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50 GREATEST DEBUT ALBUMS

 

This is NME’s celebration of the best debut albums from the last 50 years. It's not a countdown. Instead, we've selected one album from each year.

Disagree with our choices? You can always vote your own favourites to the top via our debut albums reader poll, and share your thoughts on the office blog.

This article originally appeared in the November 6 issue of NME. Subscribe here, or get this week's digital issue.

 
 
 

While the world went baggy, Lee Mavers’ ’60s revisionism ultimately proved more influential – no La’s, no Britpop.


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As rave peaked, this was its lamplit counterpoint – the soundtrack to a national 4am moment.


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As angry as it was bright, the Manics blowtorched their manifesto in pulverising punk guitar squeals.



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Sassy, seductive and high on the heady thrills of youth – hard drugs, rampant narcissism and delectably deviant sex – ‘Suede’ was the first ballsy blaze of Britpop.


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So what if Oasis never bettered it? Sixteen years on, only a handful ever have.


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No wonder they spent the next five years drowning in performance anxiety after delivering this whipcrack Wire-cribbing Britpop snarl.


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Their 1996 debut was one of the Britpop-saturated era’s most off-kilter and inventive efforts, an idiosyncratic work of weirdness that sounded like nobody else around.


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This Mercury-winner threatened to take drum’n’bass overground. It never happened, but it remains a genre landmark.


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The first refugee from The Fugees, Hill’s solo debut was a thorough reinvention of modern soul, taking in gospel, R&B, hip-hop and a sly chunk of The Doors. An education in genre-splicing indeed.


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Driving nine inch nails through your eyelids to force you to watch this overnight rewriting of rap’s rulebook.


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