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 411mania » Music » Columns

411 Music Ten Deep 3.27.14: The Top 10 Sophomore Slumps
Posted by Sean Walker on 03.27.2014

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Ten Deep. I'm Sean Walker, your host of this moderately esteemed column. Last time, I counted down 10 great sophomore albums, and I some great responses from you guys. There were a couple of albums I missed, like Carol King's Tapestry and Tool's Ænima.
This week, I looking at those who weren't as successful the second go-round. Known as the sophomore slump, many have fell victim to this curse as they weren't able to live up to expectations and ultimately flopped. Without further ado, let's get this list started!

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Just Missing the 10:
15. Ciara - Ciara: The Evolution
14. MGMT- Congratulations
13. James Blunt - All the Lost Souls
12. Snoop Dogg/Lion/Zilla- Tha Doggfather
11. The Strokes - Room on Fire

The Top Ten Sophomore Slumps

10. Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape

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Debut Album : Love, Angel, Music, Baby

In between No Doubt's 11 year break, Gwen Stefani became a solo artist. She was a damn good one too. LAMB was influenced by pop music from each of the previous decades. But here, what the hell happened? First off, here lead single was a track that she freaking yodeled on to some half-ass hip hop beat. Everything about this album seemed half-assed compared to her debut album.

9. Leona Lewis - Echo
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Debut Album: Spirit

Leona Lewis had all of the ingredients to become the voice of this generation much like Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey of their respective generations. I have no idea what happened to make her second album, Echo a huge flop. I even remember it being properly marketed as if she was a major star. The album isn't even a bad one. It just sold poorly compared to her debut, which sold close to 8 million worldwide.

8. Daughtry - Leave This Town
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Debut Album: Daughtry

Before anyone says anything, Daughtry is not a terrible band. There is nothing wrong with a top 40 rock band, especially considering legendary bands such as The Beatles could easily fit that description (I'm not comparing the two. Chris Daughtry is a fantastic vocalist who really shined on Daughtry's first album. On the second however, nothing stood out on the album. It was just a boring paint-by-the-numbers LP. Being that there was no track that lit up the charts like "It's Not Over", Leave This Town quickly plummeted down the charts.

7. Duffy- Endlessly
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Debut Album: RockFerry

Duffy had the potential to be the next breakout UK star in America. Her single "Mercy" is a classic that has stood the test of time being that it's been six years since it's been released. Rockferry as a whole is a great album that could be compared to Amy Whinehouse's Back to Black, or Adele's 19. But, instead of building upon that exposure that she gained, she…disappeared? Her second album virtually had zero promotion. It took me a year to find out she made a new one. Now she's on an apparent hiatus which sucks, because she has the potential to be so much more.

6. Beyoncé - B'Day
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Debut Album: Dangerously In Love

If I could pinpoint the moment where I became sick of Beyoncé, the release of B'Day would be it. All my life I've had to listen to this woman sing about the exact shit on every one of her albums. With the exception of her latest album, every one of her songs has sounded the same. Even her newest one covers the same theme. None of her songs have aged well. B'Day sounds like a product of its time, which by the way was almost 10 years ago. She may have an impressive voice, but she needs better material for me to become a fan.

5. Vanilla Ice -Mind Blowin
 photo vanilla_ice_mind_blowin_1994_retail_cd-front_zps3607f82d.jpg

Debut Album: To the Extreme

Alright, raise your hand if you were a fan of Vanilla Ice in 1992. For those who raised them, shame on you. Now I won't rag on Vanilla Ice like millions of others have done so, but I do have one question Vanilla. Why won't you just accept the fact that you are a fad that died over 20 years ago?

4. Hootie and the Blowfish - Fairweather Johnson
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Debut Album: Cracked Rearview

No one knows why Hootie's sophomore album didn't yield as much success as their diamond certified Cracked Rearview. It wasn't a bad album at all in fact. It just sold a measly 2 million, which although impressive, is nothing compared to the 16 million their previous album sold. Out of everyone on this list, I think the sophomore slump impacted Hootie and the Blowfish the most as they weren't able to recover from it and eventually faded into irrelevancy by the turn of the millennium.

3. Mariah Carey - Emotions
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Debut Album: Vision of Love

I'll say this; the next three albums' ranking can be interchangeable in my opinion. Mariah Carey was one of the singers responsible for the death of the hard beats of New Jack in the early 90s. Her voice is legendary. However, her material was a bit vanilla. I believe it was her voice that allowed her to break onto the scene. Let's face it, she was singing exactly what many others were before her. It was very noticeable on Emotions, her second album. Her voice couldn't sale as many albums this time as the album stalled on the charts, and sold less than half of her debut album. Unlike others however, she tightened up her sound, and was able to have an iconic career. Having a record 18 number one songs, and selling 200 million records is nothing to laugh at.

2. Nas - It Was Written
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Debut Album: Illmatic

Nas has one of the most influential rap albums in illmatic. It was so great, that he may never be able to live up to the acclaim of that album. It was raw, gritty, and real. He decided to go in a more mainstream direction for his next album. With this decision, he developed the unfortunate stigma of selling out among his peers for extra record sales. It worked I guess as It Was Written remains his best-selling album to date.

1. U2 - October
 photo AllCDCovers_u2_october_2001_retail_cd-front_zpsc23e75ac.jpg

Debut Album: Boy
October is widely considered one of U2's worst albums (right next to Zooropa). It is one steamy pile of mediocre shit. What's worse is it hasn't gotten better with age at all. It's gotten stinkier (?). Again, they were able to recuperate their reputation and make considerably better albums, which isn't saying much. They pretty much had nowhere to go but up after that travesty.

My friend and I had this debate over whether the Black Keys are indie or not. I think that they are an indie group, while he considers them mainstream. What do you guys think? Until next time, stay classy internet!


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