T Nation

Bands Who Only Made One Good Album


The Strokes. I know their other albums are better than most however nothing comes near their debut.


95% of hardcore bands from the 80's and early 90's...sometimes it wasn't even an album, and just a 7" or EP.

Notable examples include: No Warning, CIV, Merauder, and The Germs


Clarifications needed:

Good by who's standards? Mine or according hit charts?
One good album or one hit?

Off hand, who remembers Vertical Horizon, Tonic, and Marvelous 3?


I still listen to Vertical Horizon once in awhile. "Everything You Want" was/is a great album. What I've heard of their newer stuff, it still has a nice 90's sound to it.


I have a collection of over 2,000 records/CD's, all inventoried in Excel, so I scanned up and down the list and found it really difficult to find a band that made multiple albums but only had one good album. I can think of quite a few bands that made SEVERAL good albums, and then went to shit (REM, Psychedelic Furs, Ramones, Siouxsie & the Banshees)

I finally found two:

The Pixies "Surfer Rosa" (1988). Raw rocking songs, produced by Steve Albini. I really can't stand any of their other albums because they seem stale and overproduced in comparison, and I sold them all years ago. I'm sure fans of the band will completely disagree with me.

Diamondhead "Lightning to the Nations" (1980). Excellent medelodic thrash metal that even people who hate metal would love. Metallica has covered half the songs on this album, and the other half are great too. Then Diamondhead prompty decided to become wimpy spandex hair metal sissies, before it was even popular to do so.


Easy. Linkin Park. Their first album, Hybrid Theory, was awesome. Everything they have done since sucks.


I can go with that.


Meteora was not a total loss. Wasnt Hybrid Theory, but it wasnt bad. Past that though...damn...


Pretty much every punk band. (real punk, kids)

Pistols, Buzzcocks, Adverts, Clash, Damned, X-Ray Spex, Slits, Gen X, Gang of Four, Raincoats.

I don't care what the opinion of the plebs is, the Clash had one good album.


Edie Brickell and New Bohemians "Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars"


Pearl Jam. Should've stopped after "Ten". Some OK songs scattered throughout their later albums, but the debut was solid front-to-back.


this one will be controversial....

Def Leppard - high and dry.

all the other albums they put out suck ass.

let the flaming begin~


D-Generation's first album.

Buckcherry's first album (I though Crazy Bitch from their 2nd album was pure crap).

Jane's Addiction's first album




Seven Mary Three - American Standard

White Zombie - Astro Creep 2000

Helmet - Meantime


Butthole Surfers-Electric Larry Land

Quiet Riot-Metal Health

Accept-Balls to the Wall

Megadeth-Countdown to Extinction


I'm friends with a very well known music critic and the topic of 1 album wonders was brought up. He made a couple points, first a bands best album is almost always it's first. It's the album that cements the bands sound in it's fans' minds and future diversions from that will be looked at as somehow "less than".

Second, the songwriter put the best songs he's written up til that time on that first album. The second album, often the victim of the sophomore slump, might be the result of a year and a half of writing while touring to support the first album and leftovers that didn't make the cut on the first.

That being said, London Calling was much better than The Clash.


Quite a few bands do better on the second album. Radiohead's Pablo Honey (the first album) had Creep, a great track, but the rest was forgettable. Then came The Bends which was awesome. Everything after that was pretentious wank, though some may disagree.

Muse's first album was alright, but Origin of Symmetry eclipsed it by a long way. (Then again, they are hardly one album wonders - they seem to keep getting better).

As for one album wonders, I think that likely applies to more bands than it does not.


What about "Doolittle"? I agree with you mostly though.


Good points, and I agree about London Calling (also had one the THE best album covers in rock history, IMHO. In a single frozen moment, it just summed up the raw power and destruction that punk injected into the scene).