The best British debut albums of the 2000s

16 February 2019, 17:00 | Updated: 16 February 2019, 17:01

Best British Debut Albums
Best British Debut Albums. Picture: Press

As the 20th Century gave way to the 21st, British music went through an amazing period. From Arctic Monkeys to Bloc Party, here are Radio X’s picks of the Noughties.

  1. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

    As the decade turned, guitar music got back to basics after the dark posturing of The Strokes and their ilk, and Alex Turner was the man to take indie rock back to the streets. 13 tracks of everyday Northern life set to irresistible singalong melodies. Key track: A Certain Romance.

    Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not cover art
    Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not cover art. Picture: Press
  2. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

    Remember the post-punk revival of the early 00s? Bloc Party’s debut was the epitome of the genre: skittish guitars, danceable rhythms and an emotional core that dug deep. Key track: Helicopter, of course.

    Bloc Party - Silent Alarm album cover
    Bloc Party - Silent Alarm album cover. Picture: Press
  3. Coldplay - Parachutes

    The post-Britpop era was a grim time, with some adventurous bands falling flat and some old favourites making good (The Verve, for one). It was Chris Martin that opened the 21st Century with an album of open honesty and emotion. They were all primed for superstardom. Key track: Don’t Panic.

    Coldplay - Parachutes album cover
    Coldplay - Parachutes album cover. Picture: Press
  4. The Streets - Original Pirate Material

    British rap was still an oddity even as late as 2002, but Mike Skinner nailed the genre with this peerless take on the UK garage scene. It’s basically the London version of Whatever People Say I Am. Key track: Has It Come To This?

    The Streets - Original Pirate Material album cover
    The Streets - Original Pirate Material album cover. Picture: Press
  5. The Libertines - Up The Bracket

    When the cool kids were looking to New York for their thrills, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat created their own unique sound: the sound of Albion, Old England, street poetry and a title nicked from 50s comic Tony Hancock. Key track: Time For Heroes.

    The Libertines - Up The Bracket album cover
    The Libertines - Up The Bracket album cover. Picture: Press
  6. The xx - XX

    About as lo-fi as you can get, The xx’s debut created a fascinating sound world, hinged around the voices of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim and the beats of Jamie Smith. Key track: VCR

    The xx - XX album cover
    The xx - XX album cover. Picture: Press
  7. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

    Another of the British post-punk revival bands, Franz’s hit Take Me Out enjoyed that tricky time-signature change and a dancefloor beat, but there was more to them than Gang Of Four impersonations. Key track: The Dark Of The Matinee.

    Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand album cover
    Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand album cover. Picture: Press
  8. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment

    Having aimed for the big time as Parva, it seemed like the last chance for Ricky Wilson and his mates, but their debut album was packed full of amazing, sardonic indie hits, with wry lyrics and anthemic choruses. Key track: Oh My God.

    Kaiser Chiefs - Employment album cover
    Kaiser Chiefs - Employment album cover. Picture: Press
  9. Editors - The Back Room

    Dark, compelling guitar rock led by the mournful baritone of Tom Smith and the scything guitar of Chris Urbanowicz. Key track: Munich.

    Editors - The Back Room album cover
    Editors - The Back Room album cover. Picture: Press
  10. The Courteeners - St Jude

    Liam Fray, the Bard Of Middleton, set out his stall with this debut, featuring Cavorting, What Took You So Long and the key track Not Nineteen Forever.

    The Courteeners - St Jude album cover
    The Courteeners - St Jude album cover. Picture: Press
  11. Jamie T - Panic Prevention

    Mr Treays got a Mercury nomination for this slice of everyday South London life with a selection of cutting lyrics on modern “yoof” culture. Key track: Sheila

    Jamie T - Panic Prevention album cover
    Jamie T - Panic Prevention album cover. Picture: Press
  12. The Maccabees - Colour It In

    The London band caused much regret when they packed it in during the summer of 2017 and this is debut shows why. The charming love songs, the inspirational lyrics and the quirky arrangements, they were much-loved. Key track: Latchmere.

    The Maccabees - Colour It In album cover
    The Maccabees - Colour It In album cover. Picture: Press
  13. Florence And Machine - Lungs

    From an art rock collective to a Glastonbury bill-topping outfit, Florence Welch and her team made the transition with aplomb. The debut is knowingly delicate and showcases Flo’s distinctive voice and the band’s unique instrumentation. Key moment: Dog Days Are Over

    Florence And Machine - Lungs album cover
    Florence And Machine - Lungs album cover. Picture: Press
  14. Kasabian - Kasabian

    Solid rock ’n’ roll from the Leicester lads. Side 1 is pretty much a greatest hits session: Club Foot, Processed Beats, Reason Is Treason… and the second half is just as strong. Key moment: L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)

    Kasabian - Kasabian debut album cover
    Kasabian - Kasabian debut album cover. Picture: Press