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  • Arts & Culture
  • Music
  • Issue 47


The ubiquity of second album syndrome.
Words by Alice Vincent. Photograph by Lauren Bamford.

When basking in the glory of a breathtaking debut, it can be difficult to imagine that it may ever be otherwise. But what comes up must come down. “Second album syndrome” is a whispered curse in the music industry, born of the theory that artists spend short lifetimes pouring their creative energies into a debut album, only to have to match that success with a second one bashed out in the midst of life-changing fame, touring and great expectation.

Famous examples of the sophomore slump include Room on Fire, the rather predictable follow-up to the Strokes’ genre-changing debut, Is This It?, the Stone Roses’ underwhelming Second Coming and the Who’s not-hasty-enough A Quick One. But the same rule applies even to Queen Bey. Beyoncé’s first solo album, Dangerously in Love, remains her best-selling. She followed in the footsteps of Whitney and Britney, whose debuts are still their most commercially successful.


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Seven

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