Sophomore Slump – Five Second Albums That Didn’t Stand Up To The First
The second album from an artist is often the one they count on to solidify them as a star. A lot of times the second album will be the biggest one of their career and make them a long-time country artist. On the other hand, sometimes the second album just doesn't have what it takes to top the first, and that's where we find these infamous sophomore slumps.
After blowing up on the scene with their debut CD, “Horse of A Different Color,” Big & Rich released “Comin' To Your City.” While the first CD was indeed “Different,” there was something about the fluidity of it's production that made it a gem for the duo. It produced their trademark single, “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” and more. “Comin' To Your City” was equally quirky to the first outing, but for this DJ, who was a fanatic of the first, I found myself just cringing at the second. It also showed on the charts with the highest a single got from “City” was number 18. Funny that it was the third album (one even worse than the first two) that spawned the duo's only number one, “Lost In This Moment.”
Deana Carter set the world on fire in 1995 with two words: “Strawberry Wine,” A song that was very different from what was on the radio then. The album that included that song was “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” With 3 number ones and two other hit singles, the album looked to be the start of a superstar run for Carter. Too bad that in 1998, “Everything's Gonna Be Alright” failed to reach the same heights. 4 singles you probably don't remember failed to crack the top 15 (“Absence of the Heart” – #16, “You Still Shake Me – #36, “Angels Working Overtime” – #35, and “Ruby Brown” – No number low enough to find). Luckily Deana has been able to keep her career alive through songwriting, including her latest hit, “You and Tequila” for Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter.
I never understood why three sisters with beautiful three-part harmony needed a record that was vastly overproduced. Apparently country fans didn’t know why either. The Osborn sisters found out the hard way on their second time out. “The Whole Shebang,” their first album took them to the top 10 three times with “Little Goodbyes,” “I Will…But,” and “This Woman Needs,” but their second album didn’t even produce one top 20. SheDaisy even parodied the album’s critical flop on their next album with a song called “Don’t Worry About A Thing.” The song contained lines like “Ever knock on the sky and have it fall on your head” and “Ever find your last record in the bargain bin.”
The title of this album always made me laugh. How do you get much earlier than a girl who released her first single at the age of 13? It just goes to show you, no one was ready for the instant success of LeAnn’s “Blue” album. Because of that, we get “The Early Years,” which was filled with pop and bluegrass cover songs, many of which recorded when Rimes was 10 or 11 years old. That’s what we want to hear from a child star…not more maturity on the second album, but less. Showing that the sophomore album wasn’t just a rush to capitalize, the third album also included more covers and “Inspirational Songs” including the oh so inspirational “How Do I Live.” What!? Thus the slump carries on today for this 30 year old.
You can call the song “Redneck Woman” Gretchen Wilson’s “Achy Breaky Heart” in that it not only became her biggest hit and signature song, but it got so much attention, it defined her career. At least with Billy Ray Cyrus, he had some lasting success with his second album. Not really the case with Wilson, even though it looked as if “All Jacked Up,” the single would fly to the top. It debuted at 21 making it the highest debut ever by a female artist. Problem is it only went to number 8 and was done after only 8 weeks. The next 3 singles from the album didn’t even make it to the top 20. Wilson hasn’t had the same impact on the charts since.