The double-album curse

Recording is taxing for a band.  A ton of time is spent taping, refining and re-hashing tracks.  You fall into the monotony of playing those 10-12 tracks over and over again, and during that time you’re either not working on new material and probably aren’t playing out much.

Your career is off to a good start, but now comes the follow-up album.  You want to get bigger and better, but now you have to write new material.  In an effort to create something monumental, a band may try to create the coveted double-album.  This may seem like a good idea, but you’re taking all of that taxation and knowingly doubling it.  What may seem like a quick payoff often results in destruction or permanent damage to the band.   I call this: The Curse of the Successful Double Album. Looking back through my music collection I have the following examples:

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Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

After the success they reached with The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall was a monumental 2 disc album that not only caught lightning in the bottle again after Dark Side, but it propelled their status as a legendary band.  However, the curse takes over.  After The Wall, Pink Floyd released The Final Cut, which was basically a Roger Waters album dedicated to his father.  Waters quit the band in 1985, saying that Pink Floyd was a “spent force”.

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)

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Billy Corgan & Co followed up the classic Siamese Dream with a double CD with one of the defining albums of my teenage years.  The album was so polished, so diverse, and so very defining of the Smashing Pumpkins.  There were a landmark 28 songs over the two discs that were written so well, but again this spelled destruction for the band.  In 1996, their touring keyboardist died of a heroin overdose which led to drummer Jimmy Chamberlin being kicked out of the band.  As if they didn’t have enough problems, the Pumpkins decided that they would stop making “conventional” Pumpkins music, with guitarist James Iha saying, “The future is in electronic music. It really seems boring just to play rock music.”  The Pumpkins never had the same lineup or success ever again.

Michael Jackson – HIStory (1995)

MichaelJackson This album is more coincidental than a curse, and I’ll admit that this may not actually fall within the realm for two reasons: 1) This wasn’t a 2-disc album of original songs, the first disc was a “Greatest Hits” compilation. 2) Jackson’s career was already on the decline due to his 1993 tour cancellation and the sexual abuse accusations.  Jackson followed this up with a huge multi-year tour.  Jackson didn’t release new material for another six years, and Invincible’s sales were notably lower than any of the other albums.

OutKast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)

Outkast This is another one of those gray areas, while OutKast did release this as a 2-disc, these essentially were two solo albums (although they did appear on each other’s songs).  This album was their most commercially successful album, and “Hey Ya” transcended hip-hop to commercial pop, with “The Way You Move” on it’s coattails.   The album won a Grammy for “Album of the Year” in 2004. The curse struck again and they followed it up in 2006 with IdleWild, a film-based concept album.  We’re still waiting for the real follow-up album, and Wikipedia says that they were anticipating a 2009 release. We’re half-way through the year, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium (2006)

RedHotChiliPeppers The Chili Peppers had been around for over 20 years when they released this double CD, which featured 28 tracks.  What I didn’t realize was that according to Wikipedia they actually recorded 38 tracks and were planning to release this on three albums (each six months apart). After touring for nearly 2 years, the band is now officially on a hiatus.  Lead singer Anthony Keidis cites burnout from the touring and says that the Chili Peppers will reunite later this year to begin studio work, but guitarist John Frusciante has no immediate plans to return right now.  Drummer Chad Smith is doing Chickenfoot, so I’m just hoping the curse doesn’t ring true for another one of my other bands.

Double Albums Not Mentioned:

  • Foo Fighters – In Your Honor: This may be very subjective, but this album just wasn’t that big to me when compared to the other double albums and their respective band.
  • Every Live Album: I only considered studio albums

Our Honeymoon: Day 11 – July 4th in Vegas

Our Independence Day could be described as very long, very tiring, but very fun!  The day was long and tiring because we started it the minute we touched down in Las Vegas, and didn’t stop until the wee hours of July 5th.  Christina & Tony, my sister and brother-in-law arrived in Vegas on Friday and spend the day enjoying the city of lights.  Driving our car, they picked us up at the airport, and took us back to our shared room at the Palazzo.  We wasted no time in getting started and headed straight to New York, New York to visit our usual breakfast spot: America.

After a hearty breakfast, we started walking the south end of the strip and ended up at one of the merchant plazas along the strip.  Christina and Tony had gotten 4-week tattoos the day before and it didn’t take much convincing for us to do the same.  Bethany had a design with an intricate cross, with a heart in the middle.

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I went with a more contemporary design on my arm:

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We walked back up the strip and stopped at the Coca-Cola store for one of Las Vegas’ best values.  If you go upstairs you can order a Float Sampler, which gives you 8 ice cream floats for $8.  The four of us could barely finish four of the floats, let alone 8 of them. This was a very refreshing treat for a very hot day.

We went back to the Palazzo to spend some time at the pool. Unfortunately pretty much every other guest at the Palazzo had the same thing in mind, as the pool was completely full.  We managed to finally snag some lawn chairs and enjoyed a nice cool swim.  The temperature was over 100 degrees, and we had a schedule to keep, so we headed back up to the room to get ready to head down to Fremont Street and dinner at Hugo’s Cellar.

Hugo’s Cellar is a five-star restaurant located in the basement at the Four Queens Hotel.  This is one our favorite Vegas traditions, one that we’ve been looking forward to for months.  We definitely weren’t disappointed.  One of our favorite things there is that they have a guy that comes around with a salad cart and prepares each salad right in front of you, asking each person what ingredients went on each salad  I asked them to be generous on the anchovies, and they gave Bethany a hard time about whether she knew I liked anchovies this much when she married me.  The staff at Hugo’s caught wind that we were on our honeymoon, and prepared Bethany and I a special surprise:

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We enjoyed the White Chocolate Moose cake and all of the other good food. 

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We gambled a little bit on Fremont, then headed back to the Palazzo to get in position to watch the fireworks over Caesar’s Palace.  We staked out a spot right in front of Harrah’s where we also got a view of the Mirage’s volcano going off:

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The fireworks kicked off a little after 9:00pm, and while they were not the caliber of fireworks we’ve enjoyed at Coors Field for the last 4 years, we definitely saw some great sights:

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After raving about the gondola ride at the Venetian, Christina and Tony were interested in taking the ride.  The four of us bought tickets and managed to get on the same gondola rower that Bethany and I had, Santo.  He treated us to more beautiful songs as we went under the “Tunnel of Love”.

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We headed back to our room to refuel on beverages, and caught another Mirage Volcano eruption from our 22nd story view of the Strip.  We ended the 4th by playing slot machines down in the Palazzo casino, turning in at 1am.  Before we pulled out of Vegas on Sunday, the four of us shared our last Vegas meal at the Monte Carlo’s brunch buffet.

Thus this brings the official end to our Honeymoon.  We are currently en route back to Colorado and both of us are scheduled to be back at work on Monday.  Our adventure in Las Vegas and Hawaii may be over, but we are excited to go home to continue our adventure in our new marriage.

Our Honeymoon: Day 10 – Last day in Hawaii

In all honesty, the last day of our trip to Hawaii didn’t offer very much to write home about.  We woke up and finished packing up our stuff.  Packing turned out to be a bit of an ordeal due to some missing items that turned up right in the end, but we checked out of the resort on time and made our way out of the South Shore.

We stopped for an early lunch at a restaurant at an old sugar plantation called Gaylords.  We took advantage of our last opportunities to have fresh fish and enjoyed the outdoor scenery.  Kauai is crawling with roosters, they’re actually considered a pretty big pest on the islands.  During lunch we watched the roosters roam around the courtyard, looking to be fed.  It was astonishing (in a bit of a sad way) just how little fear they have of people.

We debated going golfing for the afternoon, but Bethany also wanted to take me out for a birthday dinner.  The timing of driving up to the course and playing 9 holes would have left us pretty rushed to have dinner before our flight, so we decided to shop for the afternoon instead.  Unfortunately the dinner plans didn’t pan out as well as we had hoped.  Bethany wanted to treat me to a nice place, but all of the nice places didn’t open until 5:00pm.  We had to turn our car into the rental place by 5:30, so we decided to skip the formal dinner and eat at a beach-side bar called JJ’s.  We enjoyed mixed drinks and watched people enjoying the ocean.

After a quick trip to Wal Mart to pick up some cheap pillows for the flight home, we returned the rental car and got onto the plane with no problems.  Our first flight to Honolulu was short, leaving us with a 2 hour layover.  As sat in the terminal it seemed like over half our flight was made up with families with young kids – all of them being fussy.  At point two kids cried at opposite ends of the terminals in the exact same pitch, we swore it was stereo!  Luckily the kids fell asleep on the flight ,and we touched down in Las Vegas at about 6:30am.

We were very sad to have left Hawaii, but were ready to join Christina and Tony in Vegas.

Our Honeymoon: Day 9 – Sunrise, Sunset

We can’t help but think of the Fiddler on the Roof song: Sunrise, Sunset as we write about our last full day on the Honeymoon.  Determined to catch an island sunrise, Bethany got the two of us out of bed at 5:37am and we hiked our way down to the shore by the resort to catch the sunrise.

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Notice the bags under Jeromey’s eyes?

The sunrise arrived, on schedule, and while it wasn’t as spectacular as the Beach House sunset (on the first night we arrived), the view was worth the early morning rise:

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We were surprised at the number of people who actually were up that early, but that didn’t stop us from immediately going back to bed and sleeping in.  We woke up a few hours later, had a few bowls of cereal and made our way to the beach for what turned out to be the last time on the trip.  We swam in Ship-wreck Beach and ended up doing some boogie-boarding.  The waves were nasty, and we ended up getting our butts handed to us.  We had a ton of fun and got the week’s usage out of our boogie boards and were looking to give them away.  Bethany went up to the first person next to us to offer the boogie boards, and it turns out that she and her family are actually from Fort Collins as well.  We spent a little while talking about home, Hawaii, weddings and other various things, then wished them well with their new boogie boards.

One of the downsides of swimming in the ocean is all of the sand that your body accumulates.  After our sand-rinsing showers, the bathroom wasn’t a pretty sight!  We cleaned up as much as we could and freshened up for the dinner cruise.

We stopped for lunch at Brick Oven Pizza, the place that was closed on Monday, and had some amazing salads and shared a small “UltiMEAT” Pizza.  I was particularly excited because I got to order anchovies on my Caesar Salad.

Finally after lunch we boarded the Spirit of Kauai for the dinner cruise and set sail.

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I’m not sure if it was the Dramamine we took before the cruise, or the stomach full of Brick Oven Pizza, but as the ship slowed down my stomach started to speed up.  I didn’t get sick, but I definitely wasn’t feeling well for part of the cruise.  I managed to recover just in time for dinner, where we enjoyed a great chicken salad, steak strips, rice, bread, and vegetables.  Everything was excellent!

The cruise went up and down the Napali Coast, and showed beautiful scenery of waterfalls, island caves and of course beaches.  The scenery we saw has been shown in many different movies – namely the “opening island” sequence of Jurassic Park, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark

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Of course, this wouldn’t be a Sunset Dinner Cruise if we didn’t witness a sunset:

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We safely docked and made our way home, but not before stopping one last time at Lappert’s Ice Cream.

Next Up: Our last day in Hawaii