Lead Single off an artist’s 4th album..

The Strokes just released the lead single off their upcoming album Angles, the fourth album from a band I’m not a big of fan of (I will fully explain why in a blog next month). Usually the third album is the make or break album for a band, and the fourth is one that solidifies their standing.  The Strokes third album was not as good as their second which was nowhere as good as their first, so in essence this album becomes both a comeback album as well as a make or break album to establish if they have any relevance 10 years down the road. Based on listening to the first single, “Under Cover of Darkness”, it seems like they will fade off into the sunset.

I’ve taken the lead single off of a  few major bands fourth albums as a comparison, and there’s only a few exceptions where a weak lead single off a fourth album hasn’t hurt the band, but please note in those cases, those bands had a monster third album, which the Strokes did not…

Here’s a list broken down by some categories I made up of some fourth album lead singles

Solid Lead Single to Follow a Breakthrough album:

U2 “Pride in the Name of Love”, obviously a success and really let you know that U2 was ready to explode coming off the War Album, and while the Unforgettable Fire (fourth album) was big, the next album, Joshua Tree put them in rock’s all time elite

Bruce Springsteen “Prove it All Night”, a concert and classic rock radio staple, Bruce coming off his huge Born to Run album and the lawsuit that prevented him from recording for three years, released what may be his best album, Darkness on the Edge of Town

Tom Petty “The Waiting” solid lead single off the Hard Promises album that followed his breakthrough Damn the Torpedoes

Green Day “Geek Stink Breath”, solid lead single from Insomniac to follow up the breakthrough Dookie album

Bon Jovi “Bad Medicine” despite the flack that Jon and the boys get, this was a solid single to follow up their huge Slippery When Wet album.

Solid Lead Single not following up breakthrough album

REM “Fall on Me” a great single off a great album, Life’s Rich Pageant ,a mini breakthrough, but REM’s 5th album, Document,  would be the one that really exploded in the mainstream

Soundgarden “Spoonman” this was the launch of their biggest album, Superunknown

Solid Lead Single after three monster albums:

Led Zeppelin “Black Dog” considering Zep I was top ten and Zep II and III were number one albums, Zep IV was even bigger and this single kicked it off
Sadly a disappointment after a monster album:

Clash “The Call Up,” only they could attempt to follow a double album with the triple album, Sandanista!,  not a great way to follow up the landmark London Calling, and this single didn’t help much.

Pearl Jam “Who You Are” definately a disappointment at the time it was released, coming off the monster Vitalogy, this single kinda made you scratch your head. And although the No Code album wasn’t widely recieved, as time goes on, it’s now regarded as one of their best albums.

And what if….

Nirvana…oops he blew his head off and there was no fourth album

So history is not looking too good for the Strokes with this new single, and considering we live in a world where short attention spans are the norm it’s highly likely that unless the rest of the album is something special, the Strokes will just fade away, and unfortunately if that happens they didn’t even give enough to burn out, which according to Neil Young (who by the way fourth album’s lead single was “Heart of Gold”)  is better than fading away..we’ll find out their fate in a few weeks when the album comes out…

Playlist 02/06/11 with link to download show

The show with Dr Demento was one for the ages, but if you were one of the 166 million people watching the super bowl, you didn’t hear it, thanks to Kenny in Tenafly, he recorded the entire show and uploaded it  here for all to listen, nice of him to do that…here’s the playlist…

Anything Anything DRAMARAMA
Football Season’s Over SHELLEY FABARES
Lonesome Kicker ADAM SANDLER
My baby’s the star of a driver’s ed movie BLOTTO
I want my baby back JIMMY CROSS
Psycho Chicken THE FOOLS
Shaving Cream BENNY BELL
Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow FRANK ZAPPA
Song of the Sewer ART CARNEY
Dead Puppies OGDEN EDSL
I Wanna be your Dog the 7 STOOGES
Smells like Karen Carpenter MONEYSHOT COSMONAUTS
Take Me out to the Ballgame BRUCE SPRINGSTONE
Masochism Tango TOM LEHRER
Smoke Smoke Smoke TEX WILLIAMS
Nitrous Oxide High TERRIBLE TIM
Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny LEMON DEMON
Another One Rides the Bus WEIRD AL YANKOVIC
Broadway New York UNKNOWN
They’re Coming to Take Me Away NAPOLEON XVI

1 comment
  • Jim

    I'm sure I can think of more examples but these are off the top of my head…Oasis, & The Black Crowes back in late 90's. "Do You Know what I Mean" & "Blackberry" were not well received singles after their "monster" albums. How about "Goats Head Soup" after "Exile" for the Stones, maybe not that good of a example because Exile wasn't really considered a landmark when it came out. I'm sure I can think of more but I'm kind of sleep deprived now. Another great read Rich, thanks!

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