Greatest Albums The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
86.2k votes 5.6k voters 75.6k views 309 items

List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1
1,234 477
Led Zeppelin II is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Led Zeppelin

2
1,462 680
Nevermind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Nirvana

3
958 457
Paranoid is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Black Sabbath

4
1,022 570
The Bends is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Radiohead

5
681 468
The Marshall Mathers LP is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

6
886 557
Siamese Dream is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Smashing Pumpkins

7
826 516
Dirt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Alice in Chains

8
637 420
Axis: Bold as Love is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

9
745 353
Queen II is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Queen

10
718 582
(What's the Story) Morning Glo... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

11
568 540
Paul's Boutique is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Beastie Boys

12
801 456
Ride the Lightning is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Metallica

13
483 383
Beatlemania! With The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

14
438 497
Back to Black is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Amy Winehouse

15
255 209
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Elton John

16
604 553
The Colour and the Shape is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

17
647 497
Ænima is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Tool

18
254 304
2001 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Dr. Dre

19
493 272
Sounds of Silence is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Simon and Garfunkel

20
574 305
Strange Days is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Doors

21
478 391
Doolittle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Pixies

22
347 277
The Band is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Band

23
589 427
The Downward Spiral is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Nine Inch Nails

24
501 479
Pinkerton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Weezer

25
529 520
Toxicity is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
System of a Down

26
560 475
Vs. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Pearl Jam

27
398 326
Piano Man is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Billy Joel

28
319 128
Disraeli Gears is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

29
415 234
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

30
496 373
Demon Days is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Gorillaz

31
402 394
Tragic Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
No Doubt

32
364 430
A Rush of Blood to the Head is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

33
277 117
Imagine is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
richerb added John Lennon

34
596 370
Dookie is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Luke3 added Green Day

35
333 250
Everybody Knows This Is Nowher... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

36
457 409
Evil Empire is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Rage Against the Machine

37
302 223
Odelay is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
stubkar added Beck Hansen

38
325 280
Transformer is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Lou Reed

39
245 349
Rated R is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Queens of the Stone Age

40
285 221
More Songs About Buildings and... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

41
347 401
21 is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Adele

42
355 196
Parallel Lines is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Blondie

43
333 305
Closer is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Joy Division

44
211 254
This Year's Model is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Elvis Costello, Elvis Costello & The Attractions

45
256 357
Ritual de lo habitual is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Jane's Addiction

46
304 197
Astral Weeks is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Van Morrison

47
267 248
Peace Sells... but Who's Buyin... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

48
268 136
A Night at the Opera is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
MohammadrezaAlihosseinybarzi added Queen

49
275 456
Origin of Symmetry is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

50
269 309
It Takes a Nation of Millions ... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time