There's something special about a debut album. No matter what kind of band you're dealing with, there's something exhilarating about hearing their sound for the first time. Even if it's the type of band that borrows, there is a good chance that there's at least one component to their music that you haven't heard elsewhere.
But what really makes debut albums fun? The guys making them aren't super rich yet.
Take U2, for example. When they made Boy, they were a bunch of working class Irish kids desperately hoping they could make it as rock n rollers. When they made October, they were a bit more financially secure, and even more so when they made War. By the time they got to Achting Baby, they were richer than most of us will ever be, and probably desperately clinging to a sense of reality.
To be clear, I enjoy plenty of U2's later albums, and Achtung Baby might actually be my favorite thing they've ever done. It's just that the raw, primal feel of Boy never really showed up in their later works. Most bands get a bit comfortable after album two or three, once they started having enough money for a mansion or five.
So, what's the definitive example of the gloriously unrefined debut album? Well, there are certainly more than a few quality contenders. Appetite For Destruction has to be in the mix, as do the debut albums by The Ramones and The Clash. Any metalhead can tell you that Metallica was never as blisteringly fast as they were on Kill 'Em All, even if their later albums ended up being superior due to stronger songwriting. The same goes for Iron Maiden. I love the soaring anthems of the Bruce Dickinson, but the grimey, underdog of their self-titled debut (when Paul Di'Anno was the lead singer) can't be forgotten. When bands grow up, there's a primitive element that they often never get back.
I have to think that has something to do with getting rich. Once you've made it as rock star, you're not hungry anymore, and you struggle to find song topics that people can relate to. It's not the bands can't make great stuff afte rthey become millionaires, it's just that a debut album, from a bunch of starving kids living in a van, has a certain magic to it. Luckily, there will always be new bands, so I suspect this is a phenomenon that will never die.