Greatest Albums The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
100.4k votes 6.5k voters 80.8k views 312 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
1,454 578
Led Zeppelin II is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Led Zeppelin

2
1,712 792
Nevermind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Nirvana

3
1,147 532
Paranoid is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Black Sabbath

4
1,182 706
The Bends is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Radiohead

5
883 593
The Marshall Mathers LP is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

6
902 412
Queen II is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Queen

7
778 490
Axis: Bold as Love is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

8
317 299
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Elton John

9
960 596
Dirt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Alice in Chains

10
1,027 646
Siamese Dream is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Smashing Pumpkins

11
863 677
(What's the Story) Morning Glo... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

12
943 519
Ride the Lightning is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Metallica

13
649 640
Paul's Boutique is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Beastie Boys

14
706 630
The Colour and the Shape is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

15
523 578
Back to Black is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Amy Winehouse

16
328 397
2001 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Dr. Dre

17
575 454
Beatlemania! With The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

18
741 569
Ænima is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Tool

19
683 348
Strange Days is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Doors

20
435 170
Disraeli Gears is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

21
653 490
The Downward Spiral is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Nine Inch Nails

22
584 318
Sounds of Silence is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Simon and Garfunkel

23
510 281
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

24
469 386
Piano Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Billy Joel

25
423 333
The Band is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Band