Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

The best debut albums ever, as chosen by Best Fit staff and writers

15 October 2022, 08:00

Sometimes the strength of a debut album isn't about an artist arriving fully formed and firing on all cylinders.

Some of the best first albums from across the last 70 years are more about potential than anything else – recognising the flecks of genius that their creators will pick up and run with. But even the very great and mighty have produced work that only just hints at what was to follow – Radiohead, David Bowie, Prince and Janet Jackson’s first work really wasn’t their best.

Today is National Album Day and this year the event celebrates the creative art of the debut. Among the celebrations, there’s reissues of first records by The Staves, Nas, The Police, Mariah Carey and Wu-Tang Clan.

Best Fit's own pick of the best debuts spans five decades and takes in some of the biggest debut records to ever hit the UK, among some less obvious selections.

Slipknot by Slipknot (1999)

Before the turn of the millennium, fear was rife - what would the next thousand-year stretch hold? Would it all crumble down the moment the clock struck midnight? Well, nothing happened. But fear doesn’t abide by logic.

In Des Moines, Iowa, nine disenfranchised beings, fed up with the lack of prospects and how life was treating them so poorly, turned their anger into a more realistic anxiety for the rest of the world. Donning masks – clowns! dick noses! bondage! gas masks! – and boiler suits, this motley crew, later identified as Slipknot, emerged from the flat, endless farmlands as a black cloud swallowing up the pop culture sheen of the late '90s.

They were taking the idea of fear and igniting it with fuel made with the most violent of propellents – suddenly all bets were off. This mysterious brigade gave caustic birth to their self-titled debut – a hurricane of noise that was as united in its grief as it was hatred, yet there was always something 'off' about the sound. Not fine-tuned enough to appear composed but with a purposeful acid smile, its beauty lay in its abrasive orchestra of the damned – most prominently, the viscous percussive floor of a trio beating ten shades of shit out of kegs and drums. Along with Corey Taylor's maniacal, guttural howls, their's was a sound that crept up your spine before digging in.

Over twenty years later, Slipknot still reigns supreme. Achieving number one albums while their name still incites a reaction of suspicion and perplexity – the expectation of how unfettered, twisted, and dangerous music could be was changed forever, particularly in a mainstream arena. It still feels like they’re more likely to be on Crimewatch than the Grammys. Simply, this level of raw, unhinged cacophony remains undefeated. In the immortal, prescient words of 1999 single "Spit It Out": Fuck me, they're all out of enemies. (Stephen Loftin)

Slipknot 10th Anniversary

Isn’t Anything by My Bloody Valentine (1988)

In 1988, guitar music was in desperate need of innovation, of something radically new. And then, from nowhere, along came My Bloody Valentine.

Pre Isn’t Anything, they could be politely described as an inoffensive post-C86 band, yet a line-up change that saw Kevin Shields taking vocal duties with Bilinda Butcher, and completed by Colm Ó Cíosóig and Debbie Googe – undoubtedly the most formidable rhythm section since Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth – changed everything.

Brian Eno described the impact of The Velvet Underground & Nico – an equally uncompromising album – as “everyone who bought it started a band.” Was Isn’t Anything the record that launched a thousand shoegaze bands, who stared at their endless guitar pedals rather than the audience? Was it the record that had critics searching for a word to describe this music and come up with ‘dream-pop’? It’s unequivocally both of those things, but as with all great debuts it triggered a sea change in music, with its influence extending far beyond the indie world in which it was created.

For all of the noisenik plaudits it garnered, and yes, “Feed Me With Your Kiss” has the most evil sounding hook ever written, Isn’t Anything’s melodicism is the overlooked part of the story, with the acoustic drones of “Lose My Breath” and “No More Sorry” seeing them dialling down the volume and creating music of remarkable subtlety and immersion. As for that guitar sound, Shield’s dubbed his use of a tremolo bar as ‘Glide Guitar’ – (it even has its own Wikipedia page) – and no one else has managed to make a guitar sound like that since. No one ever will, even guitar pedals can’t do the job.

Isn’t Anything is one of the most unique sounding debut albums ever made, but it’s the songwriting that makes it truly remarkable. It’s 12 songs were so good they even omitted the ear shattering “You Made Me Realise” from the final track-list. That song would go on to evolve to up to an hour in length live, but the free-thinking innovation of Isn’t Anything provided the launchpad for how it got there. Isn’t Anything wasn’t just a radically new vision for what a debut album could do, it went further than that, it changed the world of music. (Ed Nash)

My bloody valentine isnt anything1

3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul (1989)

When De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising hit shops and radios in the spring of 1989, there was nothing else that felt a tiny bit like it, either in hip-hop or beyond even that ever-morphing genre.

And with fair reason: pointing in a fresh direction – compared to, say, the aggressive polemic style of scene tentpole-carriers (and fellow Long Island, New York residents) Public Enemy – the loopy three-piece curled countless witty samples around surreal lyrics and a glorious patchwork of danceable pleasure was born.

De La Soul’s 'Daisy Age' style – belatedly bottled on Ace Records’ 2019 compilation – eschewed the traditional wall-to-wall soul and funk samples favoured in hip-hop, instead augmenting wildly with incongruous pop, country and kids’ TV music grabbed from their parents’ records.

It’s hard to overstate what the resulting glorious bubbled-up stew did to pop. Zoom in on the album’s full hand of timeless singles - lackadaze-ical ‘Eye Know’, funksome ‘Say No Go’ and rinkydink ‘The Magic Number’ among them. Or alight on virtually any of the album’s 24 tracks to prompt smiles and skanking in equal measure. Even the skits are a welcome suggestion of how a hip-hop Muppet Show might roll.

You can plot juddering tramlines from 3 Feet High and Rising in a dozen directions. Straight on for A Tribe Called Quest (whose Q-Tip features on the album), The Pharcyde and ultimately Gorillaz (whose "Feel Good Inc" features, yes, De La Soul). A firm left for DJ Shadow and The Avalanches’ cut-up pleasuredome. Hell, you can even hop over to Saint Etienne’s similarly pop-history-drenched Foxbase Alpha if you switch lines at Modernist Junction and throw on a polo neck.

3 Feet High and Rising introduced a breathless generation to what wit, skill and pure imagination can do within the space of an LP. Posdnuos, Trugoy and Ma$e - enabled by glistening, wry production from Stetsasonic DJ Prince Paul - gave their love, their Johnny Cash, their beats and their Steely Dan to the masses, and the masses are still thanking them. (Charlie Ivens)


Pod by The Breeders (1990)

With most of my favourite artists, I don’t consider their debut to be their best record. But with The Breeders, it kinda all went downhill after Pod.

Not particularly far downhill. Maybe only a centimetre or two. I love or at least like all of their output, but if you only know them from “Cannonball” or Last Splash, there is better stuff here. And if you’re only aware of The Breeders because they shared a member with The Pixies, in honesty, this equals anything in their canon.

Like all Kim Deal albums, the songwriting, melodies and vocals are impeccable, even at this early stage when the edges are rougher. Like all Steve Albini recordings, any imperfections are captured in perfect fidelity – yet “sloppy” rarely hits this way. Like the Pixies, it’s scary and sensual and magical, but Black Francis never did all three simultaneously with quite thepower of Deal on “Iris”.

There’s no sense of a band finding their feet about Pod – hell, their version of “Happiness is a Warm Gun” is better than The Beatles’ own – but the nascent Breeders were far from a refined band, and that’s part of the album’s wonder. They wore pyjamas while recording it, apparently. And when they were finished, they wore them to the pub. (Thomas Hannan)

71 LR6a0 M Iy L AC SL1200

Murmur by R.E.M. (1983)

From a small, university town, emerged a Southern sound, without any accompanying fury, that seemed to signify something not fully clear, like an old curling photograph, or an image from a glass negative that would be properly developed through the more decisive Reckoning. From its sleeve front, depicting sinister weed growth, to its slurred lyrics, R.E.M.'s Murmur delivered something disorientating yet (with chiming Rickenbacker guitar throughout, and harmonies on tracks such as “Pilgrimage” and “Catapult”) familiarly-rooted. Hearing “Talk About The Passion” and “Perfect Circle” back in 1983 brought to mind the adage about poetry being able to communicate before it is understood.

The drive of the paradoxically-titled “Sitting Still” pulled one along joyously, with its Sixties jangling and rhythmic energy; yet the juxtaposition with the following “9-9” with its ominous bassline and jagged vocal contributed to a growing sense that here was an album of unresolved tensions, of an unfinished journey, with a dizzying alternating of affectionately -though never merely nostalgically- looking backwards as well as nervously forwards.

Nearly forty years on, Murmur retains its uncanny forcefulness, its stylistic originality and its enigmatic ambiguity. (Ray Honeybourne)

2018 03 17 Toms REM Collection 22

Hold on Now, Youngster... by Los Campesinos! (2008)

Released in early 2008, Hold on Now, Youngster… wears its heart on its sleeve. From the overly punctuated title to the dramatically foreboding sentiment, it’s a record steeped in youthful pretension and hopeless romanticism. Fresh out of university and full of promise, before reality bites and feelings get muted, this record celebrates a time when the two most important things were who you were kissing when the lights came up, and what song you were kissing them to.

“Four sweaty boys with guitars tell me nothing about my life,” sings Gareth Campesinos! on “…And We Exhale and Roll Our Eyes in Unison.” Their debut marked a kickback against the landfill indie that came before it. There are nods and references aplenty, encapsulating a moment when ATP festival, Plan B Magazine and the DiS message boards were beacons of belonging. With its release, Los Campesinos! sparked a scene of outsiders, bringing together artists who made guitar music that was creative, passionate and idiosyncratic. Although the acts the band championed were sonically diverse, they all shared principles of artistic expression and endeavour.

Not that they weren’t open to a little commercialism too, as the record’s call-to-arms “You! Me! Dancing!” proved. With its brooding intro, instant riff and joyous energy, it soundtracked Budweiser’s bubbles as well as it did many sticky dancefloors. Songs like “Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks” and “Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats” are rich in girlish idealism, bright hooks and unadulterated hope. Across their later records, the subjects become heavier, the production nuanced, the lyrics more self-aware. But on Hold on Now, Youngster… Los Campesinos! froze a memory of what it means to be young and open-hearted, because regardless of how much time passes, the person who’s holding your hand when the lights come up will always be important. (Jen Long)

71a FKQY Rb VL AC SL1200

Anniemal by Annie (2004)

In prelapsarian early 2000s internet, war broke out in music critic circles. Were you on the side of pompous authenticity, guitar noodling god like genii? Or did you embrace pop for its ephemeral truths about love and the very fun of its disposability? The latter group became known as the poptimists, an iconoclastic shut-up-and-dance corps of shock troops who reframed pop cultural debate for the new millennium.

Norwegian star Annie’s Anniemal arrived at the onset of hostilities in 2004 and became an urtext of the poptimists. The album (like everything in Annie’s career) was much anticipated and much delayed. Annie had made waves with the gorgeous electro-house song "Greatest Hit" five years earlier, but the death of her partner, the song's producer Tore "Erot" Kroknes, in 2001 led to an understandable delay.

It still feels hard to extricate the album’s yearning romantic melancholy from that tragic biographic detail, but Anniemal’s pop pathos remains outstanding regardless. ‘Chewing Gum’ is a kind of manifesto for both poptimists and the album itself - ostensibly as disposable as gum itself, but really just as fun, playful and satisfying as blowing bubbles can be. Where Richard X-produced songs like that and ‘Me+One’ provide the album’s giddyness, Royksopp collaborations provide its literal heart: ‘Heartbeat’ was Pitchfork’s song of 2004, a seemingly simple disco sad-banger that is forever reaching breathlessly for a euphoria just out of reach.

The stage was set for Annie to conquer the world, but she never did. Label problems delayed majestic follow up Don’t Stop by five years, and Annie also gave the slight impression that she couldn’t quite be arsed with pageantry of popstardom. Poptimism itself proved flawed, creating the culture of standom and untouchability that surrounds stars today - replicating the deification of rock gods with eternal do-no-wrong pop auteurs. Returning to Anniemal now, you’re reminded that pop is greatest when it is ephemeral: in capturing the joyful, disappearing moment, pop ensures that moment will live forever. (Michael Lewin)

1200x1200bf 60 2

A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out by Panic! at the Disco (2005)

A far cry from the pop anthems of the modern day solo project, Panic! at the Disco first emerged as a quartet in a flourish of emo-laced melodrama. Seeped in pop culture references from the likes of 2004’s Closer and the bibliography of cult author Chuck Palahniuk (most famed for Fight Club), A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out is a record that signified a new generation of emo finally tipping into the mainstream.

Split into two acts, the debut took the theatricalities of third wave emo to new heights. Following an introductory welcome, single “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage” (a title lifted from Palahniuk’s Survivor) showcased a band at ease with their pop-punk influences and keen to dance outside the genre, delving into 80s synths and a spiralling carnivalesque dance beat. While initially shunned by critics, the group possessed a self-awareness of their age and newcomer position, with dramatic lyrics aptly postured beside cognisant lines such as “we're still so young, desperate for attention”.

Changing tune midway, the record’s centrepiece (pointedly named “Intermission”) defines the output, with a fast electronic interlude pivoting to a more traditional ensemble. A foreshadowing of the latter half’s embrace of the razzle-dazzle of showbiz, a brandish of keys welcomes orchestral life into the album, accordions and violins taking to the stage. Warmly familiar with experimental flares, the group soundtrack a seedy club on “But It’s Better If You Do”, while “Build God, Then We’ll Talk” churns out a darker reimagining of the chorus of The Sound of Music’s “My Favourite Things”. Almost 20 years on, Fever’s best-known single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” remains a dancefloor hit, having taken radio airwaves by storm upon release.

With members whittled down in later years and a change in musical direction through psychedelic-rock to the realms of full-frontal pop, Panic! at the Disco now remains the solo moniker of singer Brendan Urie. Comparatively, maybe the album did foretell a pivot for the band. A long run, split into two acts. (Amy Albinson)

91i TO3 Lm L AC SL1500

Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg (1993)

I was nine years old when I first heard Snoop Dogg. Me and my best friend at the time worshipped the ground his older brother walked on and a lot of my early musical taste was received via osmosis through this teenager’s bedroom door. He blasted "Cop Killer" and Smif-n-Wessun all day long but it was our peers in the classroom – and their substitute teacher in the intro of G’z and – that captivated us the most. We barely spoke any English at all but we could sense that "I wanna be a motherfuckin' hustla" was the coolest, most dangerous sentence we’d ever heard.

As I grew into a teenager I was still obsessed with the song even though my obsession now expanded past the classroom intro and was mostly focussed on the song’s bassline. I still didn’t know anything about production, sampling or Dr. Dre’s magic touch and assumed this infamous Bernard Wright sample - as well as the rest of the mad bassplaying on the album - as something originating from Snoop’s non-existent band. When I was around 14 I bought a bass for peanuts with the sole purpose of learning how to play this album – which I can now proudly say I can!

Years later I’m still obsessing over the album but now from a slightly more holistic perspective and I’m increasingly more convinced that it’s a masterpiece. Doggystyle is the real arrival of G Funk and even if that’s not your cup of tea, a 19 year old exclusively writing about how he excels at writing is postmodernist brilliance and on its own and justifies calling the album a masterpiece. (Árni Árnason)

81uq YP5 X Hj L AC SL1200

One Touch by Sugababes (2000)

What were you doing when you were thirteen? I know I was running around sneaking booze out of my parents’ personal stash, trying to avoid homework and just generally making a nuisance of myself in public areas, but Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy were already busy at work creating their first album as Sugababes, One Touch. Initially inspired by the success of En Vogue and released when the trio were just 15 and 16 years of age, the album is far more than a tribute to the R&B that found its home stateside; it’s a monument to coming of age in a rapidly changing United Kingdom.

A far cry from the sheen-heavy pop that the group would become known for in its multiple incarnations, One Touch is a stunning exercise in finding perfection in feeling. Laid bare with little to no vocal effects, the trio muse on subject matter in a tone that feels distinctly intimate, as if the listener is eavesdropping in on the adolescent arguments between childhood sweethearts, or the inevitable debrief afterwards with friends (should their £10 phone credit stretch that far). The album is sonically diverse too, spawning genuinely timeless pop classics ("Overload"), uplifting R&B ("Soul Sound"), and easily the greatest unintentional Christmas song of all time ("New Year").

The album only peaked at 26 in the UK charts on its initial run and saw them dropped by London Records as a result, but its enduring legacy would help redefine the definition of what a girl group could be in the UK; never wanting to be the Spice Girls, purer than All Saints, more underground than Girls Aloud. That legacy would go on to inform UK music at large; with contemporary artists such as Blood Orange and FLO taking clear inspiration from Sugababes’ short-lived original incarnation and setting the stage for a new frontier in British pop music. (Mitch Stevens)

1200x1200bf 60

Roman Candle by Elliott Smith (1994)

"Her name is just a broken sound, a stutter step you hear when you’re falling down": Roman Candle has verses like poetry; each song is a short story. Where this line is the perfect description of how an instant might feel, Roman Candle feels like the instant when Elliott Smith finally became himself – up to that point, the world only knew Smith from the alt-rock band Heatmiser.

Recorded at home, on a four-track, Smith’s quietness emerges on Roman Candle for the first time and it changed the indie game forever. Yes, there are four songs called "No Name N#" No, there aren’t any hits, but they songs here already tick all the boxes for what Smith would come to be known for.

It’s mainly voice and guitar – fingerpicking, and songs structured somewhere between The Beatles and Debussy. If you were to strip Smith’s voice from the tracks, they aren't far from classical music, but why would you do that when he’s a wordsmith of intimacy and emotional complexity. His songs often deal with anger and resentment, but that weight has been an integral part of the recipe since these early tracks, and more often than not, it’s what keeps people coming back for more.

Joan Didion once said, "it's easy to see the beginning of things, and harder to see the end" – it's painfully true when considering Elliott Smith’s life. Still, Roman Candle is the beginning and shines bright. It’s the promise he fulfilled with the music he would make next, and it’s a statement that what he could was already plenty, and different from all we had heard so far. (Christina Almeida)


Causers of This by Toro Y Moi (2010)

Chaz Bear (then Bundick)’s Toro Y Moi debut came in the first few days of 2010, solidifying his position in the much too contested sphere of chillwave that had enjoyed its hazy, warbled zenith in the couple of years previous. Causers of This proffered multi-textural, ambient pops and swells (‘Blessa’, ‘Lissoms’), stoned funk glitches (‘Imprint After’), velveteen fades and other pockets of surprises in richer fidelity to some of its peers — despite its prerequisite bedroom origin.

Though some had already begun to scoff at the genre with its all too easy associations of bliss and nostalgia, to those caught by its glare the debut soon became one of its hallmarks, with the then 21-year-old creative particularly lauded for his production flair. “Bundick [...] is more producer than songwriter”, wrote one Pitchfork writer at the time, too enthralled by its rhythmic bounces and hip-hop-esque pad hits to notice the melodic brightness overhead. What an oversight this was. The moody, emotive glow of “Oh, not even a year/ Has gone by already on ‘Minors’ is the song’s dramatic centrepiece, while the playful falsettos on ‘Imprint After’ reflected its fuzzy, zig-zag synths. Judging by the amount of times I heard ‘Talamak’ at my university town’s local indie night, I think it’s fair to say that was a bit of an earworm too.

But it is true that in Causers of This there were many surprises to be found wrapped in its many layers. In the years that followed fans would realise surprise to be one of Bear’s defining virtues, as he springboarded from chillwave to groovy yacht and psych rock, dance-inspired R&B, mumble rap and trap and progressive funk fusion. (John Bell)

A3716109738 10

Debut by Björk (1993)

Björk’s first solo record Debut is flush with the strands of musical DNA its creator would pick up and explore in her subsequent work. Initially a place for some of the ideas she’d been keeping from The Sugarcubes, its release came relatively late in life, creatively speaking. At 27 she was already a veteran of the Icelandic music scene, and hooking up with 808 State’s Graham Massey, and then Soul 2 Soul’s Nelle Hooper – who would end up producing the record – deepened the album's sonic grounding in 90s dance culture.

Debut was experimental at a time when neither indie or pop wasn’t but its strength lays in the expression of joy and release Björk found in going it alone. Few artists consistently push the envelope on every release – and she polarises on each – but Debut remains her most accessible entry point.

By the time its follow-up Post had dropped, she had already been cast as part of Britpop, a fixture on the London scene but musically it’s still impossible to ally her to any movement other than her own desire to create. Thirty years later, Debut still holds dear to her, with “Human Behaviour” and “Come To Me” vital to her live sets. (Paul Bridgewater)

81 II Nzgit L AC SL1200

Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails (1989)

Some debut albums arrive as a crystalline artistic vision. For all its critical acclaim, Pretty Hate Machine – released by Nine Inch Nails’ in 1989 – is not one of them.

At the time, reviewers were warm to, if not entirely sold on, the young Trent Reznor’s tangle of sex odes, hard rock and chaotic sampling. The Chicago Tribune called out his “soap-on-a-rope” vocals, and others were simply ambivalent, citing confusion over the sometimes–awkward collision of styles and influences.

But these failings were a product of the same process that made Pretty Hate Machine work. The album was recorded when Reznor was a young engineer at Cleveland’s Right Track Studios; a pet project he suspected “no one would hear anyway”. He admitted afterwards that he’d become withdrawn and isolated in the studio, powering through gruelling 2am starts and choosing to play all the instruments himself. This claustrophobic, one-man-band experiment was unpolished but – at its heart – one of the most soulful and strangely accessible records of the late 80s. Reznor kept the bombastic pop conventions of New Wave, but swapped its cool detachment for harrowing devotionals. He took the brutal mechanics of Industrial and made them fleshy and evocative.

Underneath this new sound, too, was Reznor’s ability to write a slamming hook. Even if you struggle with some of the record’s more curious writing choices (on “Down In It”, Reznor raps along to the melody of “Rain Rain Go Away”, which is as baffling as it sounds), the choruses of “Head Like a Hole” and “Sanctified” still demand raised fists and impassioned lip–syncing. Say what you like about the rivalling merit of Industrial pioneers Ministry and Skinny Puppy, but you can’t imagine either of them getting covered by Miley Cyrus.

Like Depeche Mode's Violator – released a year later, and connected to Pretty Hate Machine via producer Flood – Trent’s debut injected some much–needed darkness into the charts, feeding an entire generation of subcultures. And in the present day, it’s a blistering record of this alternative powerhouse’s raw talent. (Kitty Richardson)

127474 nine inch nails pretty hate machine

Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman (1988)

Growing up in poverty in a down-at-heel part of Cleveland, Ohio, Tracy Chapman dreamed of one day becoming a vet. Instead, at age 24, she became the quietly radical voice of America’s working-class Black women and an accidental megastar, selling 20 million copies of her socially critical, self-titled debut.

I don’t remember where I was when I first heard “Fast Car”, or even “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution”, but I know exactly what I was doing when I heard “Behind the Wall” – staring gape-mouthed at the stereo, the hairs on my arms bristling with the invisible electric of Chapman's chilling a cappella. For a while I would skip the song; it hit a bit too close to home.

At the heart of Chapman's debut is a fiery optimism that justice is inevitable, waiting out on some righteous horizon, and I wanted to believe that. Who among the people I knew didn’t? We had no idea what a revolution might look like, but thanks to Chapman we understood it might sound different than expected.

It's important to remember that the protest folk singer label never sat right with Chapman. Her songs weren’t written with designs on dissent, but as observations – documents, even – of the Black experience of American life on the margins. On the evergreen “Mountains o’ Things”, she doesn’t need to rage at capitalism to skewer the emptiness at its core, she does it with intelligence and humour.

Listening to Tracy Chapman in 2022, it’s not always reassuring how relevant these songs remain. As a society we still have few answers to the questions she poses in “Why?”. Racial divides are still entrenched. Violence towards women is still rife. Money still runs the world – and does precious little to save it. But as Chapman told Rolling Stone 34 years ago, “There’s only so far you can push people before they push back.”

It's starting to feel a lot like that line has been crossed. (Alan Pedder)


Scissor Sisters by Scissor Sisters (2004)

The self-titled debut from Scissor Sisters shot to Number 1 success in the UK, and with it rose a new player in the arguably bland and frustratingly straight music scene of 2004. With clever and thought-twisting lyrics, the album is undeniably queer. There’s such nuance and intelligence in its writing that it’s hard to not feel a little bit gay as you listen to it, and I dare you to find a soul that won’t singalong to the irresistible groove of “Take Your Mama.” As you notice each and every easter egg of queer-culture hidden within it, it justifies its place in the best LGBTQ+ albums of all time.

Scissor Sisters was disruptive by nature. A five-piece, queer collective singing about “Tits On The Radio” (how mainstream media stole from gay culture) and being “Comfortably Numb” (covering Pink Floyd’s track about depression and despair) wasn’t the norm in the early 2000’s, and its reception was astoundingly progressive for the time. “Filthy/Gorgeous” was designed to shock yet trickled through popular culture with ease – “We wanted it to be honest,” Ana Matronic said. “The song is about transexual hookers on acid so what the fuck do you want?”

The album set out to be a journey, and it does just that by picking you up and hurtling down a weird and wonderful route of raunchy sex and raw emotions at a hundred miles an hour. Even if their second effort Ta-Dah rose to higher global success, was their self-titled debut their best? Absolutely. (David Cobbald)

D6f10698cf8cded4b1b53c0f42402432 995x995x1

Find out more about National Album Day at

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next