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Sophomore Slump? Best "Second Albums"


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Since the "First Four Albums" and "First Solo Album" threads started such interesting discussion, it’s time for more musical opinion. Let’s hear your thoughts regarding your choices for best "Second Albums."

Here is what Rolling Stone Mag chose as "The Best Second Albums of All-Time":

Nirvana - Nevermind

The Stooges - Fun House

Elvis Costello - This Year’s Model

Led Zeppelin - II

Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent, The E Street Shuffle

Radiohead - The Bends

Oasis - What’s the Story Morning Glory

Blondie - Parallel Lines

Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP

Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

My personal faves (shown below in alphabetical order) were probably more successful artistically than commercially:

1. Jackson Browne – For Everyman

2. Lindsey Buckingham – Go Insane

3. Eric Carmen – Boats Against The Current

4. Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model

5. Eagles – Desperado

6. Andrew Gold – What’s Wrong With This Picture?

7. Don Henley - Building the Perfect Beast

8. John Lennon – Imagine

9. Los Lobos – How Will the Wolf Survive?

10. Paul McCartney – Ram

11. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – You’re Gonna Get It

12. Raspberries – Fresh

13. Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, The Innocent, The E Street Shuffle

14. Dwight Twilley Band – Twilley Don’t Mind

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Can't argue with "Fun House" or "This Year's Model" or "Fresh".

Also, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" was a quantum leap over his debut LP, as was Neil Y's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (which could technically be considered NY & Crazy Horse's debut album, but everyone considered it Neil's sophomore effort at the time.) "The Ramones Leave Home" was also every bit as good as the first, if a bit slicker sounding.

While Oasis' "Morning Glory" is undoubtedly an excellent album, it was a step down from "Definitely Maybe".

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Well, since we aren't saying that they need to be better than the artist's first album...Some of my favorite sophomore releases are:

Not in any particular order.

Aerosmith "Get Your Wings"

The Cars "Candy O"

Van Halen "Van Halen II"

Queen "Queen II"

Ozzy Osbourne "Diary Of a Madman"

Black Sabbath "Paranoid"

Starz "Violation"

Angel "Helluva Band"

Boston "Don't Look Back"

Foreigner "Double Vision"

Heart "Little Queen"

Pat Benatar "Crimes Of Passion"


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Tim I'm glad that you added the "we aren't saying that they need to be better than the artist's first album" caveat. I have a few of the albums you listed, and in regard to Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Boston, and the Cars, I preferred their debuts to their 2nd releases.

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Not mentioned:

Donnie Iris - King Cool

Following have asterisks

*Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (2nd with Buckingham Nicks line up)

*CSNY - Deja Vu (if you consider CSN and CSNY essentially the same entity)

*Warren Zevon - Warren Zevon (if you count "Wanted Dead or Alive")

*Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy (if you don't)

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Guys - We can use whatever rule(s) we choose here! While we aren't saying that the 2nd album has to be better than the artist's debut, I really can't think of too many cases where a 2nd album is going to make my "Best of" list here if it was, IMO, a letdown from the first LP.

Hendrix's "Axis: Bold As Love" was, to me, a disappointment after "Are You Experienced?", even though it's still, IMO, better than 98% of anything done by anyone else....and no, I wouldn't put it on my "Best of 2nd LP" list as a result. Ditto "White Light/White Heat" by The Velvet Underground (although playing "Sister Ray" at high volume repeatedly will drive you and your neighbors to the point of insanity and/or violence!)

Other great 2nd LPs - "Disraeli Gears" by Cream, "Da Capo" by Love, The Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn", "Surrealistic Pillow" by Jefferson Airplane, "Flamingo" by The Flamin' Groovies, Bowie's "Space Oddity" (US only), The Who's "Happy Jack", Dave Edmunds' "Subtle As A Flying Mallet", Nick Lowe's "Labor Of Lust", Tommy Keene's "Songs From The Film", The Shoes' "Present Tense" (2nd album available to the general public), NRBQ's "Scraps" (counting their "Boppin' The Blues" as more of a Carl Perkins album), "The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads", "The Exciting Wilson Pickett", James Carr's "A Man Needs A Woman", "Buck OWens Sings Harlan Howard", etc., etc., etc.

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I certainly agree with 'The Wild the Innocent and The E Street Shuffle'. A HUGE jump from lp one. But for a quantum leap...from garage band to a sound for all time...How about The Beach Boys' progression from Surfin' Safari' to 'Surfin' USA'? As a result...the rest was "history".

Surfin' USA was the #1 album for a couple of months...back in an era when lps didn't really sell a lot. They helped forge a trend. And if Nat King Cole built the Capitol Tower...the Beach Boys certainly helped furnish it. The gold siding came courtesy of some group from Liverpool. [The Searchers? No. Gerry and the Pacemakers? No. Some other guys...a quartet I think...]

Elton John's 2nd lp was 'Tumbleweed Connection' wasn't it? A gigantic step forward...and still my favourite Reggie Dwight release.

Then there's 'Deja Vu'. Mind you C.S. & N. had to add Neil Young in order to make that happen. [cheaters]

Then there was 'More of the Monkees'. No wait....that one wasn't an improvement.

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I'm not a big Foreigner fan, but I am surprised that nobody mentioned "Double Vision". Some of the critics trashed "Candy-O" but I enjoyed it.

"Desolation Boulevard"(as good as it is) essentially is a chop/reconstruction of previous

British Sweet releases. (Again, brought to you by Capitol---the same folks that made "Meet the Beatles" in the same manner).

And I'm glad that the criteria of the second album being good(and not neccessarily eclipsing the first).....i.e. "Fresh" not as good as the first Razz album....but still great!!(Same for Van Halen II).

"A Saucer Full of Secrets"- Pink Floyd

"Electric Youth"- Debbie Gibson

"Close to You"- Carpenters

"Tower of Power"- Tower of Power

"Primitive Cool"- Mick Jagger

"Second Helping"- Lynyrd Skynyrd

"Back to the Drawing Board"- Rubinoos

"Toulouse Street"- Doobie Bros.

In the case of Billy Joel, "Cold Spring Harbor" was actually the first album on an indie label(eventually rereleased) and "Piano Man"(1st of the Columbias) was actually the second album.

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