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Beating the Sophomore Jinx

Billy K.

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Since people have mentioned the best debut albums, this brings to mind the "Sophomore Jinx".

Quite often, people come out with a good(or excellent)debut, and end up being a one- or two- hit wonder.

Or just have a bad, or so-so second album, and ultimately do better at a later time(i.e. Police, Queen, Grateful Dead, etc.)

However, there are a number of artists that had a really good second effort...equaling or bettering the first one.....

Needless to say, the second album is a critical point in an artist's career.

These come to mind, as far as notable 2nd albums:

Led Zeppelin II

Eagles "Desparado"

Barry Manilow II

Cream "Disraeli Gears"

Foreigner "Double Vision"

Journey "Look into the Future"

Debbie Gibson "Electric Youth"

Boston "Don't Look Back"

Madonna "Like a Virgin"

Badfinger "No Dice"

Bad Company "Straight Shooter"

Beatles(US and British second albums)

Kelly Clarkson "Breakaway"(MUCH better than that hodgpodge first effort)

Lynyrd Skynyrd "Second Helping"

Doobie Bros. "Toulouse Street"

Eric Carmen "Boats Against the Current"

Raspberries "Fresh"

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Great subject Billy.

Warren Zevon - "Excitable Boy"

Nirvana - "Nevermind"

CSNY - "Deja Vu" (ok technically the 1st album since Neil Young was added to change it from CSN)

Bruce Springsteen - "The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle"

Jackson Browne - "For Everyman"

Bonus: Fleetwood Mac - "Rumours" was the second with the Buckingham/Nicks line-up, arguably an entirely different band then what came before

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While I poo-poo'd Rod Stewart in terms of 'Every Pic' being a bonafide "debut"...his 2nd solo album was still pretty darned good. The Beach Boys' second lp Sufin USA was a gigantic leap forward from Surfin Safari and, as such, was #1 all summer long and sold out for months on end.

The Vinyl Kings' glorious debut may actually have been eclipsed by their 2nd release.

Most acts from the 60s who enjoyed staying power generally did so because their subsequent releases showed growth and improvement. Chicago...the Moody Blues...CCR... Loads of late 60s into the 70s groups made giant strides with each new album for at least a period of time...[Also include 3 Dog Night in this 60s/70s section]

People like Christopher Cross and the Knack couldn't really recapture that initial magic. Toto too.

And ya know...just as we could all take any one specific lp and list our favourite songs...revealing almost as many unique lists as there were 'entries' or posts.........what works well for me [album wise] ain't gonna be the next person's cup O tea.

My favourite lp by any group or artist is likely gonna be different from the next fans too...unless they only released one [or 2] albums.

And then there's Milli Vanilli.

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CSNY - "Deja Vu" (ok technically the 1st album since Neil Young was added to change it from CSN)

Bruce Springsteen - "The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle"

Both quantum leaps forward. AND both my favourite lp by either act. And when I say favourite...I mean by LIGHT YEARS. NO sophomore jinx for either. cool

I'd include Elton John here too. His 2nd...Tumbleweed Connection...is so outstanding an album that it leaves everything else he ever recorded choking in its MIGHTY wake. A glorious achievement.

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Regarding Tommy Keene - "Places That Are Gone" was an EP, no? It has 6 songs, and I believe it was voted the #1 EP of the year in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll for '84. "Songs From The Film", his next real LP, was still an improvement over "Strange Alliance", though.

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Good point JohnO - Places does have 6 songs. But back then an album usually only had 10, so I consider that (almost) an album. Songs From the Film is a classic, IMO.

And Billy K...I really like Queen II, especially Freddie's side. Although they hit their stride on Sheer Heart Attack.

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In cases like "The Wild, The Innocent...", the artist's 2nd album was a major step forward because their 1st album was just not a consistent effort (i.e. "Greetings From Asbury Park"). It's the growth from the 2nd album to the 3rd album ("Born To Run", "Side 3" etc.) that's usually the sign of an artist that has something to say.


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Lee, "Every Picture....." wasn't the first or even the second Rod Stewart solo release. Keep in mind there was "The Rod Stewart Album" , as well as "Gasoline Alley".....and possibly another album before that one.

Early, maybe I should revisit Queen II...I only heard a couple of tracks, and wasn't impressed, but that was years ago. Also, the fact that on the "Greatest Hits" not a single track from QII appears, although they show the artwork of the album....not to mention having "Flash Gordon"on it.

Cosmik, yes, many people don't have a clue that "Nevermind" was the second Nirvana album("Bleach") is the first.

And others for the list:

Huey Lewis "Picture This"

Culture Club "Color by Numbers"(I think that's the title)

Rubinoos "Back to the Drawing Board"

Monkees "More of the Monkees"

Creedence "Bayou Country"

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