Album Tropes

There are all kinds of well-established career tropes in pop history. There’s the visionary wunderkind debut, when an artist arrives fully-formed and with a whole new sound completely figured out. There’s the dreaded sophomore slump, when an already beloved and respected act fails to capture the same fire as their introduction. There’s the “difficult” and more experimental third album. There are wayward mid-career rock bottoms, and there are comeback albums; there are the albums where once restless musicians settle into some core sound that will carry them through the rest of their years, and there are late-career rekindlings of old brilliance. And then, for a certain echelon of iconic artists, there is a whole other beast: The Last Great Album. – [Ryan Leas @Stereogum 11-09-2020]