Our Top Five Best Comeback Albums
Published on 12 November 2021
There are times in life where you have to overcome a major setback in order to find your way back to success. And that’s pretty much how it goes for some of the best artists on the planet.
Everyone loves a comeback story and the music industry is full of memorable ones. Every once in a while an artist or band breaks up, goes on hiatus or just mysteriously disappears from the scene without a trace. Sometimes, new albums aren’t received as well as the band would hope they’d be. Or, sometimes their new direction isn’t what the fans want. It happens all the time. But, the best bands are the ones that come back fighting.
Since the long awaited release of Limp Bizkit’s new album, we’ve been thinking about the best comeback albums over the years. Whilst there have been many great returns we’ve whittled it down to our top five. So without further ado, let’s dive in…
Still Sucks - Limp Bizkit
It’s official. 2021 is the year of Limp Bizkit.
We thought we might as well start off with the album that inspired this blog. After a long 10 years of endlessly waiting and constantly googling for news about new potential material, Limp Bizkit finally released their sixth studio album Still Sucks a few weeks ago. When we say it has been on repeat ever since, we mean REPEAT. Sorry family… we’re not sorry. Still Sucks marks the band’s first full-length album since Gold Cobra in 2011, and after a decade of countless false starts and shelved ideas, their new release is everything we could have ever hoped for. Suppose we’ll forgive them for taking so long!
Punchy vocals, full-throttle attitude, obnoxious lyrics, infectious hooks and plenty of variety to keep you going cover to cover. Featuring classic hip-hop tracks to softer ballads, do Limp Bizkit still suck? No. Not that they care anyway.
Limp Bizkit 2.0 is here.
Back in Black - AC/DC
Going back in rock history, AC/DC have sure had their fair share of chaos over the years. Just after hitting the big time with the release of Highway to Hell, the band tragically lost their lead singer Bon Scott in 1980 and it looked unlikely that the band were ever going to bounce back. Understandably, the band did briefly contemplate ending things. However, after mourning the loss of Scott, getting their heads together and recruiting new band member Brian Johnson, the band were back… Back in Black. Released in 1980, Back in Black was the seventh studio album for the band and went on to sell an estimated 50 million copies worldwide. A legendary tribute to Bon Scott, it received positive critical reception at the time of its release and has since been included in numerous lists of “greatest” and “must listen to before you die” albums.
It’s hard to imagine that if the band hadn’t turned a corner after losing Scott, as hard as it must have been, we would have missed out on so much iconic material. As far as comebacks go, the band came back and knocked the door down with this one.
Time Out of Mind - Bob Dylan
When an artist is busy making their 30th album, you wouldn’t think that there would be any need for a “comeback” moment or any concern about what they were about to release. But alas, the 80s were tough on Bob Dylan after struggling to find a consistently engaging sound and releasing a string of commercially disappointing records. Was this the end of the road for Dylan? Following his 1990 album Under the Red Sky, Dylan embarked on an extended - and probably much needed - seven-year hiatus, with his career possibly coming to an end.
That was until he finally returned to the studio and partnered with producer Daniel Lanois in 1997 to release his most poignant album in years, Time Out of Mind. Dylan was back, baby! Even his most devoted fans claimed that his best days were behind him until he released this masterpiece. Not since his 1974 Blood on the Tracks record had Dylan released an album so highly praised by fans and critics. The album was praised for its songwriting and productions and went on to win three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Dylan was already a musical legend but a late-career renaissance never hurt anyone. It was the dawn of a new era for the comeback kid.
American Idiot - Green Day
While the band made huge waves with their breakthrough album Dookie, their follow up albums never really had the same effect as their predecessor. Green Day fans REALLY didn’t like their 2000’s album Warning. Well, that was a bit harsh, but the album was a stylistic departure for the band, especially in terms of lyrics and themes, and in turn, was their first major-label release to not reach platinum status.
In 2004, Green Day were back and ready to pull the pin on the grenade with their latest release American Idiot, their most ambitious album yet. And boy, they sure came back with a bang. American Idiot is a seminal masterpiece and an era-defining record of the 2000s and essentially brought the band back into relevance. Alongside a wealth of unbelievably catchy riffs and hooks, the album is packed with hard-hitting lyrics that deal with themes of fear, xenophobia and accusing the mass media of controlling the population. There really isn’t a single moment on this record that doesn’t catch your attention. 17 years since its release and this album still packs a punch.
Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers were classed as a niche band before the release of their 1991 album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which saw them reach dizzying heights of success. Unfortunately, guitarist John Frusciante struggled with his newfound fame and quit the band as a result. The band brought in new guitarist Dave Navarro and released their follow up album One Hot Minute which was both a critical and commercial disappointment. As a result, they were starting to lose people’s interest and popularity.
Was this the end for the RHCP? With the band close to calling it quits, the group parted ways with Navarro due to “creative differences” and made the decision to bring back their former guitarist. With Frusciante back in the game, they released their comeback record Californication in 1999 which went on to become their best-selling album. This record gave the Red Hot Chili Peppers a rare gift - a new start into their already 15-year long career and for a lot of fans, this was their jumping on point.
Well, there you have it, folks! What do you think is the greatest album comeback of all time? We’d love to know! And if you’re not listening to the new Limp Bizkit album already… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??!