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The ‘Difficult Second Album’

I am sure that there has been a lot written over the years about approaching that ‘difficult second album’ So here’s the thing: A band, or a solo artist in creating their first album probably has a lot of well rehearsed stuff they think is pretty good. It’s been in the pipeline for years (or in the case of my first album decades! ). But come time to start on album number two, the band or artist in question is faced with a blank sheet of paper, and some difficult questions they need to  ask themselves…

 

 

What worked on the first album? What didn’t work? Should the 2nd album be a continuation of the first, revisiting the same style again, or should it branch off in a completely new direction? These are just some of the questions that spring to mind, and can at best be an annoyance, or at worst leave you second guessing yourself at every turn.

As always, I try not to overthink this stuff. My mantra in this jolly old game we call music has always been this:

 Write the music that moves you… If it moves other people, that’s a bonus.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. First of all, having mined 30 years of songwriting for Fantasy Bridge, I hadn’t exactly exhausted that seam. There were songs that didn’t make the cut for that album, not because I didn’t think they were bad songs, but simply because I didn’t think they fitted with the Fantasy Bridge up-beat vibe. So, albeit in at least one case with so much re-writing it really is a new song, there are several new offerings from the archive. (Which by the way, still isn’t empty!)

Then I set about writing some altogether new songs. The first of which, Learning to Fly has actually had a couple of live outings already and seems to go down quite well.

Anyway, we are now at the point where I have one 20 minute prog monster, which is intended to be the foundation of the new album, and five shorter songs ranging between 8 minutes and 3 minutes that variously explore themes such as emergence of artificial intelligence in the internet, life after a post-nuclear holocaust, voices in your head and the end of time…

And a song that as yet doesn’t have any lyrics, or a theme to hang them on.

So far there isn’t a boy-meets-girl-who-fall-in-love-under-a-silvery-moon song… But that doesn’t mean there won’t be!

 

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