Features Music The Set List Top 5 Bands That Never Topped Their Debuts

The Set List

Music: Top 5 Bands That Never Topped Their Debuts

1

Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction

Admit it: you love this album just as much as everyone else. And with good reason; GNR's debut Appetite for Destruction is a pretty fucking awesome album. It's the classic 80s heavy metal album, filled from end-to-end with nothing but sweet riffs, amazing solos, and Axl Rose's distinctive vocals. So how did they follow up this explosive debut? Well, let's go over what they released afterwards:

  • G N' R Lies: A bland, confusing pseudo-studio album with nothing of interest.
  • Use Your Illusion: A mediocre double-album consisting almost entirely of fluff.
  • "The Spaghetti Incident?": Generally considered to be the worst cover album in existence.
  • Chinese Democracy: Has the major flaw of being Chinese Democracy.

Though arguably Use Your Illusion I had a few good songs on it, literally every album they released after their debut was a critical flop, and, as time went on, the more it became clear that the band was motivated by nothing but a deadly combination of sheer gall, unadulterated pretentiousness, and a dangerously one-dimensional knowledge of songwriting. It's hard to imagine, but a band that was really respected for their debut quickly became the butt-end a joke that didn't even need to be said; Guns N' Roses is a punchline in of itself now.

- Sarah

2

Boston - Boston

They may have been "just another band out of Boston", but there's no denying that Boston's eponymous debut made quite a splash. It was met with great critical reception, spawned three top 40 singles, and became the fastest selling debut album for an American group at the time. In fact, to this day, every single track on the album remains a staple of classic rock radio, and many of the pieces remain readily recognizable in popular culture. Heck, when Mike Huckabee tried to drum up support for his 2008 Presidential campaign, he whipped out his bass and started playing "More Than a Feeling", to name just one example. So how did Boston follow up such a stunning release? By doing the exact same thing over again. The band's next two albums, though still commercially successful, were merely pale imitations of their first album, and met with critical disdain as a result. Don't underestimate my meaning here; it wasn't just a band doing something similar. Boston went so far beyond déjà vu territory that it sounded like they were so distrustful of their own talent that, instead of writing new material, they blatantly ripped themselves off in hopes of cashing in on their own popularity. And that shouldn't even make sense.

- Sarah

3

Arcade Fire - Funeral

Who cares to object? There's no doubt Arcade Fire have developed into something that gradually produces something different and fresh. From a writing standpoint, They've progressively made new strides from album to album. However, they have yet to match the charm and appeal of Funeral. While "Wake Up" may not be the best song on the album (up for debate), it's undeniably a timeless song with a finesse that still lures in everyone and surrounds them in youthfulness. Neon Bible was a great album, however its dark tone was enough to have fans taken aback. The Suburbs seemed like it tried to bring back the same style as Funeral, but wasn't as carefree and lacked the grace of the bands' debut LP. It was a mature Arcade Fire writing a mature take on Funeral. Their latest release, Reflektor, is another great output but still doesn't compare to that first record. Who knows if they'll ever be able to top it? It was written at a time and in an atmosphere that most likely can't be found today.

- Aaron

4

The Cars - The Cars

You say Heartbreak City? I say Heartbreak Shitty. Candy-O? Candy-No. I kid. Sure, the rest of The Cars' career was nothing to shrug at, but when looked at, start-to-finish, The Cars' eponymously titled debut was not only their best album ever, it could very well be on the short list of the best debut albums ever. From the first strains of "Let The Good Times Roll" to the last notes of that saxophone on "All Mixed Up" - everything in between was platinum, baby. Beautifully crafted songs with ahead-of-it's-time production from Roy Thomas Baker. Even the way the songs segued was something to behold. For you new-schoolers looking for a history lesson on how to do everything right, look no further.

- Kevin

5

The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium

Fresh off the heels of At the Drive-In's break-up, fans were eager to see what Cedric and Omar were cooking up. They gave the audience a little taste of the level of experimentation they were looking to achieve with their Tremulant EP. Then, De-Loused in the Comatorium was released and everyone was floored. Not only was it a phenomenal debut album, but in some eyes, it was a worthy follow up to the late At the Drive-In's swan song. In part, that might be what makes it unmatched against the rest of the band's discography. It's the perfect cohesive blend of post-hardcore and prog-rock without being too esoteric. While they still manage to churn out quality albums, they've yet to recapture the charm of De-loused in the Comatorium.

- Kevin

Credits

Words by the SPB team on Nov. 25, 2014, 5:23 p.m.

Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment
Top 5 Bands That Never Topped Their Debuts

Posted on Nov. 25, 2014, 5:23 p.m.

Share this content
Advertisement
Dwarves - Take Back the Night

Series: The Set List

A collection of items grouped by topic, eg. "Top 5 Worst Beatles Songs" or "Top 10 best '77 punk releases".

More like this

Top 10 Songs From the New David Bowie Boxed Set “A New Career in a New Town”

Music Top 10 Songs From the New David Bowie Boxed Set “A New Career in a New Town”

Posted Dec. 12, 2017, 2:29 p.m.
The Set List

David Bowie, one could argue, is the most influential artist ever. I may get some shit for that comment, but he had done more to ...

Top 10 Acts Worth Mentioning at Riot Fest 2017

Music Top 10 Acts Worth Mentioning at Riot Fest 2017

Posted Oct. 4, 2017, 2:31 p.m.
The Set List

Sometimes you reach a point in your life when something inside of you just breaks and no matter what you do, you can't fix ...

Top Ten Acts We're Excited About at Riot Fest 2017

Music Top Ten Acts We're Excited About at Riot Fest 2017

Posted Sept. 14, 2017, 10:41 a.m.
The Set List

Multi-day music festival Riot Fest returns to Douglas Park in Chicago for its twelfth year, September 15-17th. The independent music festival specializes in punk, rock ...

Top Five Acts We're Excited About at Pitchfork 2017

Music Top Five Acts We're Excited About at Pitchfork 2017

Posted July 11, 2017, 2:23 p.m.
The Set List

Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park in Chicago for it's twelfth year (except 2005's "Intonation Music Festival" tag) July 14-16. As usual ...

Top 5 TV Themes

Music Top 5 TV Themes

Posted June 21, 2016, 3:29 p.m.
The Set List

TV theme songs are their own art form: they aren’t singles and they aren’t cinematic scores. Instead, they have to be memorable while ...

Top 5 Album Closers

Music Top 5 Album Closers

Posted March 1, 2015, 3:46 p.m.
The Set List

1 Devin Townsend – "Tall Latte" (Ziltoid, the Omniscient) Ziltoid is an impeccably funny album. Not only is the premise itself spectacularly silly (an alien destroys ...

Our Top 5 Favorite Album Openers

Music Our Top 5 Favorite Album Openers

Posted Aug. 12, 2014, 5:34 p.m.
The Set List

The challenge of listing the definitive "best" album openers is perhaps impossible. While we're dedicated at SPB to challenging the odds and defying convention ...

5 Acts Not To Miss At... Beacons Festival 2013

Music 5 Acts Not To Miss At... Beacons Festival 2013

Posted July 29, 2013, 5:03 p.m.
The Set List

Boasting a packed, diverse lineup of bands and musicians, Beacons Festival has something for everyone. These are the acts which have caught our eye and ...

Top 5 whoa-oh songs

Music Top 5 whoa-oh songs

Posted March 17, 2013, 1:48 p.m.
The Set List

Whoa-oh is both a pop-punk staple and a songwriting trick that finds its way across many genres. Is it a gimmick to create an easy ...

Swans: our favorite songs and records

Music Swans: our favorite songs and records

Posted Aug. 26, 2012, 11:12 p.m.
The Set List

SPB's top 5 favourite Swans records (in alphabetical order) 1 Filth The first Swans full length appeared in 1983 and signified a huge shift ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.