The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

35k votes 2.8k voters 54k views 324 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Must be a band/artist's second full-length album. No EPs, live albums, reissues, etc.

The best sophomore albums of all time include some of the greatest albums of all time and will largely divide music fans as to whether they're the best second albums ever or just another record in a musician's collection. Many of these second albums by bands are superior to the first albums, while others are simply better than most other albums ever released.

It was Elvis Costello who once said something to the effect of "you have your whole life to write your first record and six months to write the second"; it's quite the daunting task for a musician or band who has found themselves fast in the spotlight and under pressure to turn out a second album that's as successful as the first. Most bands fail when it comes to record #2 and never rebound (The Strokes, Futureheads, Tokyo Police Club) while others have done some of their best work many albums in (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bad Religion, Gogol Bordello). Many of the bands on this list of the greatest sophomore albums went on put out albums better than the first or second, and some just gave up after their sophomore effort.

What is the best sophomore album of all time? What band put out the greatest second album? What bands had better second records than the first? This list of the best second albums by bands is sure to spark a debate among music fans, and that's precisely the point. Make sure to vote for your favorite sophomore album and feel free to add any great second albums that aren't on the list.

If your favorite band made an awful second album, do not put them on the list just because they are your favorite band! This list is about the top second records by bands, not a list of bands that people like. These are important albums that have stood the test of time that will still be the top albums in years to come. If you're out to vote for the best bands ever, check out the greatest bands of all time and vote there.
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  1. 1
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    Nirvana

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  2. 2
    + 579
    - 216

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Led Zeppelin

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  3. 3
    + 439
    - 210


    Black Sabbath

    ;
  4. 4
    + 393
    - 167


    Radiohead

    ;
  5. 5
    + 432
    - 192


    The Smashing Pumpkins

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  6. 6
    + 382
    - 204


    Alice in Chains

    ;
  7. 7
    + 338
    - 147

    ranked low on reranks
    Queen

    ;
  8. 8
    + 306
    - 159


    The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    ;
  9. 9
    + 271
    - 228

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Beastie Boys

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  10. 10
    + 362
    - 225


    Metallica

    ;
  11. 11
    + 332
    - 236
    ;
  12. 12
    + 309
    - 241


    Foo Fighters

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  13. 13
    + 274
    - 185


    Pearl Jam

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  14. 14
    + 249
    - 175

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Weezer

    ;
  15. 15
    + 331
    - 206


    Tool

    ;
  16. 16
    + 279
    - 144


    The Doors

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  17. 17
    + 201
    - 186

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Amy Winehouse

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  18. 18
    + 235
    - 162


    Pixies

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  19. 19
    + 259
    - 212


    System of a Down

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  20. 20
    + 294
    - 175

    ranked low on reranks
    Nine Inch Nails

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  21. 21
    + 220
    - 151

    ranked low on reranks
    Simon and Garfunkel

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  22. 22
    + 234
    - 191


    The Beatles

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  23. 23
    + 213
    - 206


    No Doubt

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  24. 24
    + 126
    - 133

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Band

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  25. 25
    + 157
    - 134


    Coldplay

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  26. 26
    + 194
    - 164

    ranked low on reranks
    Billy Joel

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  27. 27
    + 172
    - 105


    Bob Dylan

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  28. 28
    + 275
    - 201


    Eminem

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  29. 29
    + 236
    - 165


    Rage Against the Machine

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  30. 30
    + 192
    - 119


    Gorillaz

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  31. 31
    + 111
    - 114

    often listed
    Queens of the Stone Age

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  32. 32
    + 124
    - 141


    Jane's Addiction

    ;
  33. 33
    + 159
    - 144


    Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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  34. 34
    + 165
    - 101

    ranked low on reranks
    Joy Division

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  35. 35
    + 152
    - 199

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Muse

    ;
  36. 36
    + 414
    - 82
    Songs from the Silver Screen 
	is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    Jackie Evancho

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  37. 37
    + 135
    - 84


    Lou Reed

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  38. 38
    + 267
    - 145

    ranked low on reranks & added by Luke3
    Green Day

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  39. 39
    + 74
    - 33


    Cream

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  40. 40
    + 127
    - 86


    Van Morrison

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  41. 41
    + 159
    - 177


    Adele

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  42. 42
    + 115
    - 81


    Pantera

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  43. 43
    + 165
    - 112


    The Smiths

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  44. 44
    + 135
    - 104

    often listed
    Talking Heads

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  45. 45
    + 72
    - 100

    often listed
    Arcade Fire

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  46. 46
    + 120
    - 115
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  47. 47
    + 91
    - 86


    The Stooges

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  48. 48
    + 91
    - 84


    Pink Floyd

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  49. 49
    + 109
    - 117


    Megadeth

    ;
  50. 50
    + 73
    - 62


    Elvis Costello, Elvis Costello & The Attractions

    ;
325 +

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