Here we are, already in the second month of the second decade of the twenty first century, and time is flying by so fast. Since I mentioned ‘second’ twice already, lets try something quirky today. Let’s take a look at some second albums by famous artists. There are many who burst onto the scene with excellent debuts, many followed it up with even better sophomore albums and many faltered, while some ended their careers with it. Let me pull out a selection across the board.
Tracy Chapman’s stunning eponymous debut raised the bar for African-American singer-songwriters and established her as a force to reckon with, that is till her follow up released. Her second album, although hugely successful, failed to match the stripped down honesty that was so resonant in her debut.
Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1, 1990
His stunning debut Faith sold over 20 million copies, setting him up as a global pop superstar, but then came the slide down, the critically successful yet commercially failed ‘…Prejudice’. Only two million copies sold, yet featuring some excellent songwriting, but George would never be the same again.
Like A Virgin, 1984
Yes, this is her second album, her self-titled debut being a re-release post the success of this one. Well, what can one say about this that you don’t already know. Iconic, trend setting, rule-busting, basically everything Madonna continues to be notorious for.
Lean Into It, 1991
The album that made them a household name, thanks to their number one single, To be With You. Yet post the grunge outbreak their popularity fell along with the decline of hair-metal. But in Japan they’re still superstars, reuniting recently, for a series of concerts celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album.
Speaking of grunge, this is the album that changed it all. A small band from Seattle, Washington, led by one of the most unassuming lads ever witnessed in rock n roll, came and punched a hole in the pop/metal sky. Although the raw sound of their debut, Bleach is much favoured over the Butch Vig produced follow up, it is Nevermind that will remain the cornerstone of their career.
Back To Black, 2006
The title of her follow up to her debut, 2003’s Frank, pretty much summarises her current status. It’s been four years and sadly, one sees no new material from her. Yet one sees and reads new antics in tabloids almost everyday. It’s sad to see talent like this wasted, but then that’s rock n roll, isn’t it? For every star that burns brightly there are many that are eclipsed as well.
Space fails me and I must leave you with these six stellar second albums to rediscover once again and may you seek out many more and understand the trials and pressures of living up to a stunning debut… or not… if I may say so.