It's not often the first time is the best.
Now, get your mind out of the gutter — Six Pack is talking about great albums, and more specifically, great debut albums. (What did you think?)
Six Pack really struggled with this one, so much in fact that he changed topics midstream. (Six Pack was going for the difficulty of changing horses in the middle of a stream, not the pain of of other midstream analogies here.) Originally set to do the best debut albums of all time, Six Pack altered this when he couldn't narrow it down to just six.
So, this Six Pack is the best debut albums that also were the group's best work. For two of these, I am not totally convinced it is their best album, but in a vote in Six Pack’s own feeble mind, each won 51-49 percent.
Near misses - Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill,” The Killers “Hot Fuss,” Nine Inch Nails “Pretty Hate Machine.”
6. Violent Femmes — The alt-rockers from Milwaukee released seven albums in their career, but 1983's self-titled debut is by far their best. You couldn't have attended college in the 1980s and not owned this album (the CD was finally released in 1987). It peaked on the Billboard album chart at No. 171, in 1991, eight years after it was released.
5. Tom Waits "Closing Time" — Six Pack admits that he has not heard every Tom Waits' album, but really doubts any could be better than "Closing Time." Considered by many a folk album, Waits himself saw it as a jazz-piano based album. The songwriting is fantastic, leading the way for artists like the Eagles to cover songs from the debut.
4. Boston — Their self-titled initial offering in 1976 still ranks as one of the best-selling debuts of all time with more 17 million copies sold. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 and stayed there for 132 weeks. Boston has six studio albums, but none approached the success or greatness of the first although 1978's "Don't Look Back" and 1986's 'Third Stage" each peaked at No. 1 on Billboard.
3. Van Halen — Here is one of my arguments with myself. Van Halen II might be better than the 1978 debut self-titled, commonly referred to as Van Halen I. Either way, the first Van Halen is a masterpiece, from "Runnin' with the Devil" to "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love." And don't forgot the instrumental "Eruption," which may have changed guitar playing forever.
2. Peal Jam "Ten" — Six Pack is relenting on a longtime stance he’s had here. I have defended myself in many bar fights (re: arguments), claiming that PJ's No. 2 release "Vs." was better than the 1991 debut "Ten." Of course, this is akin to saying that Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins are better than their brethren eggs at Easter. They are both out-of-this-world good, as are the first two Pearl Jam albums. Throw in No. 3 "Vitalogy" and you have the best three-album debut run of all-time. "Ten" is a fraction better, a very small fraction.
1. Guns N' Roses "Appetite for Destruction" — If it is truly better to burn out than fade away, like Neil Young sang, then Guns N' Roses lived that out to the maximum. Released in 1987, "Appetite" marked the ending of melodic hair metal as rock's front-running sound and changed it to a thicker, fuller and darker sound. But as quickly as GNR was in the lead, inner-band squabbling ended their run atop the mountain. But the legacy just might be the greatest hard rock album of all-time.
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