5 Superior Second Albums

Green Day- Kerplunk!

1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours already cultivated a small but loyal following for the trio, but if they stuck to that style they’d have soon faded into obscurity. Kerplunk! saw two major things happen (1) Drummer John Kiffmeyer left to pursue an education (a decision he probably kicks himself for everyday) and was replaced with Tre Cool (2) Billie Joe Armstrong ditched his high-pitched nasally vocals, that were reminiscent of a child crying that his girlfriend of one day left him, and adopted a deeper register. Christie Road and the first album version of Welcome to Paradise were enough to make The Judge’s Daughter and At the Library feel pre-pubescent in a world of adults.

Then they went on to record a little album called Dookie, which apparently sold quite well.

Nirvana – Nevermind

The benchmark of superiority on the second crack of the whip. So much so, there are those out there that are unaware they ever produced anything else. Aside from one of the most recognisable album covers in history, this is the one that boasts that track everyone can name: Smells Like teen Spirit. Many will argue that the popularity of this is a result of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, but it was certified Platinum 9 weeks after its release, and that was definitely before the release of In Utero.

Muse – Origin of Symmetry

It’s, admittedly, a close one here. Showbiz is a wonder of a debut but seemingly forgotten except for one song. Unintended seems to be the only offering Muse are keen for the world to remember. How do you follow up? Load OoS with a bunch of ‘musical experiments’, cross your fingers and hope people like it. New Born is a safe introduction and Bliss lures you into believing 40 minutes of calm are set to proceed, leaving Space Dementia free to throw you a little off balance before Hyper Music bowls you over completely. Though at the time of release they weren’t filling out stadiums, now leaving Plug in Baby or the cover of Feeling Good off a setlist would result in 60,000 people starting a riot.

Radiohead – The Bends

Pablo Honey didn’t really establish Radiohead as the band they are. Even with Creep taking pride of place as track 2, it’s more of a standard rock album that luckily stood out against everything else at the time. The Bends is when Thom Yorke and co. decided the world should really see them as behemoths of the industry. Planet Telex sets the tone from the first millisecond. Forget PH, this band have forged a new path others can only wish to follow.

Rise Against – Revolutions Per Minute

Unlike The Unraveling, an album so raw it almost gives you salmonella, it’s obvious money was spent on the production of RPM. The second and last album to be released before the switch to a major label, it can hold pride of place in the record collections of ‘punk purists’ and casual listeners alike. Whereas Alive and Well gave the impression an album difficult to listen to was about to take your life for 40 minutes, Black Masks and Gasoline makes you feel obligated to give them your time.