10 Music Artists Who Released Their Best Album Last

Better to burn out than fade away.

In Utero Cover
DGC Records

It's always best when an artist bows out at the very top of their game, and as each and every new artist strives to put out their best album yet, it often doesn't come until late in their career.

Some get lucky, and capture lightning in a bottle right out of the gate with their debut becoming a hit, but for other artists, it can take years to put out something that tops their discography.

Be it the way the album is produced, the topics it covers, or the musical arrangements that feature throughout, sometimes greatness takes time, and refining a sound over numerous albums to create one that truly stands out from the rest is more common than many would initially believe.

Going out with an epic swan song is the perfect way to say goodbye to fans, be it because tragedy strikes, or the artists move onto something different. It's hard for fans to accept the end of the road, especially when the final release is the best one yet, but like a great encore, it's always best to leave fans wanting more.

10. The Ballad Of Dood And Juanita - Sturgill Simpson

For all his antics, from busking outside the CMA's, to the content of each new release, Sturgill Simpson is one of the most exciting, intriguing, and musically gifted artists to come from the contemporary country scene.

Being from the hills of Kentucky, his flavour of country is far from the glitzy lights of Nashville, instead opting to release a discography of music that forgoes snap-tracks, endless features, and samey lyrics in favour of far more Appalachian substance.

Each of Sturgill Simpson's offerings are wholly unique from one another, and though offerings like Sound & Fury may stay with the listener far longer, The Ballad of Dood and Juanita is a delightful album to end what is 17 years of superb quality.

2021's The Ballad of Dood and Juanita is wonderful, drawing clear inspiration from country music from decades past. It's far from groundbreaking, and won't be confused for a spacey, prog-rock symphony, but the simplicity in its storytelling pairs wonderfully with the sharp fiddle, rumbly double bass, and raspy vocals.

Simpson has remained steadfast on his belief that five studio albums would be all he would release as a solo artist, explaining that each has a pivotal role to play in a much wider story.

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Fan of ducks, ice tea and escapism. Spends much of his time persistently saying 'I have so much studying to do' before watching Zoey 101 for the millionth time. Thinks Uncharted 3 is the best one.