They don't call it "that difficult second album" for nothing – many artists find following up a debut doesn't quite work out as they'd hoped. Dua Lipa has certainly bucked that trend, taking her second record Future Nostalgia to Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart.
We look a few acts who made album number two look like a breeze, either cementing the success of their first album with an even bigger follow-up, or banishing the ghost of an underperforming debut with a sophomore smash. Plus, we reveal the UK's biggest second studio albums since 2000 at the bottom of the page.
Golden boy George Ezra's debut Wanted On Voyage spent an impressive 46 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 in 2014–5, four of those at the very top, and amassed 1.44 million sales across physical, download and streaming equivalent sales. Follow-up Staying At Tamara's managed to go right in at the top – which Wanted On Voyage did not – and its proving to be just as enduring as its predecessor with 65 weeks in the Top 10 to date.
Tottenham's brightest star won over critics and fans with her first effort, 19, and sold respectably and spent one week at the top, but it was its successor that went stellar. 21, released three years later in 2011, is one of the biggest albums of all time, spending 23 weeks at Number 1 and shifting 5.29 million chart sales (including streams) to date. View Adele's full Official Chart history here.
There are records that ignore the "difficult second album" curse, and there are those that smash it to pieces. Oasis's Definitely Maybe was always going to be a tough act to follow, with two million copies sold, but (What's The Story) Morning Glory barely even broke a sweat. Four Top 3 singles, including Wonderwall and Number 1 Don't Look Back In Anger, and 10 weeks at the top of the Official Albums Chart, with 4.24 million copies sold. It is, as you can imagine, one of the biggest selling albums of all time.
The late great Amy Winehouse attracted a fair bit of attention with her bluesy, raw debut Frank, but it was her second album Back to Black that made the rest of the world sit up and realise a superstar was born, in 2006. Finally scoring her first Top 10 single, Rehab, it became one of the most successful albums of all time, on 4 million chart sales to date. Back to Black's success is even more poignant when you consider it was also Amy's last studio album before her sad passing in 2011. View Amy Winehouse's full Official Chart history.
Ed's debut + didn't exactly do too badly, spending 32 straight weeks in the Top 10 following its release in 2011, including three at the top, but it was x – aka Multiply – that certainly lived up to its name and transformed Ed's success. 74 consecutive weeks in the Top 10, 13 at the top, and a whopping 3.55 million chart sales. See where all of Ed Sheeran's singles and albums have charted.
While she had a strong start with debut single Pon Da Replay in 2005, not that many people remember (or bought) her first album Music of the Sun, which stalled at Number 35. Thankfully she very quickly followed it up with the much more memorable, and successful A Girl Like Me, which went Top 5 and spawned two huge singles, SOS and Unfaithful. As you can see here, she just got bigger and bigger from then onwards.
Has there ever been a makeover quite so impactful, and successful, as this one? A total transformation from her sugary, self-titled debut, Christina Aguilera's sophomore stomper Stripped was a phenomenon, with a string of Top 10s, including two Number 1s Dirrty and Beautiful, shifting 2.03 million to date.
As we all know by now, Sugababes didn't have the best of starts, and their ending was pretty gruesome too. But in between, they did rather brilliantly. The trio's debut One Touch suffered disappointing sales and a chart peak of 26, followed by the departure of founder member Siobhan Donaghy. With new girl Heidi Range on board, second album Angels With Dirty Faces had the good fortune to launch with two Number 1 singles in Freak Like Me and Round Round, catapulting all the way to... well, Number 2, but it was a huge seller with 928,000 chart sales. View Sugababes' full Official Chart history here.
Coldplay suffered a case of second album woes in 2002, asking their label to postpone the release after deciding they weren't happy with what they'd produced. Still, when its release finally arrived in August that year, it was huge. The collection debuted at Number 1, just like their previous album Parachutes, and has gone on to shift just shy of 3 million in the UK.
Once the world woke up to Ellie's talent, thanks in part to early hit Starry Eyed and her cover of Elton John's Your Song, her debut album Lights was a huge hit, shifting over 840,000. Second album nerves didn't seem to be in sight, and with good reason – while Halcyon was a bit of a slow-burner, it ended up outselling its predecessor, scoring 1.25 million sales across all formats. And it gave her her first Number 1 single with Burn.
She's one of the most successful female artists of all time, but back in 1984, following the release of her debut album, Madonna still had plenty to prove. Despite two hit singles, Madonna's self-titled first album had, shall we say, a lacklustre performance, hanging around the lower reaches of the Top 100 and breaking the Top 40 once. Its follow-up, Like A Virgin, released at the end of that year took its time too, but went onto become a Number 1 album, spending 83 weeks in the Top 40. It also boosted that debut – it finally went Top 10 in mid-1985.
Incredible as it may seem, Katy's debut album, while a strong seller, never actually made the Top 10 - despite spawning huge Number 1 single I Kissed A Girl. One of the Boys, which has shifted 718,000 across all formats, stalled at 11, but follow-up Teenage Dream soon swept away any bad karma. It went straight in at the top in 2010 and a reissue, known as The Complete Confection, brought it storming back to the Top 10 18 months later. It's shifted 1.44 million across physical, download and streaming equivalent sales.
While it may have missed the Top 10, Pink's 2000 debut Can't Take Me Home sold pretty well, so you'd expect maybe more of the same for album number two. Pink really switched things up, however, nudging out the R&B of her first record for a tougher, poppier and rocky sound. And the formula certainly worked. 2002's Missundaztood – try getting that one past auto correct on your phone – somehow missed the Number 1 spot (!) but was a huge seller. 1.82 million copies sold and over seven months in the Official Albums Chart Top 10.
The Top 20 biggest second studio (sophomore) albums on the Official Chart since 2000
|2||BACK TO BLACK||AMY WINEHOUSE||2006|
|4||A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD||COLDPLAY||2002|
|5||LIFE FOR RENT||DIDO||2003|
|7||SUNNY SIDE UP||PAOLO NUTINI||2009|
|10||COAST TO COAST||WESTLIFE||2002|
|11||FRIDAY'S CHILD||WILL YOUNG||2003|
|16||TEENAGE DREAM||KATY PERRY||2010|
|17||THE DEFAMATION OF STRICKLAND BANKS||PLAN B||2010|
|20||PIECE BY PIECE||KATIE MELUA||2005|
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