The Greatest Debut Album Openers of all time 90-81

A collection of stand out tracks off of debut albums.


First impressions are important. Doubly important in the billion dollar music industry. On average, musical artists have about fifteen seconds to capture a listener’s attention – so what an artist chooses to do with that first crucial quarter of a minute can be imperative to either gaining or losing a listener forever.

Granted the music industry has changed drastically in the past two decades, furthering itself from full album format, realizing it can make just as much, if not more, on a hot single without the multimillion dollar risk investment of sending a band into a recording studio for months but ultimately, the same truth remains: First impressions are critical.

This upcoming list of best opening tracks on debut albums is by no means an authoritative account. I am not a music critic or music writer by any means. I used to play music in bands but found no real mainstream success. This entire project is only a product of my undying love for the witchcraft that is music. The original time traveling device. The invisible muse.

The rankings are not based on the commercial or critical success of the song or band but it does seem to reflect that higher on the list. Some of these bands are even one hit wonders – with such good opening tracks, that are still impossible to ignore. I hope you enjoy this list and would like to know your favorite opening track of a debut album in the comments.

90.) The Special Goodness – “Pardon Me”

Album: Land Air Sea

Origin: Los Angeles, California (1996)

Genres: Alternative Rock

Labels: N.O.S. / Epitaph

Active: 1996 – Present

Beloved side project formed by Buffalo native and regular full time Weezer drummer, Pat Wilson, Land Air Sea isn’t “technically” The Special Goodness’s first release but after Gergen shelved his first album and a Japan release only for his second – Even Wilson considers Land his first true release. And I’ll take his word for it. Plus the album is so good I just like sharing it whenever I can.

89.) The Bouncing Souls – “I Like Your Mom”

Album: The Good, The Bad, And The Argyle

Origin: New Brunswick, New Jersey (1989)

Genres: Punk Rock, Skate Punk, Pop Punk

Labels: Rise / Chunksaah / Epitaph / BYO / Pure Noise

Active: 1989 – Present

I like your Mom and it’s no fad.
I wanna marry her and be your Dad.

I like your Mom.
I like your Mom.
I like your Mom.
I like…
Your Mom.

I like your Mom and it’s no fad.
I wanna marry her and be your Dad.

I like your Mom.
I like your Mom.
I like your Mom.
I like…
Your Mom

88.) Republica – “Ready to Go”

Album: Republica

Origin: Windsor, Berkshire England (1994)

Genres: Alternative Rock / Synth Pop / Dance-Punk

Labels: Deconstruction / Sony BMG

Active: 1994 – 2001 // 2008 – Present

Led by Nigerian born bombshell, Saffron, Republica stormed on to the scene during the mid 90’s female led rock movement. Their self titled debut album was a commercial and critical success but the group would unfortunately become collateral like so many groups of their time as labels folded and bought one another out. Their catalogue being shelved and released against their will.

87.) Catch 22 – “Dear Sergio”

Album: Keasbey Nights

Origin: East Brunswick, New Jersey (1996)

Genres: Ska Punk / Third Wave Ska

Labels: Victory

Active: 1996 – Present

My buddy Nick will be proud of me for including this album as it’s always been a source of contention between the two of us for years. Catch 22’s pivotal debut, Keasbey Nights is often overlooked for the drama that’s most associated with it. Founding member and chief songwriter, Tomas Kalnoky, would leave the band shortly after the release and form another band on this list. On top of that he would re-record and rerelease this album with his new band, Streetlight Manifesto. Ouch.

86.) Descendants- “Myage”

Album: Milo Goes To College

Origin: Manhattan Beach, California (1977)

Genres: Punk Rock / Hardcore Punk / Skate Punk

Labels: Orca / New Alliance / SST / Epitaph / Fat Wreck Chords

Active: 1977 – 1987 // 1995 – 1997 // 2002 – 2004 // 2010 – Present

In the song, “13 Stitches” off of NOFX’s War on Errorisim album Fat Mike sings,

“The first time I saw the Descendents
They were the fastest band I’d ever seen
No one in the crowd really cared for them
We were waiting for the Alley Cats to play
After a couple months I heard Kabuki Girl
On Rodney on the Roq late Sunday night
That was enough for me I hopped the bus
To licorice pizza and bought my all time favorite record”

The Descendents influence on Hardcore and Skate Punk can’t be overstated. Surrounded in a sea of raging punks, machos and skinheads in Southern California, The Descendents stuck to their guns, with ironic love songs, humorous self deprecation and an iconic logo – who represents the defiant nerd in us all.

85.) He is Legend – “The Seduction”

Album: I Am Hollywood

Origin: Wilmington, North Carolina (2003)

Genres: Hard Rock / Southern Rock / Alternative Metal

Labels: Spinefarm / Tribunal / LAB / Solid State / Future Tense! / Century Media / Tragic Hero / El Shaddai

Active: 2003-2009 // 2010 – Present

Led by vocal phenom, Schuylar Croom, He is Legend came out guns blazing with their conceptual debut album, I Am Hollywood. Fast, heavy and disruptive, the break neck speed mixed with Croom’s vocal range left many of their peers in the dust.

84.) Sunny Day Real Estate – “Seven”

Album: Diary

Origin: Seattle, WA (1992)

Genres: Emo / Indie / Post-Hardcore

Labels: Sub Pop / Time Bomb

Active: 1992 – 1995 // 1997- 2001 // 2009 – 2014 // 2022 – Present

Widely considered the founders of, “Midwest Emo” despite not being from the Midwest, Sunny Day’s, Diary album has spent nearly three decades topping every list from LA Weekly’s “Top 20 Emo Albums of All Time” to Rolling Stone’s, “50 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time”. Also, Sunny Day Real Estate had a big fan in legendary drummer, Dave Grohl, who would recruit most of the band upon breakup to start his own band, the Foo Fighters.

83.) The Forecast – “Seating Subject to Availability”

Album: Late Night Conversations

Origin: Peoria, Illinois (2001)

Genres: Emo / Indie / Alternative Country

Labels: Clifton Motel / Eyeball Records / Victory Records

Active: 2001 – 2017

Speaking of, “Midwest Emo“ – The Forecast are true Midwest- despite the fact their sound would later be characterized more by country elements than anything else. Known for their multi-layered vocal harmonies, the real strength of the group would lie in the small town devastation lead singer and chief songwriter, Dustin Addis spreads throughout the album.

82.) Smash Mouth – “Flo”

Album: Fush Yu Mang

Origin: San Jose, California (1994)

Genres: Alternative Rock / Power Pop / Pop Rock

Labels: Interscope / Universal / 429 / Beautiful Bomb

Active: 1994 – Present

The perfect example of original guitarist, lyricist and songwriter Greg Camp’s sense of humor, the narrative throughout, “Flo” is an exasperated man pleading with his girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend to come and pick her up because she is still heartbroken over her. Cheeky, funny and sarcastic, the band was driving, sarcastic and clever until megladon sized asshole, lead singer hijacked the group and ran them into the fucking ground.

81.) Toadies – “Mexican Hairless”

Album: Rubberneck

Origin: Fort Worth, Texas (1989)

Genres: Alternative Rock / Grunge

Labels: Kirtland / Interscope / Aezra

Active: 1989 – 2001 // 2006 – Present

Arguably one of the greatest groups to be destroyed by the music industry, the woes began early with Interscope Records doing next to no promotion for the band’s debut release until they had a surprise hit with, “Possum Kingdom”. After extensive touring and mainstream success, Interscope again would stifle the band by rejecting their sophomore release, delaying it by years pushing them into an eventual hiatus.


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