AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #270 : BEGIN THE BEGIN (1)

A GUEST POSTING by jimdoes

What seems like a million years ago I did an ICA of final tracks on albums (ICA 176 – only 2 and a bit years ago)– and I said at the time I’d do an ICA of openers which I’ve eventually got round to. But it’s taken much longer than I thought and proven an impossible task getting it down to ten songs – so I’ve done two ICAs. When putting my list together I realised how many opening tracks were singles – I guess it helps listeners if they’ve got something familiar to start with. I’m not imagining that to be a problem with my ICAs – I’m sure most readers will know these songs and have their own favourite opening tracks but these are mine, starting with an ICA of opening tracks that weren’t singles.

____________

BEGIN THE BEGIN – PART ONE

(An ICA of opening tracks that were not singles)

RACE FOR THE PRIZE – THE FLAMING LIPS

(Opening track on THE SOFT BULLETIN)

It’s almost impossible to choose a first song of first songs – obviously any one of the following tracks could’ve been first but I’ve gone with a song that is a rush of pure joy and it’s a great pop record. It’s the sound of a band in transition and realising their potential. Letting loose. Going from weird druggy outsiders to weird druggy stadium fillers. Most importantly it still makes me smile and it’s the perfect intro to what some consider to be their masterpiece.

DEBASER – PIXIES

(Opening track on DOOLITTLE)

I was 19 when this record came out – they were already my favourite band, so imagine hearing this for the first time. Blew me away then – still blows me away today. It was eventually released as a single when their greatest hits album came out but at the time this was just the perfect intro to one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

LOVE VIGILANTES – NEW ORDER

(Opening track on LOW LIFE)

Confession – I’ve seen New Order live countless times but I wouldn’t call myself a massive fan. Generally I just know the singles. I’ve tried listening to their albums but maybe because as a teenager I didn’t get into them, they just don’t do anything for me. I couldn’t name any album tracks by New Order – except Love Vigilantes – I couldn’t even name another song off Low Life. But Love Vigilantes is a song I’ve always loved – I think it’s one of those songs that is familiar even if you’ve never heard it before – plus it tells a story with a twist (I won’t spoil the ending – just in case you’ve not heard it!!!).

EVERYONE THINKS HE LOOKS DAFT – THE WEDDING PRESENT

(Opening track on GEORGE BEST)

The first song I ever heard by The Wedding Present. I bought George Best after I read about it in the NME. It remains one of my favourite tracks – the laugh halfway through, those jangling guitars, the down to earth lyrics, the whistle near the end and the long instrumental outro. It’s also got one of the best starts to a first track – Gedge’s “Oh why do you…” before the guitars kick in is sheer perfection.

THE QUEEN IS DEAD – THE SMITHS

(Opening track on THE QUEEN IS DEAD)

Ok I know the general feeling about the racist lead singer who will not be named and I tried to avoid including this song. But The Queen Is Dead remains one of the greatest opening tracks ever. And it’s not just the voice and the lyrics – they are great – but this is all about Marr, Joyce and Rourke. Lawnmower my arse.

(JC adds.…..the track is unavailable for posting on TVV…..jimdoes was OK when I told him this would be the case)

ROCK N ROLL STAR – OASIS

(Opening track on DEFINITELY MAYBE)

As statements of intent go, this has to be the best – debut album, all attitude, supremely confident.

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – NWA

(Opening track on STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON)

“You’re about to witness the strength of street knowledge” – now, ain’t that the truth?

EVERYTHING IN IT’S RIGHT PLACE – RADIOHEAD

(Opening track on KID A)

What a song. Everything In It’s Right Place is the sound of a band confounding expectations and doing exactly what they want. Because they can. And it’s a band knowing exactly what they don’t want – they’d been listening to loads of WARP records and they wanted to leave their stadium indie behind. They most certainly didn’t want to be U2. On first listen this song shocks you – making you wonder what could come next – but it’s a real grower and has become one of my favourite Radiohead songs.

THE MAN COMES AROUND – JOHNNY CASH

(Opening track on THE MAN COMES AROUND)

According to Wikipedia – “The song was inspired by a dream Cash had about Queen Elizabeth II in which the queen compared Cash to “a thorn tree in a whirlwind.” Haunted by the dream, Cash became curious if the phrase was a biblical reference and eventually found a similar phrase in the Book of Job.”

From the spoken word intro to the jaunty acoustic guitar, I love this song. One of the last songs Johnny Cash wrote as he was dying of cancer – it’s about Christ and the Day of Judgement – on paper that sounds like it’s going to be a really sad maudlin song but it is just so upbeat and makes me smile!

DISORDER – JOY DIVISION

(Opening track on UNKNOWN PLEASURES)

This seemed the best opening track to be the closing track on the first of my first track ICAs. (Hope that makes sense!) I don’t imagine there’s a single VV reader that wouldn’t have this in their top ten opening tracks (non-singles version).

jimdoes

15 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #270 : BEGIN THE BEGIN (1)

  1. Wow.

    A great ICA in the face of an almost impossible task. It’s hard to believe that so many of these weren’t singles as they’re so familiar.

    There are a few that I’m hoping will appear on volume 2, but I’m looking forward to it either way.

    Nice one, jimdoes!

  2. Disorder and Debaser are great picks. I was a huge New Order fan from 80-83, but very quickly lost interest after Low Life. The Human League plays country vibe of Love Vigilantes was part of the problem for me.
    For fun, 10 impeccable openers: Eat Y’Self Fitter, Faron Young, Janie Jones, Show Of Strength, Tangled Up In Blue, Spring Rain, The Seabirds, Burn It Down, Running Up That Hill and Sunday Morning.

  3. Worth the wait! Never imagined ‘Debaser’ wouldn’t have been a single–arguably the Pixies’ finest moment. Might’ve thrown in ‘No Action’ from This Year’s Model, but no question this is a fantastic ICA. Great selection, Jimdoes, on a great idea.

  4. If I may…….and apologies for being a bit of a killjoy!!!

    I think it’s a great idea for an ICA, but in giving it a listen in the order jimdoes has come up with, I’m not sure it works. Everyone of the ten are great songs but some of them just don’t seem to fit onto an album where they’re not the opener (if that makes any sense). Things like Johnny Cash, The Smiths and NWA will work no matter where you put them, but Joy Division, Pixies and Oasis only work for me as openers.

    SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Great choices. But.. nothing by The Clash. Every side one track one is a masterpiece, and each in a different way. Sometimes, my pick would be Safe European Home for the adrenalin rush following the single drum beat. Sometimes the bass on Magnificent Seven. Oh but London Calling! Having said that, I certainly wouldn’t have missed The Weddoes, Pixies or Oasis.

  6. Agree with the Swede–everything to play for in part 2 (and 3 and 4). Add ‘Because You’re Frightened’, ‘Tank’ and ‘Cretin Hop’ to my earlier comment. What a great ICA concept!

  7. Thanks for all the love – I was really looking forward to seeing what tracks others would choose – I thought something by the Jam – I don’t know their music well at all

    ManicPopThrills – darn you’re right about Race For The Prize – oops – I never knew – in fact I was certain it wasn’t a single so it was probably the only one I didn’t check on discogs – lets swap it out for The Stars Of Track and Field – but I do say Debaser was a single when Pixie’s greatest hits came out years later so I thought it was ok!

    DAM – wait for volume 2 – not wanting to be a spoiler but the Clash do feature!

    JC – You’re right – they all should be openers and we’ve heard them all so often on their respective albums that they are ingrained to be first!

  8. jimdoes & ManicPopThrills – I just unearthed a 37-track Pixies mixtape from 1990 . Likewise, I was 19 and they were my favourite band. However, Debaser was not the opening track but (and I’m shocked to say this) it isn’t even included at all. And yet, it’s still a bloody awesome compilation.

    And as we are looking at the ‘non-single’ opening tracks, whilst agreeing with all of the other excellent suggestions, here’s another alternate take:

    1) Soul Desert: Julian Cope (Jehovahkill)
    2) Definitive Gaze: Magazine (Real LIfe)
    3) The Girl With The Sun In Her Head: Orbital (In Sides)
    4) Propaganda: Sparks (Propaganda)
    5) Bacative (Remix): Tricky ft. Rodigan (Tricky Meets South Rakkas Crew)
    6) So Long Rastafari: Dennis Brown (Deep Down)
    7) Thunderstorm: Paul Haig & Billy MacKenzie (Memory Palace)
    8) Love Goes On!: The Go-Betweens (16 Lovers Lane)
    9) I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life): The The (Soul Mining)
    10) The Rainbow: Talk Talk (Spirit Of Eden)

    Credit to jimdoes, just trying to settle on just 2 ICAs would have sent me over the edge 🙂

  9. I’m riffing on JC’s comment here. I wonder if it’s possible to make a compilation album of songs that are chosen to lead off an album, set the tone, have an impact. All the tracks are great, but do they all work as deep cuts… Oh, and how difficult must it have been to decide which opener got to be the ICA opener? I know I would have been stuck on that for hours.
    I will agree that Disorder is a great choice to close out the ICA.

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