Artist's albums you got later, but like better

When I purchase an album, it’s exceedingly rare that I will later purchase one that will exceed the first one I got. Sure, it’s somewhat attributable to nostalgia and “loyalty”, but it’s also partially “natural selection”, in that if it’s not that great an album to begin with I’m not really likely to buy another one from that artist!

In fact, I can only think of two instances where an album I bought later definitely exceeds the quality of an earlier-purchased album:

Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys is much better than Licensed to Ill.
Welcome Interstate Managers and Utopia Parkway are both better than Fountains of Wayne’s eponymous release even though that has their breakaway best song IMO, Leave the Biker.

There are also three near-examples, but all three consist of a Later album I got from a band first, then bought their earlier album and now play the album they recorded first (but I bought later) more than the album I bought first. In all three instances it’s because I played the first album I bought so much that I sort of burnt out on it, and revel in the energy the “younger” album brings. In none of these cases I have yet to catch up to the album in total playing time (since all three of these were on constant rotation when I first got them.) I also still have a fondness in my heart for the quality of the first album I got from these groups even if I seldom get the urge to break them out again.

I listen to these early albums more than their later albums, even though I purchased the early albums after the later albums:

The Second Stage Turbine Blade by Coheed and Cambria versus their later offering of In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3.
Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge by My Chemical Romance versus their later Black Parade.
Led Zeppelin 1 versus “4”.

Off the top of my head:

Soft Machine Third was better than Volume 2, which I got first.
Blood Sweat and Tears Child is Father to the Man. Like many, I got this because I liked the album Blood Sweat and Tears. The latter I don’t care much for any more, but the former is one of the great albums of the 60s.
Bonzo Dog Band’s Urban Spaceman was great, but Tadpoles was better.
The first Led Zeppelin album I bought was #2, which was surpassed immensely by Led Zep 4 and 1.
Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma was good, but I prefer Echoes or Atom Heart Mother
The first Beatles album I bought was Sgt. Pepper (in mono), but I prefer several others to it – Revolver, Abbey Road, Rubber Sould and The White Album (not that it isn’t a great album, too).

I forgot about the Beatles, that is another questionable case. I loved Magical Mystery Tour to death, and I still think that it has better songs than the other two Beatles album I own, but I think that Revolver and Rubber Soul, which I got afterward, are better as Albums.

I started getting into Genesis at the age of twelve, when their self-titled album was released. My knowledge of their prior music at the time was limited to their radio hits - “Turn It On Again”, “Abacab”, etc.

Little did I know what a wonderful experience I would have discovering the “real” Genesis!

There are some artists, like The Kinks and The Moody Blues, that I first got into through their 80’s work, then went back and got albums from their “golden age” which I liked even better.

My introduction to Madness was the self-titled album that Geffen records released for the American markets, but then I got, and loved, both their later “Keep Moving” and their earlier “One Step Beyond.”

My first Trip Shakespeare album was “Are You Shakesperienced?” but later, when they released “Lulu,” it became one of my favorite albums.

I think They Might Be Giants were at their best on “Apollo 18,” though I’ve been listening to them since their first, self-titled album.