Something I was thinking about. The opposite of the Sophomore Slump. What artist or band released their best album as their second album? I came up with a short list but there are certainly many others. Some may not agree with the Elvis Costello choice, but to me, This Year’s Model is the one I still play the most.
Bands whose 2nd album was their best:
Duran Duran – Rio (For me, this is clearly their best)
Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (I’m wishy-washy on this; I played Ill Communication more often)
Tribe Called Quest – Low End theory (I love their first album, but this one is a hip-hop classic)
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Not so fair as they didn’t have a deep enough catalogue)
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (see above)
Elvis Costello – This Years Model (This one is tough, as I love Imperial Bedroom and Spike. But the energy and beginning to end brilliance on TYM is undeniable.)
R.E.M. – Reckoning (This was the album that made me fall in love with them. It’s the one I grab first nine times out of ten.)
Crowded House – Temple of Low Men (Again, their debut and Woodface are excellent, but not perfect from beginning to end.)
Cars – Candy O (There may have been more hits on the self-titled debut, but I still get chills from the 1-2 punch of “Shoo-Be-Doo“ and “Candy-O“ 25 years later. And the last two songs are “Got A Lot On My Head” and “Dangerous Type.” Nuff said. )
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (I am not sure I completely agree with myself on this, but thought I’d put it out there. I play St. Dominic’s Preview all the time, and Moondance is a big favorite, but Astral Weeks is just out of this world brilliant.)
Ozzy – Diary of a Madman (Ozzy! People might pick Blizzard of Ozz, because of “Crazy Train” and “Suicide Solution”, but “Over the Mountain” and “Flying High Again” though not as popular, are just as strong and give Diary the edge over Blizzard for me.)
Granddaddy – Sophtware Slump (Clearly not a sophomore slump and the album that made me think about the topic in this post. Their subsequent albums were good, though not genre defining like Sophtware.)
Who am I forgetting?