Thursday, January 24, 2008

For Openers

So I thought I'd contribute something.

I've been enjoying the Guardian blog topic on album closers, and so of course started thinking about album openers. Some openers are let down by what comes after - for example, "The Fallen" on Franz Ferdinand's second album was head and shoulders over what followed - while some are so weak as to forever be labelled "skip" (for me, "Sunday Morning" by the Velvet Underground is one of these. Controversial, I know). So I guess I really mean songs that let you know from note one what to expect from an album, those that suck you in and keep you there and could almost be said to typify the album. I've come up with a random ten, in no particular order, from a cursory glance at the shelves, which as ususal would probably be a different ten another time. A bit "High Fidelity", I know (I think they actually do a top 5 on this topic), but possibly fun.

Anyone have any other examples?

Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love (II)
Sonic Youth - Dirty Boots (Goo)
Jane's Addiction - Stop! (Ritual De Lo Habitual)
Guns 'N Roses - Welcome To The Jungle (Appetite For Destruction)
Pixies - Bone Machine (Surfer Rosa)
Spiritualized - You Know It's True (Lazer-Guided Melodies)
The Beach Boys - Wouldn't It Be Nice (Pet Sounds)
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (Hounds Of Love)
The Stooges - 1969 (The Stooges)
Ministry - N.W.O. (Psalm 69)


el derino said...

Since I happened to be listening to it as I read this post, I'll have to mention the Mary Chain's Just Like Honey. Another would be The Stone Roses' I Wanna Be Adored - it's not one of their very best, but it's just such a great, hubristic statement of intent for the start of an album.

There's a ridiculous number to choose from, though your qualification is a good way of narrowing down (actually album openers that promise more than they deliver could be a whole different list). If I do this tomorrow (or even in 10 minutes time) it'll all be different, but for now:

The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
Julee Cruise - Floating (Floating Into The Night)
St Etienne - Mario's Cafe (So Tough)
Cocteau Twins - Cherry Coloured Funk (Heaven or Las Vegas)
Primal Scream - Moving On Up (Screamadelica)
Belle & Sebastian - The State I Am In (Tigermilk)
Pernice Brothers - Working Girls (The World Won't End)
Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue (Blood On The Tracks)

ejaydee said...

A rather, hastily assembled list, all from good albums, not great tracks that open an OK album.

Liquid Swords by Genius/GZA (Liquid Swords)

Can't Knock The Hustle by Jay-Z (Reasonable Doubt)

Part 1 (Acknowledgement) by John Coltrane (A Love Supreme)

What's Going On by Marvin Gaye

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson (Off The Wall)

So What by Miles Davis (Kind Of Blue again)

Let's Go Crazy by Prince (Purple Rain)

I Wanna Be Adored by The Stone Roses

The View From The Afternoon by Arctic Monkeys (Whatever People...)

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) by Arcade Fire (Funeral)

Tangled Up In Blue by Bob Dylan (Blood On The Tracks)

ejaydee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
treefrogdemon said...

Who's Next: Baba O'Riley
Unhalfbricking (Fairport Convention): Genesis Hall
Born to Run (Springsteen): Thunder Road
Mock Tudor (Richard Thompson): Cooksferry Queen
Soul Journey (Gillian Welch): Look at Miss Ohio
Highway 61 Revisited (Dylan): Like a Rolling Stone

and so on...

nilpferd said...

Weather Report, Black Market.
starts with a babble of voices, then the bass, drums and keys kick in- joyous beginning for an irrepressible album.

Herbie Hancock, Maiden Voyage. From the very first chords and Tony Williams exquisite cymbal intro, you're off on a sea journey, sails swaying gently overhead.

DJ Shadow, Endtroducing.
45 trickery announces the album's name, the artist's name and sets the tone for what's to come.

The The, Soulmining.
"I've been waiting for tomorrow all my life".
Pounding beat, anguished lyrics establish the mood for Matt Johnson's masterwork.

DarceysDad said...


I might have to come back to this if this weekend's RR topic allows, but one of my definites that I *GUARANTEE* sourpus will dondle is UFO - Natural Thing, from live album Strangers In The Night.

Tempusfugit said...

'Do it Again' from Can't Buy a Thrill. Steely Dan's first album has to be in the top ten first albums. And I say this here, on Overspill, far from the disapproving ears of The Guru.