You tried it just for once/Found it all right for kicks: The best debut singles

Thinking about Lana del Rey’s “Video Games” kicked off this list, and even though I adore her now I still have trouble accepting its ethos; she’s done better. The rest of the entries constitute a series of singles that delineated a whole world: if all you knew about, say, Wu-Tang Clan, Buzzcocks, and Kate Bush were the singles below, you could die a happy listener. These songs encompassed everything these acts would do.

1. Roxy Music – Virginia Plain
2. Culture Club – Do You Really Want to Hurt Me
3. Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
4. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
5. Suede – The Drowners
6. Sam & Dave – Hold On, I’m Comin’
7. Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck
8. M.I.A. – Galang
9. Eric B & Rakim – Eric B for Presidnet
10. New York Dolls – Personality Crisis
11. Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
12. Dwight Yoakam – Honky-Tonk Man
13. Superchunk – Slack Motherfucker
14. Spice Girls – Wannabe
15. A-ha – Take On Me
16. Britney Spears – …Baby One More Time
17. Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the UK
18. Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
19. Azealia Banks – 212
20. Frank Ocean – Novocane
21. Fiona Apple – Shadowboxer
22. Buzzcocks- Orgasm Addict
23. Erykah Badu – On & On
24. Joy Division – Transmission
25. Kanye West – Through the Wire
26. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott – The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
27. New Order – Ceremony
28. Morrissey – Suedehead
29. Miranda Lambert – Me and Charlie Talking
30. Aaliyah – Back & Forth

7 thoughts on “You tried it just for once/Found it all right for kicks: The best debut singles

  1. Little Feat’s Willin’?
    Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light?
    Steely Dan’s “Do it Again?
    Gram Parsons’ “She”?
    Big Star’s “In the Street”?
    Cohen’s “Suzanne”?
    Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes”?
    All in my permanent lifetime jukebox as well as some of some you mentioned.

      • Yeah, I know the earnestness of Browne (plus, his usual whining) is a put off for some. But the rhytm section is aces. So the melody. It’s his hardest rocking song by some margin. I like his first album. And I like it better than Rock Me on the Water, too. Which is a nice gospel-piano song. The coda reminded me of brazilian Ivan Lins’ way with the piano. Forte.
        I Saw the Light. What can I tell you. The amount of detail on this one amazes me. Yeah, it’s schmaltzy. So was Harry Nilsson, sometimes. The “tum-tum”, “tum-tum” percusive pattern is utter genius to me. A studio wizard and audiophile on par with Steely Dan. Minus the amount of good songs that were actually hits and their sarcasm. But why “Call Me Maybe” and NOT Rundgren’s?

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