Some music critics pick up on 'second album syndrome' - the phenomenon of a band's second album being significantly weaker than their first. Other critis believe in 'third album syndrome' instead.
I took 15 of my favourite bands/artists and ranked their first 3 albums. I gave 3 points to the best album for each band, 2 points to the second beat, and 1 point to the weakest.
The overall results:
First albums: total 27 points
Second albums: total 34 points
Third albums: total 29 points
Only 4 bands registered their first album as their best, compared to 5 bands (though none of my fave six) who registered their second album as their best, and 6 bands whose 3rd album was their best.
7 bands registered thewir first albums as weakest, compared to only 1 band whose second album was the weakest and 7 bands whose third was the weakest.
I conclude from this small study that second/third album syndrome is a myth.