Film Club - X-Posure Radio X Session Track Childcare
What do you do when your album reaches the hearts of millions and defines an era? You try and recreate the magic next time around, of course. What happens if you can't? It's time to examine those gloomy moments when the follow-ups fail.
Mr Nelson’s 1987 double-length magnum opus Sign “O” The Times sits at the very peak of the Purple One’s huge body of work, even eclipsing the mega-selling Purple Rain. So it was a big ask to try and top that… but Prince almost did. He embraced rap and hip hop and made a sleazy, grimy, aggressive and utterly compelling LP, The Black Album. But he had second thoughts and pulled the release, offering Lovesexy in its place. It’s not the worst Prince album in the world, but it’s no Black Album.
After the glittering pop of Up All Night (featuring the instant classic Golden Touch) and the self-titled 2006 follow-up which included In The Morning and America, Johnny Borrell's third outing didn't quite land as well as its brothers. Featuring some rather bitter lyrics in the shape of North London Trash and Tabloid Lover, it seems like Johnny's rock and roll dream had soured. Borrell has since gone solo, although Razorlight are still technically together.
Come on, now. Yes, it has Ten Storey Love Song and Love Spreads within its grooves, but was the five-year wait between the first and the second Roses albums really worth it? We say… it could have been a lot, lot better.
The Boston band's third full-length outing isn't a bad album in itself, it's just not as era-defining as the previous effort, Doolittle. First single Velouria didn't have the immediacy of Monkey Gone To Heaven or Debaser and there was an over-reliance on filler material, including one very old Black Francis song, Down To the Well.
1991's Achtung Baby still counts as one of the greatest reinventions of any rock band, making the Irish act seem vibrant and essential again. Recorded while the band embarked on the seemingly never-ending Zoo TV tour, Zooropa was put together from jams recorded at soundchecks - never a good idea. The resultant work was confusing and muddled, with the lead single Numb featuring The Edge on vocals. This time U2 had gone just a bit TOO far...
After the storming, hit-packed 1994 debut, this was a less-than-enthralling instalment in the Rivers Cuomo saga. The record was produced while Cuomo was studying at Havard University and concurrently having surgery on his leg, meaning the lyrical content was somewhat barbed and bitter. Coupled with the lack of producer Ric Ocasek this time around and you have a collection of rather mean-spirited songs that didn't sell too well.
Screamadelica is a classic album in every sense of the word. It defines a specific point in time, a band at a particular stage in their lives and the ultimate mash-up of genres: dance and rock. The follow-up was less innovative, being recorded in Memphis and recalling the early 1970s blues rock of The Rolling Stones. The lead track Rocks is an enjoyable Stones pastiche, but the whole thing is nowhere near as forward-looking as Screamadelica.
It took three years for the nu-rave trio to follow up their Mercury Prize winning album Myths Of The Near Future, by which time we'd all calmed down a bit and moved on. The record company forced the band to re-record some of the second album as they thought it was "too experimental" and the result was largely ignored. Great cover, though.
2003's Permission To Land was an enjoyable homage to classic 1980s poodle rock, but despite drafting in legendary Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker the follow-up was a huge critical flop, and only made a paltry No 11 in the UK charts. The band disintegrated and frontman Justin Hawkins ended up in rehab. Despite that, The Darkness reunited in 2011.