In a new weekly post entitled ‘Five For Fridays’ I’ll be tackling a Top Five list of various items from just about anywhere – books, TV, films, music and gaming.
We’ll kick off with some good rockin’ tunes.
If you’ve seen or read High Fidelity you’ll be aware that the boys down at Championship Vinyl have a tendency to make top five lists when they’re bored. As a nice way to kick off the new series of Five For Fridays – a (hopefully) weekly top five list of my own covering all things geek – I thought I’d start by blatantly ripping off one of their very own lists.
Side One, Track One
A good album needs a great song to kick it off, to get you excited to hear the rest of the album rather than leaving you sad and confused as to what else might be ahead before you’ve even reached track two. The opening track should serve as a statement of intent; a hook to snare you in and prepare you for the rises and falls of the next few songs. So without further ado, my Top Five Side One, Track Ones (in no particular order) are:
Rage Against The Machine – Testify
I nearly, nearly went with ‘Bombtrack’ on this one because the mood it creates is much more menacing; the noodling riff that’s gentle but creeping, leading in with the drums to make the first sonic announcement of a great band’s great debut album. But ‘Testify’, kicking off Rage’s third album, is a perfect summation of where we were all at when we met again. It seems to say, yep, we’re that rock band that has that amazing guitarist who does trippy things to his gear, and there’s the drums and BOOM we’re back in the room, people.
Reuben – Cities On Fire
On the other hand, the intro Reuben’s third album is a much mellower affair than we should be used to, with a gentle guitar sequence that absolutely lulls the listener into a false sense of security, before all hell breaks loose in the first verse. ‘So fire it is / to make our dark streets clean again’ screams Jamie Lenman, almost resignedly seeing as that first quiet section didn’t work and so we’ll need some noise in here to tell what’s what.
For my life, I could not pick a favourite Reuben album out of their back catalogue. It’s fairly likely that my own separate top five, top ten even, songs by this brilliant band are split evenly across all three – and that they only made three is such a sad loss.
And have I mentioned I named this blog after a Reuben song? Probably.
The Blood Brothers – Guitarmy
But when you really want to make a statement of intent on the first track, it often helps to have a song that’s thrashy, loud, fast and barely 40 seconds long. That’s what The Blood Brothers manage on the opener to ‘…Burn, Piano Island, Burn’ and it’s an absolute stormer.
At The Drive-In – Arcarsenal
Another interesting one for the first-time listener – of which there were many once the hardest-working band in the world made it to a major label release. At The Drive-In pulls out all the stops on ‘Arcarsenal’, with squalling feedback and a rather shouty vocal from Cedric Bixler.
Alkaline Trio – Private Eye
‘Stupid Kid’ was the first Trio song I heard, and as much as it intrigued me I was much happier to hear their next single, which also serves as the full-speed-ahead opening to what’s probably my favourite Trio album. I was fairly obsessed with the Alkaline Trio at one point – particularly the superb singing of Dan Andriano – and this is a great reminder of why.
The Odd Bit
During the write-up of this post I was amazed to discover two things:
- Out of the five bands I’ve written about, only one of them is still going strong, and
- ALL FIVE tracks selected here are from each band’s third album.
I have no idea what this could mean. But weirdly it doesn’t feel like a coincidence.