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 Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 47 Alice Sheppard On dance as a channel to commune with the body—even when it hurts. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Dr. Woo Meet the tattoo artist who's inked LA. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Walt Odets The author and clinical psychologist on why self-acceptance is the key to a gay man's well-being. Arts & Culture Fashion Issue 47 A Picture of Health Xiaopeng Yuan photographs the world’s weirdest wellness cures. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Chani Nicholas and Sonya Passi Inside the astrology company on a mission to prove workplace well-being is more than a corporate tagline. Arts & Culture Issue 47 Julia Bainbridge On the life-enhancing potential of not drinking alcohol.