The Sophomore Album Is an Endurance Sport
    • WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2012

    • Posted by: David Moffly

    We at Baeble love endurance sports. They test the heart, mind and soul. For a half marathon or a 100 mile bike ride the physical strength to finish is only the start. Do you have the mental attitude that will take you through all the discomfort and uncertainty to get to the finish line? We all love Usain Bolt he is the fastest man alive right now, but does he have the strength to build a career when his speed leaves him with age?

    We've been around long enough to see fresh young acts with interesting sounds come through our metaphorical doors -- many come and most go. The excitement and sometimes intense blog love of the first album sets up the sprint to the second album. We all get caught up in the moment of discovery then hunger for more. The pressure to re-create the magic of the first album must be immense for these bands. Second acts seem to always be the hardest, for the questions a potential failure can bring up: Was the first success a fluke - a function of timing and a few lucky commercial placements? Is the development of a band a sprint to the second album or a measured marathon to build a career?

    Let's take a look at the bands who ran out of gas too early:

    The Ting Tings

    Its like they won their first race and then started trash talking the judges right afterward. For the second race no one showed up because they were already tired of the hubris. We should get these guys together with the Chad Johnson for a trash talking contest - then send them all to the showers.

    Florence and the Machine

    Her first album and her energy knocked us all over. Her second album - well its bigger. Every song is heroic. Now every time we now see Florence she looks exhausted by the effort to achieve epicness every time she sings and the energy has waned. Maybe she needs to take a break from the gauzy Greek goddess dresses and wind machines. Get this girl some Gatorade and let her rest.

    The Temper Trap

    We did a session with these guys in 2009. Dougy Mandagis vocals knocked us over. There was a clarity to his voice that filled our small room where we filmed the group that at least spoke to my soul. We use better sound equipment now for those of you who have watched the session, and you can still feel the power. Temper Trap got a major push by becoming the voice of Generation Y in the 500 Days of Summer, then their second album came and disappointed us all. It felt like they lost their confidence and let their producers run the race for them. In the words of my daughter on the second album whiff we love them anyway. Come on guys, ditch the producers and get back in the race.



    And now, some bands that are still in the race. Here are music marathoners we love:

    Mumford and Sons

    They need to sign up with Nike since they're going to burn through sneakers running to keep up with the publics demand.

    Passion Pit

    Passion Pit kept some of the tics that gained them fans but actually surprised people by coming at them with meaningful lyrics and a more measured intensity.

    The Low Anthem

    Folk warriors who we think might need a shower.

    Fitz and the Tantrums

    Like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, bringing us the familiar in fresh and interesting ways.

    Yeasayer

    Like a fine wine -- they keep getting better and surprising us.

    Grizzly Bear

    From bedroom project to esoteric to pleasingly demented pop songs.



    Finally, some sprinters to watch:

    Ellie Goulding

    She may be a Diva but we're starting to wonder whether she ever sleeps with the torrent of work and social updates that come out of her camp.

    Frank Ocean

    How's this -- after releasing one of the best albums of 2012, Frank Ocean has consistently been dropping B-sides that are just as good.

    Gotye

    We're pretty sure he's already running out of steam. Like Marion Jones, we might have to test "Somebody That I Used To Know" for PEDs.

    Twin Shadow

    George Lewis Jr. found a sweet spot in between 80s New Wave and Glam-Rock. And after all, it only takes "Five Seconds" to get to your heart.

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