Friday Top 5: Kick-Ass Album Openers
Some albums start with a slow build. A song to lull you in to some precious band’s languid dreamscape. F that noise. Some times a good punch-in-the-gut opener is just what you need. Check out five kick ass openers below:
Driving guitar. A straight forward drum beat. Walla, a kick-ass song. If only it were as easy as Queens of the Stone Age make it seem here. Speaking of “if only,” “If Only” is also an excellent track on this album. Hell, as long as I’m giving props to random QOTSA tracks, I should probably point out that the Songs for the Deaf opener “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire” passes “Regular John” in terms of sheer kickassitude, but loses points for being embedded with a lame radio parody.
Okay, they had me at the song title. What can I say, I have a soft spot for dark comedy and spastic punk energy. Both of which McLusky are overflowing with. The lyrics this band comes up with. . . my God. No other band would think to say: “Nicotine stained on account of her crutch/ and I’m aching from f&*king too much,” let alone deliver it a way that is so hilarious and freakishly intense.
Because I enjoy cheating, I’m going to call what is technically the second track on an album an “opener” (it is the first real song on the record anyway). There’s very little that I can say about “I Can’t Wait” that the album cover to “Nigga Please” does not already convey. Other bands sang about breaking through to the other side, but Ol’ Dirty Bastard set up permanent residence there. And from this other plane of reality, ODB conjured up “I Can’t Wait.” Think of it as an inter-dimensional drunk voice mail. It’s not that ODB won’t wait. It’s that he can’t wait. His energy won’t be contained by the limits of physics, human reason, or the bounds of good taste. The ever delightful Mr. Bastard (or should I say Big Baby Jesus?) even manages finds time to give a shout out to the submarines, the school teachers, and the Eskimos. So of course he gives a shout out to his Wu-Tang brethren.
Yeah that’s right, back to back Wu affiliated tracks in the same list. Maybe my rap taste is stuck in the 90’s, but it’s hard to compete with the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut. Unlike most of the songs on this list, “Bring Da Ruckus” is a slow track, but the plodding tempo actually makes the song heavier. Rap fans are so accustomed to RZA’s playbook by now, that they may have forgotten just how strange Wu’s success is when you break down their style. Kung-fu movie samples + sparse piano + unhurried beats + stylistically divergent MCs = pure genius. Not to be confused with GZA, “The Genius,” who is also a genius.
The weird primitive way The Stooges approach rock and roll is almost perfected in “Down on the Street.” It seems to be a song about going out looking for trouble, regardless of what kind of trouble that might be. It’s easy to imagine Iggy Pop slithering through some unwashed street looking to find a girl, or a fight, or some kind of chemical fix. Wonderful cracked unwholesome fun.