While listening to Twenty One Pilots today, a thought hit me that an artist’s debut album is sometimes their best album. At the time I wasn’t aware that Vessel was their third album but after reading the info on Wikipedia, it’s clear why this album is finding radio play. “They worked with Greg Wells, producer of Adele and Katy Perry, on their first full-length album on Fueled by Ramen, Vessel.” Working with the right people can bring about success that unfortunately buries my argument but I’ll continue. I particularly like Holding on to You because the line “Holding On To You” is screamed in a way that makes it sincere.
I deduced that a brand new artist has no pressure, all the time in the world to perfect their music, and the ability to have a fresh sound without any interference. My idea is that a talented artist or group comes up with music that the public starts to dig, they work hard to produce their first album, then after success of their first album, they get put on a deadline by management to produce a second album. Thus subsequent albums are usually not as good and the success of the debut album is never lived up to. I’m going to provide 5 examples of debut albums that were far and away the pinnacle of their music. Not of their career, the actual music.
Panic At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
Released in 2005, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out put Panic on the map. “The hit single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” received massive airplay, and Panic! at the Disco’s success came to a high-point when they won “Video of the Year” on the annual MTV Video Music Awards in 2006.” Camisado, Time to Dance, and Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off has got to be one of the best upbeat trio of songs in a row for this music genre. Their next CD’s produced hits such as Nine in the Afternoon, Ballad of Mona Lisa, and Ready to Go (used in a Coke commercial) but weren’t nearly as tight as their first CD.
Gaslight Anthem – The 59′ Sound
The 59 Sound was released in 2008 and rocks hard and croons soft and everywhere in between. “In December 2008, eMusic named The ’59 Sound the best album of 2008.” Each song deserves a listen which is something you don’t find much on full albums. I’ve probably listened to this album a hundred times through and it never gets old. Brian Fallon, who I’m sure no one knows about, is terrific and has a unique sound that people compare to Bruce but I don’t hear it. He’s his own Bruce. Great Expectations, 59 Sound, Old White Lincoln, The Patient Ferris Wheel, and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues are my favorite. Amazingly the follow up albums missed the mark. Hits such as American Slang, Boxer, 45, and Mulholland Drive were all good songs but I think their style got redundant. It’s not like they were bad, just no where as good as the 59 sound.
The Killers – Hot Fuss
Hot Fuss starts with 5 songs that STILL get radio airplay all the time, Jenny Was a Friend, Mr Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It, Somebody Told Me, and All These Things That I’ve Done. Most bands get lucky to have a song off an album that gets play 9 years later. Hot Fuss introduced the Killers like an 8 on the Richter scale. It is estimated to have sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, including more than 3 million in the United States and more than 2 million in the UK, where it has been certified six-times platinum. The rest of their albums haven’t ever come close to the success of Hot Fuss. Sam’s Town produced crap like When You Were Young, Read My Mind, and Bones. Sawdust had Shadowplay… I actually liked all of Day and Age but not many hits beside Human, Spaceman, and Dustland Fairytale. I even liked most of the new album Battleborn but it got completely overlooked. This is one of the main problems with hitting a home run with your first at bat, not living up to expectations.
Weezer – The Blue Album
All ten songs on the Blue Album should be listened to. You can never go wrong playing this album with a group of people unless they are completely lame. You know an album is good when the most popular song, Buddy Holly, is your least favorite. Surf Wax America, In the Garage, and Only in Dreams are my personal faves. To be perfectly honest, I never got into Weezer after this album. I heard their hits on the radio and never wanted to hear anything more. Island in the Sun was a good song… but everything else is worth only one listen to. Nothing Weezer has done after the Blue Album has been as good.
50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’
I used to listen to rap in my early college years and this CD was played everywhere. Eminem’s verse on Patiently Waiting is still one of the best around. In Da Club is another song that will never die. Less known songs that owned were Heat, Back Down, and If I Can’t. Wanksta was on here too… As of January 2011, it has sold eight million copies in the US, making it the fourth best-selling hip hop album in the US. 50 tried to ride the wave but it crashed early. Candy Shop, Ayo Technology, and Baby By Me were some of his hits after but it was clear that 50 let fame get to his head and lost his drive towards creating. I probably would do if I made a hundred million of dollars endorsing vitamin water.