Funny story - I was on top of this medium-sized mountain in the middle east and tripped over these two big, flat rocks. I turned back to curse them and saw they were covered in writing, so got my crayons out and did a rubbing. I was going to give it to the scholars in that area, but as I was passing through this wonderful garden I heard a sibilant whisper in my ear: "Pooossssst it... posssst it!" I was skeptical. Who was this mystery benefactor who gave such unquestionably good advice? I don't know - I didn't look, and they won't let me back in now to find out. 86'd from paradise!
So, then, here are Robosexual's Top 10 Album Openers. This list is for those songs that come on right away, and for whatever reason immediately impress you. All genres are allowed, except for the ones that suck (you know what I'm talking about). The order is semi-arbitrary. By the way, if an mp3 is weird or incomplete, tell me so. The uploader was being shady.
10. The Beastie Boys - License To Ill - "Rhymin & Stealin"
I know - obvious, right? But I guess the almighty G-D loves this album as much as everyone else. He probably just wanted to get this out of the way. Really, when your first track is a concept rap about sailing the seven seas, you get on the list. I'm not uploading this song because... come on, you've probably got this in your cassette deck right now. Admit it. Well, HE knows.
9. Black Keys - Thickfreakness - Title track
This was the first song of theirs I ever heard, and it only took about 10 seconds for me to realize I'd been missing out on an incredible band. The sound on this track in particular is great - chunkier than their debut but without losing any of the soul. Their reliance on old-school technology paid off big time. I still think The Big Come Up is a better album, though.
8. Alaska! - Emotions - "The Western Shore"
If there were a top 10 worst album names, Emotions would be a real contender. Fortunately, it shines in the opening track, which is just one of the most straightforward and awesome post-OK Computer alternative rock songs, period. Lots of qualifiers, but also lots of quality. Shame the rest of the album didn't live up to the example, but this track sure made you believe it would.
7. Spiritualized - Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space - Title track
Certainly one of the most beautiful songs recorded by these guys, this was more than just a first track, though - it was like getting getting dunked in reverb and multitracked by Jason Spaceman himself. As far as I know, it's the only song in the world that sounds like ... whatever it sounds like, and it's fantastic. Luckily, the rest of the album was as transcendent and skillfully made as this track.
6. Oval - Ovalcommers - Untitled (Track 1)
Robosexual veterans will be familiar with this charming little ditty. Composed from, apparently, a thousand modems crying out at once, then being torn to pieces by wild routers, this absolutely stunning track resets my brain every time I hear it. I can't concentrate, and it's not just because of the noise. It's because nothing in the world sounds like Oval, and even if something did, it wouldn't be as good because Markus Popp simultaneously created the genre and the pinnacle of the genre. This song is like a quasar going off in your ear, and you'll know within one second whether you like it - and the entire album.
5. The Crystal Method - Vegas - "Trip Like I Do"
Don't tease me. If you don't like Vegas, you'll have to take it up with the Almighty Tetragrammaton who made this list. Seriously. It may be out of date, and these guys may only do Gap commercials now for all I know, but this album was the definition of techno, and the first track is the best techno song ever made. It's an epic blast from the near past, when you could either listen to these guys, the Backstreet Boys, or Cake. The choice was obvious, and even though I've moved on from The Crystal Method (and anyone like them, really), this song shines fluorescent green in my memory, a glowstick in history.
4. Howard Hello - S/T - "Television"
I've tricked a lot of people with this song. Its soothing melody would attract a listener of any age or persuasion, and once it gets its hooks in you... it starts to twist. This track seeks to ease you into the Howard Hello world, which it does beautifully, except for the traffic noises for the last 20 seconds. Howard Hello's self-titled album remains a strange bird in my collection - it's not easily identifiable as any kind of music at all, and while it's wonderful to listen to throughout, you can never say it really reminds you of anything - so it stands apart as a sad but lovely little island. Sadly, his second album was atrociously bad. Don't Drink His Blood, indeed.
3. Comets On Fire - Avatar - "Dogwood Rust"
They should have issued a press release with this album: "Comets On Fire would like to inform the world that they have conceded to their fans' wishes, and reluctantly done what they always knew we were capable of: creating one of the best songs ever, in history, period. Don't bug us any more and let us do our thing." This song wastes no time on fussy intros like so many others on this list. Instead, it plops you down, in media res, to be stunned by sheer virtuoso musicianship. No one else could make a song like this, and in my eyes it is the standard to which all medium-length rock-ish songs are to be compared. Everything is exactly perfect, and yet it sounds like they threw it together for a kick. If anyone is ever skeptical that something outside the mainstream, or outside the indie mainstream or whatever, is worth listening to, this is what I play them.
2. godspeed you! black emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven - "Storm"
You knew they were going to end up on here. The grand-daddies of post rock, what these guys accomplished with their first few albums is likely not to be equaled by any comers. I considered "The Dead Flag Blues" as another contender, but honestly I like the monologue better than the song, and "Storm" is too good for people not to hear. Sure, Yanqui U.X.O. was kind of stale, and the group has split up into about 12 side projects, but that can't do anything to tarnish the brilliance of this song or the others on the album. The whole song gives you an impression of mastery and majesty - this is exactly what they had in their heads, and it's absolutely amazing. CAUTION: This song is TWENTY MINUTES LONG.
1. Secret Machines - September 000 - "Marconi's Radio"
Ah yes. In my opinion, this is the best opening track in my musical library. Instead of describing it to you again, why don't you just take a look at it, or check out my lengthy review, most of which is about this song.
Here are some honorable mentions: Character, Hot Snakes, Red Sparowes, Radiohead, Portishead, Pink Floyd, Do Make Say Think, Set Fire To Flames, Shalabi Effect, Reigning Sound, Ratatat, Olivia Tremor Control, Matmos, Appleseed Cast... and lots of others.
So was YOUR favorite not listed? Not surprising! Mysterious ways, indeed. Who knew the Lord was into Post Rock? Anyway, why don't you share your opinion... below.