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Podcast / Sophomore Slumps

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Sophomore Slumps is a music podcast on the Zero Science Network. It is hosted by Mikaela Thorn, and frequently features Boston-based musicians, Zero Science members, or Mikaela's friends and partners from her Let's Play channel TheStrawhatNO! as guests.

The podcast is dedicated to discussing and re-evaluating notoriously disappointing second albums, which Mikaela and guests do by discussing the first album as a starting point, going through the sophomore album track-by-track, and examining what happened with the artist's career from there. They then decide if it's fair to call the album a "sophomore slump".

The podcast is a conceptual spinoff of fellow Zero Science podcast, Jukebox Zeroes, wherein they discuss the noted worst albums of all-time; Mikaela has appeared on JBZ twice, and both Patrick and Lilz have appeared individually on SS.

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    Episodes 
  1. The Stone Roses: Second Coming - with Christopher G. Brown (Zero Science) [Archive]
  2. Andrew W.K.: The Wolf - with Jacob Russell [Archive]
  3. Asia: Alpha - with Patrick S. Barry [Archive]
  4. Devo: Duty Now for the Future - with Adam Schneider (Big Time Kill) [Archive]
  5. The Darkness: One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back - with Phil Fleming (Boston musician and DJ) [Archive]
  6. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass - April Fool's 2021 with Radhames Contreras [Archive]
    Episode 6 Extra - Radhames Rambles
  7. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: Strangelands - with Lilz Martin [Archive]
  8. Pink Floyd: A Saucerful of Secrets - with returning guests Christopher and Patrick, and new guest Jim Schultz (Old Men Yell at Cloud) [Archive]

This podcast provides examples of:

  • April Fools' Day: The April Fool's 2021 episode diverts from music to video games, specifically The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, a disappointing sequel to the acclaimed and beloved Wind Waker.
  • Condemned by History: invoked
    • Discussed with The Wolf and the yet-to-be-covered You Could Have it So Much Better, which sold well and were positively reviewed at the time, but went on to seem like slumps due to the downturn in their respective artists' careers.
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    • Mikaela thought similarly of Phantom Hourglass, which was critically lauded at the time and one of the Nintendo DS's best sellers, but it has gone on to be seen as one of the weakest Zelda games.
  • Sophomore Slump:invoked
    • Invoked as the podcast's focus: re-evaluating albums that often get called this.
    • Mikaela jokes in the second episode about Andrew W.K.'s The Wolf, an album she admits is a tenuous example: "The show's called Sophomore Slumps; if I don't fuck up our second episode in some way, what even am I doing?"
  • Theme Song: An instrumental version of Mikaela's own song "Last Minute Thought of a Man on Fire".
  • Vindicated by History: Invoked by Mikaela and/or her guests with albums they decide are better than their reputation, or at least not weak enough to be a slump. So far one or more hosts have argued in favor of The Wolf, Duty Now for the Future, One Way Ticket to Hell...And Back, and A Saucerful of Secrets. Saucerful in particular is noted by the guest hosts as sounding more like the later 70s Pink Floyd that they're more connected to, and they enjoy the album more than The Piper at the Gates of Dawn as a result, which is the opposite impression that the album had at the time coming off the lauded Piper.

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