Track One

Track One: Rancid- Maxwell Murder

There are some albums you never forget hearing for the first time. And when you think of those albums there are certain songs that always come to mind right away. When Rancid announced that their 10th studio album would be coming out soon, I did what I usually do when I get excited about a band I like, I went back through their catalog. Then I got to the band’s third album, …And Out Come The Wolves and all those memories of being 10/11 years old blasting the hell out of this album came back. Yes, we’ve all heard “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho” a ton of times but, the one that has always got me the most on the album is the first track, “Maxwell Murder.” This song has all the makings of a great track one. It’s got the great intro, killer riff and bass line, driving rhythm, and not to mention that the vocals are right on the money. Plus I’d like to give a shout out to the one and only Matt Freeman, as his bass solo on this song is absolutely killer. Also “Maxwell Murder” is all killer in only one minute and twenty-five seconds. The ability to make such an impact with barely a minute and a half is astounding. Rancid have been one of the most consistent bands since their debut album came out 30 years ago this year. I’m stoked on new Rancid this year and you should be too!

Rancid- Maxwell Murder:

Track One: Soundgarden- Rusty Cage

It was announced yesterday that the members of Soundgarden and Chris Cornell’s widow have finally settled on an agreement to allow the release of the songs that Soundgarden were working on prior to Chris’s death. There are about 7 finished songs that will see the light of day in the near future. Which is very exciting as I remember a few interviews with Chris and Kim saying the new material was a bit more in line with some of their earlier work. That being said, naturally, I do what I usually do when I hear good news about a band I like a lot and I’ve been on a Soundgarden kick now. The first album I went for was Bad Motor Finger and when “Rusty Cage” began I knew I made the right choice. What a killer song to start off an album with. It’s a song with such groove and vibe that you wouldn’t be remiss if you played it again after it ended. That’s the making a great song! Interestingly, “Rusty Cage” was the third and final single released on the record. Chris you are very missed!

Soundgarden- Rusty Cage:

Alternate Version:

Soundgarden- Rusty Cage (Live Lollapalooza 1992):

Track One: The Cure- Underneath The Stars

I will never forget the the night I heard this song live for the first time. It was 2009 and I was at Coachella and The Cure were headlining the final night of the weekend. I was already beyond excited as this was my first time seeing them and it was everything I wanted and more. On this evening, I distinctly remember it being a very clear night with a ton of stars lighting up the sky so when The Cure took the stage and began with “Underneath The Stars” track one off of their most recent album at the time, 4:13 Dream, it was one of those “meant to be” moments. As a long time fan of The Cure, I love this song. It’s got a very classic vibe to it that could easily be found on an album like The Head On The Door or Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. As a track one, this song sets up the album perfectly. I find 4:13 Dream to be a bit of an overlooked album in the bands catalog. It’s full of so many great songs including “The Only One,” “Freakshow” and “Sleep When I’m Dead” which actually was written for 1985’s The Head On The Door. So when you listen to this album you get a very interesting cross section of The Cure but, that first song, just really hits the right feels. If you’ve never listened to this song, you are surely missing out!

The Cure- Underneath The Stars:

Track One: Fiona Apple- Sleep To Dream

Back in 1996 there was a debut album that was released and it was one of those albums that would go on to influence and inspire countless other artists and bands. The album I’m referring to is Fiona Apple’s, Tidal. This album is not only a game changer. It’s one of those classic albums that sets a standard. When you listen to this album it’s fully immersive as everything about it hits you the moment it starts. Which brings me to track one, “Sleep To Dream.” The way this song sets the tone and vibe for the next nine songs is astounding. The intro has this bit of tension with the drums and subtle bass line that is gently caressed into a sweet melody that introduces us to the glorious voice of Fiona. Interestingly, supposedly “Sleep To Dream” was reportedly Apple’s first lyric, penned when she was 14. Which at 14 writing a song like this is pretty damn exceptional. One of the things I love most about this song is that it it’s a perfect one to kick off the album. “Sleep To Dream” is a song that at times is often overlooked due to the success of the song “Criminal,” but, I do think this song is an absolute standout and even a better song than “Criminal.” If it’s been a minute since you put on Tidal, I highly recommend that changes for you. This is one of those albums that should be celebrated and regarded as not just a great debut but a quintessential album of the 1990’s.

Fiona Apple- Sleep To Dream (Official Video):

Fiona Apple- Sleep To Dream (Live On The Howard Stern Show 1997):

Fiona Apple- Tidal:

Track One: Fear Factory- Shock

Some days you need a song to really get you going for the day. At times it can take a few to get the right one to hit the spot. This morning, while gearing up for my day I went through a few songs that could help get the blood flowing and then it all came together when I put on “Shock” by Fear Factory. From that point, it was on! This track is one hell of an opener and the way it begins their excellent album, Obsolete is pummeling! If you need a song to start your day, I highly suggest this to kick it off!

Fear Factory- Shock:

Track Ones: Nine Inch Nails- Head Like A Hole

This one is too easy and since I’m still on a roll from my 19th NIN show, it’s only fitting. There is no denying the power of this song. There is a reason why it’s been a live staple since the beginning and why it pretty much closes the show. “Head Like A Hole” is an absolute triumph of a track one. Interestingly, “Down In It” was the first single from Pretty Hate Machine but, once “Head Like A Hole” was released and the video too, there was nothing that was going to stop Nine Inch Nails. This song is pure awesome. It’s song with 2 choruses and both are equally as punishing as the other! Live, this song goes to a whole other level especially with thousands of people singing along. Head Like A Hole is a perfect example of what a track one should be!

Nine Inch Nails- Head Like A Hole:

Title Tracks: Fear Factory- Demanufacture

The year is 1995 and an album is about to be released that changes the heavy metal game for the future. This landmark album would not only put the band on the map but it would go on to be one of the most influential and inspirational albums of the 90’s metal scene and beyond. I’m talking about Fear Factory and their undeniable masterpiece, Demanufacture. There is one story I love about the making of this album that I have to share. The album was recorded at Bearsville Studios in rural New York. Also in residence at the studio was New Jersey rockers, Bon Jovi who were in the studio recording their album These Days (which is actually a really good album in the Bon Jovi catalog and quite dark too). Anyways the story goes that Fear Factory were in the studio next door and one of Bon Jovi’s engineers asked them to turn the sound down, as it was bleeding into Bon Jovi’s drum mics, during Bon Jovi’s recording sessions. But that’s a whole other story for another time. What I want is to focus on the title track of the album. The concept for the album is about a man’s struggles against a machine-controlled government, with each song a chapter in his life. The first song on the album is the title track “Demanufacture” and as a tone setter, WOW. This song is blistering. The riffs are pummeling and the drums blast like Thor’s hammer. Then when you add Burton C. Bell’s vocals of clean singing to heavier vocals, you just can’t beat it. What a way to start off an album and a classic one at best. This song has gone on to live in infamy as one of the best title tracks but also as a track one!

Fear Factory- Demanufacture:

Track One: Killswitch Engage- Numbered Days

Killswitch Engage’s album Alive Or Just Breathing is more than a game changing album, it’s a metal masterpiece. I had heard the songs “Fixation On The Darkness” and “My Last Serenade” before I heard the whole album but, when I started with track one, I knew a shift was coming in heavy music. “Numbered Days” is one hell of an opening track. Musically it’s heavy and melodic in all the right spots. Lyrically and vocally it’s powerful and gritty along with a generous helping of positivity. It’s one of those perfect album starters. The sing alongs over the years when they play this song live is so much fun to watch and listen to. It’s also interesting to hear Jesse Leach sing this song as well as Howard Jones. Both have such a commanding presence and voice that the message echoes quite loudly!

Killswitch Engage- Numbered Days (with Jesse):

Killswitch Engage- Numbered Days (with Howard):

Track One: Joy Division- Disorder

Joy Division are one of those bands with such a short history but with a legacy and impact that has truly become legendary. Each time I go and listen to this band, I’m always pulled in and find myself becoming more and more intrigued by little nuances and other parts of songs. This captivation has led to countless conversations with others about all sorts of subjects on the band. One of the things I love to discuss with people is the first songs on Unknown Pleasures and Closer and which one is more impactful. To me it has to be “Disorder.” The lyrics of this track are quite introspective and poetic. The music sets a tone for the darkness and yet at moments shines a light in opportune moments throughout.

Joy Division- Disorder:

Track One: Drive Like Jehu- Caress

Drive Like Jehu - Drive Like Jehu - Music

This topic about track one songs is quite fun and interesting. The first song on album more often than not sets the tone for what is to come and on this particular song, it does just that. On the debut album by Drive Like Jehu, they not only kicked open the door with “Caress” but they made damn sure that the impact from the track would sonically blow you away. This is one of those songs that is often copied but can never be truly duplicated. The intensity, subject matter, tonality, production and performances on “Caress” as well as the whole album is astounding. On a side note too, “Caress” was covered by Deftones and released as a b-side on their Diamond Eyes album.

Drive Like Jehu- Caress:

Deftones- Caress: