Record sales or artistic integrity? It’s the perrenial question which aspiring musicians long to be faced with, yet when they are it’s a decision that can make or break them. All the artists featured here have faced this problem somewhere along their progression to stardom, but whatever direction they chose, these five songs demonstrate the quality in their early recordings. Judge for yourself if they were better before or after they became dependable chart features.
Mr Hudson & The Library – Too Late, Too Late
Before he worked with Kanye West on Supernova and the rest of his solo debut, Oxford English graduate Ben Hudson headed-up this band, creating eclectic, sensitive and catchy songs ranging from Reggae to Indiepop.
Skream – Summer Dreams
Master of wobbly remixes and a member of now world-famous Magnetic Man, Skream is seen as one of the pioneers of Dubstep. This brilliant jazzy, Breakbeat track shows his diversity in other Electronic genres and screams (sorry) to be played at every summer house party.
Jay-Z – Can’t Get With That
The fresh-faced twenty-five-year-old Shawn Carter really flexes his quick tongue on this great old-school track, produced two years before his debut album and unfortunately still remains unreleased.
Elbow – Scattered Black And Whites
Seven years before Seldom Seen Kid won Elbow a Mercury Prize, this modest gem appeared on their debut album Asleep In The Back. Compared to the recent and deeply moving Friend Of Ours, it shows that Elbow are still staying true to themselves, yet are finally getting the recognition for it.
Bombay Bicycle Club – Open House
Taken from their 2007 debut EP The Boy I Use To Be, this isn’t as refined as later releases but as catchy indie rock goes, Bombay haven’t made many better. It’s immediately reminiscent of the underage club nights in North London that helped launch the band.