Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Top Five Album Openers

So first the chump over at BigAppleMusicBlog through a list of the best album openers ever. A bit of time lapse and the snoot at The Unblinking Ear decided to weigh in. Well, far be it for me to turn down a debate of the relative merits of my taste versus those of others. So here it is. (I was able to find YouTube videos for all but my number 5. They are linked in the titles.)

5. The Modern Lovers "Road Runner" from The Modern Lovers

Oh the count off. Is there a better way to start a song? With a quick and decisive "1!2!3!4!5!6!" Jonathan Richman launches his definitive single, his definitve album and his entire career on full throttle. The band is on fire pounding two chords into your head for the duration. Driving past the Stop and Shop with the radio on. You hear the ghosts of Rock radio past in each element of this song down to it's symbal crashes and Richman's ever reaching howls.

4. The Who "Baba O'Reilly" from Who's Next

Just the finest stadium rock song ever thats all. Just the best use of looped synth in rock history, nothing special there. Just the finest hop in your car with the broken transmition and do something irresponsible song ever, ho hum. The rock moves the windmills, the mic swings, the high kicks, you can actually hear them. The album can hardly keep pace past this point. It doesn't have to.

3. Spoon "Small Stakes" from Kill the Moonlight

There's two kinds of album openers; big bangs and slow builders. This is the later. It also works as a Spoon mission statement. Rather than coming out guns blazing Spoon whittle the song to it's most basic elements: vocal, heavy reverb, pulsing fuzzy keyboard riff, and some of Britt Daniell's finest lyrics. "Small Stakes" works as a theme song to Kill the Moon, it sets a template that is pulled to it's extremes and diced up for the next half hour and seems to leave you with that one chord still echoing in your head.

2. Guided By Voices "A Salty Salute" from Alien Lanes

The best set opening song ever? Yes. The best start to any rock and roll style celebration ever? Yes. Like much of the GBV cannon it's over so fast that you're tempted to go right back to the thudding opening bass line. It's Pollard's ralying cry, "The club is open!" You've been invited.

1. Metallica "Battery" from Master of Puppets

It's got all the tropes of a classic rock (ie: Zepplin not "Louie Louie") song with it's finger plucked acoustic opener and cascading drums as that intro seems to turn to song, then it haults just long enough for you to suck in some oxegen. For the next few minutes you are being pummeled by the greatest riff in metal played by it's most precise and skillful practitioners. The lyrics are of course silly with their shout along cadence and their seeming lack of any meaning. The statement is more about intent and sound than anything anyone might ever attempt to put into words.

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Blogger PB said...

How did I forget "Roadrunner" and "Baba O'Riely?" I don't know if either would have made my top 5 but they're certainly worthy of honorable mentions.

Incidentally, I'm certain Blogger has a spell check feature. You should really use it. Transmition? Oxegen? Seriously, man. That's awful.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Terrence said...

Oh leave poor Tim alone, he can't understand these new fangled technologies.

So who else are we going to suck into this debate.

3:22 PM  
Blogger PB said...

I suppose I can't really talk since I misspelled "Bab O'Riley." Then again, so did Tim.

As for who else we're going to suck into this debate, it would seem the public is indifferent which is a shame as this is a subject of earth shattering importance.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Tim Duffy said...

Bring it Bloggers!!!! WE'RE CALLING YOU OUT!!!

Also, I'll point out that I changed the offending words. My general move is to publish them proof read, whihc i suppose is backwards...

4:11 PM  

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