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.
80.) Blue Eyed Son – “Step Away From The Cliff”
Origin: Venice, California (2004)
Genres: Acoustic / Indie
Labels: Eenie Meenie
Active: 2004 – Present
TV buffs may be familiar with this debut album opener as “Step Away From The Cliff” has been featured in both Grey’s Anatomy and the hit show Weeds. I don’t know much about the group – and there is not a lot of information on them but regardless, it’s just a great fucking song.
79.) The Walkmen – “They’re Winning”
Origin: New York City (2000)
Genres: Indie / Post Punk Revival
Labels: Record Collection / Startime / Talitres / Gigantic / Fierce Panda / Fat Possum / Bella Union
Active: 2000 – 2013
Easily one of the most underrated bands of the 21st century, The Walkmen made seven nearly flawless albums to hardly any thank yous. The whole world is to blame for their demise. No, I am not bitter. This is just the objective truth. Listen to this song and then go and listen to every record they have ever put out. The upright piano has never sounded so good.
78.) The Interrupters – “Take Back The Power”
Origin: Los Angeles, CA (2011)
Genres: Ska Punk / Punk Rock / Street Punk
Labels: Pirates Press / Hellcat / Epitaph
Active: 2011 – Present
Led by spark plug, Aimee Interrupter, The Interrupters have long been on their way to super stardom even before punk icon, Tim Armstrong (Operation Ivy, Rancid, Transplants) took them under his wing. They would find radio success with Armstrong penned anthems on their latest album, Fight The Good Fight. An album that perfectly highlights the bands tight licks and Aimee’s impossible-to-deny energy. If they are not already – they will a household name for years to come upon their next release.
77.) The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – “Rich”
Origin: New York City, NY (2000)
Genres: Garage Punk / Indie / Dance Punk
Labels: Touch and Go / Wichita / Interscope / Fiction / Modular / Polydor
Active: 2000-2014 // 2017 – Present
Like few punk goddesses before her, the world owes a lot to lead singer, Karen O who eagerly took an entire generation by the band and showed them a world that could be completely theirs if we just had the guts to take it. The critical darlings would go on to make another three albums that flirted and meshed Punk with Art Rock and Dance. To a generations first, “punk girlfriend” and gateway drug into a new world.
76.) The Strokes – “is this it”
Origin: New York City, NY (1998)
Genres: Indie / Garage Rock / Post Punk Revival
Labels: Cult / RCA / Rough Trade
Active: 1998 – Present
There is Garage Rock Revival and then there is, reviving Garage Rock. Which The Strokes did nearly by themselves in the early 2000’s with their flawless debut, Is This It. Their massive success ushered in a wave of copy cats and other chain smoking, sports coat wearing, Tennessee Williams reading hipsters (I was one of them.) And for the most the world, specifically radio was better for it.
75.) Steely Dan – “Do it Again”
Origin: Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (1971)
Genres: Jazz Rock / Soft Rock / Pop Rock
Labels: ABC / MCA / Giant / Reprise / Warner Bros
Active: 1971-1981 // 1993-Present
The Dan Came out already perfecting their smooth mixture of sarcasm and Lo-Fi vibes with their debut, Can’t Buy A Thrill in 1972. They would go on to make an additional eight studio albums and be inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001.
74.) The Pretenders – “Precious”
Origin: Hereford, England / Akron, Ohio (1978)
Genres: Rock / Pop Rock / New Wave / Alternative
Labels: Sire / Warner Bros
Hailed as one of the greatest debut albums ever, The Pretenders led by Chrissie Hynde burst onto the scene with their self titled debut. The album has basically been on every, “Best of” record list since it’s legendary inception. Tragically, drug use would run its course like a bulldozer through the talented group killing two original members.
73.) Space Hog – “In The Meantime”
Origin: New York City, NY (1994)
Genres: Alternative / Glam Rock
Labels: Sire/Elektra / Artemis
Active: 1994-2002 // 2008-2014
English band by way of New York City, the terribly named, Space Hog will forever be known in the States as a one hit wonder. Their debut album, Resident Alien went gold and the lads followed it up with a more artsy approach on, The Chinese Album. Soon after despite touring with giants acts such as Pearl Jam, they would be dropped from their label. They would see a hiatus, a reunion and two more albums later on.
72.) Semisonic – “FNT”
Origin: Minneapolis, Minnesota (1995)
Genres: Alternative Rock / Pop Rock / Power Pop
Active: 1995-2001 // 2017-Present
Known mostly for their mega-hit, “Closing Time” the Minnesotan trio scored a minor hit with their debut album opener, “FNT” when it was featured in the film, “Ten Things I hate About You.” Since, the group has released a total of three studio albums with lead singer Dan Wilson, having a tremendous career as a ghost writer for multiple artists.
71.) Serafin – “Stephen’s in the Sky”
Origin: London, England (2000)
Genres: Alternative Rock / Noise Rock
Labels: Taste Media
The greatest band of the 2000’s that never was. Only releasing one album before quietly disbanding, Serafin was the next great thing. A more accessible Radiohead. A less obnoxious Muse. Ben Fox Smith being the angriest vegan on Earth, droning guitars and drummer Ronny Growler, just fucking crushing it, hammering a Green Premier kit. This band was one of my absolute favorites in high school and this album had a colossal impact on my own music. Unfortunately, no one has heard much from the Serafin camp in nearly twenty years but I’m still rocking this baby cover to cover to this day.