National Album Day returns on October 15th with the theme of 'debut records'. To celebrate, we're throwing it back to the albums that first introduced us to some of our favourite acts - many of whom went on to become global favourites! From Britpop royalty like Oasis, the indie resurgence of The Libertines and a new era of R&B with SZA; there's a debut album for everyone so buckle up and enjoy a nostalgia trip with our guide to the best of 'em in no particular order.
SZA - Ctrl
Since being released 5 years ago, 'Ctrl' by SZA continues to be an iconic album within her discography, adored by many of her fans, including some of the best and most popular tracks of her career.
With beautifully crafted lyrism and rhythms, she explores strong; contemporary themes such as the complexities of modern love, competition, jealousy, and self-esteem.
Any of her songs are bound to have you vibing or in your feelings with your headphones on full volume. - Ruby C
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
When it comes to starting things off with a bang it’s hard to top Arctic Monkeys’ debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’.
Unapologetically gritty, this album is packed to the brim with distinct riffs, lyricism that paints a vivid picture of their experiences and upbringing and tongue in cheek one liners.
Any one of these songs could be played blindly and their unique signature that’s expressed throughout the album would have anyone telling you ‘oh that’s Arctic Monkeys’. - Michael B
The Streets - Original Pirate Material
Mike Skinner pioneered a unique blend of UK garage and US hip-hop with his seminal debut album as The Streets.
With iconic tracks such as 'Weak Become Heroes', 'Let's Push Things Forward' and 'Has It Come To This?', The Streets document tales of the British working class and assigns them to iconic beats created on an IBM ThinkPad.
Impressively recorded mostly in a wardrobe in his Brixton flat, there are few albums that come close to delivering the immediate impact that Mike Skinner did with 'Original Pirate Material'. - Callum TW
Jay-Z - Reasonable Doubt
Over 25 years on from its release Jay-Z’s debut album ‘Reasonable Doubt’ still gives us what can only be described as one of the greatest flows of all time - on the track, ‘Feelin’ It.’
It’s a powerful, gritty, hard-hitting, and iconic album that showcases what the rapper’s life was like at 26 years old.
The album is a prime example of one that has replay-able value, is produced well and has emotion and thought behind each song. - Karishma R
Amy Winehouse - Frank
Amy Winehouse’s 2003 debut album ‘Frank’ is one that I always find myself going back to and an album that I often choose to soundtrack walks, cooking or a long drive.
With its smoky jazz club feel, it is where we’re first introduced to Amy’s mesmerising vocals and raw lyricism, all set amongst a perfect fusion of jazz, soul, and hip-hop beats.
My personal favourite tracks are ‘Fuck Me Pumps’ and ‘You Sent Me Flying / Cherry’. If you haven’t listened to this one front to back in one go, now is the time. Abi L
Oasis - Definitely Maybe
Oasis' debut album is a timeless example of the best of Britpop that remains iconic now almost thirty years on.
Packed with classics such as 'Slide Away', 'Live Forever' and 'Supersonic', the Gallagher brothers' swagger is displayed perfectly across gritty tracks that have provided the soundtrack to the past three decades.
Still influencing bands across the UK and beyond, 'Definitely Maybe' will always be remembered as one of the biggest debut albums of all time.
The Libertines - Up The Bracket
Up The Bracket is a classic debut album, jam-packed with chaotic poetry and a range of emotions with courageous recklessness.
From their wistful anthems to heartfelt ballads, it’s a rarity for a band to approach such a wide array of attitudes with equal talent. There's an indefinable abundance of rock lurking on 'Up the Bracket' and rarely is it less than entertaining.
As a debut, it’s up there as one that shaped many lives and helped define an era. - Izzy M
Let us know your favourite debut albums on Twitter and check out our 'World Cup of debut albums' here.
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