Greatest Albums The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
100.8k votes 6.5k voters 80.9k views 330 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
1,461 582
Led Zeppelin II is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Led Zeppelin

2
1,722 797
Nevermind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Nirvana

3
1,156 533
Paranoid is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Black Sabbath

4
1,186 712
The Bends is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Radiohead

5
889 600
The Marshall Mathers LP is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

6
910 414
Queen II is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Queen

7
785 492
Axis: Bold as Love is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Jimi Hendrix Experience

8
318 304
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Elton John

9
968 598
Dirt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Alice in Chains

10
1,035 648
Siamese Dream is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Smashing Pumpkins

11
869 679
(What's the Story) Morning Glo... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

12
953 521
Ride the Lightning is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Metallica

13
651 644
Paul's Boutique is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Beastie Boys

14
713 631
The Colour and the Shape is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

15
526 580
Back to Black is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Amy Winehouse

16
329 403
2001 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Dr. Dre

17
576 456
Beatlemania! With The Beatles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

18
746 572
Ænima is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Tool

19
687 350
Strange Days is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Doors

20
439 172
Disraeli Gears is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

21
658 491
The Downward Spiral is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Nine Inch Nails

22
587 321
Sounds of Silence is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Simon and Garfunkel

23
511 283
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time

24
471 387
Piano Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
Billy Joel

25
426 333
The Band is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sophomore Albums of All Time
The Band