3 Groundbreaking Debut Albums

By Tommy Baird - @kortexiphankid

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A good incite into an artist or band is to listen to their debut albums. This will be their first completed works, more than likely a better-produced sound than an EP that may or may not have been self produced.

The difference of the two sounds may indeed be very vast, perhaps by changing the structure of some songs, or making each element reach its fullest potential. Here I will be looking at three different bands debut albums.

Sublime – 40oz to Freedom

Sublime are a three-piece ska-punk band from Long Beach, California.40oz. to Freedom is the 1992 debut album by that band. Its sound blended various forms of Jamaican music, (including ska; rocksteady; roots reggae and dub) with British and American hardcore punk, and hip hop.
Since its release in 1992, the album has proved to be a seller over time, moving over two million copies in the US alone and being certified Multi Platinum by the RIAA. The band recorded 40oz. to Freedom in secrecy at the studio in California State University. Bradley Nowell recalled “You weren’t supposed to be in there after 9 p.m., but we’d go in at 9:30 and stay until 5 in the morning. We’d just hide from the security guards. They never knew we were there! We managed to get $30,000 worth of studio time for free.”
Throughout ‘40oz. to freedom’ references are made to Boomtown Rats, Beastie Boys, Tenor Saw, Pink Floyd, The Specials, The Ziggens, Minutemen, Jimi Hendrix, Just-Ice, Fishbone, Public Enemy and Flavor Flav among others. Out of the 23 songs that make up the album, there are six covers in total. This shows just how heavily influenced and insprered by the trio were.

Daft Punk – Homework

In 1997, a French duo released an album that would change dance music forever. Homework’s [suitably titled as it was made at home (or Daft House)] success brought worldwide attention to French house music. Critic Alex Rayner stated that Homework tied the established club styles to the “burgeoning eclecticism” of big beat. He contended that it served as a proof that “there was more to dance music than pills and keyboard pre-sets.”

The album revived house music and departed from the Eurodance formula. The duo produced the tracks without plans to release an album. After working on projects that were intended to be separate singles over five months, they considered the material good enough for an album. Something to note at this point is how much creative control they had over the project, rather than getting signed and doing it the ‘label’s way’.

We’ve got much more control than money. You can’t get everything. We live in a society where money is what people want, so they can’t get the control. We chose. Control is freedom. People say we’re control freaks, but control is controlling your destiny without controlling other people.
—Thomas Bangalter, in regards to the duo’s creative control and freedom

Artic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not is the debut studio album by the English rock band Arctic Monkeys. The album surpassed Elastica’s self-titled album to become the fastest selling debut album in British music history, shifting over 360,000 copies in its first week and remains the fastest selling debut album by a band. It has since gone quintuple platinum in the UK.

The album has gained somewhat of a cult following as some think of it as a concept album. Concerning “the lives of young Northern England clubbers”. All tracks record first-person narratives of observations made within this context.

Arctic Monkeys were heralded as one of the first bands to come to public attention via the Internet (through fan-based sites rather than from the band), with commentators suggesting they represented the possibility of a change in the way in which new bands are promoted and marketed



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