Wednesday Question: Artists That Released Amazing Music, But Whose First Album Was Crap or Mediocre

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Wednesday Question: Artists That Released Amazing Music, But Whose First Album Was Crap or Mediocre

For this week's traditional Wednesday Question, we'd like you to think about all the amazing artists out there who are considered as classic acts, but who weren't exactly off to an amazing start. Basically, this:

Which artists released amazing music during their career, but started off with a crap or mediocre debut album?


  • Post only one suggestion per comment after checking that your favorite wasn't already nominated (Ctrl+F and all).
  • Multiple nominations of one artist create heavy confusion, since on one hand it's unfair to the given act to take into consideration only the most upvoted nomination, but seeing that multiple nominations allow one user to give two or more votes to the same group,it's also unfair to other nominees not to discard it.
  • Vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike.
We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG top list. Show us what you got now!

310 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Huey Lewis and the new. Their early work was a little too new wave for my taste. But when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost
    David Bowie. He is one of my favorit artists ever, but his debut album was mediocre. Nowhere near the genius that he would become.
    Not bad but mediocre compared to what came later (it's not really fair comparison) Pantera - Metal Magic (1983)
    At the risk of being banned, the new comment system allows you to sort by 'best comments'. So we already know who will win the Wednesday question before the Friday reveal....
    It also lets you sort by "new comments" but no one seems to use that. It also gets incredibly unresponsive (on mobile) as the comments build up. Typing comments takes very long time.
    I see what you mean, but in addition to the ranking, what makes the Friday reveal interesting are the little nuggets of trivia/insight that the UG team provides.
    The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
    I disagree. Their early stuff is great (minus the cheesy lyrics)
    I'd even argue that the early funk days were better than the still really good radio rock hits.
    Guys, we're talking about their first album. Thus, "Freaky Styley". Do you guys really think this album is BETTER than the rest of their repertoire ?
    Freaky Styley was their second album I thought? Self-titled was first.
    Yep, sorry about the confusion everyone... Yet, when I mentionned "Freaky Styley", I was thinking the self-titled record. I just misled the two albums' names.
    Not that particular album, but yes I think the funk era of RHCP was better than what they are now. However, the question was never about the debut being better than the rest of their repertoire. They question is if their first album was bad and the rest of their stuff is good, and that is not the case because their debut was good.
    Avenged Sevenfold.
    Agreed. But what a turn around! To put out ST7T which is an above-average metalcore churn out the masterpiece that is Waking The Fallen. Ooft.
    This comment sums up exactly why they should not be on the list. It's above average for the genre, which means it is not mediocre (= average), and certainly not bad. Learn to read the question!
    Regardless of how it ranks in its respective genre, it's still going from "making music I dislike" to "making music I enjoy."
    You could've just said that. There's no way for me to judge if "metalcore" to you is a positive or negative. Above-average is positive though, so the only thing I could judge you're comment on was positive, making it seem like you liked the album.
    Agreed. Sounding The Seventh Trumpet sucks ass.
    also, Lamb of God. "Burn The Priest," or "New American Gospel," whichever you deem their debut are quite weak.
    Does this comment count even though it's riding the wave of a different nomination? Still agree though, I think both albums are unlistenable, have every album by LoG except those first 2
    different nomination, but same user. I don't really care if the comment counts, I just wanted to add to the conversation with iamgod93.
    Yea it's not nearly on par with waking the fallen or city of evil. The best song on the album is the opener and its only about a minute and a half long.
    Just. NO! Sounding the Seventh Trumpet is great! While it's not their best record, it's far from mediocre or bad, which is what they're looking for.
    I could see that as their later albums definitely offer a different sound. However, some of my favorite tunes by them come from their debut album: You, Creep (although a bit overplayed), Stop Whispering, Anyone Can Play Guitar (one of the very first songs that made me want to play guitar), Ripcord, Vegetable. There were some other songs on the album I didn't care for as much, but still a good album.
    It's called Pablo Honey - And to be honest, it has a fair share of good tracks on it, but it also has some directly abysmal stuff ("How Do You" is the most god-awful track I've ever heard from a band I enjoy), and it still pales compared to the rest of their discography. Still, it's redeeming moments are very enjoyable, and the last track seems to hint at what was to come
    Except for the fact that, IMO at least, Pablo Honey is not mediocre -- it's actually quite a good debut album. I think so much of the "Pablo Honey sucks" mentality is people just listening to what other people tell them. I played it for someone who said she thought it sucked (but had never actually listened to it) and when I played it for her she loved it.
    I remember the first time I had attempted to check out Radiohead, I figured I would start with their first album and move up. I was so bored with Pablo Honey I was turned off of listening to Radiohead for a few years, luckily I checked out their later albums and discovered how amazing they are.
    Dream Theater, It's not bad but the debut sounds underwhelming when you hear Images & Words or Awake.
    hm, I love their debut... sure, it lacks in production and vocal department (check out the live version with LaBrie singing the shit out of it), but still it has a lot of brilliant songs and musicianship present...
    I have the same objection as I had with the meshuggah suggestion above. WDADU is very different from the following albums, and the eighties sound is a bit dated, but the songwriting and playing is on point. Solid album in my opinion.
    Björk Though she released her album called "Debut" in 1993, her real debut "Björk" was released in 1977 when she was only twelve years old.
    Sepultura For me "Morbid Visions" always was just simple album comparing to the rest of their discography - and yes they were just teens when they recorded it.
    Judas Priest
    Yeah, Rocka Rolla wasn't that bad but was left way behind when they released a couple more records and changed their style more and more to what became heavy metal.
    They did a complete U turn with Sad Wings, putting all their sonic elements in place. Adding Rob as a songwriter changed everything.
    most of sad wings was already being played live when they recorded rocka rolla, it was a meddling producer behind it. on its own its a good album, but poor compared to the next 6-7 albums they'd do
    Rise Against - The Unraveling is probably one of the worst albums ever made. They definitely stepped up their game and made some great records like RPM, SSotCC, Endgame, etc
    I really like that album. It's a bit different from the modern albums, but still is one of my most favourite RA album. It's raw and energetic.
    Came to say this.... It was too scatty and poorly balanced, sounds like a punk album written by kids (which is fine; it was)
    Yabba Who
    Alice Cooper. Their first album is pretty much worthless. The second has some good stuff if you're a huge fan of them but still has spots of crap. After that, some of the best music ever recorded. Until the late 70's, at least.
    Eminem His lesser know debut "Infinite" was just more like an average hip-hop album.
    Neurosis Though I love all their albums, "Pain of Mind" was just hardcore punk record (later guys invented their own genre though).
    C'mon, there are great songs on Ultramega OK. Firste and foremost: Incessant Mace also: - Beyond The Wheel - Mood For Trouble - Smokestack Lightning - Head Injury
    As a huge fan of SG I didn't like it, it's really mediocre at best when you compare it to next album and everything after it
    I actually like Ultranega OK more than Loud Love. The great songs on Loud Love are awesome, but there are a couple I don't dig.
    Summoning "Lugburz" is quite interesting but it doesn't sound at all like what you would expect from a Summoning album.
    UFO. Ufo 1 was not crap, but certainly mediocre compared to some of the later albums ( in my opinion it was mediocre even without comparison).
    Slayer with Show No Mercy, I mean the album is very good but the production, it sounds like if it was recorded in a garage
    Rush. Their self-titled album is worlds away from some of the incredible music they ended up giving to the world. It's not crap (nor would I argue it as mediocre), it's just different
    There's still some good stuff on there. Working Man is one my favorite Rush songs, but I'd agree that they didn't really hit their stride until later.
    Cattle Decapitation Comparing to their other stuff "To Serve Man" was just standard goregrind album.
    Frank Zappa I think his debuts (with TMOI and without) just don't live up to his later stuff.
    Yabba Who
    As much as I love Freak Out!, I have to agree it doesn't live up to his later stuff.
    I only really like half of freak out, every album up to one size fits all got better and better in my opinion
    Tiamat They have very different albums, starting from atmospheric death/doom metal to psychedelic to gothic metal, but their debut "Sumerian Cry" is just simple death metal that isn't even listed on the band's website.
    Ole' Nessie
    Mastodon - although personally I am a fan of Remission, The album can be a bit repetitive and may not be as strong as say blood mountain or leviathan, which are amazing albums
    THIS 100000Times Had to scroll aaaaall the way down to find this! Remission is nowhere near the greatness of Mastodon!!
    I am very likely gonna get downvoted to the hell, this band 'worships' but in my opinion: Ghost. none of their albums is bad but they started at okay, became better and by time Meliora was released it was fcking awesome
    The Offspring. Their first album was decent, but not nearly as good as all their later albums
    Also, Between the Buried and Me. Again, the self-titled is far from bad, it is just not Colours by quite a margin. Also, I think it was really important for BATBM as a band to acquire its current line-up to truly shine.
    Yes yes! My favorite band ever, but their early years were missing a lot of the magic that they acquired with their current line up. Silent Circus definitely has its moments though.
    Deep Purples first album is one you never hear about, except for the cover of "Hush". It's far from crap but defenitely bland - especially in hindsight.
    Megadeth. I mean killing is my business isnt really bad, but the poor pruduction kind of made it sound bad for me + later albums are much more legendary and they came big with peace sells
    Queen, of course. Keep Yourself Alive is one motherfucker of a song, but other than that Queen is a pretty bland album.
    I strongly disagree. There are only two songs on that album that I don't like (The Night Comes Down and Modern Times Rock'n'Roll), and I really hate average music. In my opinion this album is far from being mediocre, just listen to Great King Rat, Liar or My Fairy King. I think it's opposite - this album is really underrated. Just because they had better albums doesn't mean this one is bad.
    Neutral Milk Hotel. Nothing special about Avery Island but In The Aeroplane Over the Sea was a masterpiece that gained them a massive cult following.