The sophomore album is one which is notoriously difficult to write. This is particularly true if a band enjoyed fame and success with their debut, as now there is added pressure which can be poison to an artist. A great sophomore record cannot be too similar to the debut, and it should take a new sonic direction to show progression and diversity. However, it is important to acknowledge and incorporate your original sound for consistency. Many bands struggle to write new material after working so hard on their debut, but rock has churned out some stunning sophomore records throughout history.
10. Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R (2000)
Queens of the Stone Age were a relatively unknown band when Rated R was released in 2000, and this gave them the freedom to get weird with the record. Their debut self-titled release delivered a unique, riff-heavy sound which helped to establish the band, and Rated R would acknowledge this but also go in a new direction. The most notable difference is the additional vocals (and bass playing) of Nick Oliveri, who leads on “Auto Pilot,” “Quick and to the Pointless” and “Tension Head.” Mark Lanegan also contributed vocals on “In the Fade,” and he has appeared on each record since. It is an extremely diverse album with heavy, trippy and mellow songs, but the theme of the record is consistent and mainly to do with drugs, alcohol and paranoia. A commercial success, “that weird band from the desert” had breathed new life into the rock genre.