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.
40.) The Hives – “Well, Well, Well”
Origin: Fagersta, Sweden (1993)
Genres: Garage Rock / Garage Punk
Labels: Disque Hives / No Fun / A&M Octone / Interscope / Sony / Universal / Polydor / Epitaph / Gearhead / Burning Heart
The baddest Swedes on the planet debuted their furious fretwork in 1997 with their debut album, Barely Legal. Since then they have released another four flawless records and embarrassed the shit out of rival contemporaries, The Vines since.
39.) Dinosaur Bones – “My Divider”
Origin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (2008)
Genres: Indie Rock
Labels: Dine Alone
Dinosaur Bones are one of the finest young Canadian acts I have heard in quite some time. The problem? Seemingly after their sophomore release, Shaky Dream, they have disappeared off the face of the planet. I have tried emailing them, emailing their label and everything else just short of wandering the streets of Toronto asking strangers for Dinosaur Bones. Listen to their debut, My Divider, and join in my sorry because as they say, “it is better to have loved…”
38.) Dead Kennedys- “Kill The Poor”
Origin: San Francisco , California (1978)
Genres: Hardcore Punk / Punk
Labels: Cherry Red / Faulty Products / Alternative Tentacles / Manifesto
Active: 1978-1986 // 2001-Present
Imagine being a sentinel, genre defining punk group in the late seventies and then basically spending the rest of your careers doing the least punk shit. Argue about money, sue each other and cry about being put in a Tony Hawk video game.
37.) The Cardigans – “Sick and Tired”
Origin: Jönköping, Sweden (1992)
Genres: Alternative Rock / Pop Rock
Labels: MCA / Mercury / Minty Fresh / Stockholm / Universal
Active: 1992-2006 // 2012-2018
Criminally underrated, The Cardigans have always been so much more than their squeaky clean image has suggested. They would go on to make six records and have a massive breakout hit in 1996 with, “Lovefool” but the records would continue to mature from there. And there are rumors of a reunion.
36.) Dido – “Here With Me”
Origin: London, England (1995)
Genres: Electropop / downtempo / Pop
Labels: RCA / Cheeky / Arista / Sony Music / Legacy / BMG
Born, Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong, Dido debuted in 1999 with, No Angel. Both No Angel and follow-up release, Life For Rent, are among the best-selling albums of the 2000’s in the UK.
35.) Collective Soul – “Shine”
Origin: Stockbridge, Georgia (1992)
Genres: Alternative Rock / Post Grunge
Labels: Rising Storm / Atlantic / El / Loud and Proud / Roadrunner / Vanguard/ Suretone
There is nothing like a knockout punch in the very first round of the fight. Which is exactly what Collective Soul did with their first song on their very first album. “Shine” would launch them into the Post Grunge stratosphere and arguably remain their signature song.
34.) The Dillinger Escape Plan – “Sugar Coated Sour”
Origins: Morris Plains, New Jersey (1997)
Genres: Metalcore / Mathcore / Grindcore / Hardcore / Experimental Metal
Labels: Relapse / Party Smasher
It is impossible to explain the feeling I had listening to Dillinger the first time. It was a shock to the system. An absolute mindfuck. These dudes woke up and chose absolute fucking chaos and I’ve been hooked ever since.
33.) Deftones – “Bored”
Origin: Sacramento, California (1988)
Genres: Alternative Metal / Art Rock / Nu Metal
Labels: Maverick / Warner / Reprise
Fearless in their experimentation, The Deftones have become one of the most successful Metal bands of all time thanks to their exhaustive touring schedule and ever evolving sound.
32.) The Animals – “House of the Rising Sun”
Origin: Newcastle upon Tyne, England (1963)
Genres: Rock / R&B / Blues
Labels: Colombia (EMI) / Decca / MGM / Jet / I.R.S. / Atco / Atlantic
Active: 1963-1969 // 1975-1976 // 1983 // 1992-Present
“The House of the Rising Sun” is a traditional folk song first captured in the 1930’s in Appalachia but is suspected to have roots in traditional English folk. Probably tracing back to at least a hundred years before The Animals would record it but for intents and purposes this is an Animals song through and through. Forever.
31.) Ted Nugent – “Stranglehold”
Origin: Redford, Michigan (1964)
Genres: Hard Rock
Labels: Spitfire / Atlantic / Epic
Before Teddy became a right-wing pyscho-dick investigated for threatening presidents, he put out some pretty good songs. This was one of them.