Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 100 Most Dynamic Debut Albums Ever Made, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
Although Björk had already experienced some level of indie-cool success with The Sugarcubes, and in fact released a “debut” album of covers in her native Icelandic tongue at age 11, for all intents and purposes Björk’s birthing as a true artist (solo or otherwise) came with 1993’s Debut. Perhaps best summed up by the lyrics of “Big Time Sensuality,” Debut mixes “the hardcore and the gentle” with a blend of dynamic electronica and intimate organic richness.
With an expansive soundscape helmed by Massive Attack producer Nelle Hooper, Björk dances and twirls through moods and emotions with each passing song. From the hypnotic allure of “Venus As A Boy” to the wandering-through-a-rave sonic voyeurism of “There’s More To Life Than This” to the sparse, haunting intimacy of “The Anchor Song,” Björk takes us on a sonic adventure that mixes her quirky eccentricity with musical adventurism in an elegant and intoxicating way. “Human Behaviour,” for instance, with its shuffling rhythm and anthropological observations draws you in with a sense of building anticipation backed by timpani accents and offbeat musical musings.
There’s a feeling of overwhelming joy and excitement in the tracks that still hold up, and sonically it has weathered the technical storm a lot better than other albums of the era. Debut introduced us to one of the modern era’s most interesting and diverse musical talents whose search for sonic expression would continue to excite, and occasionally, challenge the listener across her subsequent albums.