Five Less-Than-Auspicious Debuts

rushIn conjunction with my article about great debut albums, I’d like to take note of a few albums that didn’t really capture the essence of their respective bands. That’s not to say that these albums were necessarily terrible. They just, for whatever reason, failed to resonate with either the band or the audience. Usually both, as it turns out.

Note: This list is exclusively for LPs, as in full-length albums. EPs and singles need not apply. Sorry if that’s racist.

5. Rush – Rush (1974)

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This album isn’t a total train-wreck. The group (minus Neil fucking Peart) manages to wring some AC/DC-inspired banal rock out of a thoroughly dry well. I’m not going to say that things got markedly better after you-know-who joined on drums/lyrics, but that’s what happened.

4. Radiohead – Pablo Honey  (1993)

This could have been literally any second-tier Brit-pop band. It certainly wasn’t the band that made OK Computer four years later. It wasn’t even the band that made The Bends two years later. This album is perfectly nice, but it displays no knowledge of the most important progressive rock band of the last twenty years.

3. Judas Priest – Rocka Rolla (1974)

It’s kind of funny that we were talking about Rush a few minutes ago (surely you remember), because that’s kind of how this debut album sounds. In other words, not Priest. The group would radically overhaul both their lineup and image in the wake of Rocka Rolla, and though the album isn’t terrible, it’s kind of hard to argue with their output since then.

2. David Bowie – David Bowie (1967)

Look, I love David Bowie and I am still extremely saddened by his recent death, but I am listening to this album right now and it sounds like something that Ray Davies would write immediately before he climbed a clock tower and killed everyone. He would be right to do so. I hear that voice–that distinctive, fragile voice–and I witness it doing horrible things! Now that Bowie is gone, his voice is a nonrenewable resource, and despite the fact that this recording happened in the past, I feel like it’s stealing him from us. Stupid album.

1. Pink Floyd – Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

Look, as long as we’re alienating everyone, I firmly believe that The David Gilmour/Roger Waters-led era of Pink Floyd is much, much, much better than the Syd Barrett era. I’m sure Syd has some true-blue fans out there( who will be annoyingly vocal), but I feel that most people who champion his output (especially over the later stuff that everyone knows) are being a wee bit pretentious. It’s kind of like saying your favorite movie is Fellini’s 8 1/2. No it fucking isn’t. Your favorite movie is Billy Madison and you know it. I certainly can’t state my opinion as objective fact unless it reinforces an independent precept or law (like gravity, which I agree with), but the rise of Gilmour and fall of Barrett coincided with the group’s greatest period. Barrett wrote some cute songs before destroying his mind, but this album (objective merits aside) displays no trace of the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Artist” Pink Floyd. It simply sounds like a different band.


And that’s kind of the point of this article. I wasn’t looking for terrible albums. I was looking for albums that might be passable, if only they weren’t getting in the way of a band’s greatness in a particular style.

Hit me up with your first albums that are just kind of “meh.”

Photo credit: By Enrico Frangi (Uploaded by User:Jonasz) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One comment to “Five Less-Than-Auspicious Debuts”
  1. Agreed — especially on Radiohead and Pink Floyd. I like how out of the box Piper is, but it’s not something I want to listen to very often.

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