The opening track is one of the most important on the record; it's the song that sets the tone for the rest of the album. It grabs the listeners attention, making them listen on, intrigued by what could follow next. It sets up what the flow of an album is going to be like.
What's is the band's intention, their purpose with the album? The opening track answers that question. A good opening track sets up an album well, making the message clear of what the band wants the listener to think when listening to the album. But, there are those opening tracks that change music and set their albums apart from the rest of the pack.
A truly classic opening track captures a snapshot in music history; it defines its legacy straight from the word go. In one song, it makes the listener go 'this is going to be a fantastic record' in, sometimes, no time at all. It's no good having an opening song that doesn't take control.
But just how do you define the greatest opening tracks? Many albums found on best-of lists deserve their place for the whole record, but there are those that manage to get that history making moment across from the very start.
10. N.W.A - Straight Outta Comptonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMZi25Pq3T8
It's the late 1980's and hip-hop is starting to make a real name for itself. Public Enemy have introduced the political element that would permeate throughout lyrics all the way up to modern day rap. Run DMC brought hip-hop to a wider audience with their more party and rock crossover style. But it's N.W.A who really grabbed the hip-hop world and catapulted it into the eyes of the public.
Straight Outta Compton is a statement. The pounding drum beat comes blasting out of the speakers, bringing the album running out of the gates. It's in your face, loud, aggressive and dripped in attitude. This is the origin of 'gangsta' rap, which lead the way for many other artists to follow.
Full of expletive-laden lyrics, the album is, of course, controversial. Filled with violence and anger, the song and album was one of the first albums to have a Parental Advisory sticker on the cover. The video was also subject to controversy as it showed the group on the streets in the middle of a 'gang sweep'.
Straight Outta Compton is one hell of a way to open an album. In 4 minutes, it pathed the way for so many other groups to follow.