Putting out a hit album is hard enough. Following it up with another is even more difficult. When the hits don't keep coming, some artists go away for a while, or they take a break for other reasons. When the itch returns, often years later, it's hard for artists to make a successful comeback album when they've been out of the spotlight.
Many times, the resulting albums fail spectacularly. Whether it's a new stylistic direction or simply subpar music met with little enthusiasm, there are plenty of unfortunate examples of artists who tried to create a memorable comeback album but couldn't make it happen.
Critics were not impressed with Queen's attempt at a comeback - with Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers filling in for the late, formidable Freddie Mercury - and the album generally missed the mark when it came to creative collaboration.
"As with a lot of The Cosmos Rocks, you listen to 'Warboys' boggling that Queen - famously intelligent men - didn't at any point notice that the lyrics were stupid, trite, a bit offensive, and bound to have an undermining effect on whatever musical efforts they put behind it," one particularly brutal review in The Guardian read.
Despite working well on stage, the combination of Rodgers and the remaining Queen members didn't translate into the studio.
Chinese Democracy is a highly divisive album that took more than a decade to complete. People thought it would be Axl Rose's majestic return to music, and they hyped the record for so long, expectations were through the roof. Instead, the album received a lukewarm response and, despite going platinum, vastly underperformed compared to what people expected.
Reviews were extremely mixed - even original member Tracii Guns dismissed it as "overindulgent, sterile, and not that exciting."
"I have listened to it a few times, and nothing really captures me," Guns said of the album.
Limp Bizkit was one of the biggest rap-rock bands of the late '90s, but the nu-metal trend they helped pioneer was dead by the early 2000s. That didn't stop frontman Fred Durst and company from attempting to push their way back onto the charts in 2011 with their first album in six years. Gold Cobra didn't make much of an impact on the public, however, and reviews were mixed-to-negative.
With lyrics like "Should I remind you motherf*ckers I don't give a f*ck?" Durst apparently didn't care what anyone thought of their comeback album from the get-go.
Seven years after Vanilla Ice's megahit album Cool as Ice, the rapper attempted a comeback intended to latch on to the nu-metal craze of the time. The resulting album, Hard to Swallow, was released in 1998 and featured a hard-rock version of his early '90s hit, "Ice Ice Baby." The record was poorly received, with reviewers not mincing words about just how bad it was.
"He's moved from drum machines to guitars, but Rob Van Winkle still can't rap. He lacks flow and his rhymes are just more empty threats and boasts," a reviewer for Entertainment Weekly wrote.
At the time, rap-rock/nu-metal producer Ross Robinson told The New York Times that others warned the record might hurt his career. "I said, 'Then I'm doing it.' It's the most punk-rock thing you could do,'" he explained.