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.

 
 
 

It wasn’t all ‘Yellow’, actually – here was a fledgling stadium band delving around in the Big Music and finding shimmering new crevices.


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Rescued rock’n’roll from the torpor of nu-metal in 36 near-perfect minutes. Not bad.


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Before The Libertines all the best post-millennial rock’n’roll was being made by Americans, Scandinavians, Antipodeans… anybody but us Brits. ‘Up The Bracket’ changed all that, and its influence remains massive.


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Before the talent show slots, the Calvin Harris hook-ups and the ‘Bonkers’ pop bangers, Dizzee’s debut was the ultimate grime breakthrough, a cranky shiv to the mainstream’s heart.


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It still bounces out of the speakers with freshness and brio: from ‘Jesus Walks’ to ‘The New Workout Plan’, it was evident that Kanye had energy to burn. If only we’d known quite how much…



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Seldom has sadness sounded so utterly euphoric as on the grand chamber-post-punk gems contained within the Canadian collective’s debut.


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The fastest-selling UK debut by a band ever, thanks to the rhymes of the modern urban poet laureate and tunes as wired and scattergun as a misfiring AK.


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The tribal punk totem of new rave, ‘Myths…’ was an adventurous and imaginative debut; by turns brutal,
beatific and making noises like unicorns exploding in an air raid.


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They lied about everything except how gifted they were with pixellated gnashing electro.


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‘xx’ is one of those rare debut albums that sounds like the work of a band cresting the peak of their powers, not the result of four teenagers recording in a Notting Hill garage for the first time.


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