What surprised me about yesterday's list of opening tracks was how conventional it was. I don't listen to much mainstream music so why was the list so mainstream? Where was all the hip hop and electronica?
Unfortunately, hip hop artists have removed themselves from the competition almost entirely by beginning every album with a track called "Intro". I checked every great hip hop album I own and they all seem to do it. As for electronica, I think I tend to view electronic albums as complete works. It's hard to separate just the first track.
I thought I'd find out what the top 10 would be if I based it on music I regularly listen to. I made an iTunes smart playlist bringing together songs with a track number of 1 and a rating of five stars. It gave me 32 tracks. This isn't a perfect plan - I have more than 22,000 songs in iTunes and only about 3,000 have been rated so there's a lot missing.
However, a few of the songs from yesterday's list were present: Solid Air, Debaser and Sign o' the Times. Here's the top 10 from the rest:
1. I Love Every Little Thing About You by Syreeta (Syreeta)
A deliriously happy soul record that never fails to make me smile - apart from a little god-bothering in the middle. It sounds like classic-era Stevie Wonder because he produced it. He also provides some backing vocals. Well, they were married at the time.
2. Alone Again Or by Love (Forever Changes)
Hippy Mariachi rock that, combined with Felt, provided the template for Belle and Sebastian 30 years later.
3. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed)
This was on Lucy's list too. It's a great song with a great opening.
4. Rehab by Amy Winehouse (Back to Black)
It's perhaps early to tell but I think this will become a classic. A brilliant beginning for a very good album.
5. A Minor Place by Bonnie "Prince" Billy (I See A Darkness)
I played this album almost non-stop for about a year and this song still sounds excellent. As an opener it isn't exceptional but it does represent the album very nicely.
6. Station to Station by David Bowie (Station to Station)
The Berlin-era is my favourite of Bowie's many incarnations. This is Bowie doing Kraftwerk and as such can hardly go wrong.
7. Weightless Again by The Handsome Family (Through the Trees)
More Americana. This is probably my favourite Handsome Family song. It's a weird, bleak and poignant examination of suicide.
8. Bul Ma Min by Orchestra Baobab (Specialist in All Styles)
A fantastically energetic Afro-Cuban track from Orchestra Baobab's 2002 album. It's the best track on the album.
9. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service (Give Up)
It's not the best track on the album but its slightly hesitant electronic opening does introduce the album very well.
10. Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized (Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space)
A series of repeating lyrics over a chord sequence borrowed from Pachelbel's Canon in D provides a gentle, melancholic introduction to this album before Come Together thumps its way in.