So. Rock and/or Roll has dominated my list so far. It’s obvious to say that it is my favourite genre, but that’s not to say that I don’t like a wide range of music.
Lately I have definitely been getting in the synth electro goodness of bands like MGMT, Empire of the Sun and Pendulum. I really just love anything with a good beat and good hook.
In the last part of the Hottest 100 of All Time compilation, I discussed the importance of a good opening to a song. Now we’re going to take that one step further. To the opening song of an album.
Personally, I am all about the album, as opposed to the single. I am of the school that if I hear a good couple of songs from an artist, I will get the whole album. It is ultimately the way that artists mean for their music to be heard.
It must be a tricky task for bands to decide which song is going to be No.1 on the album. Do you pick the first single? The title track? Your f avourite tune? I think it’s pretty damn important that the first track be something that really sucks the audience in, because if you’re just listening to the album to decide whether you want to buy it or not, that first track could be make or break.
Let’s look at some of the better opening tracks.
Drive – R.E.M. – Automatic for the People – A current contender for my top 10 list. Love this song. Moody, dark and R.E.M’s best.
Welcome to the Jungle – GnR – Appetite for Destruction – What a way to introduce a band, let alone an album.
Cochise – Audioslave – Audioslave – Such a big opening track. It gets you in the mood for rest of the rocking album
Hells Bells – AC/DC – Back in Black – As soon as you hear those bells. Baby, you know who it is. Big track for a massive album
Testify – Rage Against The Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles – They don’t get much bigger and gruntier.
Faded – Ben Harper – The Will to Live – Another contender for my Top 10 list. Such amazing guitar work in this song. Love.
Don’t Panic – Coldplay – Parachutes – Heard this after I heard Yellow and love it from the Garden State soundtrack. Chilled and cool.
Open – The Cure – Wish - Such an amazing opening song. Sets the scene for my favourite Cure album.
Stinkfist – Tool – Ænima – Powerful and loud. The best way to play this killer opening track.
Battery – Metallica – Master of Puppets – Speaking of powerful. Killer track!
Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil – Diesel and Dust – Stands as one of the greatest Oils tunes written and kicks this great Australian album off well.
Which brings me to my No.4 pick for the Hottest 100 and it again takes me back to my childhood.
I don’t think my parents owned the Michael Jackson Thriller album on record, but I had a copy of it on tape and a photocopy of the lyrics sleeve. I remember putting that tape into one of those little old tape players (see right) and listening to that album over and over again.
Obviously, because it was on tape, I would listen to the opening tracks a lot more than the later tracks.
I guess this is why whenever I hear the start of Wanna Be Startin’ Something, it still takes me back and gets me moving. Such a funky song.
And how about the ‘mama se mama sa mama koo sa’ What the hell is that? Who cares. It fits!
I used to also think it was funny how Jacko was talking about vegetables. I mean, why is he saying ‘You’re a vegetable’ anyway?
Never quite got that.
What are your favourite opening tracks? Discuss.
I’ve been trying to find the video somewhere, but I guess Jacko’s lawyers are pretty vigilant. All I could find were fan vids, live versions and the Akon remix (blech)
But here’s a live version to check out