You see it a lot — not every time, but quite frequently. A band releases their first album and it’s a huge hit, and subsequent releases can’t quite stand up to it.
In cases where this is true, I think there is one big reason for it.
For a band’s first album, they have songs that they’ve been working on for years, if not the better part of their life. They have a ton of material to work from, and have likely played each song thousands of times. It’s the best of their life’s work, with amazing levels of practice put into each song.
If the album does well, they need to get to work coming up with new stuff. Some can do it well, but it’s tough to duplicate that depth of effort in just a year or two.
Writing can be the same way
I have a friend that is planning to launch a blog later this year. She’s currently working on some early posts for it, and they look great! When it launches, she’ll have some great content that she’s been working on for months (and likely thinking of for years). But then what?
Keeping up the effort and quality is something that gets more difficult as time goes on. Fortunately, your skills improve over time (whether it’s playing a guitar or writing a post), so it’s always interesting to me to see how things shake out when the next piece needs to be written.