Most of us have a few records/tapes/CD’s/MB of memory that are basically collecting dust because we:
1) Were blown away by someone’s debut album, and so …
2) Rushed to buy the second album, then went ‘oops!’
In many cases, it seems the more amazing the first album was, the easier it was to be disappointed with the second. Maybe it goes back to the adage that bands have their whole lives to come up with that first album but no time for the next one. Whatever the cause, a flop the second time around can be fatal. Lots of one hit wonders probably released more than one record. We just ignored them.
Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Second Albums provides a list of happy exceptions, albums that were every bit as good – or even better – than the debuts. Examples from the list include second efforts by Neil Young, Springsteen, Radiohead, Elvis Costello, Dylan, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Band, and Nirvana.
Yeah, I know these acts are all legendary and most people cherish their entire catalogues, but what if that second album had been awful? Maybe then the legend is stillborn. Or maybe the examples listed nicely illustrate why these acts became legends. “You that was good? OK, have a listen to this!”