Stumbling Around Aimlessly – Debut Studio Albums……………..
Stumbling Around Aimlessly – Debut Studio Albums That You Probably Haven’t heard of Because You Have Lives and Do Things Interesting in Your Spare Time
It’s that time again ladies and gents (Hello? Is anybody out there? Fuckbags). Stumbling around aimlessly is back again and swaying like a chav who’s had one too many Vimtos, this time covering the ultra-boring for normal people world of debut studio albums! A place to see where the seeds were sewn, debut albums are fantastically unrefined and sludgy, making you feel filthier than a one night stand with a woman a decade older than you. The Juke Fox has compiled three great albums that shall sully those virgin ears, don’t blame me if you turn into a hooker afterwards (but call me, maybe)!
Nirvana – Bleach (1989)
I already know what you’re thinking, you’ve chosen Nirvana, what a prick. And although I am an almighty Super Prick, choosing Bleach was not due to my unrelenting laziness. With Nevermind being one of the best albums ever produced and Unplugged in New York serving up intimacy and passion only comparable to The Juke Fox’s bedroom antics (the Xbox can get emotional), Nirvana’s first album is often overlooked and under-listened. Although the band disliked this album more than I hate ‘Proud to be English/Preserve ‘Our’ England’ campaigns (culture isn’t static you fucking morons), this album is wonderfully scuzzy.
‘Blew’ starts off the album with a gut-wrenching bass intro that sets the tone for a sinister beginning to Bleach, cut through with the jangling ‘About a Girl’ – the first song to really show the flashes of Cobain’s brilliance. Trudging through to ‘Swap Meet’ – a bleak take on suburban middle-age romance – before taking the piss out of emotionless, soulless managers with ‘Big Cheese’, ending abruptly with ‘Downer’.
Now, Bleach is far from a classic, it can feel repetitive and some of the lyrics are forgettable with Nirvana scratching most together hours before recording. But this is the first thrashing steps from, like it or not, one of the game changers from the modern era. The 80’s was a time when everyone had to get rich or get called lazy, worthless and stupid (ring any bells?), and Bleach coughs up a greenie at Reagan and co. The whining, scratching guitars that define Nirvana are out in full force, the shuddering symbol smashes and Cobain’s sour lyrics shine through the cracks of this sludgeball of an album.
Listen to this if you like: Being poor, stupid and not interested in shafting everyone else for your own gain whilst telling everyone else how to live.
The White Stripes – The White Stripes (1999)
The White Stripes were, and still are, huge. They have pervaded culture globally like an antibiotic-immune disease (cheers spending cuts), appearing in Simpsons episodes, songs on box office hits and even having Seven Nation Army used by unimaginative football fans across Europe. Jack White has appeared in films like Cold Mountain (pretty decent) and made music for James Bond films (pretty terrible). As a band they have sold millions of albums worldwide and evolved into an imaginative, experimental and superbly refined band, always pushing themselves and never receding into their comfort zone. The White Stripes are known for deep and thought provoking lyrics, sprinkled with mind-bending guitar solos and brilliantly deliberate drumming; and their first album is the magic first happened.
The White Stripes doesn’t take long to get your head spinning and perforate your ear drums (because you don’t take no shit from a fucking volume limiter). It starts of bounding around like a horny dog on acid, showing impressive clairvoyance, declaring ‘Don’t let ‘em tell you the future’s electric / Coz gasoline not measured in metric’ (The Big Three Killed My Baby) and also singing about a monkey that likes to blow shit up (Jimmy the Exploder). The album then lullaby’s you until you’ve just drifted off before lighting a firework from your groin with the guttural ‘Cannon’, then finishing itself off, covering you in warm blues.
The White Stripes is messy, it’s all over the place. For a band that sounds so refined and cultured it is brilliantly raw, like sushi (fuckin’ love sushi). It flits from the ridiculous to the sublime, from wondering if people do a little dance when they are alone in (which we’ve all done) to reliving the demons of past relationships (which we’ve all done). The album is so simple; it has a childish enthusiasm to it that cuts to the core. Where so many albums can feel too complex, too pretentious (fuck off U2, Coldplay and pretty much every fucking contemporary folk band created) it is refreshing to hear such a frank, stripped back, punky, bluesy, no frills piece of awesomeness like this.
Listen to this if you like: Punk, blues, sushi (fuckin’ love sushi)
Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer (2002)
In 2001, Blink 182 had a tour delayed first by 9/11, admittedly out of their hands, but also by Tom DeLonge being a giant puss man and complaining about back problems or a cold or summat. Rescheduled to 2002, Tom DeLonge had some time to spare and decided to put some of his songs he thought all Blinkites would hate into a side project. And thank fuck they did. With the help from Hazen Street’s David Kennedy and almost minus Markus Hoppus, DeLonge and Blink drummer Travis Barker created one of my most over-played albums ever.
DeLonge’s frustration of the status quo and inertia that faced him with Blink 182 at the time is on display with the opening track ‘I Feel So’, wanting to start over. Box Car Racer put their foot on the accelerator with the clattering ‘All Systems Go’. Box Car Racer then wrestles with conscience and forbidden love interests, and when you’re crying harder than when you last watched WALL-E (IT WAS A SAD FILM, stupid fuckin ridiculously adorable robot), Box Car Racer give you a shock to the nutsack with ‘My First Punk Song’, a piss-take of those saying DeLonge and Barker can’t do real punk. You are then plunged back into the depths of emo depression before Box Car Racer (the album and the band) come to an end with ‘Elevator’, with Markus Hoppus and DeLonge both declaring ‘Let’s forget this I’ll move on’, and then inaugurating a new era of Blink 182 with ‘Instrumental’.
Box Car Racer is so much deeper and more personal than Blink 182, but no too much that you wanna throw piss at their lead singer (fuckin Black Veil Brides). Some might argue that this should be seen as a standalone album and comparisons with Blink 182 are unfair. With my ego being the size of King Kong’s clangers however, I think you do. DeLonge may say that it was just something to kill some hours, but there is real frustration, regret and hindsight woven into this gem of an album that make sense in the context of mid-Blink. It was a way to create a different perspective, to let off some steam, to try out some new stuff, and this experiment influenced Blink 182’s next album ‘Blink 182’, distinguishable in ‘I Miss You’ and ‘Down’. Box Car Racer is such an intimate album, it connects with you more than a Blink 182 album can. Thank fuck Tom DeLonge has such a proper crap back, because this is genius.
Listen to this if you like: Being over-emotional and crying at sad films (IT WAS A SAD FILM).
Written by TheJukeFox
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