Five Compelling Debuts Worth A Listen

Olive Soki

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to music. A good debut single, EP, or album could make the difference between love at first sight and a delayed musical attraction. It’s all about laying a solid foundation, while still leaving room for growth and change. And, if an artist releases a memorable or mind-blowing debut, they may have your vote until the end of time. So, with that said, here are five debuts that have stuck with me, and will hopefully stick with you.

Jules by Julien Chang

What happens when you set-out to create your first masterpiece, away from all expectations, with just you and your creative visions? Well, the answer is found in Julien Chang’s 2019 debut Jules.

Without all the worries and expectations that could have affected his creative flow, Julien delivered a dreamy and borderline kaleidoscopic project. Each track showcasing a different aspect of his musical tastes and greatest inspirations, it’s hard to imagine them all existing harmoniously on the same canvas – yet they do so perfectly. From “Moving Parts,” a psych-rock tune with jazzy flares, to “Deep Green” the epic Tame Impala-esque introduction. Jules is the beautiful product of raw talent and a testament to new beginnings.

“With The Band” and “Bruises and Scratches” by Sophie May

Earlier this month, Sophie May released her first singles, “With The Band” and “Bruises And Scratches.” Both involving storylines founded in unpleasant and complicated romantic affairs, the singles hit home, either conceptually, or personally. 

Starting off with the first track, Sophie uses the popular phrase to share a deceiving reality. As an exciting relationship turns sour, she reflects on various power dynamics begging her younger self to open her eyes. While it is difficult to witness, Sophie successfully delivers a great song and cautionary tale. “With the Band'' is followed by “Bruises and Scratches.” Sonically cheerful but lyrically melancholic, Sophie narrates the immersive relationship between a girl and her self-destructive lover. Equally emotionally charged, Sophie May’s debut singles are well worth a listen and a couple of replays.

Give Me a Minute by Lizzy McAlpine

Upon the release of her sophomore album, Lizzy is quickly building a bigger and more dedicated following by the day. For old times sake, it feels like the perfect time to look back at her debut album, Give Me A Minute. 

Consistent and memorable, Give Me a Minute is one of those debuts that is almost too good to be true. narration. From the get-go, she opens up with a quiet and contemplative title track, which foreshadows the musical and lyrical themes found throughout the album. Lizzy put her heart on her sleeve in this debut, and it paid off beautifully. Songs like “I Knew” and “Means Something” were accurate previews of the excellent songwriting skills showcased in her recent project Five Seconds Flat. After a couple of listens it is clear as day that Give Me a Minute only foreshadowed a fraction of her success.

Wet Leg by Wet Leg

2021 was a big year for Wet Leg. As their songs started gaining traction on TikTok, they continued to release a string of singles fueling their listeners’ growing obsession. Following their first EP Angelica, a culmination of the aforementioned 2021 singles, the English indie rock duo released their highly anticipated self-titled debut album. A perfect mix of old and new Wet Leg broadened their sound. From heavy hitting songs like “Angelica” to easy-going ones like “I Don’t Wanna Go Out,Wet Leg is filled with the best songs to get into their music.

People Pleaser by Laura Elliot

Last but not least, we have Laura Elliot’s debut album, People Pleaser. I would say this album is definitely a spring and long drive essential. Spanning from calm and borderline meditative tracks like “Better off Alone” to empowering guitar-driven songs like “Spaceman,” her debut feels like a stride in the right direction.

Each track matches the overarching themes of love, loss and self-discovery, contributing to the cathartic nature of her music. Utilizing poignant and delicate vocals in a song like “Stages” she conveys the vulnerability found in the lyrics with the help of an acoustic guitar. However, a track like “Spaceman” uses the opposite tactic. Filled with a semi-omnipresent opening riff, hazy chords, and marching drums, the space references jump out of the song, leaving you in a state of bliss. Overall, People Pleaser is a delightful debut that will have you hooked by the first track.

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