Daily Top Five: Sophomore Successes

miranda-lambert-crazyWe’ve all heard of the Sophomore Slump. It’s the phenomenon where an artist’s second album isn’t as good as their first album.

This presumably happens because they’ve had more time to choose or write songs for their first album than they do after their careers have taken off and/or because there was so much hype surrounding their first album that their second album had no chance of living up to anyone’s expectations.

Many artists, however, are able to avoid that slump and their second album ends up turning out to be better or at least as good as their first album.

What are some of your favorite sophomore successes?

Here’s my list:

  1. Miranda Lambert, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  2. Martina McBride, The Way that I am
  3. Tracy Lawrence, Alibis
  4. Shania Twain, The Woman in Me
  5. Sara Watkins, Sun Midnight Sun


  1. 1. Not A Moment Too Soon – Tim McGraw
    2. Pieces Of The Sky – Emmylou Harris
    3. Hard Workin’ Man – Brooks & Dunn
    4. Fire And Smoke – Earl Thomas Conley
    5. My Second Album – Donna Fargo

  2. Dixie Chicks – Fly
    Zac Brown Band – You Get What You Give
    Little Big Town – The Road to Here
    SheDaisy – the underrated Knock on the Sky
    Shania Twain – The Woman in Me, even though I still think come on over is her best.

  3. 1. O’Shea (Australian husband and wife duo) – “One + One”
    2. Mary Chapin Carpenter – “State of the Heart”
    3. Jo Dee Messina – “I’m Alright”
    4. Lisa Brokop – “Every Little Girl’s Dream”
    5. James Otto – “Sunset Man”

  4. 1. David Nail, The Sound of a Million Dreams
    2. Eric Church Carolina
    3. Brantley Gilbert, Halfway to Heaven
    4.Eli Young Band, Level
    5. Chris Young, The Man I Want to Be

  5. 1. Trisha Yearwood, Hearts in Armor
    2. Alan Jackson, Don’t Rock the Jukebox
    3. Martina McBride, The Way That I am
    4. Mary Chapin Carpenter, State of the Heart
    5. Dolly Parton, Just Because I’m a Woman

  6. 1. Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
    2. The Steeldrivers – Reckless
    3. Keith Urban – Golden Road
    4. Mark Chesnutt – Longnecks and Short Stories
    5. John Berry – Standing on the Edge (I actually listened to this recently for the first time in a long time. Berry really did a nice job on ballads, and there’s a lot of good ones on this album.)

    Honorable Mentions: Josh Turner – “Your Man”, and the aforementioned Little Big Town, Zac Brown Band, Brooks and Dunn, and Shania Twain albums.

  7. Pam Tillis easily has the best sophomore release, with eight years between. Her sophomore album launched one of the most impressive careers in country history.

  8. 1. Garth Brooks – No Fences
    2. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
    3. Rodney Hayden – Down The Road
    4. Drew Kennedy – An Audio Guide To Cross Country Travel
    5. Dierks Bentley – Dierks Bentley

  9. Well, the old saw about the “sophomore slump” is that an artist prepares his/her entire life for that first album, and then a mere six months or so for the second. And a lot of the time, it doesn’t quite work. But here are some exceptions:

    1. Desperado–The Eagles
    2. Pieces Of The Sky–Emmylou Harris
    3. Tambourine–Tift Merritt
    4. The Stand-In–Caitlin Rose
    5. Elvis–Elvis Presley

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