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rockaction

Second Verse, Greater Than The First

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Here is a music thread because we're sorely lacking them on the front page these days (Where have all the countdowns gone? Never mind the rude boys). Ideally, I'd like to cull a list of "disappointing" second albums that followed up dynamic and/or supposedly superior firsts. The only requirements are that:

  1. the first made a splash in a notable way
  2. the second album might actually be better 

I'll start with three, culled from three separate and staggered decades. Perhaps the collective brainpower of the FFA can fill more in. These immediately came to mind, in my own limited way, coupled with an "insignificant" song off of the album that grows heavier each passing year. I've been listening to Show Your Bones, in full disclosure. It's a favorite of mine. 

Van Halen - Van Halen II (D.O.A.)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones (The Sweets)

Weezer - Pinkerton (Across The Sea)

Anyway, contributions welcome, or, in lieu of that, bump the Stevie and Dylan threads or countdown threads back to the front page. I do so enjoy them. Okay. Thanks. Goodnight and peace.

Edited by rockaction

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Thanks so far to all. Some absolute great ones. Listening to Axis: Bold Is Love right now. "Spanish Castle Magic" soared and "Up From The Skies" jazzed the chic freak out. That had me rapt. CIA, thanks bro. Leroy, I'll have to give a listen, and McBokonon, I'll see your Vonnegut and raise you the Brock Flock. I love, love, love that album. Truckers Atlas makes my all-time top 200 most impactful of all time on my life, I think, and that's saying something on my end.

Edited by rockaction

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6 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

LCD Soundsystem- sound of silver (all my friends)

Dirty cross-poster.

Nah, the only LCD I own is the one with Dance Yrself Clean and Drunk Girls. This Is Happening. I dig that album. Cheap on Amazon, too. 

Oops. Was cheap. Now normal.

Edited by rockaction

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Just now, El Floppo said:

Pixies- Doolittle (hey)

Been dyin' to meet you.

Love Kim Deal on that. Love her with the Pixies as I get older actually. Could deal with more of Frank Black's melodic side and her vox as opposed to the stuff I loved from my youth. 

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Neon Bible...maybe.I am trying to answer the question and this is the 1st one that comes to mind. I knew a lot of people who were disappointed with it when it came out. It was never going to be exactly Funeral so lots of people reacted negatively but it is a hell of an album and one that reflects it's time so well. 

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5 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Dirty cross-poster.

Nah, the only LCD I own is the one with Dance Yrself Clean and Drunk Girls. This Is Happening. I dig that album. Cheap on Amazon, too. 

Oops. Was cheap. Now normal.

Lol...yeah, the link was still hot in the shooter to clip in. Huh...while I like it, this is happening is my least favorite of theirs. Otoh Sound of silver might be a top tenner for me.

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1 minute ago, Ilov80s said:

Neon Bible...maybe.I am trying to answer the question and this is the 1st one that comes to mind. I knew a lot of people who were disappointed with it when it came out. It was never going to be exactly Funeral so lots of people reacted negatively but it is a hell of an album and one that reflects it's time so well. 

Thanks, mang.

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1 minute ago, Ilov80s said:

Neon Bible...maybe.I am trying to answer the question and this is the 1st one that comes to mind. I knew a lot of people who were disappointed with it when it came out. It was never going to be exactly Funeral so lots of people reacted negatively but it is a hell of an album and one that reflects it's time so well. 

I'm with you. I love neon Bible and prefer it to funeral, even though I agree were probably in the minority there.

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

Thanks, mang.

It's a good question and one I will casually ponder through the day. 

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Just now, El Floppo said:

@rockaction...you know what's coming...

Ohhhh! Perfect. I was listening to it the other week, actually. I've finally found some time and werewithal to listen, as I still was considering them a drunk punk thing for me. I still can't get past the first as coming so out of the blue that I love it more, but bombs away. 

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IDLES- joy as an act of resistance (Danny nedelko...just for you...and I know I poopooed it when it came out, but I've grown to love it)

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5 hours ago, rockaction said:

Van Halen - Van Halen II (D.O.A.)

Actually, actually my favorite VH song, and the perfect thing to get me away from the internet and off to the gym. Thanks, man.

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Parquet Courts- light up gold (stoned and starving)...not sure this really counts, because I don't think their first album rated too high- this was the one that put them more on the map I think. But it's still a second album that wins

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Going 90’s indie fanboy here, but God Don’t Make No Junk by the Halo Benders was fun.

Don’t Touch My Bikini

Their second (this is Doug Martsch from Built to Spill and Calvin Johnson, who is a f’n legend btw) is Don’t Tell Me Now. Somehow seems more raw than their first but I love it.

Planned Obsolescence 

Their third and final (yes I’m cheating) was their best, though, even if their second is my favorite.

Virginia Reel Around the Fountain l

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3 minutes ago, McBokonon said:

Going 90’s indie fanboy here, but God Don’t Make No Junk by the Halo Benders was fun.

Don’t Touch My Bikini

Their second (this is Doug Martsch from Built to Spill and Calvin Johnson, who is a f’n legend btw) is Don’t Tell Me Now. Somehow seems more raw than their first but I love it.

Planned Obsolescence 

Their third and final (yes I’m cheating) was their best, though, even if their second is my favorite.

Virginia Reel Around the Fountain l

:wub:

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Just spun Axis: Bold As Love. Ahhh, the "Bold is Love" endtro...

From Up From The Skies to that...

Doozy. 

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Honestly, I think that most second albums aren’t as good as the first. That first album is usually a collection of all the best material the artist has created before making it.  It’s like a greatest hits of their material to that date.  The second album is often an attempt to recreate the success of the first album, but without the years of toil and the emotion that toil can create which made the first album spectacular.

I’ll add Tracy Chapman.  Her eponymously named first album was a gem with the powerful one-two opening punch of “Fast Car” and “Talkin’ ‘bout a Revolution”.  Her second album, Crossroads, while good can’t compete.

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Love

Da Capo > self-titled debut

And then they trump both of them big time  with the mighty  Forever Changes as album #3.

ETA: my bad - we are talking disappointing second albums

Edited by zamboni
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11 hours ago, Gary Coal Man said:

Honestly, I think that most second albums aren’t as good as the first. That first album is usually a collection of all the best material the artist has created before making it.  It’s like a greatest hits of their material to that date.  The second album is often an attempt to recreate the success of the first album, but without the years of toil and the emotion that toil can create which made the first album spectacular.

I used to argue this exact thing. But I disagree. There are second albums, that either by expansion of influence, autonomy over creative output, or other reasons sort of sneak up on the first.

To use the three in the original post. VHII showed the diversity of a hard rock band using girl group and mellow nightclub textures and moodiness in points where the first album guitar solor sufficed. Show Your Bones expanded the acoustic/songwriting strength of the YYY's over their bombast that made them instant stars. Weezer took a sabbatical after their first, whereupon the lead singer enrolled at Harvard and chose to have a brutal surgery to lengthen his leg by having screws placed in his bone to make himself symmetrical and walked around campus as a first-year with a leg brace.

I used to fully agree with you and even often loved the first albums over better seconds because of the pent-up creativity argument. But sometimes, even when the first hits that sweet spot of critical longing and popularity, the second sees things change and manifest themselves in music, and we're the better for the growth. This thread can be part of their story.

Edited by rockaction
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5 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Love

Da Capo > self-titled debut

And then they trump both of them big time  with the mighty  Forever Changes as album #3.

Seven and Seven Is...

Hey, if you have a turntable, Mobile Fidelity does a treatment of Forever Changes for about forty bucks or so. I've almost ordered it a couple of times. Might be a good investment if you're an audiophile. Not a self-interested plug, I've just found their stuff to sound quiet and really nice. I think always mastered from the original analogs. 

Edited by rockaction
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15 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Love

Da Capo > self-titled debut

And then they trump both of them big time  with the mighty  Forever Changes as album #3.

ETA: my bad - we are talking disappointing second albums

:confused:

I thought we were talking improved second albums :lol:

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1 minute ago, El Floppo said:

:confused:

I thought we were talking improved second albums :lol:

got confused by the OP. If we’re are talking improved second albums, then Love applies.

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6 hours ago, rockaction said:
1 minute ago, zamboni said:

got confused by the OP. If we’re are talking improved second albums, then Love applies.

  1. the first made a splash in a notable way
  2. the second album might actually be better 

 

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Listening to Neon Bible walking the city and this Neon Bible and I stand by that it at worst an equal to the debut. It is epic and I mean that in the real sense of what an epic is. It’s scope is inward but it’s truly an epic piece of music.

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Jefferson Airplane

Surrealistic Pillow was a big improvement over the still stellar Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Of course, didn’t hurt that Grace Slick took over as lead vocalist with Surrealistic.

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Not really fair because the second was a double album, but Wilco - Being There was creative leap ahead of A.M., a solid album in its own right.   

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3 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Listening to Neon Bible walking the city and this Neon Bible and I stand by that it at worst an equal to the debut. It is epic and I mean that in the real sense of what an epic is. It’s scope is inward but it’s truly an epic piece of music.

I reacted "thinking" because I'll have to give it a listen. Arcade Fire is out of my normal vernacular. I loved Laika, but few other songs of theirs have done it for me. Wake Up is another. But Neon Bible I never gave a true spin. I felt that the true innovations of indie had passed indie by at that point, if that makes sense.

A larger point, I guess: When Broken Social Scene was considered groundbreaking and was getting namechecked, I felt the independent music scene had jumped the shark already. I like You Forgot It In People, but P'fork had more to do with its popularity than indie innovation. I considered it a nice continuation of Superchunk and Pavement, frankly.

Furrealz. How indie snob is that? And I'm not even indie; I'm a bug.

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I'm re-reading my own topic and it's a bit confusing, to say the least. Thanks to all -- again -- who muddled through and are helping curate the list.

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1 minute ago, zamboni said:

Cream one-upped themselves with Disraeli Gears after Fresh Cream.

Here's where I -- and re-reading it, it is a bit confusing unless you have a teacher's patience like ilov80s  -- flubbed the OP, Zamboni. I think Disraeli Gears got great reviews and was met with popular reception. I was trying to go for slight commercial and critical disappointments in the follow-up. Love certainly applies there.

Regardless, the broader topic of great second albums is cool by me. 

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Not their first and second albums, but first and second national and international distributions, Congratulations...I’m Sorry after New Miserable Experience for the Gin Blossoms always seems unfairly panned.  Some great driving tunes on that album, and I often prefer the version with ‘Til I Hear It From You on it to New Miserable Experience.

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

Here's where I -- and re-reading it, it is a bit confusing unless you have a teacher's patience like ilov80s  -- flubbed the OP, Zamboni. I think Disraeli Gears got great reviews and was met with popular reception. I was trying to go for slight commercial and critical disappointments in the follow-up. Love certainly applies there.

Regardless, the broader topic of great second albums is cool by me. 

I think I get it now - finally. 

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

Cream one-upped themselves with Disraeli Gears after Fresh Cream.

Their best album by far imo. Benchmark status in terms of late 60s rock.

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Here's a second album that I love that gets no respect - Vampire Weekend's Contra.  Like the suggestion of Neon Bible earlier, I wouldn't really say that it's necessarily better than the classic that preceded it or the classic that followed it....and thus it gets lost in the shuffle.  But I love it, and I find myself revisiting it just as much, if not more, as the rest of their old discography...which is fairly impressive, because I consider Vampire Weekend one of my favorite albums of all-time.  Maybe this is one of my favorite albums too?

"Giving Up the Gun"

"Horchata"

"Diplomat's Son"

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Surprisingly tough to walk the tightrope RA has set up.  The pattern is usually either continued growth or a steep decline.  Retrieving some from the latter bin isn't easy.

Paul's Boutique was a commercial flop compared to Licensed to Ill.  It took audiences a while to catch up.

The second Elastica album The Menace doesn't have the hits but is strong. 

You're Gonna Get It by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers has some terrific songs but kind of a lame production.  Marshall Crenshaw's Field Day met a similar fate in the mixing room.

Terence Trent D'Arby took a big swing with Neither Fish Nor Flesh.  He didn't quite connect and was excoriated by people he'd pissed off but I've always appreciated the ambition.

The second albums by Franz Ferdinand, ABC and The Cars had very tough acts to follow but are solid records.

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Here's another one.  Arkells' Jackson Square debut is jam-packed with fan-favorite hits.  They've continued to churn out album after album that are all immensely popular in Canada and along US/Canada border cities.  But you don't hear much about their second album, 2011's Michigan Left.  I think I can probably count on two hands the number of songs I've seen them play live in the ~10 times I've seen them, but it's always a treat that gets the long-time fans going.

"Book Club" / "On Paper" / "Bloodlines" (actually played this one at my wedding during dinner, which was the only time I got to pick the music selection)

cc: @Northern Voice

Edited by Steve Tasker
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11 minutes ago, Eephus said:

 

Paul's Boutique was a commercial flop compared to Licensed to Ill.  It took audiences a while to catch up.

Greatposting.

I loved both when they came out, but if I'm going back for them, it's Paul's Boutique. Love that album. They're trying to make the intersection where they shot the cover (around the corner from Chez floppo) renamed for them "Beastie boys square" .

I wanted to give RAs Weezer shout a shout. Highly underrated album.

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15 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Paul's Boutique was a commercial flop compared to Licensed to Ill.  It took audiences a while to catch up.

Yes yes yes. I'll add that I think it was received confusedly in the popular critical press and by fans alike.

It took a while for either to catch up, IIRC, which is admittedly a bit before my forays into judging the critics or even reading about music intelligently. I was very, very young. Like fifteen. 

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26 minutes ago, Eephus said:

The second albums by Franz Ferdinand, ABC and The Cars had very tough acts to follow but are solid records.

Didn't want to single out just the Beastie Boys. That first Franz Ferdinand burst of absolute almost perfection in mood and in its being "so before its time it defined its time," was followed by a really deep grower. The Cars I'm less familiar with as I didn't grow up with the linear progression, but instead, the hits. 

ABC draws no comment but further curiosity. 

Edited by rockaction

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Did the second ABC have the "pounds, dollars...puhpuhouhpounds, dollars" tune on it? It was decent of so.

Other 80s acts...Thomas dolbys The Flat Earth was a flop after the blinded with science album, but still great and maybe even better.

Talk Talk iirc. Joe Jackson had an epic first four album run.

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10 minutes ago, rockaction said:
28 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Paul's Boutique was a commercial flop compared to Licensed to Ill.  It took audiences a while to catch up.

Yes yes yes. I'll add that I think it was received confusedly in the popular critical press and by fans alike.

It took a while for either to catch up, IIRC, which is admittedly a bit before my forays into judging the critics or even reading about music intelligently. I was very, very young. Like fifteen. 

Hip Hop itself was less than fifteen years old at the time and its boundaries were still being extended on a regular basis.

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