3 Is A Magic Number

Third albums can be pivotal. They often represent the moment when artists kick into a higher creative gear. You’ll notice that the list below doesn’t contain many temporary artists. That can be due to my current curmudgeonly state of mind regarding “the new stuff” coming out, or it could be due to the recording industry’s “you better damn well be successful with your debut or we’ll drop you like a hot potato” stance of late.

Coming up with a list of great third albums is a pretty difficult task, actually. Great debuts are easy. Worst albums are a cake-walk. But you have to do a little research with third albums. In compiling this list I was forced to double check myself by going to allmusic.com for a full 50% of entries. At any rate I think the list below makes a pretty solid point that third albums can be a definite highpoint in an artist’s discography. Of course third albums can be absolute shit (I’m lookin’ at you, Oasis!), but that’s another list.

Great Third Albums

After The Gold Rush, Neil Young
London Calling, The Clash
Rocket To Russia, Ramones
I Often Dream Of Trains, Robyn Hitchcock
Maggot Brain, Funkadelic
Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
OK Computer, Radiohead
Raw Power, Iggy and the Stooges
Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen
Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground
The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths
Screamadelica, Primal Scream
Giant Steps, Boo Raleys
Parklife, Blur
Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches, Happy Mondays
Sail Away, Randy Newman
The Man Who Sold The World, David Bowie
Armed Forces, Elvis Costello
Low-Life, New Order
Damn The Torpedos, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, Spiritualized