Friday, January 21, 2011

40 of the Best Second Albums - Part 1 of 2

After a glorious first album, pressure is always on for a band to top their debut with an even stronger second album.  Often bands fail and we have what is called in the music industry - The Sophomore Slump.  Someone once said that a band has their entire lifetime to write their first album, and only six months to write their second.  Let's have a look at some second albums that are among the best.  The following list is in a loose order, so when I look at this a week from now, most likely I'll want to shift things around.  :)
Please enjoy.

40.  Nico - The Marble Index
Release Date.  May 1969
Preceded by.  Chelsea Girl (1967)
Notes.  Nico and her harmonium with textures provided by former bandmate John Cale.  A major departure from the folkish stylings of her debut.
Key Tracks.  No One Is There, Frozen Warnings, Evening Of Light

39.  My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Release Date.  November 4, 1991
Preceded by.  Isn't Anything (1988)
Notes.  The group hasn't released an album since this sonic work of art.
Key Tracks.  Only Shallow, When You Sleep, Come In Alone

38.  Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Release Date.  February 4, 2009
Preceded by.  Alright, Still (2006)
Notes.  Such a damn fine album.
Key Tracks.  The Fear, Not Fair, 22

37.  Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Release Date.  October 5, 1993
Preceded by.  She Hangs Brightly (1990)
Notes. From the opening chords of Fade Into You, it's like being stuck in honey.
Key Tracks.  Fade Into You, Five String Serenade, Blue Light

36.  Bauhaus - Mask
Release Date.  October 1981
Preceded by.  In The Flat Field (1980)
Notes.  Dark and experimental.  A great second album.
Key Tracks.  Passion Of Lovers, Hollow Hills, Mask

35.  Love And Rockets - Express
Release Date.  September 15, 1986
Preceded by.  Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven (1985)
Notes.  Quite psychedelic in contrast to their days in Bauhaus.
Key Tracks.  It Could Be Sunshine, All In My Mind, Ball Of Confusion

34.  Gary Numan and Tubeway Army - Replicas
Release Date.  April 1979
Preceded by.  Tubeway Army (1978)
Notes.  Gary Numan's final album with his band Tubeway Army.  'Cars' came next.
Key Tracks.  Me I Disconnect From You, Are Friends Electric?, Down In The Park

33.  Sisters Of Mercy - Floodland
Release Date.  November 13, 1987
Preceded by.  First And Last And Always (1985)
Notes.  After losing the band that performed on the first album, Andrew Eldritch pulled through with a unique and strong collection of songs on Floodland.
Key Tracks.  Dominion, This Corrosion, 1959

32.  Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream
Release Date.  July 27, 1993
Preceded by.  Gish (1991)
Notes.  I remember buying Gish when it came out in 1991.  I still have the long box that CDs came in.  Siamese Dream was such a great followup record.
Key Tracks.  Cherub Rock, Disarm, Mayonaise, Today

31.  The Cure - Seventeen Seconds
Release Date.  April 18, 1980
Preceded by.  Three Imaginary Boys (1979)
Notes.  The difference between The Cure's first and second album are like night and day.  Seventeen Seconds set the mood for the next two albums.
Key Tracks.  Play For Today, A Forest, At Night

30.  Elliott Smith - Elliott Smith
Release Date.  July 21, 1995
Preceded by.  Roman Candle (1994)
Notes.  This is where Elliott's songwriting really started to take off.
Key Tracks.  Needle In The Hay, St. Ides Heaven, The Biggest Lie

29.  Metallica - Ride The Lightning
Release Date.  July 27, 1984
Preceded by.  Kill 'Em All (1983)
Notes.  Metallica really expanded their sound on Ride The Lightning, adding in the first 'ballad' of their long career - Fade To Black.
Key Tracks.  For Whom The Bell Tolls, Fade To Black, Fight Fire With Fire

28.  Neil Diamond - Just For You
Release Date.  September 16, 1967
Preceded by.  The Feel Of Neil Diamond (1966)
Notes.  Lots of Diamond's classic songs were on this album.
Key Tracks.  Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon, Shilo, Solitary Man

27.  The Velvet Underground - White Light / White Heat
Release Date.  January 30, 1968
Preceded by.  The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
Notes.  It doesn't top the first VU album, but it's still a stellar, chaotic group of songs.
Key Tracks.  White Light / White Heat, Lady Godiva's Operation, Here She Comes Now

26.  Peter Murphy - Love Hysteria
Release Date.  1988
Notes.  Much more focused than his debut album.
Key Tracks.  Dragnet Drag, Socrates The Python, Indigo Eyes

25.  The Jesus And Mary Chain - Darklands
Release Date.  August 1987
Preceded by.  Psychocandy (1985)
Notes.  In my opinion, the strongest album of their career.  Harnessing the chaos of Psychocandy into catchy riffs and hooks.
Key Tracks.  Darklands, Deep One Perfect Morning, On The Wall

24.  The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk
Release Date.  June 6, 1981
Preceded by.  The Psychedelic Furs (1980)
Notes.  The Furs are going to be playing this entire album on tour in 2011.
Key Tracks.  Pretty In Pink, Into You Like A Train, No Tears

23.  Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing
Release Date.  October 12, 1998
Preceded by.  Placebo (1996)
Notes.  Placebo polished the raw energy of their debut into a really great second album.
Key Tracks.  Pure Morning, Without You I'm Nothing, My Sweet Prince

22.  Sinead O'Connor - I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
Release Date.  March 1990
Preceded by.  The Lion And The Cobra (1987)
Notes.  This should be in your collection.
Key Tracks.  Nothing Compares 2 U, Black Boys On Mopeds, The Emperor's New Clothes

21.  Suede - Dog Man Star
Release Date.  October 10, 1994
Preceded by.  Suede (1993)
Notes.  The final album to feature guitarist Bernard Butler.
Key Tracks.  The Wild Ones, New Generation, The 2 Of Us

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1 comment:

  1. great list! so many spot-on choices, like mazzy star and the cure. damn, i was all about 17 seconds. and "fade into you," come on! but i gotta say, i think i liked "psychocandy" a bit more than "darklands." maybe i should revisit those albums, though. tough call on the love & rockets, i was really into pretty much everything they did back then. :D