My 2007 review of the best opening tracks of albums
(Note: This post originally appeared on my blogspot blog here. Datestamped footnotes with commentary may have been added for my own reflection and amusement.)
Inspired by the one and only Todd:
One thing High Fidelity is good for besides creating a window into the relationship mind of the modern male is inspire dorks like myself to rattle off top five lists the way Rob and his record store employees do. While this isn’t exactly the most original idea for a post ever, responding with my own list was a good motivator for getting this blog started, and gives me an excuse to write about things I feel strongly in favor of. Also, in case anyone is wondering (hint: nobody is) yes I know it was a book, but I saw the movie first.
Top Five Side One, Track Ones
One of the best ways to start off a rock album is with a catchy hook that still rocks pretty hard. this song fits that bill like few others and kicks off a pretty surprisingly good rock album despite being from and slightly contributing to the rap-rock era. I wonder what their DJ does all the time now.1
There’s nothing quite like a song about a teenage two piece death metal band recorded in low fi and performed on an acoustic guitar. Great songwriting and the almost monotone but very emotive singing of John Darnielle make this probably the best song on the album.
Not really the best song on this record, but a great way to start off probably the strongest debut album of any rock band ever, and to let loose a war cry that basically told all the hair metal guys to grab their mascara and get the hell out of the way, G&F’nR are coming to blow you off the stage. Also works as a great way to imagine what it must have been like moving from West Lafayette, Indiana to LA in the 80s.
From Robert Plant’s laugh at the start of the track, to the opening riff, to the thumping bass that quickly follows, to the crazy aural simulated sex, to the jackhammering drum fills, to the blistering solo, this opening track stands out to me as the best of all their record openers, and they have a LOT of good ones (Immigrant Song, Black Dog, Good Times Bad Times, etc). This song is just dripping with overpowering sexuality and energy. There’s a reason why a huge number of 15 year oldish males think Zep is the best music ever created.
This song is like being wrapped in an aural cocoon. Radiohead managed to not only continue to bring in electronic instruments and influences into their rock sound, they went full steam ahead, and the result makes for one hell of an opening track, along with the rest of the album. I hated Kid A at first, but with all due admiration for OK Computer, it’s now my favorite Radiohead album. This development seems to coincide with me buying a really good pair of headphones, and a chapter out of Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live wherein he makes a very convincing argument that the album is accidentally about September 11th despite being released in 2000. It’s one of my favorite chapters of any book, and just another reason why this song is my favorite album opener. And also what Todd said.
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I wonder what Brandon Boyd does now besides batlle his shirt allergy? (08/2013)↩