After 3 attempts write this, this is my last go. Trying to sum up the importance of a debut album isn’t easy, nor is it easy trying to think of the best debut albums ever. There have been so many phenomenal debut albums, some people just overlook and others are regarded as highly influential.
Over the past 3 years there have been some amazing debut albums released such as Lungs by Florence And The Machine to Cults self titled debut which was released this year.
The hardest thing about putting out such a great first album is following it up. How many bands have managed to set such a high calibre with their first album and pull it off with every release? Of course The Smiths managed to do it, and in my biased opinion, more recently The Horrors have evidently done it. More on Strange House later. I always have strong affection towards debut albums as you can truly feel and understand what an artist is trying to do. It’s always good to listen back to a debut album when a band has released 3 or 4 albums into their career. You can really hear how an artist has grown and changed their sound.
My personal favourite debut album of all time has to be Psychocandy by The Jesus And Mary Chain. I love the reverb sound, the intense subject matter and of course Jim Reid’s stunning vocals. I adore the production on the album, it has influenced so many bands that I love such as The Horrors. There has never been a debut album as gripping and as brutal as Psychocandy. Although the band have released some fantastic albums, this is the one that stands out for me- it is timeless and just everything an album should be. It’s dark, it is passionate and honest. If more music was to this standard, well, the music industry would be in a better place I suppose. The Jesus And Mary Chain is a band that inspires me in ways no other band ever has, and probably ever will. Of course The Smiths are the band that owns my heart, but I feel The Jesus And Mary Chain own a part of my mind. The heart is greater, that I know. I just love the feeling I get from listening to Psychocandy, it just feels like the first time I am listening to it every time I do. It’s just a perfect debut album from start to finish. I don’t think any album has single-handedly started its own genre in a way Psychocandy did. It’s just everything, and anything after it has just lurked in its shadows.
Last year two debut albums came out that just instantly blew me away. I felt like I was in a different time whilst listening to it- personally, that’s what makes a remarkable album. Regardless if it is a debut album or an artists fifth album.
The two albums are Best Coast’s debut self titled release and of course, The Fool by Warpaint.
Best Coast’s debut was the soundtrack to summer 2010, there’s no denying it. The album instantly became a piece of art that I treasured so much, I still play it every single day. There is not one song that bores me. I don’t really hold any personal situations to the album, give it time I guess. It’s just an album that makes me feel like I am sitting on a beach, staring out to sea and forgetting everything. It’s the perfect form of escapism. I love Bethany’s vocals especially on Our Deal. There’s something so heartbreaking about that song, but you just can’t stop listening to it. Oh her cat, Snacks is quite possibly the cutest animal ever.
Where do I start when talking about The Fool by Warpaint? Anyone who knows me a tiny bit will know that album is one of the most important albums in my life, ever. Of all the albums I own, this one is one I hold very highly. I love how every song makes me feel like I am floating on water towards something better. There’s always something better. Warpaint’s music makes a hopeless person like myself quite hopeful.
Songs such as Lissie’s Heart Murmur and Shadows are so important to me. The way Emily sings on Lissie’s Heart Murmur just moves me in a way I didn’t think could happen. I adore Theresa’s vocals on Shadows, so much frustration in the line,” I feel like the shadows, I don’t even bother for any more than that.” It’s an album to lose yourself in, and probably find parts of yourself too.
I remember seeing a copy of an album with five men wearing high-heels and make-up on the cover and just being in awe of the cover. I found the album in the drawer in the living room at my mum’s house when I was around 15/16. I took the album to my room and just played it. I didn’t move. I was entirely transfixed with the sounds that were coming out of my temperamental CD player.
New York Dolls are quite possibly one of the most important bands ever. They’ve influenced so many artists that I adore with every fibre of my being. Yes, I mean Morrissey. Their debut album has one song on it that just means the universe to me, Subway Train. I adore everything about the song, especially the lyrics. Frustration with a twinge of angst- mixed with longing. They are the best kinds of songs and Subway Train is one of them.
The album is the blueprint of what would later emerge from New York City.
Although Live It Out is my favourite album by them, Metric’s debut release, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? is such a fantastic piece of art. The album starts with IOU, and right from the start you fall in love with Metric’s sound. They have a specific sound that I have never ever heard in any band. Whether it be in a band I love or a band I dislike, their sound is something that has never been replicated- thankfully. I highly doubt anyone could. Songs such as Wet Blanket, Combat Baby, Dead Disco and The List are just stunning. I’ve been fortunate to see them live, and the energy they have on record is just the same live. Just with a bit more sweat. The production is just stunning. I’ve been a fan of Metric since they started out and their sound is so distinctive. What I love about their debut is the Punk and Riot Grrrl feel it has- two genres that mean a lot to me, and for a band such as Metric to combine those two genres to create Old World Underground was just brilliant.
I have two more debut albums to write about. Both have this brutal sound to it and contain such a force that just shakes your world and your whole being. I know that the albums I have mentioned and are about to mention are probably odd choices for some, but they are debut albums that just mean a lot to me, and to others I’m sure. I could mention the usual such as The Smiths debut album and Is This It by The Strokes, both albums of course are masterpieces and mean a lot to me. I have Is This It tattooed on me. Some may think it’s a morbid thing to have tattooed, it isn’t- it’s a declaration of love for such a phenomenal album.
Strange House by The Horrors is a frickin’ amazing take on Garage-Rock. I remember skipping a lecture at University to go out and buy the album. I did it a lot whilst at College and Uni. My priorities have always been based on music; it’s a good and bad thing. Good for me, and it probably pisses others off. They don’t get it, I don’t expect them to.
I feel Strange House has been overlooked by so many. Guaranteed it sounds nothing like Primary Colours and Skying- none of The Horrors albums sound like their last one at all. That’s why I love them. Their music means a lot to me, I cannot describe why. Strange House reminds me of my first year of Uni. Probably the happiest I have ever been. Everything was new to me and I was becoming the person I always wanted to be. The sound on Strange House just instantly took over me. From Faris’s screams to Rhys’ mental keyboard skills. I remember going back home during the holidays and my mum telling me she loved Count In Fives. I’ve played her all three albums by them, and she too is in awe of their sound. I’ve got a pretty cool family. My auntie and uncle both adore The Horrors.
The way The Horrors dressed during the Strange House era was just beautiful. If I was a guy, or hell, if I was skinny I’d probably dress like that. I know they will never create an album with the same sound as Strange House but each album still has that raw, brutal feel. A feel that is not evident in a lot of music right now. A lot of people are getting into The Horrors based on the single Still Life. However, I urge you new fans to please listen to Strange House. It’ll do you a world of good if you do.
The last album that I am going to bore you with, if you are still with me is, Keep On Your Mean Side by The Kills. The title alone is bloody great. The album defines the whole sound of The Kills. Unapologetic brutal, dark, intense, raw and powerful sounds. Everything about this album is sheer perfection. From start to finish the album has you in a chokehold. The Kills music feels like a pleasurable punch to the face. It hits you over and over- you don’t care if it hurts, it is the best feeling ever. The music has this hold over you. Alison’s beautiful and vengeful voice twinned with Jamie’s genius guitar playing steals your heart away. It takes you to a place that is dark, poetic and sublime. I love how they have captured the same feeling people must have got when they first heard The Velvet Underground when they started. They are my generation’s take on The Velvet Underground. The dark lyrics with harsh guitar sounds, it’s just everything that music should be.
I adore Alison’s vocals on Wait and Gypsy Death & You. It is so pure, just enthralling. I love the aggression in their music- songs such as Cat Claw, Fried My Little Brains and Kissy Kissy just pour out such aggression that overwhelms you and leaves you thinking and feeling “The hell have I just exposed my ears and soul to?!” It is hands down, one of the most brutal debut albums I have ever heard and probably will hear. It’s brutal in an Iggy Pop sense, true Punk ethic. The Kills are a band that I look up to; I love the connection Alison and Jamie have with each other. I love that just two people have created a sound that so many need so many others around them to create and just cannot get it right- The Kills just need each other to make that sound. I admire them so much; I’d say they are quite possibly the hardest working musicians around. I cannot praise them enough nor can I express my love for their music in good enough words. Each album they put out has the same level of intensity and frustration in it- with no apologise or explanation. It just is. And what it is, is truly beautiful.
I know there are so many albums I could have written about such as The Long Blondes debut album, Scott Matthews debut solo album, Richard Hawley, Ramones- the list is endless. I just wrote about the ones that mean something to me.
Recently my mum posted me a Morrissey book and Scott Matthews debut album. She knows of my love for The Walker Brothers and I was familiar with Scott’s solo work. It’s a beautiful debut album. As are debuts from others such as Zola Jesus, The xx, Aaliyah, Jay-Z. Honestly, the list is endless and the more I mention the more I want to write about these albums. It just shows how vital the debut album really is, and a lot of the time- inspires others to pick up an instrument and start their own movement. I’ve written over 2000, I think I’ve bored you enough now haven’t I?!