Brilliant Debut Albums of the 2010s

An artist’s first album needs to meet high standards because it is the first impression to an unrelenting audience. It’s easy to make a bad album, but painstakingly difficult to produce a body of work that will catapult you to criticallyacclaimed success. Perhaps it’s because I came of age in the 2010s and its music has significantly shaped who I am, but I think that contemporary music doesn’t get served with the respect it deserves. There are many talented artists in this generation that are producing music that is captivating and worthy of recognition. But, the good material gets piled into the same category as the music that is played on the radio, when there is a definite distinction. I share with you, four debut albums that I think demonstrate the talent and creativity of these artists.  

Lush– Mitski (2012)

Image Source: @Mitski on Bandcamp

I can say with full confidence that Mitski is one of the most brilliant singer/songwriters of our time. Her lyrics are electrifying; they captivate emotions you might not have realized you had. “Lush” was a project for Mitki’s junior year at Purchase College; she wrote and self-produced her debut album at only 22 years old. Mitski successfully broke through a male-dominated genre, with lyrics touching on themes of loneliness, sexism, despair, and heartbreak. 

Noteworthy Tracks: 

Liquid Smooth  

“Brand New City”  

bcos u will never be free– Rex Orange County (2016) 

Image Source: @Rex on Bandcamp

 Rex Orange County is a young British artist who produced his debut album at the age of 18. He’s proven that he has the skill and artistry of a true songwriter. What’s special about this album is that it’s the kind you’d play on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It narrates the coyness and the sweaty palms of first love. It’s a tale of the first time you loved someone and swore you’d be with them forever until you realize that hearts break easily. 

Noteworthy Tracks:  

“Corduroy Dreams”  


Isolation– Kali Uchis (2018) 

Image Source: Rough Trade

Kali is a Colombian-American singer, songwriter, and actress that has established a name for herself in the music scene with her unique style. She has a vintage sound but knows how to blend classic and modern in her music. This album is an experience, from the tantalizing rhythms to the lyrics. She sings about the struggle of being an immigrant and overworking yourself without seeing the fruit of your labor.  

Noteworthy Tracks:  

“In My Dreams”  

“Feel Like a Fool”

Lucid– Raveena (2019) 

Image Source:

There is no better word I can think of to describe Raveena’s music but dreamy. She has a voice that’s as sweet and silky. I wish her music played in my dreams. Her melodies are slow and steadyHer music sounds soft and tender but her lyrics touch on difficult subjects. Lucid narrates a relationship that is over because it was harmful to both lovers. Raveena sings about learning to distance herself from a love that no longer serves her. 

Noteworthy Tracks:  


“Salt Water”