When the critically acclaimed album is the one AFTER the actual masterpiece...

Most of the 90s and early-00s probably fall into this trap - Back when magazines and record labels still considered themselves ‘gatekeepers’. A band would release an album, blow up, then the reviewers wouldn’t want to be caught out next time round.

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Be Here Now *****

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Yup. And Elephant.

I know Teen Dream by Beach House got plenty of good reviews and was a bit of a breakthrough album for them but it seemed to be Bloom that then took them to the next level in terms of venues and acclaim (and it’s also slightly higher rated on Rateyourmusic) despite not being as good

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Yep. Dear Science was shite. Return to Cookie Mountain was 10/10

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Agreed

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Arcade Fire: Funeral - masterpiece
Arcade Fire: Neon Bible - meh

Even No Cars Go was just a rehash of a track from an earlier EP

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Aquemini > Stankonia
Rated R > Songs For The Deaf

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Oof, dunno about this one, adore both equally

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Very much love the debut too, and I like Dear Science, but it did turn out to be the beginning of a downwards slope

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The rambling ending of bonus tracks and not-quite-bonus tracks of the UK release never endeared me to it. But the coverage it got was huge compared to Rated R - Outside the ‘rock press’, Rated R was a bit of a slow burner.

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I love them both. M&A for night/winter , LCW for day/summer. I feel like they’re both pretty evenly praised anyway.

On a separate note, I don’t think Things we lost in the fire is any better than Secret Name

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This is the classic example that defines the phenomenon for me.

The National - Alligator is miles better than Boxer, but cos it was a bit of a sleeper hit/grower, everyone then went mad for Boxer immediately on release

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The 1975 debut. Packed with bangers and peppered with ambient nostalgia.

Everyone going wild for OK Computer when The Bends was right there

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Increasingly convinced by this thread that this isn’t really a thing.

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Actually Speakerboxx/The Love Below arguably got even more critical acclaim (it won Album of the Year at the Grammys for instance) and I think you could argue that all of their previous albums are better.

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His n Hers and Different Class?

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His n’ Hers was brilliant. Worked really well as an album and had the correct track listing.

Different Class was a good collection of singles. They got that Glastonbury spot and then became a stadium band.

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