Excellent Sophomore Albums

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Altitude, Jun 11, 2021.

  1. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    I'm in this thread about Rick Beato's Seal analysis and it got me thinking about really good second albums. What are some good ones and theories about why it happens?

    First albums are often better than the rest from a given band. That make sense because at that point the band has a large body of work and can pick the best of it for that first record. All the other albums are whatever they do next.

    But why sometimes is a band's second record the best one they ever do?

    One theory is that the band gets record label funding and gets a great producer thrown at it. If I recall right, Trevor Horn produced that absolutely fantastic second Seal record (though he might have done the first one too).

    Some examples of outstanding sophomore records that the bands never again equaled (setting aside I guess any pre-signing indie records the bands might have floating around):

    • Seal 2, the inspiration for the thread.
    • Train - "Drops of Jupiter". Man what a great record.
    • Smashing Pumpkins - "Siamese Dream." Not sure Corgan agrees, but this to me is by far their best work.

    What do you guys think?
    jamro217, Nobis17 and El_Charro like this.
  2. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern


    A vast improvement over this…
  3. bass12

    bass12 Grace under pressure Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    Seal’s first album was also produced by Horn but was influenced more by what was going on in the world of club music. The second album had what I would describe as a more “mature” sound to it and appealed (I’m guessing) to a slightly older - and wider - audience.

    I think Tears For Fears’ second album (Songs From The Big Chair) outdid their first album (The Hurting) and it remains my favourite of theirs (although I think The Seeds Of Love is a great album as well).

    Chic’s second album (C’est Chic) is my favourite of theirs and “Le Freak” was their biggest selling single.

    Scritti Politti’s second album was their most successful (change of line-up and a different direction from the debut. Also, major label backing).

    I can’t think of other artists whose second album was their strongest (or most popular) but I can think of lots whose third or later albums topped their first (Talk Talk, Human League, Level 42, Run DMC, Tower Of Power, Prince, etc.).
  4. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    I'll stir the pot with Elvis Costello's This Year's Model being better than My Aim Is True but not his zenith. :bag:
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
    GregC, design, Rev12_11 and 8 others like this.
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
  6. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    In the other thread someone mentioned Coldplay and I agree. Their first record was good, their second was stellar, and everything since has been just OK.
    Mvilmany likes this.
  7. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    While Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's debut album was very good, Tarkus went to another level on the progressive scale.
  8. tindrum

    tindrum Supporting Member

    May 2, 2007
    Suffolk, VA
  9. tindrum

    tindrum Supporting Member

    May 2, 2007
    Suffolk, VA
    Tears For Fears “ Songs From The Big Chair”. Absolutely stellar album!
    MovinTarget, JimK, bnt and 8 others like this.
  10. Led Zeppelin II

    IMHO the best of the best.
  11. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Siamese Dream was the first I thought of.

    Other examples off the top of my head:

    Coheed and Cambria - In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
    Circa Survive - On Letting Go
    Rammstein - Sehnsucht
  12. kmd88


    Jan 24, 2016
    Los Angeles, CA
    Nirvana's Nevermind was arguably the biggest rock album of the 90's. I prefer the rougher quality of Bleach myself but the songwriting chops on Nevermind are very impressive and sold millions of albums (not to mention got a whole lot of bands signed). The producer, Butch Vig, also handled Siamese Dream so I'm thinking he was big part of the magic.
  13. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    Not their best ever, but a damn good sophomore effort for sure by The Police…

    Reggatta de blanc

    ok, I’m biased because Message in a Bottle is one of my favorite ever songs :bassist:
  14. Sir Nose

    Sir Nose

    May 24, 2016
    Pixies-Doolittle.jpg Radioheadthebends.png
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  15. Trabeen

    Trabeen Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Aerosmith was still young and angry and strung out and Get Your Wings never fails to make me bounce around the room like I am sixteen again, a great second record.
  16. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    Second albums often sound better than the first. Particularly if the first has been a success, often an artist can obtain better recording facilities, better recording engineers, better production, plus they've had some more playing time under their belt. Sometimes the material is a bit skinnier, particularly if the first has been a raging success and the label is on their back to churn out more product in a hurry.

    But here is a great example of a fabulous second album:

    Whatever and Ever Amen - Wikipedia

  17. jbl71004

    jbl71004 Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2006
    Charleston, WV
    Agreed. And I think Armed Forces is his best.
  18. FooFighters-TheColourAndTheShape.jpg
  19. Dincrest

    Dincrest Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    "Demanufacture" by Fear Factory.

    Their first album "Soul of a New Machine" had brief glimpses of the band's potential, but it was a pretty generic sounding and forgettable album.

    "Demanufacture," on the other hand, is one of the finest metal albums I can think of and is a true modern classic.
  20. murmur70


    May 3, 2017
    Babel by Mumford and Sons is phenomenal.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 27, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.