It has long been a staple of musical journalism that the sophomore record is to be lambasted and referred to strictly as the “sophomore slump.” Like every generalization and stereotype, it is somewhat based in truth. Indeed, from personal experience, the sophomore effort is always the most awkwardly difficult.
Why? It is because there is so much pressure to perform, coupled with the dual necessities of not changing too much but also to not stay exactly the same. Change too much and you are destined to be criticized universally for abandoning your roots but change too little and you are criticized for not being inventive, creative, brave enough to do something new. There is no balance and thus as the sophomore record is made to be dismissed just by virtue of coming second, it will always be dismissed regardless of merit.
I’m in sophomore year and the changes from each year to year are evident. Just as you cannot step into the same river twice, you cannot make the same record twice. In a world that is always fluid, changing, how can we possibly remain the same?
An Awesome Wave was more intense, more in-your-face but This Is All Yours is interesting in a different way, slowly, gradually sucking you into it.
Good on its own merit, but we are forced to look forward, anticipating what’s to come.