Our Favourite Debut Albums
Published on 08 April 2021
A debut album is a statement. It’s the moment that a band or artist makes their mark on the music world. It’s an introduction to an audience and is ultimately a statement for what they stand for, and we all know how important first impressions are.
So, who did it best? Today, we’re looking at some of our favourite debut albums. Obviously, we could have gone on and on for quite some time here. So to narrow it down, we took into account the albums critical and commercial success, its impact on the band and the influence it had on future artists.
In no particular order, let’s go...
The Smiths - The Smiths
This is The Smiths at their purest. Released in February 1984, the band's self-titled album was a game-changer. At the time of its release, there was nothing quite like it on the scene. Morrissey’s songs about sexual confusion and general sorrow and misery were revelations, especially when accompanied by Johnny Marr’s chiming guitar parts
The Smiths tracklist isn't just cover to cover of traditional love songs or break-up anthems, the music was music more than that. Tracks such as This Charming Man and Hand in Glove will always be the songs that stand out for us on this record. And hey, who can argue with the classics? They have the perfect balance of Marr’s poppy, sundrenched melancholy guitar, paired with Morrissey’s coy, drab vocal (in the best way possible, of course) with endless British charm.
Oasis - Definitely Maybe
Released in August 1994, the debut album from the forever-arguing Manunican siblings topped the charts during its first week of release and became the UK’s fastest-selling debut album at the time. This album is packed with killer songs, catchy hooks and hopeful themes, and perfectly showcases the Gallagher brothers lyrical and vocal abilities. The perfect introduction to what the band was about.
As the bands fame and popularity spread around the world, Definitely Maybe ensured that their music would Live Forever as part of the Brit-Pop music scene.
The Who - My Generation
The Who’s My Generation defines an era. This explosive body of work is just what a debut album should be. It’s dynamic, bold and ultimately, it was made to make a statement. The album was turbo-charged with Townshend’s aggressive guitar playing, Keith Moon’s manic drumming and Daltrey’s raw, distinctive vocals. It’s rare for a debut record to define music for decades to come, but The Who and My Generation did just that.
The Clash - The Clash
Stepping out from the shadow of the Sex Pistols, The Clash released their self-titled debut album in April 1977 and made a strong statement from the get-go with their in-your-face attitude and memorable songs. Hurriedly written and recorded in just three weeks, the album is packed full of raw energy, rage and ambition, and paints a picture of what it was like to young and living in London in the 70s. Filled to the brim with classics such as White Riot and Janie Jones, this album paved the way for great things to come for the band.
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath's debut album was groundbreaking. It was the album that shook the music world to its core and is the record responsible for the birth of Heavy Metal. All it took was four guys from Birmingham to roll into a studio and knock out a full album in less than one day to change music forever. Loaded with doomsday lyrics, menacing riffs and pure metal magic, this record is legendary for a reason.
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Released in 1979, Unknown Pleasures is the ultimate timeless album. Right from the start, Joy Division stood out. In the list of 101 Albums You Should Listen to Before You Die and with one of the most recognisable album covers, this record is unlike any album that had been released before it. Or, indeed, any album released since.
It’s mysterious, compelling, intense, and at times, aggressive. And, forty years since its release, this album has stood the test of time and is a record we come back to time and time again.
Last year we had the honour of speaking with the legendary Peter Hook, check out our interview here.
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
To ignore this debut album would have been totally criminal. Not only is this one of the best debut albums of all time, it is one of the most influential and pivotal moments in rock history. Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin is a record that changed the entire face of music. From start to finish this monstrous album is packed with raw energy and power.
Pearl Jam - Ten
Besides Nirvana’s Nevermind, there was no other album that popularised grunge and alternative rock among the masses as much as Pearl Jam’s Ten. Its blend of classic hard and post-punk-rock featured memorable hooks and choruses that were set among politically driven lyrics, all sung by Eddie Vedder’s distinctive vocals.
Although the sales of Ten were slow at first, the album eventually reached number two on the US Billboard charts and went on to mould the sound of Rock for decades to come.
So there you have it folks, the debut albums that paved the way for greatness! For many bands, the debut album is one of the most important and vital moments in their career, and as we've seen today, getting it right first-time is massively beneficial! We could've included loads more but we want to hear your favourites in the comments below!