I recently did a post called Ten Dynamite Debut Albums. This is the follow up to that post, which takes a look at the follow up albums to those debut albums. Follow me?
Hotter than Hell (Kiss) – Not happy with the sonic integrity of the first album, Kiss wanted to follow up with something darker and heavier. The result was Hotter than Hell. I don’t think they were happy with the results of this one either, but I think it turned out pretty damn good. I might even prefer it over the first. It doesn’t have as many concert staples as the first album, but there are some great tunes here. Got to Choose, Parasite, Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Comin’ Home, and the title track are all great songs. Peter Criss does a killer vocal on Mainline and Ace does an amazing solo on Strange Ways (with another cool Peter Criss vocal). There’s also an underrated Gene Simmons song called All the Way. While this album may not be considered as “classic” as the first, it certainly holds its own.
Don’t Look Back (Boston) – Following the perfection of the first Boston album was no doubt a difficult proposition. Don’t Look Back does a decent job, but it never quite reaches the same level of excellence. There are some great songs here. The title track, of course, was a pretty big ht, and a good song, and A Man I’ll Never Be, Party, and Feelin’ Satisfied are all good songs too. Not a bad album, but not as awesome as the first one.
Van Halen II (Van Halen) – I like this album at least as much as I like the first one. Not sure if I’m in the minority or not. Dance the Night Away is just a fun song. It’s my favorite from the album, and one of my favorite Van Halen songs all around. Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Bottoms Up!, D.O.A., Beautiful Girls, and their cover of You’re No Good are great tracks too.
G N’ R Lies ( Guns N’ Roses) – Let’s face it, Guns N’ Roses never matched the power and beauty of Appetite for Destruction. Never. Their second album, G N’ R Lies, is not a bad album by any means, but it wan’t quite the follow up it should’ve been. Patience (great power ballad) and Used to Love Her (tongue in cheek funny) are the best songs on the album. There’s also a much different version of You’re Crazy (originally recorded on the first album) and a couple of songs from Axl Rose’s previous bands. The album does include the full EP Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide. too, which is a plus. While it wasn’t a great follow up, it does stand as a pretty cool album on its own.
Long, Cold Winter (Cinderella) – Despite the fact that this album has some of my favorite Cinderella songs on it (Gypsy Road, Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone), and Coming Home), I don’t think it’s as good as the first album. The band really hit their stride with the third album, Heartbreak Station. Still, three of my favorite songs, plus a couple other decent tracks, make this an admirable follow up to Night Songs.
The Great Radio Controversy (Tesla) – I thought this was a good album. I still do. It had a few hits, Hang Tough, Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out), Love Song, and The Way It Is among them, but the album didn’t make my ears smoke like Mechanical Resonance did. It was considered by many to be a worthy follow up, though, and it’s definitely got some killer stuff on it. Tesla is a great band that never really disappoints.
Second Helping (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Like I said, the legacy left behind by Lynyrd Skynyrd after that plane crash was created in the first five albums. Second Helping opens up with Sweet Home Alabama. How could you go wrong? Don’t Ask Me No Questions, Workin’ for MCA, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, The Needle and the Spoon, and Call Me the Breeze are some of the fine southern delicacies offered on Second Helping.
You’re Gonna Get It (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) – The second album by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers continued the tradition of the sound that would define the band. While the album is pretty good (I’d never turn it off), I don’t think it comes near being as cool as the first album. There are two excellent Tom Petty classics here, I Need to Know and Listen to Her Heart, but the rest of the songs just don’t measure up. That’s not to say they’re bad. Magnolia, Baby’s a Rock ‘n’ Roller, and Too Much Ain’t Enough are pretty good too. Overall, not a bad album for Tom Petty fans, but not a great album like the first one is.
Diary of a Madman (Ozzy Osbourne) – Ozzy’s second album was a killer follow up to his first, and in my opinion, an even better album. Over the Mountain, Flying High Again, and You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll are my three favorite Ozzy songs. Believer, Tonight (one of the original power ballads), and the title track are classic Ozzy, and along with the remaining songs, help make this a successful follow up.
Mad Season (Matchbox Twenty) – Following up an album as phenomenal as Yourself or Someone Like You had to be a challenge, but Matchbox Twenty did it. Mad Season is full of some of the best songs I’ve ever heard. Again, Rob Thomas is just a master songwriter. He knows how to reach down and touch your soul. If You’re Gone (such an intense song), Last Beautiful Girl, Bent (a powerful song), Rest Stop, and Bed of Lies are some of the great songs on this album. There’s never been a Rob Thomas or Matchbox Twenty song I didn’t like.