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2nd Album vs. 1st

Billy K.

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A review, where a critic said the second album of a current artist was not nearly as good as the first, prompted me to bring this up....In general, the follow-up to the debut album doesn't usually come close to the first.......and even more rare that it surpasses it. 

There was a discussion about why the second album either pales against the first, or is downright awful........pressure to get "new product" out? Too busy touring to record? Management issues?

Steve Miller- "Children of the Future" not all that great of a debut, relatively speaking......"Sailor" was definitely an improvement. The chart positions show it, too. (1st album was #124, while the second was #24)
Eagles- "Eagles" vs. "Desperado"---- pretty darn close. Both solid.
Whitney Houston- Pretty much the same deal as the Eagles....both 1st and 2nd albums great.
Creedence- Second album "Bayou Country" better than the first "CCR"
Doobie Bros.- Second album "Toulouse Street" much stronger than the self-titled 1st album, similar to Creedence

Led Zeppelin-  a great debut, but #2 stronger than #1

Debbie Gibson- "Electric Youth"(second album) slightly better than "Out of the Blue"

Sheryl Crow, Boston- in fact, excellent second efforts from both....but not even close to the groundbreaking first albums.
Tom Petty- "You're gonna Get it".....too short of an album, by 1970s(and current) standards....clocks in at 29:38

Olivia Newton-John- A bit murky catalog to evaluate, due to different albums initially released in Australia vs. USA/Canada.
Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd- "Paranoid" a strong second album, and all depends on who you talk to, of which of the two albums is better. Same on the Floyd side "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" vs. "Saucer Full of Secrets"

Pink- "Mizundaztood" beats "Can't Take Me Home" easily.

Just some examples for starters...and any other observations of "1st vs. 2nd" are certainly welcome.....but the lackluster 2nd album seems to happen more frequently, compared to a decent or good one.












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I always figured the 2nd álbum was normally less than the first because of this:  the artists had their whole life to save up songs they wrote that would be available for any first álbum,....the 2nd álbum on the contrary would be a function of what they could push out in only a year or so.


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  • 5 years later...

Five years later... agree with you, James. The first album absorbs everything a new artist has to say. The second one has a deadline. 

That said, it's a pretty widespread preference of Raspberries fans to rank Fresh ahead of the debut (despite the presence of "Go All the Way," "I Can Remember," and "Waiting"). What's more remarkable was the time lapse between the two releases was less than a year. 

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