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The Songfactor's Choice: Distinctive Debuts

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Matchbox 20--Yourself or Someone Like You

Yourself or Someone Like You turned out to be the standard-bearer for post-alternative rock because it has a '90s sheen in its production, but, for all the world, its core sounds like classic rock. Lead singer/songwriter Rob Thomas adopted some of Eddie Vedder's vocal mannerisms, but they were smoothed out, lacking the angst and pain that were Vedder's hallmark. Matchbox Twenty functioned much the same way, picking up at Pearl Jam's fascination for album rock, but deciding to stick to the classic blueprint instead of personalizing it. All of this resulted in a record that is much more straightforward than most alt-rock albums, even if it follows the pattern of a classic '90s album — not just in its production dynamics, but down to the acoustic-based slow number that closes the record. It blends the most familiar elements of the two golden eras of album-oriented rock, finding a balance that is comfortable for mainstream fans of either side. Other bands with similar sounds that could have done the same thing, yet Matchbox Twenty distanced themselves from the pack with sturdy songs and fairly strong hooks, all delivered forcefully with Thomas' distinctive bravado. Their music is not flashy, nor is it as ingratiating as Third Eye Blind's pop instincts. It is, however, solid, American rock, reminiscent of a blend of Petty and Pearl Jam. So, it shouldn't have been surprising when the album found a wide audience. For many observers it was still unexpected, because the sound seemed a little plain. What they didn't realize was that Yourself or Someone Like You wound up being the point where mainstream American rock stopped being willfully eccentric and returned to being unassuming and kind of ordinary.

1. Real World

2. Long Day

3. 3 A.M.

4. Push

5. Girl Like That

6. Back 2 Good

7. Damn

8. Argue

9. Kody

10. Busted

11. Shame

12. Hang

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I think I'm only going to do one nomination:


Franz Ferdinand, 2004

Track listing:

1. Jacqueline

2. Tell her tonight

3. Take me out

4. The dark of the matinee

5. Auf achse

6. Cheating on you

7. This fire

8. Darts of pleasure

9. Michael

10. Come on home

11. 40'

One of my favorites because it shows a very heavy '80's influence. FF, along with The Killers, brought an old sound to new life and sold it to a new generation. Even though they have released another album, I still listen to this one. My favorites, besides the two hit singles are 40', auf achse, and this fire.

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[big]Definitely Maybe -- Oasis[/big]

1. Rock 'n' Roll Star

2. Shakermaker

3. Live Forever

4. Up in the Sky

5. Columbia

6. Supersonic

7. Bring It on Down

8. Cigarettes & Alcohol

9. Digsy's Dinner

10. Slide Away

11. Married with Children

All tracks written by Noel Gallagher.

Definitely Maybe is quite a mixed album to me... it's got some of my very favourite songs, and at least four would feature in my Top Ten Favourite Oasis songs (Cigarettes & Alcohol, Slide Away, Supersonic and Live Forever), but it's also got my two least favourite Oasis songs.

One way or the other, it's a mind-blowing album, and it was instantly successful. It went straight to #1 in the UK and became the fastest selling debut album ever, but it was just as successful outside of Europe. And with their very first album, Oasis had found their unique sound already.

Live Forever

Noel Gallagher wrote this song a while before he joined Oasis, inspired by The Rolling Stones' Shine A Light, and later it played quite an important role in securing the band their first record deal.


Supersonic was released in April 1994 as their first 'real', commercial single. I just read that it was certified Silver in 2006... more than 12 years after its original release. ;)

Cigarettes & Alcohol

The fourth single off Definitely Maybe... and together with The Masterplan, probably my favourite Oasis song :rockon:

And if you're not yet convinced, this wikipedia quote will erase all your doubts:

"It is frequently regarded as the greatest debut album of all time."


[smaller](did I just hear someone say that I'm predictable? I'm not!)[/smaller]

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okay, I decided to go with my third choice:


Moon Safari ~ Air (1998)

1. "La Femme d'Argent"(live version) – 7:10

2. "Sexy Boy" – 4:57

3. "All I Need" – 4:28

4. "Kelly Watch the Stars" (single version) – 3:44

5. "Talisman" – 4:16

6. "Remember" – 2:34

7. "You Make It Easy" – 4:00

8. "Ce matin-là" – 3:38

9. "New Star in the Sky (Chanson pour Solal)" – 5:38

10. "Le voyage de Penelope" – 3:10

This album is not only a great (and I don't mean "good") debut album, it's also a Classic in its genre... I might even go as far as to say, this is the best Chillout album you might ever listen to...

may it be after a hard day's work or on a sunny summer day at the beach: put up your feet, close your eyes and start to dream :)


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TEXAS FLOOD ~ Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (1983)

1. Love Struck Baby

2. Pride and Joy

3. Texas Flood

5. Tell Me

5. Testify

6. Rude Mood

7. Mary Had a Little Lamb

8. Dirty Pool

9. I'm Cryin'

10. Lenny

It's hard to overestimate the impact Stevie Ray Vaughan's debut, Texas Flood, had upon its release in 1983. At that point, blues was no longer hip, the way it was in the '60s. Texas Flood changed all that, climbing into the Top 40 and spending over half a year on the charts, which was practically unheard of for a blues recording. Vaughan became a genuine star and, in doing so, sparked a revitalization of the blues. This was a monumental impact, but his critics claimed that, no matter how prodigious Vaughan's instrumental talents were, he didn't forge a distinctive voice; instead, he wore his influences on his sleeve, whether it was Albert King's pinched yet muscular soloing or Larry Davis' emotive singing. There's a certain element of truth in that, but that was sort of the point of Texas Flood. Vaughan didn't hide his influences; he celebrated them, pumping fresh blood into a familiar genre. When Vaughan and Double Trouble cut the album over the course of three days in 1982, he had already played his set lists countless times; he knew how to turn this material inside out or goose it up for maximum impact. The album is paced like a club show, kicking off with Vaughan's two best self-penned songs, "Love Struck Baby" and "Pride and Joy," then settling into a pair of covers, the slow-burning title track and an exciting reading of Howlin' Wolf's "Tell Me," before building to the climax of "Dirty Pool" and "I'm Crying." Vaughan caps the entire thing with "Lenny," a lyrical, jazzy tribute to his wife. It becomes clear that Vaughan's true achievement was finding something personal and emotional by fusing different elements of his idols. Sometimes the borrowing was overt, and other times subtle, but it all blended together into a style that recalled the past while seizing the excitement and essence of the present.

This album struck a chord with Rockers everywhere, in 1983. We'd been through Disco, and we weren't quite sure where music was going, with the advent of MTV. Stevie came, seemingly out of nowhere, and revitalized not only the blues but rock 'n' roll. Stevie was the real deal, and nobody played the guitar like Stevie.

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Something weird has occured to me. I've nominated 2 hard rocking debut albums. Each album is from an artist/band that was later killed, in the same way, Skynyrd in a plane crash, Vaughan in a helicopter crash. Both crashes happened 7 years after the releases of those debut albums. Spooky. :P

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I wonder how many years after their debuts Buddy Holly and Jim Croce met their untimely dooms.

Another nom for me:

Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

"Welcome to the Working Week" – 1:22

"Miracle Man" – 3:31

"No Dancing" – 2:39

"Blame It on Cain" – 2:49

"Alison" – 3:21

"Sneaky Feelings" – 2:09

"(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" – 2:47

"Less Than Zero" – 3:15

"Mystery Dance" – 1:38

"Pay It Back" – 2:33

"I'm Not Angry" – 2:57

"Waiting for the End of the World" – 3:22

This is some pretty advanced songwriting for young Elvis. A great debut often has a vital energy that comes with youth, but rarely will you find one this refined. I spoke with Alex Call, who was a member of the band Clover, who played on this album. I got the sense that a lot of interesting things were going on that could have only happened at that specific time and place. "Alison" and "Red Shoes" are endlessly intriguing - the standouts on an album guaranteed to fire some neurons without being preachy. That band Clover? They became Huey Lewis & The News.


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All right, I'll do it:

Foo Fighters - Foo Fighters


I've always had this strongly held belief that the only person in Nirvana who knew how to be a rock star was Dave Grohl. Give him control over a band, and the result is brilliant. The songs, the production, right down to the videos. Well the first album is pretty must just him on all the instruments (except an appearance by Greg Dulli of the Afghan Whigs on guitar on X-static), having written all the lyrics, and singing all the songs. FYI, Big Me was recorded in October 1994, 6 months after Grohl's (ex)bandmate's suicide. But it was only released in March 1996.

Important tracks are linked:

1. " This Is A Call " – 3:53

2. " I'll Stick Around " – 3:52 (I don't owe you anything!)

3. " Big Me " – 2:12

4. "Alone + Easy Target" – 4:05

5. "Good Grief" – 4:01

6. "Floaty" – 4:30

7. "Weenie Beenie" – 2:45

8. "Oh, George" – 3:00

9. "For All the Cows" – 3:30

10. " X-static " – 4:13

11. "Wattershed" – 2:15

12. " Exhausted " – 5:45

:rockon: ... right from the first track to the last!

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