Aug 022013

60 to SUCK?

60 to SUCK?

It’s cool to consider bands that went from “0 to 60,” such as one of my favorites, The Undertones, who stormed out of the gates with a masterpiece debut as greasy teenagers. I would argue they maintained their lead-footed approach and added some sophisticated off-road maneuvers as they slowed down only slightly to enjoy the sights over their next 2 albums before finally running out of gas on their final album with the original lineup, The Sin of Pride. Our old friend Berlyant might disagree, but that dog’s had its day.

This morning I was listening to an album by a newer band, Alabama Shakes. I really dig their 2012 debut, but every time I listen to it I get a nagging feeling that their next album is going to SUCK. Not only do I fear a sophomore slump, I fear they will forever travel down the road of suck, in short time collaborating with over-the-hill artists looking for a shot of new blood.

I’m now trying to think of bands that, for me, quickly went from 0 to 60, then just as quickly 60 to SUCK. As an example, although I was never sold on the genius of the debut album by The Strokes, it was pretty cool and catchy. By all accounts, real fans of the band’s debut were sorely disappointed by the follow-up album and it seems like it’s been all downhill since then.

Is there a band that fits this profile for you?


  16 Responses to “60 to Suck”

  1. 2000 Man

    I think that Alabama Shakes album is good, not great. They’ve been touring pretty non stop since it came out, playing bigger and bigger shows and they seem pretty level headed about the whole thing. I think their next album will be about the road (joining a long line of second albums about the road), but I also think it will be better than the first because I think they’ll be able to have some say in what the album is and sounds like, and I think they’re young enough that the playing will get noticeably better (not that it isn’t good now).

    There’s a lot of bands that go 60 to Suck in amazing speed. The Knack comes to mind right off the bat. That first album is pretty good, and it has a monster smash on it. Nothing else they ever did was even good, let alone pretty good. I think Tom Petty kind of drove a big rig to 60. It took him awhile to get to 60 (Damn the Torpedoes), but then the truck just ran out of gas and slowly coasted downhill ever since. I can’t think of any reason to buy a whole Tom Petty album after Damn the Torpedoes. There’s some songs that are good, but there’s way more that aren’t.

  2. ladymisskirroyale

    First 2 artists to come to mind:

    Belly. “Star” was such a great record but then “King” came along and didn’t do squat for me…or almost anyone else. Tanya and her crew disbanded after that album so they must have thought so too.

    Tricky. “Maxinquaye” is one of my desert island records but like The Undertones, he petered out with each album and until this year’s record, had been managing maybe one decent song per album. Luckily, his new record, “False Idols” is great and inspires repeated listenings just to get all his references to other songs (his or other artists’). I generally don’t like big festival shows but we’re thinking of going to this year’s Treasure Island Festival to see him perform again.

  3. misterioso

    Oasis. From What’s the Story Morning Glory to Be Here Now. Oh, what a falling off was there!

  4. “Definitely Maybe” to “Morning Glory” to “Be More Than Coked Up Now.” 60 to 85 to over the cliff


  5. machinery

    I wore a hole in the first Dream Syndicate Album. Nothing really that great after that.

    I love the first Generation X album. But that’s about it for them. Not that they tried to make a whole lot more though.

  6. cliff sovinsanity

    How about…

    Supergrass – The first 2 albums, released somewhat on top of each other, were the class of the “brit-pop” movement. The 3rd album totally tanked but by then the term “brit-pop” became an ugly word. Haven’t heard boo from them since.

    PiL – Except for a couple dancey tunes in the late 80’s the band never matched the Everest high points of of the first album (and all of it’s incarnations). Although it could be argued that the band got more popular as their albums sucked. Interesting phenomenon we should examine at in the future.

  7. Lone Justice. Such a great, pure, twangy/jangly debut album. Such a slow, self-absorbed mess of a follow up.

  8. It sounds as if you’re talking about PiL’s second album, not their first. The first is good but the Metal Box/Second Edition was the best. Losing Wobble and, after one more record, Keith Levene is a pretty clear cause of the decline

  9. cliff sovinsanity

    Yep, that’s what I meant. I often forget about First Issue and confuse Metal Box as the first album because of the Second Edition name even though it’s the same friggin album. Anyways, without Wobble and Levene to rein in Lydon the latter albums meander or just lack a decent groove.

  10. saturnismine

    I think the first Blitzen Trapper album is flawed in all the right ways, creative sounding, heartfelt, and stinking with good ideas and promises for the future that none of the rest of their albums keep.

    The second one, I can take.

    But from there, they slowly descend into generic late-period-Dylan-is-our-God territory that makes them as boring as, say, Dawes.

  11. saturnismine

    I’ll go you one better with Supergrass: their first single, Caught by the Fuzz, was such a perfect blend of punk, mod, and pop, that I thought I was talking to my own personal Godhead when I heard it. It was dirty and melodic in all the ways that goose me.

    But the first album cleaned up the sound and heightened the emphasis on keyboards, high pitched “oooh ahhh” backing vocals, to a point I didn’t like. I could have dealt with all of that if the rest of the songs weren’t so cheeky that they made me want to barf. But so cheeky they were.

  12. 2000 Man

    Oh, man…I love Blitzen Trapper. I like all of it, and they seem like swell guys, too. I just don’t care if they sound like something else, probably because the something else they try to sound like doesn’t interest me all that much, so maybe I like that they don’t do it well.

  13. BigSteve

    I’m totally with machinery on the first Dream Syndicate record. It’s perfect, and the second one was such a letdown.

  14. cliff sovinsanity

    I chalk up the keyboards and ooh ahh’s to youthful exuberance and a smidgen of naivete. I thought it was downhill once they started thinking too much. That always mucks things up for me.

  15. saturnismine

    That’s a fair response. Maybe if you had someone hammering you over the head with “Desire” while you were in your twenties, you’d feel the same way about them.

    But isn’t that first album (and parts of the second album) a total freaking GEM? I LOVE it.

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