Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Airbus, May 17, 2018.
Your thoughts are shared.
depends really some debuts are great and some are trash.
some bands have accumulated good songs over a few years before they record and then after the debut is successful the pressure to come up with good songs in 8 months is too much.
i guess you'd need to be more specific.
If you're The Pretenders, then the answer might be "Yes."
If you're Prince, then "No."
So it all depends.
Some groups need to get in their stride, look at Genesis and Deep Purple.
In rock, I’d say more often than not, but I prefer bands that were young, hungry and eager to impress more than experienced bands that may have either fallen into a rut, become complacent, believe their own hype, wish to keep their audience happy with more of the same, and feel they have nothing left to prove. I know a lot, or more likely, most rock listeners like mature acts, but I’m not most people.
Springsteen's first was very good. But his second blew it away.
For a lot of artists, their debut album is their life's work up to that point. For artists where their debut is their strongest effort, I think that's the reasoning behind it.
What's the old adage? "You have a lifetime to come up with your first album, but just six months to deliver the second." Or something like that. I know hardly any modern artist would be expected to make a second album within six months now, but back in the 70s, it wasn't uncommon.
Often artists have accumulated a lot of vibrant youthful songs which are put on the first album and afterwards it becomes more difficult to create anything as fresh. However, with Bob Dylan, the first album is mainly a selection of covers that come nowhere near his subsequent creation. It's quite an average album, but what came after was stunning.
And the third was hailed as an absolute classic, what a great run! And who'd have thought that the brilliant Darkness was next...
Except for Guns N Rose's and The Stone Rose's, I cannot think of any group whose first album is their best. Maybe The Doors would qualify.
I went on a kick of getting into this particular topic a few years ago. And I have found and decided that, rather than the debut album, the "juvenalia" (usually meaning the very very first-known recordings you can dig up, of a particular band or artist when they're just starting out) are often where it's really at, instead of the debut album proper. It might not be fully complete, the total picture or vision, but dig back to those earliest recordings and you usually get a really good feel, right away immediately, for whether they're going to ultimately pan out or not.
The debut album can go all kinds of different directions -- usually by that point other people will have their hands involved, whereas that first early debut, in front of a microphone, is the moment of truth.
I even have a pet name for it -- I call it The "Listen To The Flower People" Moment. Because yes, everything Spinal Tap is about is in there, embodied in that one song and classic TV performance. You know I'm right! Ever heard Lemmy with the Rocking Vickers? It's all there, in nascent form, really all the information you need to "get" Lemmy and dig him, Motorhead, Hawkwind, all of it. That first U2 demo tape is something else -- it's a bit of a mess but something about it makes you sit up straight in your seat. Ron Wood with the Birds? I can hear it's him, instantly. Ever heard the Stewart Four, young Sly and Freddie Stone, singing gospel with sisters Rose and Vaetta? It will send chills up your spine. Even the home recordings of a young George Carlin goofing around with a tape recorder as a kid, talking and joking and pretending to do radio voices and skits? It was on one of his box sets, and if you've heard it, it's sooooo George Carlin it's almost mind-blowing when you hear it.
OP, please share Your thoughts!
AKA 'sophomore slump'
A random sample:
After Dinner. Yes.
Amon Düül II . No.
Animal Collective. No.
Aqsak Maboul. Yes.
Art Bears. Yes.
Robert Ashley. No.
Beach Boys. No.
The Beatles. No.
Black Moth Super Rainbow. No.
Peter Blegvad. No.
Adam Bohman. No.
Bohman Brothers. No.
David Bowie. No.
No evidence supporting the 'debut is best' assertion, based on that. And I'm not saying that the debuts by the band/artists above are not amongst their best, but just not clearly a 'best'.
This is not true of many of the great artists of the '60s. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Who... they all had strong debuts that were indicative of their early sounds but they developed and grew as songwriters, musicians and artists and released their greatest works later.
They were also continuing the work of artists like Frank Sinatra from the '50s who were in fact establishing what an "album" was or could be. It makes sense that they got better at the format as they aged.
There's some amazing debut albums out there from Television-Marquee Moon to King Crimson-In The Court of the Crimson King, for example and like a few others have offered, it really depends on the artist/group. Subjectively, I've always enjoyed Aerosmith's debut album as there are some real buried gems that slip by people's radar such as "One Way Street" and "Movin' Out". These songs rarely get live airings, but contain the basis of the band's inner dynamics as a group. The feel of the debut has a rawness and hungry edge to it, especially with "Mama Kin", "Write Me", "Somebody" and opener, "Make It" as further examples of what the band could and would achieve on future releases.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I find UFO's debut to be rather unremarkable and while it's not a horrible first release, it really took them a few records until they finally hit upon a definitive sound with '73's Phenomenon album and the arrival of Michael Schenker. Other bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple are also good examples of how they had to shape their sound as they developed material over a few releases until they hit a consistent and definitive stride. Again, I like those debut's of "Pretties For You" and "Shades of Deep Purple" but, "Love It to Death" and "In Rock" are far more developed and focused efforts with a higher quality of a matched performance within the songwriting elements as well as their production values.
The best? No
But there's a certain charm to a debut album. The artist is still trying to prove themselves and you can almost sense the hunger and passion coming through. A desire to be heard, to make a difference. There's also that disorder that seems to be in a debut album that leaves as they become more seasoned for better or worse.
Moby Grape, and it became their albatross and shining moment at the same time.
Depends really, pretty much case by case
The Stone Roses - yes
The Jam - no
I always thought that it would be better to delay the first, and spend a lifetime coming up with the first few albums... you know, take the pressure off...
if there was no more from them the debut says and shows everything,
and they would still be influential
Mink DeVille debut is so great. Never reached it again. Though Le Chat Bleu trys
I fall on the side that tends to view the debut as more of a "stepping stone" than the pinnacle. Like anything there are exceptions of course.
Not to mention that "better" is always a subjective term.
Just taking five or so of my all-time favorite artists illustrates this (at least for me):
None of those artists debuts are their "best", to me. And they all kept evolving beyond the debut for the better (in my view).
And only Kiss' and Zeppelin's debuts would be the ones I'd consider "potentially best", depending on personal taste.
Likewise, many debuts are undoubtedly classics. But to say an artist "never released anything better" after the debut is, in my view, fairly rare.
I find that if an artist does have a debut that is unquestionably "best", it's often an artist that didn't have a lengthy or steady catalogue.
The first album has the obvious advantage of having been there first; all subsequent albums have something to compare them to upon release. 'The blank slate' factor often works in favour of debut albums. Of course, it doesn't matter with artists whose works one gets to know out of sequence. In those cases it may well appear that the best album is whatever one happens to hear first.
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