20 Best Second Albums of All Time

If at first you don't succeed – or even if you do – try, try again: Here are the best follow-ups in history

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Public Enemy, 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back' (1988)
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Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings5/20

5. Public Enemy, 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back' (1988)

Brutally spare? Public Enemy had already mastered that on Yo! Bum Rush the Show. Now they were ready to give us more. Chuck D's rhymes are more intricate and allusive, his moral tone more authoritative, his foes more varied and numerous. Flavor Flav's laces his comic routines with more absurdity, more personality, more flavor. And production crew the Bomb Squad sprays astringent caterwaul everywhere with a graffiti writer's hatred of blank space, yoking any prior musical movement once dismissed as noise – from free jazz to punk to metal – to a disciplined funk backbone.

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