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.
50.) Jewel – “Who Will Save Your Soul”
Origin: Homer, Alaska (1994)
Genres: Folk / Pop / Country
Labels: Atlantic / Valory
Yodeling queen, Jewel wrote a majority of her debut album living in her car busking up and down the Pacific coast. After her debut she has released another twelve albums, spanning genres and picking up decades worth of accolades.
49.) Into The Moat – “Century II”
Origin: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2001)
Labels: Love Lost / Metal Blade
By far, the most punishing album opener on this list, mathematician metal freaks, Into The Moat, destroy the planet with their ground pounding instrumental. A true declaration of the audible beat down to come.
48.) Interpol – “Untitled”
Origin: Interpol (1997)
Genres: Post-Punk Revival
Labels: Matador / Soft Limit / Capitol
Most often associated with the New York scene explosion of the early 2000’s, Interpol has come out as an unlikely influence on tons of bands since. Since putting out their critically acclaimed debut, Turn On The Bright Lights their dark demeanor and minimalist bravado have been imitated ever since.
47.) Heart – “Magic Man”
Origin: Seattle, Washington (1967)
Genres: Rock / Hard Rock
Labels: Mushroom / Epic / Sony BMG / Portrait / Legacy / EMI / Capitol / Reprise / Shout! Factory / Sovereign / Sony Legacy
Active: 1967-1998 // 2002-2016 // 2019-Present
Rock legends, Heart originally recorded and released debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in Canada as founding member, Ann Wilson by chance, met Mike Fisher (a draft dodger living in Canada) at a show. They fell in love and Ann followed him to Canada where they would go on to sell 30,000 copies of their first album within weeks on the strength of lead singer, “Magic Man”.
46.) Green Day – “Burnout”
Origin: East Bay, California (1987)
Genres: Punk Rock / Pop Punk / Alternative Rock
Labels: Reprise / Warner / Lookout!
The impact of Green Day’s debut album, Dookie can hardly be overstated. It brought a brand new wave of Punk to American teens overnight. The album plays like a greatest hits record – with almost the entire track list concert stables. Green Day would go on to basically be the most celebrated punk band in music history, even despite that cringey mascara wearing era.
45.) Franz Ferdinand – “Jacqueline”
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland (2001)
Genres: Indie Rock / Dance-Punk
“Jacqueline” does absolutely everything an opening track should do. it showcases the duality and range of lead singer, Alex Karpranos – from dark, quiet and thoughtful to boisterous and sarcastic. All while showcasing the band’s ability to turn on a dime – a signature that would follow them through their illustrious career.
44.) Foo Fighters – “This is a Call”
Origin: Seattle, Washington (1994)
Genres: Alternative Rock / Post-Grunge / Hard Rock
Labels: Roswell / Capitol / RCA
Just some band made up by some guy named Dave Grohl.
43.) Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy”
Origin: Los Angeles, California (2015)
Genres: Electro Pop / Teen Pop / Pop
Labels: Darkroom / Interscope / Polydor
Easily the youngest artist on the list but certainly not the least decorated. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP… debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 aided by international hit, “Bad Guy”. With the release, Eilish became the second recording artist and first woman to win the ceremony’s four major categories – Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist – for the same year.
42.) eels – “Novacaine For The Soul”
Origin: Los Angeles, California (1991)
Genres: Alternative Rock / Indie Rock
Labels: Dreamworks / Vagrant / E Works
Active: 1991-1995 // (E) 1995-Present
Led by lead singer, multi instrumentalist and only core band member, E, eels have released fourteen albums since 1996. Beautiful Freak has been included in several “Greatest Albums” compilation lists.
Eagle-Eye Cherry- “Save Tonight”
Origin: Stockholm, Sweden (1990)
Genres: Rock / Post-Grunge / Alternative Rock
Labels: MCA / Diesel / Sony
Active: 1990-2003 // 2010-Present
Following the death of his father, Eagle-Eye Lanoo Cherry gave up his acting career and came home to mourn. Coping with his loss, writing music at home is what led to his breakout debut album, Desireless. The album would go platinum in the US and sell over four million copies worldwide.