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Ryan Adams did something that few artist are able to pull off nowadays. He released three albums in one year. That was pretty common until the early 90s. After that there was a one year gap between albums when it came to new artists and now it's more like two and a half to three years until a sophmore album comes out. Why is that? Nobody gave Ryan Adams credit for doing what he did. They just dismissed him like he was being too ambitious.
Personally I think flooding the industry with material hurts an artist more than it helps them. With all of the new bands and trends and everything it's difficult to stay on top of things. It's like how Elvis Costello kinda screwed over his early career by releasing an album every year, changing styles every second release. One moment he was a buddy holly impersonator, next he was a racist new wave rocker, then he did a country album, then he produced punk bands, then he retired, then came back, then composed a symphony, then collabed with various underrated 60's music geniuses... It's just too hard to keep up, and people who miss a beat find it difficult to get back in. That's actually kind of why I haven't really gotten into Ryan Adams. He's put out so much that I don't know where to begin and I don't want to have to invest three times as much time just to figure out what the guy's about. I don't want to have to listen to music 20 hours a day just to keep up. Why doesn't the guy just pick his 15 most representative songs, cut the crap and give us something overwhelming rather than lukewarm? You gotta give fans a time to jump on the wagon, you know?
I'm not sure that it was common until the early 90's to release more than one album per year. I thought that kind of speed stopped after the 60's. And as for the 60's: most albums contained more covers than today, so weren't as exhausting on the songwriting well.
Another factor is the excessive touring many bands do nowadays. It used to be just the States OR Europe, now every band does both, plus Australia, Japan and sometimes Asia and South America.
But I also think 3 years is a lot of time between albums.
besides, 8 or 9 tracks was a full-size album back then, including covers.
Still, it is kinda lazy for bands like U2 or Coldplay to wait 4 or 5 years to put out another disc. But they're getting what they want so it's hard to criticize. Here in Canada we have a songwriter named Sam Roberts who had a hit debut album in 2002. The thing is he waited till this summer to release a follow-up. By that time his fans had all moved on and the lead single flopped. He had missed his chance by waiting too long, getting too lazy. I guess overall it's better to have artists like Ryan Adams than Sam Roberts.
I say 2 years and just keep releasing records every other year. Nine Inch Nails' could have been the biggest band on the planet had Trent not try to be so freakin' controversial. It got in his way of making music. It just seems like a major wait until a sophomore album from new bands. I would at least try to release EPs until the next album. You can't get too cocky or your career is going to plummet.
i'm not 100% sure about this. just a roumer i heard at TAFE the other day. apparently frank zappa was signed to a 7 album contract to some record company a while ago and he turned up the next day with 7 albums hahahahaha. since then i'm pretty sure there's been a minimum amount of time between the release of 2 albums. i don't know how accurate that info is... maybe someone here knows?