the difficult second Lp


Well worn story...band has years to hone their craft and make an amazing debut LP...then falters miserably..due to pressure, success, expectations. etc. There are always exceptions. Zep II, etc. Any train wreck sophomore efforts come to mind? Stone Roses, U2, VH all stumbled a bit on a follow up to a promising debut. On the flip side , any second LPs that really stand out?
phasecorrect
One miss that comes to mind is Hootie & the Blowfish with "Fairweather Johnson". Not up to their debut, IMO. In comparison, I thought Ambrosia's "Somewhere I've Never Travelled" a superior follow-up.

I tend to agree with you, though there are some notable exceptions, such as Big Star's "Radio City," which is superior, my opinion, to their debut, which was also pretty great.
Television "adventure" really pales next to marquee moon...stooges Funhouse rules!
Disagree on Television's Adventure. While at first I did not think it was better than Marquee Moon, Over the years I have found it to be an exquisite alternative. However, Verlaine's second solo LP was not up to par with the debut.

I think the second Gram Parsons LP matched or exceeded his debut.
Who could forget Use your illusion I/II...bloated, overproduced 9 min drivel ballads...and those were the good tunes. The Darkness and Wolfmother also laid eggs on sophomore releases.
Kate Bush's first two albums are the exception. "The Kick Inside" and "Lionheart" are equally magnificent.

Also, Pat Metheny's 2nd release "Watercolors" was a strong album.
Abraxas
the clash, give em enough rope--to my ears a weakish, overtly commercial followup to the classic debut--i just don't think the songs are there.

doors, strange days--vastly inferior to the debut; "when the music's over" sounds like a watery retread of "the end,", albeit without a theme. the next couple were even weaker, but they're the odd band who regenerated creatively towards the end and finished as strong as they started.

as for "adventure", i agree with both phase and clio--it's not as groundbreaking or essential as marquee moon, but vg on its own terms--"glory" and "foxhole" are great songs.
Boston's "Don't Look Back" stood up pretty well after their 1st record masterpiece.

"Deadringer" crashed and burned after Bat out of Hell's debut.
Warren Zevon's second album, the self titled "Warren Zevon" is, to me, his best album. His third album, "Excitable Boy" isn't bad either.
Wow how interesting.
Some view Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1, which he wrote second, as inferior to Piano Concerto No. 2, which he wrote first.
Big Country made a really unique, powerful LP in "the Crossing" that the time put them ahead of the likes of U2,the Alarm,etc...unfortunately "Steeltown" was a flop in the states... However they did retain their UK audience until their demise. The Alarm went all out with the grossly slick "Eye of the hurricane". Their association with U2 at that point was a liability, as months earlier the Joshua Tree went massive in sales.
Phasecorrect,
I agree with you on The Darkness,

Permission to Land......very promising.

One way ticket to Hell....."don't come" back :-)

However and IMHO, Use your Illusion I/II produced enough hits to pass by as a somewhat stand out effort. After that........nothing other than the ballad "Patience"!
Although I tend to disagree..."Regatta de blanc" is widely considered one of the Police's weaker efforts...It does contain contributions other than Sting that always seemed to weigh their records down...case in point..
Synchronicity
In my age bracket there was Nevermind, Siamese Dream and Dirt.
Ride the Lightning
Mr. Loomisjohnson...very good calls on your part.
Counting Crows made a masterpiece, IMO, with August And Everything After. They never came close to that one.
Timrhu, you are 100% correct. One or two after are also good, but none approach that debut recording. I think I once read Neil Young saying something like, you have 20 years to write your first album, and 6 month for the second. Tough to do well time after time. Some are exceptions, where music is at high level all thru, and some latter are better than earlier, but rare. Beatles.
REM followed up their seminal "Murmur" with "Reckoning"...and almost eclipsed it IMHO...great songs,simple production=timeless release. Stumbled a bit on "Fables"...but 2 out 3 ain't bad!
Johnny Winter hit the ball out of the park with his second album, "Second Winter". It still rocks and has great sound (the original LP and the remastered CD). A classic.
Interestingly, "Second Winter" was not Johnny Winter's second album. The first being "Progressive Blues Experiment" followed by "Johnny Winter", "Second Winter" being his third album.

Speaking of second Winters, Edgar's debut was a stone mash up of jazz, blues, rock. soul and trance, "Entrance". It was followed by the equally strong, though very different sounding "Edgar Winter's White Trash". The subsequent two albums "Roadwork" and "They Only Come Out At Night being almost as strong as the first two.
Absolutely Free
ty lindisfarne. to switch to the "greatly improved second album" mode, you'd have to look at "astral weeks" (which i've always regarded as a tad overrated, but still great) and "the bends".
The Doors' follow-up album was at least equal to the debut eponymous album from this group. And Strange Days lacked the perverse lyric found in the first album's last cut; "The end".

Others would say that both "Days" and the debut album are from the same bin of material. It was the 3rd album that seemed to stumble. Then it was the 4th album that fell flat. And finally they found their footing on the Morrison Hotel and LA Woman albums. Then, perhaps mercifully for their front man, it was over.

But that was a long time ago.

-Steve
This hurts me to say this as a committed fan...but Strange Days is vastly inferior to their debut...I think most Doors fans would agree...and true... they faltered even farther after this...and peaked on the sublime LA women...but "love me two times" seems like a bad parody of "light my fire"...and "when the music is over" is bombastic as "the end"...IMHO ofcourse
Cream had three great ones!
couldn't sleep last night, so instead of counting sheep i though of two others:
1. moby grape--wow. depending on my mood i believe their first record was the greatest pop album ever (or at least the greatest debut), but this one's a mess, with all sorts of misplaced strings, horns and other such drivel. the songs themselves are actually quite good--skillful/clever--but it just don't swing. i don't think anyone's ever listened to the "grape jam" on disc 2.
2. the byrds--turn turn. by no means a bad record (the gene clark songs are among his greatest), but most of the rest sounds like leftovers from the first record.
The Cars made a near perfect debut that sounded like a greatest hits album..."Candy-O", although far from a stinker, was a noticeable decline in quality... In fact the Cars never made a record as solid as their new wave classic debut...an argument can be made for Cheap Trick as well
Quote\
02-27-15: Phasecorrect
This hurts me to say this as a committed fan...but Strange Days is vastly inferior to their debut...I think most Doors fans would agree...and true... they faltered even farther after this...and peaked on the sublime LA women...but "love me two times" seems like a bad parody of "light my fire"...and "when the music is over" is bombastic as "the end"...IMHO ofcourse /Unquote

Disagree...it seems. Of course all of this is highly subjective. With regard to the first album, and the highly rated "light my fire".... It gets my respect for a lyric that finds a new vernacular to describe an ancient and eternal impulse. amazing.

They played it to death on the radio. So much so that it became cliche. Nonetheless it stands apart as a high mark in pop music writing.

I can't imagine that it would be possible to equal that high mark, and I don't see that anything on the 2nd album even tried to equal that. Certainly not the whimsical and, probably, autobiographical "Love me two times".

I personally find nothing to complain about on the second album. And the finale, "When the music's over", does indeed seem bombastic.

"Cancel my subscription to the resurection" (I guess he chooses not to go to heaven...should that bother anyone?)

"What have they done to the earth?
What have they to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered
and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
and tied her with fences
and dragged her down."

Right. Not much metaphor here. It states it plainly. Does anyone disagree with anything in that lament? Is it not true?

And on and on. I find this track (When the music's over) to be some of The Doors most trippy and psychedelic playing. The keyboard and guitar solos really get into that realm. Perhaps that is exactly what bothers some of this songs detractors?

If so it doesn't matter to me. I like it.

"I can't see your face in my mind" Here's a real gem. A kind of jazz lament with oriental overtones. Works for me.

"Moonlight Drive". Great lyric. Great mood. A happy rollic.

"Strange Days"
Strange days have found us
And through their strange hours
We linger alone,
bodies confused,
Memories misused,
As we run from the day
To a strange night of stone.

Another dark lyric. Very moody. Maybe some just don't enjoy it.

"People Are Strange"
"People are strange when you're a stranger.
Faces look ugly when you're alone.
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted.
Streets are uneven when you're down.
When you're strange
Faces come out of the rain
When you're strange
No one remembers your name
When you're strange...."

Probably more autobiographical material. Relating to the kid who just moved into town. The new guy that doesn't feel welcome. Is it not true?

I guess I'm just contrary on this one. I feel "Strange Days' surpasses the first album. but that is just m2c.

-Steve
phase, it's hard to argue that cheap trick's second was a drop in quality--it's got 4-5 certifiable classics and, fwiw, is generally regarded as their masterpiece. that said, i also preferred their first, which i maintain is one of the best rawk records of all time. it didn't sell that much, so you can't blame 'em for opting for the glossier, more commercial direction that followed.
as for the cars, i respect their craft but was never a huge fan--they always sounded a bit like the 1910 fruitgum company to me (which is not necessarily a bad thing--"123 red light's" a cool song). looking back, their second album isn't close to their first, but the last track, dangerous type, is awesomish.
I disagree about The Doors "Strange Days" album. To my ears it is the equal of their debut album. I think the third "Waiting For The Sun" and the fourth "The Soft Parade" are weak efforts. Things got better with "Morrison Hotel" and LA Woman". My opinion.