The Guardian asked which second albums are better than debuts?
Everyone knows about the sophomore slump, but some artists have managed against all the odds to produce a second album that improves on their debut. What are your suggestions?
The phrase “Sophomore album” needs to be terminated with extreme prejudice. It suggests either a frame of reference defined around American student-indie, or an ignorant writer who doesn’t know what it means. Kill it with fire!
But the whole thing strikes me as a silly question, which speaks volumes about the music press and the sorts of acts they favour. The vast majority of bands who go on to have lengthy careers make second albums that are better than the first. They usually go on to make third and fourth albums that a better still. Quite often the first album wasn’t a hit, and the breakthrough came later.
The idea that bands decline after their debut reflects the sorts of bands who get all the media hype; often one-trick-ponies with a single unique selling point, who lack the depth of talent to become more than a so-called “firework act”. One big flash and it’s over.
It would be far more interesting to have asked “Which second albums were the best in in the artist’s career?”
What albums would you suggest?