Top 5 Stride-Hitting Sophomore Albums
After a month of January debuts, it’s time to move on…to follow-up February!
A look at bands that suffered a sophomore slump, artists that took it to the next level, or others that maintained the consistent level of excellence set by their debut.
Another Top 5 was inevitable.
However, this list is not a ‘Best 5 Sophomore Albums.’ Instead, I’m looking at second albums that were a big step forward from each artist’s rookie release. The first albums weren’t necessarily awful; more so cases where the first album was one small step for a band, the second was one giant leap for bands of their kind!
5. Stone Temple Pilots – Purple (1994)
Core has some great moments but STP hit it out of the park with this one (shockingly, not included on the 1001 list). If there was any doubt of its credentials for this top 5 list, check out the outstanding lounge act secret track with the lyric “the second album, 12 Gracious Melodies.”
4. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)
Yes, Licensed to Ill (1986) is fun, not many fans would claim otherwise. Fewer still would argue it so much as holds a candle to its sequel.
3. The Tragically Hip – Up To Here (1989)
1989, good year for wine? It was a great year for second albums. 25 years later, Blow at High Dough, 38 Years Old, and cover band staple New Orleans is Sinking still bring the house down at live shows.
2. Sloan – Twice Removed (1994)
Was once acknowledged as the best Canadian album of all time. My only disagreement? The verb tense of that statement.
1. Radiohead – The Bends (1995)
I hated the song Creep when it first came out. Chords? Too simple. Lyrics? Too much self-loathing. I’ve of course since converted but I didn’t get around to the decent, if unspectacular, Pablo Honey (1993) until after its follow-up was released. There was no hating (or hatin’) here: I was (and quite frankly, still am) mesmerized by this album. #1 on this list, a mainstay on my top 10 overall.
I’m realizing I have a bit of a recency bias – what did I miss pre-’89? Or during/post-’89 for that matter?!