Lorde: The first single from a long awaited second album? Best of luck
OPINION: Nirvana did it, so did the Beatles, and Adele and even Justin Timberlake. So, it is possible. But jeez Lorde, tomorrow is going to be huge.
Not only are second albums notoriously tough nuts to crack, you're following a phenomenon, a collection of songs that swept the world and the award shows, and all but made albums cool again.
So sure, look to Nirvana et al for some reassurance. But at the same time here's a few other names to ponder: Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, Terence Trent D'Arby, the Killers. All acts that rocked out stardusted debuts, then, if the follow-ups didn't completely suck, they saw them relegated to the second division. Where they stayed.
If you flub your lines there is always a multitude of wannabes looking to claim your perch.
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And you're way too young for that fate. Cast your eyes to the bottom few lines, the ones in the teeny tiny print, of any major festival and you'll see some one-time, one-hit-wonders still banging out their mega-hit to a few mangy hippies in a muddy tent. That way lies a nasty cider habit.
OK, a bit dark. I just hope though that you're staying away from the Universal office because it isn't overstating the case to say that jobs and some of your friends' future albums could be on the line here.
Pure Heroine saw them mainlining cold hard cash in a way they almost never see any more. It didn't just sell to millennials, or oldies for that matter (hey Sol3 Mio), it sold to everyone. As I say, it was a phenomenon. Not quite a unicorn, but definitely a white rhino.
Let's look to science. A study (of sorts) applied Rolling Stone's 2013 list of the 100 best debut albums of all time to Album of the Year (a website that aggregates the opinions/ ratings of an abundance of music sites) to gauge the success or otherwise of the follow-ups.
Two-thirds were considered lesser works of which 27 were labelled stinkers. As they say, the build-up to your debut starts at birth while the sophomore effort emerges from the period when your head, liver and bank balance are still in the clouds from its success. It's hard.
On top of that comes the times we live in. In internet years, four is forever, bands have bloomed and busted in the time it's taken you to forge M*******A (whatever that means) and it's highly likely you dropped all your best moves, emptied the tank, pulled the stops etc and so on with the first one - why not when it could be your last?
To match that you have to have found another gear, new moves and somehow surprise. But you pay close attention, you know the musicscape constantly shifts. The thing is last time, when you began laying down those tracks, you anticipated where everything was heading…have you done it again?
I hope so and I guess Taylor Swift has provided good advice, but dear God, no songs about the ex, please.
Finally, if it helps, you'll at least know your fate by about morning tea time tomorrow.
From the first drop of the first beat social media will rage for an hour so, the haters will hate, the fans will gush, and you'll either emerge with your glimmer unglummed or, well, you'll have lots of free time to enjoy the rewards of Royals. Either way, all the best.