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Why first/second records are the best?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Plucky, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. Plucky


    Jun 18, 2002
    there are many points of view most of the people that like groups like incubus, jimmy eat world, limp bizkit, korn, and a large etcetera say that their first/second records are way better than the others, and that their styles have changed for the worse, or at least are different. ie. ppl say s.c.i.e.n.c.e. is better than make yourself, and so much better than morning view, or clarity is better than bleed american, etc. so what do you think is the reason of this change and which factors influence these bands?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I guess this is too complex and too different for each band/artist to give a simple answer.

    But these reasons seem to be common.

    • There's a saying: "you have 2 years to write your first album and two weeks to write your second one". This means that touring, promotion etc. take away to much time that it's harder to get enough good songs after your first album, especially if it is a success. When you start out as a band without deal, you have all the time in the world. Sometimes you can compensate this by material that didn't make it on the debut.
    • People change, bands change. Be it due to personal or business reasons. They might want to try out different things, etc. Those changes will make them loose some fans, win some others. Also, I guess you often loose the edge, hunger, naiveness etc. when you're in the business for a long time, it can become a routine.
      Fans will either like or cope with it or not.
    • It's cool for fans to say "I already knew/liked them when they started out and were still fresh, hard, innovative, etc." It makes them insiders.
      It's like all those "those were the days - blah blah" tirades.
  3. In at least some of the bands mentioned I think it's a matter of the band enjoying playing 'rock star' so much that they forgot what it's like to be a 'musician' and have, therefor, lost the focus needed to make good music.
  4. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Of all the factors suggested above, I think JMX's first one about "It takes two years to make the first album, but two weeks to make the second" is the most important factor.

    Most bands whose first album is a high impact album were able to develop the music without the harsh glow of public sentiment and record company second guessers. If their first effort is a hit, the band is under tremendous pressure to repeat that success and do it as quickly as possible.

    Very few bands are up to the task of churning out a second album or third album as good as the one that made them rich and famous because record company pressure is so daunting and other circumstances in their lives have changed too.

    I suspect it is true that most bands have only one "good album" in them. Only a handfull have survived beyond that attainment. Recently I went through my CD collection which was becoming a burden to store. I took lots of CDs to the used record store. It amazed me how many of those CDs were bands who were the "hottest new thing" five or ten years ago, but now they had all but disappeared.

    Furthermore, the record store owner wouldn't buy many of the Cds because he said the bands were too "obscure." Oh, how fleeting fame can be for most bands! Oh, I GAVE the CDs away to the GoodWill.
  5. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    That didnt happened to AC/DC because all of their 15? albums are the same: Rigth-in-your-face Rock and Roll
  6. I agree with this.

    it's been mentioned a lot about the mythical "window" in a band's career when they produce their best album, when they've developed sufficiently as musicians since their first album, and have their best ideas.
    subsequently they seem to run out of ideas, catchy hooks etc.

    also record company pressure can cripple a band, either by forcing them to produce similar material to that which made them successful, or by forcing them to change to fit in to what other new bands are currently doing:

    I've been considering the careers of 2 british (originally) alternative bands that achieved huge success in the US around the same time (1985/86) - The Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds.

    it's notable that both bands got their breakthrough singles ("pretty in pink" and "don't you forget about me") through working with Keith Forsey, who also produced Billy Idol - all three acts' singles were used on films from the brat-pack era.

    Simple Minds didn't even get a US release for their 1998 album Neapolis (which marked a departure from their 80's stadium rock sound) as the record company deemed it not commercial enough.
    subsequently they got dropped by EMI.

    The Psychedelic Furs similarly returned to their alternative roots after the very glossy albums Mirror moves and Midnight to midnight, and their sales diminished rapidly, and they split up.

    late 80's/early 90's UK hard rock band G.U.N. achieved probably their biggest success in 1994 with the Swagger (2nd) album. (remember the cover of cameo's "word up"?).
    however, hard rock was later seen as being very out of fashion, so they changed their style for the next album (probably due to record company pressure) and got INXS' Andrew Farriss in to produce for a more pop-rock sound.
    however the album fared badly, and they split soon after.
  7. It's true that some bands only have one good album (or one good song, in a lot of cases) in them, but there are a lot of bands who progress and evolve with every album. I think another reason you hear "I like their old stuff better" said a lot is because fans don't always like when their favorite band goes off in a new direction or changes their sound.

    I find myself saying that about bands like R.E.M. and U2. They started out with a raw, stripped-down sound, and then went off in a pop direction, and left me behind. Then there's a band like Guided By Voices, who I think just gets better with every record, and Bob Pollard does enough experimental side stuff to keep everything new and fresh. Finally, there's AC/DC, who's been recording the same record over and over for twenty-some odd years.
  8. blink 182 first rocked my socks. jimmy eat worlds "clarity" is one of my favorite cds. um...the hippos first cd rules, less than jakes pexcore i love it, uh...i dont know why...but i always seem to enjoy first and seconds better...oh also i like no doubts ND
  9. I think its a case of the first one or two albums are just 'making music', whatever it may be its more or less 'from the heart'(for lack of a better term) ...

    After that the band that made a good one or two albums are at the point of trying to live up to that particular brand of music they created 'from the heart'(for lack of a better term again) ... and that is near impossable!

    Just my o-pin-yin.
  10. Nails


    Jun 4, 2000
    Austin, Tejas
    I think that, aside from reasons listed above, it's also about when someone "discovers" a band. If person A finds band X at album 2 then it's likely that album 2 will be their favorite, since it's the one that got them listening to band X.

    Also, the older albums are "better" since you've had years to listen to it, and you have memories attached to songs (how about a random example? Hearing Lucky Denver Mint from Jimmy Eat World's Clarity may remind you of that great weekend you spent at the beach with all your friends during your senior year of high school, or Song Q got you through your breakup with Person R.)

    Of course we can't discredit the notion that in some cases the first album simply appeals to someone more than the third. That could be musically, lyrically, production wise, or "when the album was released in my life" wise.

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