This morning I woke up feeling really groggy and needed a pick me up. While I was checking the music news, I came across an article about Glassjaw’s performance at Furnace Fest and them playing their album Worship and Tribute in full. The moment I saw that, “Tip Your Bartender” started playing in my head. So, with that in mind let’s put some focus on how terrific “Tip Your Bartender” is as the first song on the album. Not only does it truly kickstart a great album but, it sure does get you pumped. The opening riff is such a force. The sound of this song is the epitome of what the 2000’s post-hardcore genre IS. The many times I’ve seen Glassjaw live, this song is always epic. There is a real power to this track and rightfully so. Interestingly too, all the drums on Worship and Tribute were performed by Shannon Larkin, who you might know from his work in Godsmack, Amen, Snot, Ugly Kid Joe and Wrathchild America. When you play this song, be sure to make sure it’s loud so EVERYONE can hear it!
Fugazi’s third album, In On The Kill Taker is my favorite album of theirs. It’s got all the things you could possibly love about this band and then some. This album is more experimental in that there is a wider range of influences and inspiration found throughout these songs. I’ll never forget hearing this album for the first time and having the first song “Facet Squared” hit me like a ton of bricks. This track is beyond awesome. The sense of urgency in this song is astounding. It’s got so much packed into less than 3 minutes but, each little nuance and note is the right one at the right time. Fugazi are legends and rightfully so. In On The Kill Taker is one of their best albums and one of the best albums of the 90’s!
Faith No More’s album Angel Dust is an absolute masterpiece. From start to finish, it’s a work of art. The moment, “Land Of Sunshine” begins, you know you are in for a treat. The song itself has a very interesting history too. The song was released as the second single. The lyrics contain, amongst other things, questions from Scientology personality tests, with one of them, the question “Does emotional music have quite an effect on you?” Mike Patton also wrote more lyrics to this song, during a sleep deprivation experiment and included lines taken almost directly from fortune cookies and the Oxford Capacity Analysis personality test offered by the Church of Scientology. He also watched much late-night television to get into the right frame of mind. “Land Of Sunshine” is an absolute banger and live, holy hell is it huge!
The other day I put an album on that I haven’t listened to in quite some time. That album was Weight by Rollins Band. I was thinking about the video for the song “Liar” and it made me realize I haven’t listened to that album in so long. So, as I put it on, I was immediately drawn into the album because of the first song, “Disconnect.” What a great song. It’s one of those tracks that hits the second “that moment” starts. The lyrics have a very introspective vibe to compliment the sort of jazz element mixed with some really great rock! Henry Rollins has always been a great frontman and lyricist but, also his vocals are beyond strong on this song/album. Live, this song is a banger. I had the pleasure of seeing Rollins Band back on their reunion shows in 2006 and I remember this song being one hell of a beast that night. Something else you might find interesting about this song is that it appeared on Beavis and Butthead twice, first in the 1995 episode “Top o’ the Mountain”, then as part of the episode “Shortcuts” in March 1997 (coincidentally the same month the band’s follow-up and very awesome Come In and Burn was released). Rollins Band is one of the few groups out there that I’d love see come back. With everything that has happened in the world, I know they would have it in them to write one hell of a great album.
I’m probably in a very small minority with what I’m about to say. To me, the best Pantera album is, The Great Southern Trendkill. This album emits a level of heavy that I think even surprised everyone involved in the making of it. I’ve always been very fond of the vocal production on this one too (courtesy of the masterful Sean Beavan working out of Trent Reznor’s studio in New Orleans). There’s something a bit more powerful and in your face about Philip’s delivery on this album. One thing is for certain, the first song on the album, the title track, “The Great Southern Trendkill” is one of the best title tracks. Everything about this song is badass. This is one of those title tracks that stands out amongst them all!
I still remember the first time I heard “At The End Of August” by 36 Crazyfists. I was at home and watching either Uranium on Fuse or Headbanger’s Ball when Jamey Jasta hosted, and the video aired and I immediately was hooked. I looked them up and a couple days later I went to the store to buy their album, A Snow Capped Romance. If you’ve never listened to this album and you are a heavy music fan, I suggest you check it out. It’s really quite good.
Way back in 1990, Suicidal Tendencies released their absolutely fantastic album, Lights…Camera…Revolution! This album cemented the bands “classic” line up which featured Mike Muir, Robert Trujillo, Rocky George, Mike Clark and R.J. Herrera. This album also saw the band move away from their punk rock roots to a more thrash/groove style. The first song on the album, “You Can’t Bring Me Down” is one hell of a first song. MTV played the hell out of the video (later in the day of course), and that helped the album become successful. Also, the song was nominated for a Grammy but, they lost to Metallica that year.
Megadeth’s album Rust In Peace is a tremendous record. It’s definitely one of the best metal albums of all time. The guitar work on the record is beyond superb. In fact, the first song on Rust In Peace, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” is one of the quintessential metal songs of all time. As a first song on an album, this is one of the best. The song itself has an interesting background. It was inspired by the Northern Ireland conflicts at the time. Holy Wars, since the release of Rust In Peace, has been a live staple for over 30 years now. It truly is one of the greatest track one’s of all time.
Oasis’s debut album, Definitely Maybe is one hell of a record. To come out of the gates with an album this good is tremendous. I still remember the first time I played the album. The moment “Rock N Roll Star” started, I knew this album was something special. The sheer rock elements of it along with the lyrics and Liam’s voice have made this song live a very long and prosperous life. Noel Gallagher wrote the song and the story behind it is interesting in that he said that “Rock N Roll Star,” “Live Forever,” and “Cigarettes & Alcohol” were the only three songs he wrote that said something and that the others were just him repeating himself in a different way.” Well no matter what, this song is one hell of a way to start off an album.
The first track on any album is so important as we all know. The list is endless of all the great ones but, instead of making a giant list, why not go one by one and really savor them. Because it’s the 30th anniversary of the release of Facelift by Alice In Chains, how about we start with “We Die Young.” What a song to start off a record with. The instant you drop the needle or press play (whatever you listen to music on or with), it’s just perfect! The instant crunch of Jerry Cantrell’s guitar, then comes the thunder of the drums of Sean Kinney, rumble of Michael Starr and finally, the killer voice of Layne Staley. Simply WOW!
This is one of those track ones that could easily be on many lists of the best ever. Plus when you think about it, if you’ve never listened to Alice In Chains and Facelift is what you start with, and “We Die Young” is pretty much your introduction to the band! That’s a pretty amazing start if you ask me.