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Sophomore Slump?

Posted by ConcertHotels on Thu, 29 January 2015

You find yourself in a garden in North London. There's a little sunshine peeking through the leaves of the trees. It's quite lovely. Or at least it would be, were it not for the two zombies moving slowing towards you and your buddy, ready to feast on your flesh.

Having thrown all you've got at the two - canned goods, a toaster, a mug tree and a couple of dinner plates (aiming for the head of course, you're no amateurs) - you find yourselves out of ammo.

But wait. All is not lost. Your vinyl just might save your life.

Hastily rifling through the collection you're faced with a dilemma - which of these records can you bring yourself to pitch at the walking dead? Sure it's a life or death situation, but that's an original pressing!

Some calls are pretty easy to make:

Your buddy: Erm... Purple Rain?
You: No.
Your buddy: Sign O' The Times?
You: Definitely not.
Your buddy: The Batman soundtrack?
You: Throw it.
Your buddy: Dire Straits?
You: Throw it.

Some are less so:

Your buddy: Er... Ooh, Stone Roses?
You: No.
Your buddy: Second Coming?
You: *I* like it.

We're referring of course to the 'breaking records' scene in Shaun of the Dead. It's a scene which pretty much sums up the debate on Stone Roses' second album - some think it's a decent record, but for others it's total garbage (and therefore using it as a projectile to take out the undead is entirely appropriate).

'You've a lifetime to make your first album, but only a year or two to make your second', (so the cliché goes). This is often touted as the excuse for that difficult second album or sophomore slump.

But is it really a thing? Does it necessarily follow that if your first album's well-received then your second album won't be? Is that second album necessarily difficult?

We decided to see if we could answer the question.

We started out by taking the artists whose albums were featured in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Best Debut Albums of all Time. We then compared the critics' scores of these artists' first and second albums, using data from Album of the Year. Check out the results for yourself:

And as usual, we'd love to know what you think?
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April 13, 2023

well, yes. I mean Led Zeppelin II, which really took quite a long time comparing to Led Zeppelin I



February 26, 2015

I had read a long time ago that Queen looked at this issue before their first album and made sure they had like 3 solid albums worth of material ready before releasing the first one. Anything they wrote after that while touring or in the studio would just be additional buffer. They also made sure all 4 band mates were writing songs so their were no battles over money and royalties.


Local Stain

February 21, 2015

FWIW- The Clash's second album is "Give 'Em Enough Rope" not "Hope"... Other than that it's a great piece.



March 18, 2015

Thanks for your positive feedback and for highlighting the issue with the album name - this has now been fixed. :)