The Curse of November Albums
BY LIAM NELSON '24
Every day, 100,000 songs are released, and every month, artists consistently produce strong music. September had Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts, October had Drake’s For All The Dogs, but as November nears, there is virtually nothing worth talking about. The reason for this? Well, November is cursed. Each November, artists underperform and release music that falls flat and doesn’t resonate with their audiences. For example, when Pink Floyd and Wu-Tang Clan released music in November, their ratings ultimately plummeted, and the groups lost most of their fame and notoriety. Through intricate analysis, the question will be answered and the truth will be revealed: Is there a curse of November albums, or are there external factors responsible for these trends?
The curse dates far into the past. Perhaps the most striking evidence is Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut and The Wall: two albums released in November that resulted in the dismantling of the group. Before the release of the two albums, Pink Floyd maintained a streak of critically successful music. In 1973, they released The Dark Side of the Moon which was met with critical and popular acclaim, selling forty-five million copies and holding the longest active streak on the Billboard Top 200 at 981 weeks. However, after the monster success of The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall, released in November, was a popular success at the cost of losing keyboardist and founder Richard Wright due to tension with Roger Waters, one of the other founding members. Although this album is considered to be one of the best rock albums of all time by today’s standards, the band members ultimately split apart after this album and would have received more attention had they released it in a different month. Similarly, evidence of the November curse appears four years later when they released The Final Cut. Although the album reached number one in the UK, surpassing The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, it was less successful in America, peaking at number six on the Billboard album charts. The band kept aiming to match or surpass their previous success rates and ultimately prioritized fame over innovation and originality. Therefore, the month of November plagued the group, and they never recovered; the group dynamic was too tense, and the feedback from fans wasn’t everything they hoped for.
So is there a curse? Wu-Tang Clan, for example, experienced the November curse after releasing Wu-Tang Forever. The album received poor streaming rates and mediocre critical reception. However, there are a variety of external factors that determine the success of November albums. Foremost, artists find it difficult to release albums during the fall season due to scheduling tour dates. Albums released in the winter or spring allowed for spring and summer concerts to be in higher demand, so the sample size of November albums is smaller than those of other months.
Regardless of the month, music artists are sacrificing their sense of originality for what they believe will make them more famous. As artists prioritize trends over innovation, especially alongside the rise in social media apps like TikTok, a decrease in musical quality is inevitable. Quick doses of serotonin determine the popularity of intricate music; therefore, complex pieces of music fail to achieve popular success. Ultimately, sacrificing originality for fame, alongside the general lull for music releases in fall months due to tour date concerns, create the idea of a November curse.