Breakthrough Albums That Never Were

Interesting example. I was a big fan but fell away from them after the third album that was weirdly mixed. Perhaps a lot of people similarly just didn’t give it a chance. Maybe if it had been the follow up to One Time For All Time?

I don’t know. I never bothered with the 3rd album but maybe We Were arrived 3 years too late. If it had have dropped when the Nu Rave stuff was about, maybe people would have gone nuts for it.

I’m surprised to hear it described that way - I’d have thought 14 Songs, which was released at the height of the alt-rock boom in 1993, would have been the more likely breakthrough. Suicaine Gratification is quite a downbeat singer-songwriter album.

1 Like

Black Kids.

Wizard of Ahhhs EP created a huge amount of hype in the early Web 2.0 days (and rightly so, it had some fantastic moments.

By the time they got round to releasing their debut album proper, Pitchfork basically reviewed it with an image of a LOLcat.

5 Likes

PWR BTTM were poised to be the next big thing before the sexual assault allegations came out. The PR push was on to make them the new face of indie rock

1 Like

Cooper temple clause third album was definitely shooting for a more mainstream sound. It was pish.

Think it was more the second album that could’ve projected him to some Phoebe Bridgers style voice of a generation stardom. The second was decent, but the one this year was, as you say, shit.

1 Like

Think the CSH album was fine in the end but absolutely fits the brief of this thread. Lose the gas mask Will, FFS.

3 Likes

Will Toledo spending the 4 years after Teens of Denial re-recording a previous album of his and then doing something as wilfully grabbag as Car Seat (not to mention doing four versions of it or however many it was) doesn’t really scream someone who is fussed about breaking through to be honest.

Oh god half this thread is about CSH and I’m making it worse. I’d suggest the second Guillemots album, which seemed to be trying for a big bold commercial sound (especially with lead single Get Over It) and though it made the top 10 it kind of killed their career momentum

4 Likes

Second clap your hands say yeah album maybe. Or maybe the first one. I dunno.

1 Like

Yeah great example - you’re right it was totally on the boil.

Yeasayer’s 2nd album Odd Blood seemed to be proper poppy and aimed at them going onto bigger things.

TV On The Radio pick an album beloved by everyone and Bowie. Never reached the heights that the critical acclaim suggested. (when we’re back to gigs I want TV On The Radio back the sameday and the 1st song I hear to be Young Liars into Staring at the Sun)

Dear Science didn’t really hit the spot at all. I was up for a straight up pop album from them after Return To Cookie Mountain, but it was just a huge bag of nothing.

1 Like

That Idlewild album with American English and You Held The World In Your Arms on it… is it called The Remote Part? I mean clearly it was pretty successful, but it seemed to me like lot of people thought they were going to become REM off the back of it and that certainly didn’t happen

5 Likes

Remember The Electric Soft Parade, prior to their ‘breakthrough’ debut album being released, being heralded as the next big thing back in 2002 by members of the music press, the White brothers being lauded as prodigious musicians that were gonna take the indie scene by storm. Holes in the Wall, although nominated for a Mercury, subsequently sunk without trace and their career never really got going. Still making music to negligible success.

3 Likes

Pulled Apart by Horses third album. Singed with Sony seemed they were positioned to do a Biffy Clyro. Singles pushed big and all over radio 1 etc. Album came out ,didn’t do much , dropped by label.

3 Likes

Long time ago now but that third and final Strangelove album. They had obviously had some kind of discussion with the label and/or amongst themselves that they either had to actually make some money or knock it on the head. Pretty clear they had made sure it was only their most accessible stuff on the album, got lots of R1 airplay but this was 1997 and it was too late. Might have done it if they’d tried it even a year earlier I guess.

He signed a major new deal for it and was personally being looked after by the head of the label, who was a serious guy. It was definitely an attempt to see if he could operate as more of a singer songwriter than just a guy kind of writing songs for his old band. And after it, he was dropped. I guess the fact it didn’t scan as even an attempt at a breakout says everything about how much the plan worked!

Nice username - subject parity.

1 Like

Yeah, TV on The Radio felt poised to ‘do a National’ or something (before I even knew what The National were). Dear Science feels like a classic case of trying to go bigger but losing what was special. Felt like they never recovered.

2 Likes

Yep - another great example. They left Merge and signed to a major. Huge budget, crazy videos, absolutely everywhere, but I think people were more perplexed than anything. I’ve come to really appreciate OLTA - but they’d been making big statements about it being their Ok Computer and how after it they’d do their Kid A(!) Impossible to connect that kind of ambition with the Interpol of today…

Some of the sweep of the production is stunning, I still love the grandeur of things like Pioneer and Lighthouse but things like Scale, Mammoth and Who Do You Think feel like artfully maximised filler. Think they also made a mistake by kind of abandoning their cool dark aesthetic. If they’d leaned into their mystery a little more it might have kept things interesting, but to see Lions and Cheetahs all over their merch, you just thought: ‘Oh, there was nothing substantial behind all those dark suits and shades’.

2 Likes