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Thread: Bad Choice for an Opening Album Track

  1. #1

    Bad Choice for an Opening Album Track

    Give examples of what you think are weak songs, lousy songs, inappropriate songs, songs that for whatever reason do not work as the opening track of an album.

    Chicago VI - opens with a solo piano ballad by Robert Lamm, "Critic's Choice." Not just any piano ballad, but a whiny piano ballad about the terrible things music critics say about Chicago. If you're going to open like that you damn well had better deliver a killer album, instead we get probably the weakest effort of the Kath era.

    Sasquatch IV
    - the latest from stoner band Sasquatch opens with a very ordinary tune by their standards, "Meeting." This was the preview song that was released before the album and when I heard I figured that if this was one of the better tracks, then Sasquatch was finally going to release a mediocre album after 3 great ones. Instead, this song does nothing to foreshadow the awesomeness that is the remainder of the album!
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  2. #2
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    The Rolling Stones- Goats Head Soup. Consider the previous four album openers- 'Sympathy For The Devil', 'Gimme Shelter', 'Brown Sugar', 'Rocks Off'. This one had the lame, plodding, trying-too-hard 'Dancing With Mr D' to kick things off. I think the album is vastly underrated but this is a very poor start and I think soured people on it from the get-go. Indeed the sequencing of this album generally isn't that great IMHO. I'd have gone for 'Heartbreaker' to kick it off, a song they still play live from time to time.

    Don't know what to make of Pat Metheny Group's 'Forward March' on First Circle either.

  3. #3
    Not a bad song but...



    ...kind of a bait-and-switch, and definitely not representative of the Fjärilar i magen album in general, which tends toward the ambient end of things. Think late 70s Popol Vuh, with lots of piano and layers of soft electric guitar.
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  4. #4
    Member Chris Kemp's Avatar
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    The first song on BeBop Deluxe's Futurama always struck me as a poor choice.

  5. #5
    The Who, It's Hard: I still think Athena was a bad way to kick off that record. Eminence Front would have made a better opener.

    Magma, Merci: Really?! In the first place, Cry From The Dark is a lousy track, full stop. The song itself maybe isn't that bad, but the track, the recording, the production, the arrangement, the GOD DAMNED DRUM MACHINE BEING USED BY CHRISTIAN VANDER OF ALL FRELLING PEOPLE...I mean, really, and you people think Phil Collins (or was it Mel Collins?) ruined Genesis. But to put it on as the opening song was really a stupid idea. Course, I'm not sure what on that album would have made a good opener. I'm not sure I'd use Otis or I Must Return or The Night We Died as the opening song.

    Not only do I think No Not Now is a bad opening cut on Frank Zappa's Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch, I think the entire first side is...well, I wouldn't say a disaster, but I'm not keen on Frank's "social commentary" material. To me, side one should have been the full Envelopes/Drowning Witch/What's New In Baltimore?/Moggio suite, as it was played on the 81 US tour. But yeah, I know, that would have been "commercially unsound", or whatever.

    I was going to mention the couple of Zappa albums that kick off with doo wop covers, specifically Burnt Weenie Sandwich and Them Or Us, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea that he threw in these curve balls, by sticking straight up doo wop music (not even doo-wop influenced, but very faithful, apparently very sincere, doo wop covers) onto records full of "difficult" instrumentals and "social commentary" tracks.

  6. #6
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    Give examples of what you think are weak songs, lousy songs, inappropriate songs, songs that for whatever reason do not work as the opening track of an album.

    Chicago VI - opens with a solo piano ballad by Robert Lamm, "Critic's Choice." Not just any piano ballad, but a whiny piano ballad about the terrible things music critics say about Chicago. If you're going to open like that you damn well had better deliver a killer album, instead we get probably the weakest effort of the Kath era.
    Could not agree more. The song itself isn't bad it's just that it was a lame album. The wheels were coming off. Yeah they produced a pretty good follow-up but VII wasn't better than I thru V.

  7. #7
    Member rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Mike Oldfield "Ommadawn." That opening track just goes on and on and on until we FINALLY get to "On Horseback."

    Also, some hillbilly named Cletus or something put out a whole album of one repeating lick over and over, followed by a story about a rabbit wearing glasses.

  8. #8
    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    I really had a negative reaction to "Formentera Lady" when I first heard it, and I haven't been back to King Crimson's "Islands" since. Just an overall sludgy and tedious way to begin an album.
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  9. #9
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    I love Camoufleur by Gastr Del Sol but could never warm to its opening track,The Seasons Reverse.YMMV.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

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    gonna have to second "Call From the Dark" by Magma, I bet if that tune was swapped out Merci's reputation would be totally different
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by walt View Post
    I love Camoufleur by Gastr Del Sol but could never warm to its opening track,The Seasons Reverse.
    Oh, man - I LOVE "The Seasons Reverse", as an opener to a completely mindbendingly beautiful record. Possibly one of the most gorgeous "experimental pop/rock" albums I ever heard, and SO rewarding to note how they have more or less obviously discovered French post-modernists ZNR (Zazou & Racaille).

    I think "Formentera Lady" is an excellent opener, in that it perfectly introduces the entire mood of that particular album, which was not intended as any kind of technically instrumentalist showcase but a display of picturesque melodic vision, atmosphere and drama.

    The worst opening song to any remotely 'progressive rock' album I ever encountered was "Jesus My Life" from Indweller by Quintessence. Has to be heard to be believed.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JAMOOL View Post
    "Call From the Dark" by Magma, I bet if that tune was swapped out Merci's reputation would be totally different
    I think so too. If "Otis" had opened that one, attention would have been there.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  13. #13
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Oh, man - I LOVE "The Seasons Reverse", as an opener to a completely mindbendingly beautiful record. Possibly one of the most gorgeous "experimental pop/rock" albums I ever heard, and SO rewarding to note how they have more or less obviously discovered French post-modernists ZNR (Zazou & Racaille).

    .
    A couple of years i lent Camoufleur to a friend.He called me the next day to say he played the first track, didn't like it and took the cd out of the player.I insisted that he play the remainder of the cd, he did and immediately went out and bought it.He still doesn't dig The Seasons Reverse but absolutely reveres the rest of Camoufleur.As do i.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

  14. #14
    I never understood why LZ IV started with Black Dog. Rock And Roll was the obvious choice.

  15. #15
    ^ Wow [to Walt].

    You know, we have an expression in Norway called "muntervemodig", meaning essentially "jollymelancholy" - an obvious paradox yet indeed very describing in relation to an album like Camoufleur. "The Seasons Reverse", to me, with that watercontainer-percussion, those rotating chord harmonies over a stedily repeating bassline and the harmonium interpsersed with sudden outbursts of trumpet and steel drums - this conjures up such an aura almost instantly. That album as a whole exposes all possible levels of contemplative sentiment - both ups and downs and whatever may lurk be in-between. I find it extraordinary and singular, even contrasted with some of O'Rourke's other melodic endeavours.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #16
    Jefferson James
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    I really got into Jellyfish via their second (and last) studio album, the brilliant Spilt Milk. When I checked out their debut, Bellybutton, I was familiar with "The King is Half Undressed" and "That Is Why", and was delighted to find another great pop-rock album, but this slow-burner with a killer bridge and over-the-top ending first baffled me as an opening track on a major label debut.

    I've grown to love it, and the whole album is just...I dunno, it's total ear candy to me. Both albums are stone pop genius. Painstakingly belabored and baroque-y.


  17. #17
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Manowar's Triumph of Steel" opens with the 28 minute "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts," which has a horrible drum solo in it. So like 10 minutes into the album you're listening to a drum solo, even though it's a studio album. Listening to this album once was all the Manowar I ever needed.

  18. #18
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    What about laser on Terje Rypdal and David Darling's eos?

    Not that I feel that way but I've heard lots of complaints over the years that it's out of character with the rest of the album.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Manowar's Triumph of Steel" opens with the 28 minute "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts," which has a horrible drum solo in it. So like 10 minutes into the album you're listening to a drum solo, even though it's a studio album. Listening to this album once was all the Manowar I ever needed.


    Ye gods, how could I have missed this one!!!
    "Moustache stays right where it's at" - Clutch

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    The worst opening song to any remotely 'progressive rock' album I ever encountered was "Jesus My Life" from Indweller by Quintessence. Has to be heard to be believed.
    I can one-up that:



    Believe it or not, this album eventually becomes worth listening to.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by KerryKompost View Post
    I really got into Jellyfish via their second (and last) studio album, the brilliant Spilt Milk. When I checked out their debut, Bellybutton, I was familiar with "The King is Half Undressed" and "That Is Why", and was delighted to find another great pop-rock album, but this slow-burner with a killer bridge and over-the-top ending first baffled me as an opening track on a major label debut.

    I've grown to love it, and the whole album is just...I dunno, it's total ear candy to me. Both albums are stone pop genius. Painstakingly belabored and baroque-y.



    This would be a great 2nd song or album closer. But what a brilliant album and band. Both albums were great. They should have done so much more. I caught them on the Spilt Milk tour in a small club in Vancouver. They had the stage glittered up in a cheap but cool design. It looked like a 6 year old girl's birthday party. The band just killed it. They had Eric Dover, later vocalist of Slash's Snakepit on lead guitar on that tour. They were just great. I'm happy to have seen them.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
    I never understood why LZ IV started with Black Dog. Rock And Roll was the obvious choice.
    Ya know, now that you mention it, does seem to be a bit odd. It's interesting that the two songs are reversed in The Song Remains The Same, wiht Black Dog being the opening number (well, opening number after about 15 minutes of mind numbing futzing around) followed by Black Dog. Maybe they should have done that on the studio album too.

  23. #23
    Jefferson James
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike D View Post
    This would be a great 2nd song or album closer. But what a brilliant album and band. Both albums were great. They should have done so much more. I caught them on the Spilt Milk tour in a small club in Vancouver. They had the stage glittered up in a cheap but cool design. It looked like a 6 year old girl's birthday party. The band just killed it. They had Eric Dover, later vocalist of Slash's Snakepit on lead guitar on that tour. They were just great. I'm happy to have seen them.
    Hey Mike D, I've grown to love "The Man I Used to Be" as the opening track on Bellybutton, but at first it kind of put me off the album.

    You lucky S.O.B.! I would've loved to see either line-up of the band, I love them both. Jason Falkner is amazing but so is Eric Dover (ever heard Imperial Drag? I'm sure you have).

    A guy I know was considered to replace Falkner but Dover got the gig.

  24. #24
    Member Garyhead's Avatar
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    Yes - Going For The One. Love the rest of the album.....never could finish the opening track.......melody out of character / range for Anderson.
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  25. #25
    Member Koreabruce's Avatar
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    "Rocket Roll" from FM's album Surveillance.

    "Sci-Fi Rock! Rock-et Roll!" Um... no.

    Start the album with track 2, the sublime "Orion," and let it play to the end. All of the rest is rather good, imho.

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