The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

36k votes 2.9k voters 55k views 336 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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  • 38 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 598
    - 218

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Led Zeppelin

    ;
  2. 2
    + 724
    - 284


    Nirvana

    ;
  3. 3
    + 412
    - 173


    Radiohead

    ;
  4. 4
    + 454
    - 216


    Black Sabbath

    ;
  5. 5
    + 451
    - 196


    The Smashing Pumpkins

    ;
  6. 6
    + 391
    - 209


    Alice in Chains

    ;
  7. 7
    + 350
    - 148


    Queen

    ;
  8. 8
    + 312
    - 164


    The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    ;
  9. 9
    + 340
    - 244
    ;
  10. 10
    + 377
    - 229


    Metallica

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  11. 11
    + 320
    - 245

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Foo Fighters

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  12. 12
    + 274
    - 234

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Beastie Boys

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  13. 13
    + 344
    - 209


    Tool

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  14. 14
    + 304
    - 178

    ranked low on reranks
    Nine Inch Nails

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  15. 15
    + 209
    - 191

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Amy Winehouse

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  16. 16
    + 287
    - 188


    Pearl Jam

    ;
  17. 17
    + 255
    - 182


    Weezer

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  18. 18
    + 286
    - 145

    ranked low on reranks
    The Doors

    ;
  19. 19
    + 266
    - 217


    System of a Down

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  20. 20
    + 241
    - 165


    Pixies

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  21. 21
    + 200
    - 120


    Gorillaz

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  22. 22
    + 228
    - 152


    Simon and Garfunkel

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  23. 23
    + 220
    - 210


    No Doubt

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  24. 24
    + 240
    - 191


    The Beatles

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  25. 25
    + 161
    - 140


    Coldplay

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  26. 26
    + 199
    - 168


    Billy Joel

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  27. 27
    + 247
    - 166

    ranked low on reranks
    Rage Against the Machine

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  28. 28
    + 114
    - 115

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Queens of the Stone Age

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  29. 29
    + 131
    - 135

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    The Band

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  30. 30
    + 282
    - 202


    Eminem

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  31. 31
    + 175
    - 107

    ranked low on reranks
    Bob Dylan

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  32. 32
    + 130
    - 141

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Jane's Addiction

    ;
  33. 33
    + 140
    - 87


    Lou Reed

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  34. 34
    + 277
    - 149

    ranked low on reranks & added by Luke3
    Green Day

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  35. 35
    + 162
    - 145

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

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  36. 36
    + 167
    - 103


    Joy Division

    ;
  37. 37
    + 122
    - 84


    Pantera

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  38. 38
    + 155
    - 202

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Muse

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  39. 39
    + 83
    - 35


    Cream

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  40. 40
    + 420
    - 85
    Songs from the Silver Screen is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    Jackie Evancho

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  41. 41
    + 141
    - 118


    Cake

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  42. 42
    + 131
    - 89


    Van Morrison

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  43. 43
    + 120
    - 118

    ranked high on reranks
    Megadeth

    ;
  44. 44
    + 164
    - 182

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Adele

    ;
  45. 45
    + 83
    - 39

    ranked low on reranks & added by stubkar
    Beck Hansen

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  46. 46
    + 78
    - 63


    Elvis Costello, Elvis Costello & The Attractions

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  47. 47
    + 168
    - 116

    ranked low on reranks
    The Smiths

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  48. 48
    + 138
    - 104


    Talking Heads

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  49. 49
    + 122
    - 117
    ;
  50. 50
    + 75
    - 103

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Arcade Fire

    ;
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