Releasing two albums in one year isn’t really anything special. At one point, it was nearly expected of an artist to have a constant output. This was for commercial reasons, hoping that one could stay in the press enough to keep the kids buying singles until an album could be put together. Looking back to the 1960s when The Beatles, Dylan, and the Rolling Stones were routinely releasing multiple albums a year (in the latter case, they released eight albums between 1964 and 1967, averaging two per year).

Recently though, we’ve come to expect languished periods in which an artist or group creates their next masterpiece. Without that interim between the two albums, how could you know they really worked on it? In some instances, artists who come out with too many albums too quickly will get shit on by the critics (see Ryan Adams circa 2005 when he released three albums in one year). In other instances, like Bright Eyes dropping I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn on the same day, you’ll get the answer that one album suffered because the other was too good. In this case, Digital Ash did not receive marks nearly on the level of I’m Wide Awake.

Most recently, we have Beach House, who released their second album this year, the surprise Thank Your Lucky Stars. In promotional materials, it has been touted as something new, a “great departure” from the last album, Depression Cherry.  But listening to the album, you get the sense that this isn’t true at all. While Lucky Stars might not be an identical twin to Depression Cherry, it certainly is fraternal, that is, born of the same artistic streak that gave us their first 2015 album.

And I loved that first album. In my review for this site, I came upon two conclusions: “a). I should have devoted more time to [Beach House], and b). I was no closer to coming to grips with what to say about the album other than I really, really liked it. The latter puts me squarely with pretty much anyone who hears Depression Cherry.” It’s sure to be on the top 10 albums of the year list from most people in the industry based on reviews alone, and from the people who really matter because they keep selling out shows months in advance.

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Thank Your Lucky Stars


The motive to distance themselves seems purely motivated on appearances: “this is not like this, and therefore we are justified in releasing this second thing.” But do they really need to say that? Artistically, it’s well understood in retrospect, and justified by the need for more great music. Bob Dylan hit peak Dylan somewhere between 64 and 66 when he released Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde within eighteen months. All three albums transgress towards the same bastardized Country Blues that he had grown fond of after Folk was no longer serving his needs, and while they may sound slightly different in the ever after, but really, they are three of the same album breathed out in a fit of genius.

That story could be told of pretty much anyone who hit creative streaks at the top of their game. Great directors, great authors, great artists all go through periods in which their output increases because they feel particularly inspired by one thing or another. And this is justification enough.

Beach House seems to be at the peak of their game. Their music doesn’t really sound like much else, while building on a mountain of influences that feel all too familiar. It’s a perfect balancing act. Everything that was charming about Depression Cherry is the same for Lucky Stars, and none of the songs on either album seem like they were placed there just to round out two albums. But neither does this seem like they should have just put out one Double Album. I personally am still in awe at the quality of both of these albums, and this leaves me wanting only more new music from them. Hopefully, they find themselves in the same place for a little longer, and we can all, you know… thank our lucky stars.


Article: Christopher Gilson


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