We’ve all heard of the sophomore slump. You know, the dreaded second album that often shows diminishing returns or, in drastic cases, completely unravels an artist’s career. The good news for pop titans Katy Perry and Lady Gaga is that they have already successfully navigated that hurdle. As the dueling divas prepare to release their highly-anticipated third LPs (The Fame Monster registers as an EP), we’ve rummaged through the pop history books — ok, Googled wildly — to see what the gold standard for pop superstardom is.
Interestingly, the third album often represents a commercial and critical high-water mark for music’s elite. The shackles of expectation (from both label and fans) have largely been shed by that stage and many acts hit the ball out of the proverbial park. Shania Twain‘s third project sold 40 million copies, Beyonce‘s netted five Grammy awards and Madonna‘s produced five top 10 hits. How will Prism and ARTPOP compare to these success stories? Time will tell. In the meantime, see how the pop heavyweights that went before them measure up after the jump.
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