Favorite Album Openers

NevskyProspekt

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Here's something worth exploring - what are your favorite album opening tracks? Why do you think they are so good at setting the atmosphere of the album? Are there any particular bits and pieces of the track you find make it particularly suited to begin the album?

I'd say Genesis have always been quite good at opening their records. The opening title track of the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway will likely always be my favorite album intro ever, and never fails to get me hyped for the rest of the massive double-LP. Tony Banks' spectacular cross-handed piano intro is one of the most iconic examples of rock keyboarding ever, Phil Collins' legendary drumming needs no introduction, Mike Rutherford's bass is FAT and fuzzy and Peter Gabriel's vocals (especially coupled with close harmonies by Phil) are just sublime. You can almost imagine yourself gliding over Hudson bay to the NYC skyline. If possible I recommend finding the original 1974 vinyl mix of the full album. Thankfully it's on youtube.

Second would probably be 'The Boy in the Bubble' by Paul Simon from his brilliant masterpiece Graceland, which was recorded in South Africa during the height of Apartheid and landed him in political hot water back home in the U.S.A. - thankfully Simon was supported by the black artists with whom he recorded! The track just screams 'Welcome to South Africa', and of course his lyricism is 10/10.
 

Pee Cola

Ghana's number one carbonated beverage
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For mine, The Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up' is one of the great album openers. It's a balltearer, and it sets the tone for The Fat of the Land.


Also 100% agree with OP re: 'The Boy in the Bubble', and Graceland. I'd go as far as to say that Graceland is one the greatest albums ever recorded.
 
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Monkey_Fellow

Clean it up janny.
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A couple of my favorites:






/SPOILER]
 
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Yuuichirou Kumada

A Chad by another name
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Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place
When you think you were going to listen to pretty good guitar-based music, you hear the synths creating a chaotic landscape and boom! Your mind is blown. Such was my case when my older brother presented me Kid A when I was 14.

Pink Floyd - Speak to Me/Breathe
A minute of mostly silence, with an increasing heartbeat pounding. Little by little, you hear laughter, cash registers opening up, clocks tick-tocking, some kind of motor revving up, all the sounds getting progressively louder, a scream... And then Breathe starts. You're in for one of the best album-listening experiences ever.

Kyuss - Gardenia
A guitar riff that mixes crunch and jangle, and a perfectly muddled production. You hear it, you immediately feel like you are driving on a desert road with your head full of narcotics.

The Who - Heaven and Hell
So, let's imagine you were told about this "Live at Leeds" album, considered to be the best live album ever, and you decide to try it out yourself. Live albums come and go, and they're mostly just glorified greatest hits with a live audience cheering between songs, what would make this one special? Once you hear the conjunction of Pete playing with a mixture of technicality and instinct, Keith pouncing on his drumset like a madman, John plucking his bass strings with pure fury, and Roger singing seemingly inane lyrics like he was roaring out a patriotic song, you realize you're in for one hour of pure, unabashed, no-punches-pulled rock n' roll. Two hours, if you get the version that includes the entire Tommy album being performed.

Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
You hear the iconic moan and the synth opener, your feet won't stay still. Don't fight it, they are not supposed to stand still, and in fact, your whole body may follow suit.
 

Mnutu

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Pretends Bones in the Soil, Rust in the oil’s opener. Depends on the release, but I prefer Two Too High as the opener over Alive in the Tone. It’s something magical.
Patagonian Rats is my 2nd favorite Tera Melos album, but So Occult//Kelley followed by Skin Surf is amazing.
 

Agent Abe Caprine

Clearly you two are first timers.
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No One Loves Me and Neither Do I by Them Crooked Vultures
Withstand the Fall of Time by Immortal
Ghost of the Sun by Katatonia
The Lasting Dose by Crowbar
Dogman by King's X
Angel of Death by Slayer
I like when the opener just gets to the point.
 

Dolphin Lundgren

Picking blueberries with Henry Fonda.
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A couple more of my favorites.

Stone Temple Pilots: Purple

Meatplow:


Such a great opening song to a brilliant album.

Depeche Mode: Violator

World In My Eyes:


It takes me to another place and it's very sensual, and there's something about this song that just takes me away. I think it's Dave Gahan's vocals combined with such great background music. I'd also put Dream On by Depeche Mode from Exciter on this list. I used to play that album all the time and it got me into Depeche Mode.

Smashing Pumpkins: Adore

To Sheila:


I used to check out this album a lot from the library when I was a teenager and I'd replay this track a lot because it relaxed me.

Tori Amos: From The Choirgirl Hotel

Spark:


I wore this album out.
 
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CWCissey

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I Wanna Be Adored off the eponymous Stone Roses album, Breaking Into Heaven wasn't bad either, but the 4 minute conceptual noise intro wasn't needed and sadly puts a lot of people off.
 

GuitarRevi

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The ring in return.

Coheed always have great openers that set the scene for the album.

 

Weeb Slinger

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An unwritten rule concerning any album released by ZZT, is that it must aspire to a high level of arty pretension. Propaganda's debut album 'A Secret Wish' achieves this, in part, by existing in two versions - the original "analogue sequence" and a "digital sequence" that was released around 2013 - with some tracks differing significantly between the two versions.

The opening track 'Dream Within A Dream', in its original format, deploys wailing electric guitar to garnish a passage of slippery percussion where it sounds as if the rhythm section has lost traction and is frantically attempting to regain its footing. The latter incarnation of this track bins the guitar and exposes the drum solo, which is superb, although the song loses a measure of its drama and atmosphere. Fortunately both versions were included on the same CD, so you could piece together the edition of the album that worked for you. I favour the original.

Propaganda are best known for their song 'Duel' which is presented on the album directly after a track titled 'Jewel' - the same song in its stripped-down and abrasive industrial format. There is also a very good cover of Josef K's 'Sorry For Laughing' which elevates the wiry post-punk original to something Wagnerian.

 

McMitch4kf

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Any rock album with an overture is, by definition, going to have an amazing opening.
Eldorado, Tommy, 2112 all start strong.
Sirius is an amazing intro to APP’s third best album.
One aspect that has disappeared as the primary consumption of music has shifted away from records is the side b opener. Screams by BoC, Desolation Valley by Nektar, and even And You and I by Yes all had to double as a starting point as well as carry an album through. Karn Evil 9 may count, even though it technically starts as the closer for side a.
I would have included Close to the Edge, but I feel any song that takes up a side by itself shouldn’t count as an opener.
 

Spooky Transphobe Man!

Make Killing Niggers Great Again
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I've always thought "Hit The Lights" was a great opener for Metallica's "Kill 'Em All" album, it just... Works so well I dunno why.

 

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