent the band too soon? Pressure plays a very important role either.

sndfreQ's avatar

Also want to add that, in most commercial debuts, the band’s “album” of tunes are selected by the music label; even though it’s their music, the record company has some pre-determined notions of how to market and place the band in order to maximize sales; often the tussle between the band “knowing their own sound” and the company arguing to “keep the sound of the first album” because it sells is a cause for the distress and often failure of a second (sophomore) release.

Ultimately it’s the issue of control and ego, compounded by market data and the “business” of the music business. Another interesting point is that often a “debut” album for a band is not their first album release; rather, that “hit” album is a process of selection that the record label’s Arts and Repertoire reps have most of the say and control over on an initial label debut. The bands relinquish much of their power in the first release with the intention (and sometimes the clause in their contracts) to have more choice over album tracks in the subsequent releases (called “options” in the bizz).

So in a multi-option recording contract, the first release is very much controlled by the A&R reps and label, and if it sells, the band gets some of their control back on the next option, and if that second album sells, the balance continues to tip, and so on…

It might explain why some artists have sounds that change over time; the “artist” in the artist (think Prince for example), has an ego and self-image of how they should be portrayed and marketed, and as times change, their perception changes, and the big gamble becomes whether or not their fans want to change with them.

loser's avatar

I think its a rule or something

sndfreQ's avatar

Edit: Art-ist and Repertoire rep.

yetanother's avatar

Usually a band is together for several years before they “break” and during those years they have had a chance to develop their material, perform it repeatedly, find out what crowds of people like and don’t like, perfect it, etc…

Then, in the record companies’ infinite wisdom, they send the band into the studio to crank out their second album within the next year to “strike while the iron is hot.” The new material is then usually written much more quickly and isn’t refined by the same process of playing it live.

SilentlyLogical's avatar

…because none of the bands had me as the songwriter

Spargett's avatar

It’s simple. You have your whole life to write your first album, and 6 months to write your second album.

Which has it’s fair share of b-sides and rushed songs.

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