Friday, January 23, 2009

The best album openings

I decided I'd write my first proper blog entry about albums which have great openings. Some albums just start off incredibly well and do a great job of drawing one in; these are some of my favorites.

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night: The opening chord is just iconic; there's a good reason it's one of the most famous moments in the Beatles' entire catalog.

Cannibal Corpse - Kill: It's far from my favorite album from the Corpse, but I love the opening. Corpsegrinder just lets loose with one of the best screams he's ever done. I also like how the song sounds like it started in the middle of a song- it's hard to describe, but great.

The Cure - Disintegration: The album starts off with some jangly chimes, and then the awesome synth part begins. It's repetitive without being dull; the word which comes to my mind is "panoramic".

King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King: The riff to 21st Century Schizoid Man is awesome, to be sure, but I included this for the 30 seconds or so of ambient noise that precede it. You get the impression that when this album first came out, people listening to it had no idea what they were in for.

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath: Ditto for this album, which came out just a year later. The thunder, rain and church bell in the background do an excellent job of setting the mood- and then those three notes come in, and they couldn't possibly sound more sinister.

Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell: The first two minutes of the title song are astounding; they do a great job of establishing the album's over-the-top Broadway sound. Supposedly, Todd Rundgren managed to record the opening guitar solo in one take.

Slayer - Reign in Blood: I think this album's a bit overrated, but good God, does it ever grab you by the throat at the start. Tom Araya does an excellent job of sounding like a wailing guitar for the first half of his scream.

Marillion - Misplaced Childhood: Pseudo Silk Kimono's simple synth riff does a great job of creating the sensation that something big and important is about to happen. It doesn't really work as a song by itself, though.

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