| Rock |

Readers Poll: The Best Third Albums Ever

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

This week in 1980, Van Halen released their third album Women And Children First, which contained the hits "And the Cradle Will Rock...," "Everybody Wants Some!! and fan favorite "Romeo Delight."

It's not the best VH album ever, but it was, in fact, their third album. Most VH super-freaks I know and/or read say it is one of their least favorite albums. Understandable.

But it did make me think about other "third" albums in other bands' catalogs. It seems that it took tons of bands three proper full-length studio albums to finally hit on a winning formula, or at least a signature sound.

Kinda like how some people get married three times before they either find the right person they die with, or they just stop getting married. Yeah, that's a great metaphor.

This list excludes EPs and compilations, which means that the Replacements' third album is in fact Let It Be, and not Hootenanny. 1982's Stink was an EP.

This list came from reader submissions on Facebook and Twitter, which means I had to cut the wheat from the chaff as it were when it came to some albums. Someone said that Kid A was Radiohead's third album. What's the matter with you?

Deftones, White Pony

U2, War: It's totally crazy that at this point in 1983 when U2 was releasing War, they were just then warming up. In five years they would be the biggest band on the planet. Like, after War, they could have broken up and they would still be a huge influence on indie-rock. That's saying something. They were just two steps away from The Joshua Tree at that point.

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin III

Nirvana, In Utero

Everclear, So Much for the Afterglow

Spoon, Girls Can Tell

Pearl Jam, Vitalogy

Blink-182, Enema Of The State

ZZ Top, Tres Hombres

The Verve, Urban Hymns: This is probably the only album you ever owned from The Verve (no pipe), but what an album to own. Filled with singles ("Lucky Man," "The Drugs Don't Work," ""Bitter Sweet Symphony") it's one of the most underrated albums of the past two decades.

Pixies, Doolittle

Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Armed Forces

Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run

The Replacements, Let It Be

The White Stripes, White Blood Cells

Aerosmith, Toys In the Attic

At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command

Devo, Freedom of Choice: I can't say enough great things about Freedom Of Choice, so I will let the first saide of the album speak for itself: "Girl U Want", "It's Not Right", "Whip It," "Snowball" "Ton o' Luv," and the title track.

Jay-Z, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life

The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead

Peter Gabriel, III (Melt)

Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger

Bjork, Homogenic:Technically this not Bjork's third album, because her first album, a self-titled 1977 collection of pop covers and originals would make 1995's Post her true third album, and not Homogenic. But since none of you have probably ever heard of this '77 disc, I am including Homogenic.

Twisted Sister, Stay Hungry

Def Leppard, Pyromania.

Bad Religion, Suffer

Wilco, Summerteeth

The Stooges, Raw Power: This one created the template for a lot of punk to come after it's release in 1973. Holy hell, it turns 40 next year?? Let's start planning the party right now.

Green Day, Dookie

Metallica, Master of Puppets

Kanye West, Graduation

Jimmy Eat World, Clarity

The Clash, London Calling: Named Rolling Stone's greatest album of the '80s, even though it was released in December 1979, London Calling catapulted the band from the punk-rock curio cabinet and into full-on rock mythology.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.