20 Artists Whose Debut Albums Outshine Their Later Works

20 Artists Whose Debut Albums Outshine Their Later Works
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20 Artists Whose Debut Albums Outshine Their Later Works

Not many artists can say that their debut album was practically perfect like these artists can.

yXIC35Rd3_large.jpg?crop=439%3A439%3B30%2C0&downsize=60:*&output-format=jpg&output-quality=autoby Angelica Cheyenne

BuzzFeed Contributor

There are some artists that are only known for a year, while others last within the music industry for years.


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For some music artists, their debut album outlives their actual music career, while for others, it outshines their later works. Below are the 19 music artists that possess a wonderful music catalog, and a killer debut album that still holds weight for being astounding premiere releases. 

1. Adele — 19


Columbia Records

Adele's debut album 19 was her grand introduction to the world, and set the tone for her future award-winning works like 21, and 25.  As an entrance record, Adele's 19 was ultimately perfection, from the production to the lyricism. Definitely exemplary. 

2. Erykah Badu — Baduizm


Universal Records

One of the founding mothers of neo-soul, Erykah Badu is responsible for the slew of music artists that we have today like Ari Lennox, SZA, and Summer Walker. Each of the aforementioned singers have been influenced by Badu, and her breakout album Baduizm can be upheld as the prototype for the neo-soul genre sound. Not one bad song is on Badu's debut album Baduizm, and the Grammy-winning record set the standard for modern day soul songstresses.

3. India.Arie — Acoustic Soul


Motown Records

India.Arie's first album was golden, and the Afro-centrism of her Acoustic Soul was powerful. This is some of India's best work to date. 

4. Norah Jones — Come Away with Me


Blue Note Records

Norah Jones's Come Away with Me was a melodic masterpiece. The jazzy easy-listening singer's debut album was constructed flawlessly, and was completely, sonically mesmerizing. 

5. Jill Scott — Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1


Hidden Beach Records

Who Is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was so superb, truly a work of art. The poeticism and creativity that was infused into that album is partially why Scott is so revered as a music artist, among other reasons. 

6. Lady Gaga — The Fame


Streamline Records

This pop album epitomized the dance electro-pop sound that overtook the 2010s. There were a plethora a hits on Lady Gaga's first album, paving the way for current pop stars like Dua Lipa. Everything about Lady Gaga's first album represents excellence.

7. Lauryn Hill — The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill


Ruffhouse Records

Lauryn Hill's solo album is completely sublime, and contains a level of profoundness that hasn't been duplicated in an album since. 

8. Toni Braxton — Toni Braxton


LaFace Records

Toni Braxton's debut album was literally perfect and helped revitalize R&B music when it was released. From the vocals to the music production to the heartfelt lyricism that was crafted by none other than thee Babyface, Toni Braxton is arguably Toni's best work. 

9. Paramore — All We Know Is Falling


Fueled by Ramen Records

Many think Paramore's first album was Riot!; however, Paramore superfans know the magnificence of their actual debut album All We Know is Falling. Each song on this album was distinct, enhanced by lead vocalist Hayley Williams' strong and aggressively electric voice. The musicianship of the album was, of course, stellar and really solidified Paramore as one of the leading forces of the millennial punk generation. 

10. Linkin Park — Hybrid Theory


Warn Bros. Records

Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park is everything and more. Chester Bennington's raw vocals merged with Mike Shinoda's dope hip-hop lyrics fully transformed music, specifically the hip-hop/rock category. Linkin Park's first album was angsty, spirited, and authentic. 

11. Fergie — The Dutchess


A&M Records

Fergie's solo album The Dutchess  wasn't a far cry from the way she presented as a member of the hip-hop/pop group Black Eyed Peas. Everything that made Fergie a standout member of the group was maximized in her debut album. The "Clumsy" singer laid the foundation for the conceptualization of the bad b***h energy motif throughout her entire first record. 

12. Dido — No Angel


Arista Records

Some people may not be aware of Dido's existence, but should be. Eminem fans have all heard her before since her vocals and instrumentation from her song "Thank You" was featured in Em's song "Stan." Aside from that, Dido has a substantial music catalog that laid the groundwork for artists today like Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish. Dido's debut No Angel was a dreamy folksy record that had the electro-pop sound aesthetic at its nucleus.

13. Chris Brown — Chris Brown


Jive Records

Musically, Chris Brown is exceptional. His debut self-titled album was full of R&B bops that proved why Chris Brown was destined for success in the music industry. 

14. Beyoncé — Dangerously in Love


Columbia Records

Beyoncé's first solo album Dangerously in Love was supreme. The vocal range, the musical versatility, the songwriting! Queen Bey's Dangerously in Love kickstarted her reign as the supreme music artist and a beloved majesty of her lane. 

15. SZA — Ctrl


Top Dawg Ent.

SZA's Ctrl had us all in a chokehold during the summer of 2017. That's how iconic it was. Her eclectic vocal style and vulnerably honest lyrics were relatable to so many people, adding to the album's popularity. The songs on Ctrl helped cushion the alternative R&B genre that has now become a part of mainstream music, providing a framework that following artists have incorporated into their music-making processes. 

16. Ciara — Goodies


Sho Nuff Records

Ciara's Goodies was nothing less than incredible, and the R&B/pop album was entirely danceable. 

17. Azealia Banks — Broke with Expensive Taste


Azealia Banks Records

Azealia Banks may be vicious, but her music, particularly her first independent album Broke with Expensive Taste isn't to be played with. Merging house music with her sleek and sassy wordplay, Broke with Expensive Taste is praised by many music fans for being sensationally avant-garde.

18. Florence + the Machine — Lungs


Republic Records

Florence + the Machine aptly titled their album Lungs since many songs on this album were airy and induced sensations of inhalation and release. It was as if some of the songs, like "Blinding," were produced to encourage listeners to breathe and let go of anything that was keeping them bound to toxicity. So much of Lungs was magical and sparked introspection. 

19. Ashlee Simpson — Autobiography


Geffen Records

A stark difference from her sister Jessica Simpson's debut album Sweet Kisses, Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography was pure rock n' roll. Ashlee Simpson's raspy and forceful singing voice provided the album the needed edge to make it remarkable. For a debut album, Ashlee Simpson absolutely understood the assignment. 

20. Princess Nokia — 1992 Deluxe


Rough Trade Records

Princess Nokia made a boom in hip-hop with her debut release1992 Deluxe. The energetic socially aware record uplifted African diasporic traditions and culture, making it Princess Nokia's most conscious album. 

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