Uncut’s 100 best debut albums

From Elvis to Eminem, Arctic Monkeys to Zeppelin… we give you the greatest debuts

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47 NWA
Straight Outta Compton (1989)
Dr Dre switched rap’s default sample from James Brown to George Clinton’s languid funk while NWA addressed the realities of gangsta-stricken urban America on this ‘debut’ [real debut NWA And The Posse (1987) wasn’t officially sanctioned by the band].
Best track: “Fuck Tha Police”
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46 THE SLITS
Cut (1979)
The Slits dug their dub-rock trench alongside post-punk luminaries like PiL and The Pop Group. Cut bristles with tribal rhythms and proto-Riot Grrrl observations on love, gender politics and consumerism.
Best track: “Typical Girls”
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45 JEFF BUCKLEY
Grace (1994)
Having graduated from NYC’s early-’90s avant-garde scene, Buckley Jr’s one completed opus explored the full range of his multi-octave voice, framed by beautiful arrangements, soaring hymns,  Zep-like noise and the odd dazzling showtune.
Best track: “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over”
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44 ORANGE JUICE
You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever (1982)
Lovelorn, naïve and vibrant, these foppish Glaswegians fashioned post-Byrds jangle and skinny white soul into their own nervy, lo-fi brand of romantic pop, paving the way for The Smiths, B &S and Teenage Fanclub.
Best track: “In A Nutshell”
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43 SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES
The Scream (1978)
The Banshees are here still untamed by major success and largely free of their later theatrical mannerisms. Menacing, noir-ish soundscapes and John McKay’s spiky guitars dominate. Potent stuff, more creepy than crawly.
Best track: “Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)”
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42 THE MODERN LOVERS
The Modern Lovers (1976)
Inspired by the Velvets, The Modern Lovers possessed the urgent primitivism of the best rock’n’roll. Jonathan Richman’s teen anthems defined suburban romanticism as faithfully as Brian Wilson’s pocket symphonies nailed the Californian dream.
Best track: “She Cracked”
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41 PUBLIC ENEMY
Yo! Bum Rush The Show (1987)
Replacing Run-DMC’s proto-bling with Afrocentric articulateness, Nation of Islam nods, and anti-racist ire, PE turned rap from novelty to “the black CNN”.
Best track: “You’re Gonna Get Yours”
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40 WIRE
Pink Flag (1977)
Defiantly minimalist – “Field Days For The Sundays” lasts 28 seconds – this 21-track debut anticipated the grim splendour of Joy Division.
Best track: “Three Girl Rhumba”
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39 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ (1973)
Disastrously hyped as another “new Dylan”, this rush of florid wordplay and sub-Van soul-rock initially stiffed. But songs like “Spirit In The Night” were hits for others, and it remains Springsteen’s freshest, funniest, least self-conscious LP.
Best track: “Hard To Be A Saint In The City”
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38 CAPTAIN BEEFHEART AND HIS MAGIC BAND
Safe As Milk (1967)
Arranged by 19-year-old musical director Ry Cooder (who also played slide) the Cap’n steered his band through Delta-blues boogaloo and acid freakout to startling effect, marked by odd rhythms and spasmodic beats. “Zig Zag Wanderer” hinted at the full flowering of Don Van Vliet’s vision on Trout Mask Replica.
Best track: “Electricity”

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