It’s always interesting hearing a band’s first album release. Many bands develop and refine their music over time, sometimes experimenting with different projects. Yet every so often, a band will smash the ground running with a mesmerizing debut album that shows great promise. In our roundup, we listed a few of the best debut albums.
Arcade Fire, Funeral (2004)
Arguable one of indie rocks best records, the album Funeral was aptly titled after many of the band members experienced personal deaths. Just this album alone squeezes in five different notable single hits. Listening to this, you can definitely hear the influences. Namely the Strokes, The White Stripes and even Blur and Oasis from the 1990s.
My Bloody Valentine, Loveless (1991)
One of the greatest albums of the 90s period with a distinctly unique sound compared to Nirvana. The main star of the band, Kevin Shields has been praised for his great guitar skills. As soon as you listen to
Pearl Jam, Ten(1991)
Featured as a grunge record, this album has rich vocal harmonies with strong power chords. Kurt Cobain initially criticized this album due to its high use of guitar solos in each of the songs. He said the band was commercial sell-outs further saying this was not a true alternative album.
The album was actually recorded and released prior to Nirvana’s Nevermind. Despite slow initial sales, by 1992 it was ranked second on the Billboard 200.
Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
Released during an era of primitive social media, the Arctic Monkeys managed to garner further attraction due to online promotion and song sharing on MySpace. This first record release quickly became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history. The songs themselves have been described as indie rock with a garage and post-punk revival.
Oasis, Definitely Maybe (1994)
Immediately following its release, this album became a hit helped by the three singles Supersonic, Shakermaker, and Live Forever. Other great songs like Columbia also helped to create the classic mix many continue to love today. This album helped to spark a revitalization of British pop music
Lady Gaga, The Fame (2008)
Released in August of 2008, this was the album that launched Lady Gaga into the spotlight. By 2009, she was a widely known artist with the song Poker Face regularly playing on the radio.
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (1969)
The 1960s was a very different era for music. Led Zeppelin’s debut album Led Zeppelin reflected their developing style with a contemporary blues and chill out genre. It was this early work that pioneered the way to their later epics.
The Strokes, Is This It (2001)
Seen today as an iconic indie album, the songs are mixed with very simple layers. It doesn’t attempt to do anything to jump out at listeners to force them to enjoy, with what can be described as a simple and measured approach.
Kanye West, The College Dropout (2004)
This is the debut album that Kanye won a Grammy for. During which Kanye had an iconic acceptance speech with an epic mic drop ending. Regarding the music itself, it has been composed of various vocal samples from soul and R&B. It quickly became one of hip-hops greatest albums of all time.
Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
Back when Syd Barret was a key contributor to Pink Floyd, their psychedelic sound was layered differently. Yet many of their early music is crucial to the later success of The Wall and The Dark Side of the Moon. Classified as progressive psychedelic rock, with LSD seen as a primary inspiration given the later drug problems plaguing Syd Barret.
Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced? (1967)
If you had to make a shortlist of the top influential albums, this would definitely be in it. Even a wide body of music critics give this a solid ten start rating. The immediate grungy riff in Purple Haze immediately establishes the new direction in rock music. This is maintained throughout the album to great effect with the talent of Hendrix on guitar tying everything together.
Nas, Illmatic (1994)
Released in 1994, Illmatic by the rapper Nas achieved 94,000 album sales in the first week of its release. It became a landmark album for the East Coast hip hop scene with its flawless rhyme. Even among lists spanning multiple genres, this album nears the top which is why we included it in this list.