It’s hard to break into the music business. It’s hard enough to be a One Hit Wonder, so imagine how difficult it is to put out a decent first album and get noticed in a time when we have manufactured pop tosh, like Cheryl Cole & Nikki Minaj, on loop on every commercial radio station playing in the car. It’s a real shame people actually believe that this type of music is any good, on the notion that “oh it’s played on the radio a lot, so it must be decent and I must spend my hard-earned cash on downloading this!” It really undermines the efforts of actual artists that don’t need a team of song writers, producers to put out really good music but don’t have the same corporate machine ensuring their success by bombarding the air waves with the talent. Sorry, rant over.
Anyways, in no order, here are our favourite debut albums of the last few years,(I’ve tried to keep them within 2002-2012 with one exception). If there’s one you think we missed or you disagree, let us know.
1) Adele – 19 (2008)
With over 5.5 million worldwide sales, this album is what made Adele the household name you see today. For me this album is better than hugely popular 21 and every track on it really carries remarkable depth, with some notable variations from her standard ‘woe is me’ ballads, like Cold Shoulder and Tired. With this album Adele ensured all soppy teen dramas have tear evoking montage music for years to come and it all started with this….
2) The Killers – Hot Fuss (2004)
This is not just music, its art. Yes, I know how big a nonce I sound saying that but I mean it. Sort of. But there is no doubting that is a complete album which every song could have been successful standalone singles. I definitely think this is The Killers’ best album and that is saying something about how good Hot Fuss is. Oh and I heard Mr. Brightside was song of the decade?
3) Jose Gonzalez – Veneer (2003)
This is a controversial choice as it didn’t have massive commercial success and took 3 years before it started to sell, in part thanks to a TV ad. And yes people might say the songs do sound a tad similar, doesn’t mean they’re still not ace. This is a compilation of hushed acoustic bliss, with a lot of introspection despite titleing it Veneer it really goes beneath the surface, on a very sombre level with his cover of Heartbeats by the Knife’s as the brilliant centrepiece.
4) Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again (2012)
This is the youngest album on the list and it didn’t sell that well. There was a lot of hype following the London born singer songwriter, after being named the Sound of 2012 by the BBC and the success of his debut single Home Again and, for me, he lived up to the hype. This album really should be appreciated for its versatility, with songs clearly influenced by icons like Otis Redding & Sam Cooke, to others songs that wouldn’t be out of place in a Jack Johnson CD or Bill Withers. It’s a refreshing throwback to yesteryear but has a great contemporary appeal.
5) The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From the Vaccines
Love this, a pulsating indie rock that is a throwback to the glory days of Brit Rock which gives off a working class northerner vibe with shades of the Strokes and the Smiths. Plus it’s brimming with tracks that you can and will jump around to.
6) Newton Faulkner – Hand Built by Robots (2007)
This was a slow burner in terms of sales but it’s a really fun album from the Dreadlocked Ginger Ninja from Surrey. This is right at home amongst travellers (on the gypsy kind, more the Gap yah kind) or the Surfing scene and really benefited from all the Jack Johnson loving that was going on in 2007. It’s a great debut piece.
7) The XX – xx (2009)
This lived up to the considerable hype and even won a Mercury Music prize after only one single was released. This is a really special listen, really paced out and a critically acclaimed debut album.
8) Kanye West – The College Drop Out (2004)
For me, this is iconic. Not because it’s his best album, it isn’t (Graduation is) but this is what opened the world up to the exceedingly eccentric Kanye before he got really crazy. A range of clever sampling that we had given a glimpse into through Jay-Z songs like Lucifer, that Kanye had produced. This is all Kanye, all day.
9) Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, I’m Not. (2006)
The fastest-selling UK debut by a band ever, thanks to clever lyrics and tunes as wired and scattered like a shotgun, this is the soundtrack to a lot of British Teens in the late nouties. Yes, Alex turner might be a bit of a knob, but he can write a cracking track, and yes I do look good on the dance floor.
Find Part 2 here. Feel free to comment, disagree etc. cheers