Having an outstanding first album is one thing, but when a band has an album which changes music altogether, it can often present itself as a problem, because at some point they will have to follow up on it. I was just chatting about this with my dear friend, the brilliant music critic Warren van Dam, particularly speaking about those bands who just did it too well the first time around. An epic first album won’t kill the band’s career, but it will make it more difficult to reach those heights again, and here are a couple of bands who fell victim to that.
The Stone Roses debut album encapsulated a real scene that was taking place in Manchester at the time, a phenomenal album which was sonically incredible and which really captured the mood of a struggling city which wanted to show off who and what it was. Sadly the second album was heavily delayed and by the time it came out, in spite of some pretty good numbers, on the whole it could never match what had gone before.
Guns n Roses
Sticking with the roses theme it would be remiss of us to ignore the stomping rockers Guns n Roses who produced what is widely considered as one of the greatest debut albums of all time. Whilst the band did have their struggles internally and of course with the heavy use of drugs and alcohol, they did still manage to produce the Spaghetti incident and Use Your Illusion I and II, which were fine albums. Sadly however there was nothing they could ever create which we match the raw and throat grabbing energy of that first offering.
Another moment in Manchester happened in 1994 when Definitely Maybe came out, and signaled the early days of what would become the Britpop scene in the UK. This is a timeless album which would never be repeated and although their follow up What’s the Story Morning Glory was the album that took them to superstardom, musically it was Definitely Maybe which will always be remembered as their greatest.
There is no doubt that Pearl Jam have a fascinating and high quality body of work and albums like Vs, Gigaton and Vitalogy are truly spectacular. The thing is however none of those pieces of work were quite as high quality or quite as complete as the band’s debut ‘Ten’. This album changed the face of music, it introduced the phenomenal 4 piece to the world and as an album in its entirety, it would never be recreated by Eddie Vedder and his bandmates. They certainly got close, but they never were able to match Ten, and few bands would.
Honorable mentions go to Van Halen, Boston, Rage Against The Machine and The Ramones, who do you think we could have added into this list? Let us know those debut albums which killed it a little too much in the comments below.