The Shit List: The Top 10 Best Debut Albums of ALL TIME!! [PART ONE]

Pretenders (1980)

With quite a unique battle plan (move from Ohio to the UK, become a journalist for NME, start a band with three crazy Brits, voila!), Chrissie Hynde defied the odds on a number of fronts and took the rock world by storm in 1980 as frontwoman for the Pretenders. Their stunning self-titled debut album was just brash enough to appeal to the post-punks and just slick enough top garner Top 40 radio airplay in the US, where the album went Top 10 and sold over a million copies while "Brass In Pocket" stayed in heavy rotation on radio playlists. Hynde's songs were gems, of course, but they were made all the more potent thanks to the musical roundhouse punch administered by James Honeyman-Scott (guitar), Pete Farndon (bass) and Martin Chambers (drums). This album captures a brief moment in time when the Pretenders were firing on all cylinders and had the world by the proverbial tail. Sadly, recapturing lightning in a bottle would prove impossible and, by the mid-1980's, Farndon and Honeyman-Scott would both be dead of drug-related overdoses.

The Cars (1978)

Many consider this album to be a landmark musical event so fully connected to the '80s, but very few realize that the album actually came out in 1978. This is due, in part, to producer Roy Thomas Baker's sterling production, which still sounds fresh today. Otherwise, why would companies still be licensing tracks from this album in order to capture that hip and bubbly "modern" '80s sound?
Having said this, if you've heard any of the demos the band recorded prior to recording this album, you're fully aware that the songs and arrangements were already fully developed. Baker still deserves much of the credit, though, for being smart enough to stay out of the band's way, by and large.

Sex Pistols / Never Mind The Bollocks (1977)

Looking back, it's amazing how much of a David and Goliath story the Sex Pistols were and how they almost singlehandedly changed the entire musical landscape. Granted, the punk revolution wasn't televised in the US, but, oh, to have been a young kid in England as Msgrs. Rotten, Cook, Jones, and Matlock sneered their way from obscurity to the "Top of The Pops". Those that consider the Pistols a sort of punk-rock Monkees need only take one listen to this album at top volume to realize that this is the real deal. It may not be sophisticated, or some reinvention of the wheel, but it is real reight down to Steve Jones' multi-tracked "wall of sound" guitars. Listen close enough and you can hear the spittle flying from Johnny Rotten's mouth.

Weezer / The Blue Album (1994)

Weezer, like The Cars before them, had their songs down cold. All they needed was a producer who knew enough to stay out of the way while simply capturing the right performances. Enter Ric Ocasek, one-time singer/guitarist for The Cars (who obviously learned a thing or two during the recording of their first album). Rivers' heavy metal tendencies are presented as camp and, in doing so, kids who'd never be caught dead with a Quiet Riot album still get to air-guitar themselves into a lather to the songs on The Blue Album.

The Go-Go's / Beauty & The Beat (1981)

It's actually frightening to consider that this album is 30 years old because it forces me to also realize that my childhood crush, Jane Wiedlin, is just a few years shy of qualifying for her AARP card. Fuck, I think I might just start crying if I don't shake this one off soon. Sure, they'll always be known for "We Got The Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed", but the entire album is absolutely chock-full of great songwriting from start to finish. Truth be told, there's no filler to be found on this one, which, unfortunately cannot be said for the band's second album, Vacation. Those who think the Bangles were the better band are out of their freakin' minds.


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