Top 10 Debut Albums That Sound Nothing Like The Artist Of Today


Every musician has to evolve.  If the music you put out in 2012 is the exact same crap as you put in 1982, then you’re either an unoriginal, talentless hack, or AC/DC.  It’s expected that your art grows and matures as you grow and mature as well.

Some musicians, however, take that idea to the extreme, and what they’re most famous for recording is several parallel dimensions apart from what they started out playing.  For all intents and purposes, these guys started their career in music, then were immediately kidnapped, killed, and replaced by alien doppelgangers who stole their names and started playing whatever they damn well pleased.

10.  Sugar Ray

You Know Them For:

Image result for Sugar Ray

Harmless pop-rock that frat boys put on when trying to convince a girl that they’re laid-back and sensitive.  Also, that stupid f’ing “Fly” song that was played approximately 1631273402374813043 times a day back in the mid-90s and made you envy the deaf and the dead.  And up until recently, for employing a little-used DJ nicknamed Homicide

.  Rarely has such an awesome stage name gone to such utter waste.

But In The Beginning:


You like Limp Bizkit?  What the Hell’s wrong with you?!  Also, we couldn’t book ‘em.  So here’s Sugar Ray; close enough!

Yes, gentle little Sugar Ray started out as an alternative-metal, rap-rock group along the lines of Limp Bizkit, with the occasional nod to the Red Hot Chili Peppers when they felt like imitating a good band.  They were loud, angry, and more than a little greasy.  Record buyers knew what you were getting into just by eyeballing their debut album, Lemonade and Brownies, which featured piss and poo references in the title and a naked actress on the cover.   Curious?  Well, find a picture of it yourself.  We’re classier than that.  Perverts.

9.  Dave King

You Know Him For:

Image result for flogging molly dave king

Fronting Flogging Molly, AKA Pogues With Decent Teeth.  Their brand of Celtic-fused punk-rock features tons of raucous drinking/moshing songs, and tons of somber, depressing hangover/utter-loneliness songs.  Guess which category gets more play at live shows.

But In The Beginning: 


Hair metal.  And lots of it.  Together with Motorhead’s Fast Eddie Clarke, King fronted the band Fastway, where he quickly became famous for being a ginger metalhead named Dave who wasn’t Dave Mustaine, and for having an actor lip-sync his music in the film Trick Or Treat.  Other than that, the world didn’t exactly blink when the band broke up.  King went on to successfully add fiddles and banjos to his repertoire, while Fast Eddie went on to “reunite” Fastway twenty years later with some random ginger who sounded like King with a bad head cold.  Don’t YouTube the reunion videos unless you feel like being sad for awhile.

8.  Michel Bolton

You Know Him For:

Image result for Michael Bolton

Shmaltzy soft rock that even middle-aged spinsters find too boring to wet themselves over.  His albums are so bland that even hipsters who “ironically” like things that suck wouldn’t be caught dead listening to anything by him.

But In The Beginning:


Hard rockin’ baby, YEAAHHHHHH…kind of.  Under the oh-so-secretive name of Michael Bolotin, Bolton and his band, Blackjack, released two albums of pure, unbridled, rock fury…kind of.  OK, so it’s not exactly Slayer, but it’s a Hell of a lot louder and cooler than WHEN A MAAAAAAAANNNNNN LOVES A WOOOOOOOOMANNNNNN *smooth sax fill*.  Blackjack’s brand of early 80’s mid-tempo guitar rock served well those who found Journey a bit too much and were just outraged that Hall and Oates uttered “bitch” in “Rich Girl”.

7.  Jimmy Buffet

You Know Him For:

Image result for jimmy buffett young

Songs of the seafaring life, and how awesome it would be to just hang around at the beach and stare at the babes all day.  He is most famous for a song about alcoholism, lost love, and the pain of a wasted life that has somehow become a fun drinking anthem for lonely, middle-aged, alcoholic failures everywhere.

But In The Beginning:


Before he discovered margaritas and heavenly cheeseburgers that suspiciously sound like regular ol’ McDonalds Quarter Pounders, Buffet was a quietly earnest acoustic guitar strummer, penning serious, sensitive, socially minded folk songs like he was the new lead singer of Bread.  It’s not bad music at all, though imagine if he ever dared to play serious tunes about war and religion with titles like “The Christian?” and “The Missionary” in front of a bunch of Parrotheads.  Unless he threw in a few quick shout-outs to coconuts, he’d get eaten alive.  And it’d be his own damn fault.

6.  David Bowie

You Know Him For:

Image result for David Bowie

Other than being an undisputed rock icon and influencing damn near every rock act of the past 30 years, nothing much really.

But In The Beginning:


Let’s just say it took a while for Bowie to find himself.  To start off, he recorded under the name of Davie Jones, before somebody whispered in his ear that a little band called the Monkees already had a Davy Jones.  As Jones, he released his very first single, “Liza Jane,” which was basically 50’s-style teeny-pop featuring immortal lines like, “well I gotta girl that’s good to me/well she ain’t more than five foot three”.  Entire college-level English Lit courses are bult around analyzing that one particular lyric, it’s that damn good.

His debut album under the Bowie name was a weird mish-mash of vaudeville, music hall, and baroque pop, whatever that is.  Even better, two months prior, he had released a novelty single called “The Laughing Gnome,” featuring sped-up chipmunk vocals that were supposed to be a tiny little gnome.  This batcrap insane early career progression bears no similarity to Bowie’s later masterpieces, aside from them too being batcrap insane.  Such is Bowie.

5.  New Kids On The Block

You Know Them For:  

Image result for step by step nkotb meme

Being the most funky funky fresh boy band of the ‘80s, a precursor to the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and other bands carefully crafted by a fat, money-laundering pedophile.  This group of dancing machines couldn’t hear a synth beat without getting down and showing off their teenaged white-boy stuff.

But In The Beginning:


Their first album, recorded when at least part of the band appeared to be made up of five-year-olds, was, well, less funky.  Basically, they recorded some of the most gentle, saccharine, Donny-and-Marie style snooze-pop you could possibly imagine.  It’s the kind of music where you seriously wonder if any actual instruments exist, and the overall tone is so cheesy that it sounds like something a TV show would come up with as a parody of bubblegum music.  Luckily, the band grew up, got funky, and expressed themselves in more mature ways, such as “oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh oh, the right stuff”.

4.  Nickelback

You Know Them For:

Image result for Nickelback

Sucking?  Seriously, it’s difficult to find a more hated band at this point who’s still bothering to tour full-time.  Their rep is basically that of the ultimate poseur band, who pen loud drinking songs and soft ballads with all the authenticity of travelling carnies. Read why you should like Nickelback.

But In The Beginning:


Darkness upon darkness.  Nickelback began life performing raw, distorted, screaming, oftentimes-incoherent post-grunge metal.  There were no odes to drinking or going all-in and balls-out, just…we’re not sure.  Their lyrics were more than a little vague at that point, so just because they wrote a song called “Truck,” doesn’t mean they were actually singing about a truck.  Whereas today, if they write a song called “If Everyone Cared,” then they’re damn well gonna be singing about how everybody needs to care.  Also, it will be putrid.


3.  Black Eyed Peas

You Know Them For:

Image result for Black Eyed Peas

Being the reigning kings of electro-hop (whatever that is), at least until their disastrous Super Bowl halftime show.  Despite their success, many attribute their fame almost entirely to their having a hot blonde girl as their lead singer.

But In The Beginning:


Perhaps those critics were onto something.  When the band started, they recorded laid-back alternative hip-hop for the stoner crowd.  There were no electronic beats, no autotuned vocals and, perhaps most importantly here, NO FERGIE.  No girl at all, really; the band was composed entirely of three dudes.  They sang about the three J’s: joints, jams, and just making enough money to survive.  One fergalicious singer later, and they were all about humps, lumps, and dumptrucks just overflowing with money.

2.  Smash Mouth

You Know Them For:

Image result for smashmouth

Being that band with the ugly singer who sounds like he has chronic laryngitis, singing a bunch of harmless lazy-summer tunes, with the occasional toothless 60’s cover thrown in for good measure.  Also, that “Fly” song from the Sugar Ray entry?  Whatever number we randomly typed into the article to represent the song’s daily airplay, it can easily be transferred to Smash Mouth’s mid-90’s earworm, “Walkin’ On The Sun.”  Which you now have in your head for the rest of the week.  You’re welcome.

But In The Beginning:


They were Sublime rip-offs.  That’s about it; they did the same style of third-wave ska/punk that Sublime did, only their lead singer didn’t die before their non-ska crossover hit sent the band spiraling into another songwriting dimension.  You think we’re just being pithy, but there’s more than a good possibility that Sublime would’ve run with “What I Got” and made several more albums just like it until everybody got sick of them and Brad took jobs hosting Access Hollywood and The Singing Bee.

1.  Meat Loaf

You Know Him For:

Image result for Meat Loaf

Singing the most stupidly bombastic rock operas of all time, featuring ten-minute songs with titles longer than this whole article, and naturally strong vocals stretched to their absolute breaking point as he desperately tries to convince a 17-year-old girl to get naked (don’t worry, officers reading this.  For the purpose of the song, he’s also 17, so it’s OK.)

But In The Beginning:


He sang Motown-style gospel and soul with a woman named Stoney, because that’s exactly what you do with a big fat guy named after cafeteria food.  The best part of it was, he knew full well he was fat, as he used the same stage name he became famous for, and actually recorded a song called “I’d Love To Be As Heavy As Jesus.”  Wait, wasn’t Jesus thin and in shape?  You’d kinda have to be with all that walking he did.  So well done, Mr. Loaf; you have accomplished your goal, at least fifteen times over.

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  1. Kid Rock should be on this list, unless you think “Yodelin’ in the Valley” sounds like “Born Free”.

  2. jason stone on

    i first thought of them when i saw this list..the only thing that’s against them is time..they would perhaps be the most modern band to be on the list…sometimes we can out think ourselves by forgetting the most recent because we know people will say, “of course you’re going to say them because they most recently changed their style.” i’m not defending their omission, but that’s probably what went though the writer’s mind.’s a very interesting list but i thought Linkin Park deserved a spot. i loved them when they came out with Hybrid Theory and Meteora…but ever since then..with the exception of a couple of songs…every album after that was really different..and now they are not even resembling anything of their original sound…it’s a shame

  3. I would also say Linkin Park. Their sound today is far gone from the rap/hard rock of Hybrid Theory.

  4. You forgot to mention some of the bands that are most famous for this, including Billy Joel’s Robert Plant phase, The Goo Goo Dolls, and of course… “Y Can’t Tori Read?,” Tori Amos’ debut catastrophy.

  5. Peter Boucher on

    To the author of this list Jason Iannone. You are either 18 years old or your music knowledge is either nil or nothing. Here is what I would suggest that you do. Sit near your stereo system and get every single album / CD by the rock group RUSH, and listen to their Albums / CD’s in chronological order. You will start with their very first self entitled LP (1973) and will have rock music, plain and simple. Then, you will get into their late 70’s Metal Progressive music, then the mainstream music will approach with their album”Permanent Waves” or “Moving Pictures” (1981). They even attempted Rap music with their “Roll The Bones” Album / CD. As you progress (like the group themselves and quite remarkably well) you will see that they have followed the pattern of playing music of what people want to listen to. They formed in 1968 as high school students, performing at school dances and little night clubs and are, as we speak, on tour right now. 44 YEARS and always sell out wherever they perform. And lets not forget that they have, hands down, the greatest living drummer in the world today, Neil Peart. They have been my favorite group now for 35+ years. Take my challenge and listen for yourself. RUSH has 24 Gold Albums, in which 14 of them are platinum or multi-platinum records / CD’s. They did not earn those for nothing………….

    • I think you missed the entire point of this list. Jesus, Rush fans will never hesitate to shove their favorite band down our throats.

      • And what’s really funny is that they *never* get that most people who dislike Rush do so mostly because of their fans. Just like a Randroid version of the Grateful Dead.

  6. Joseph Furguson on

    That is a very good list and its filled with people that I would never think of.

  7. Goo Goo Dolls were a pretty good little punk band that no one listened to. They took showers, softened up their message (alot), and voila, they moved millions of units.

  8. Good list, I think Smashmouth, Nickelback, and New Kids all kinda sounded the same and still sucked, but good premise for a list. Pink Floyd would be a good addition but I can see how that might not be the same category since they switched the lead singer/guitarist from their first album. Radiohead as well, they are cheap grunge knockoffs on their first album.

    • Pink Floyd doesnt apply, they were always psychedelic…it was a little less psychedelic at the years went on