The past few days I’ve been a little less motivated by music. I’ve been doing a lot of skipping past songs on my Ipod because not too many songs have kept my attention lately. Today I came across a Seal song and I realized I had been wanting to listen to Seal the past few days but didn’t know it. So I set my playlist to his songs. When I got back in my car this evening I heard the song “Bring it On” that really made me realize I like Seal. There was one song that got my attention initially, but I wasn’t sure if it was a fluke and then I decided to listen to the whole album to see. I started the album over and the beginning nearly knocked me out my seat. He starts the album off by screaming “Bring it On” at you and then he goes into the rest of his Smooth Soulful, Seal rockin ways. I ended up liking the whole album but it was the way the album started that made me feel how dynamic it was. So In that Vein I will be listing my TOP TEN WAYS TO START AN ALBUM. Ironically This song did not crack the top 10 once I sat down and listed them. Now of course I only will accept albums that are a complete body of work for submission. So even though “L.O.V.E. and U & I” on Jazzanova’s album is one of my favorite songs and really is a bomb ass way to start an album. There’s only one other good song and a bunch of filler shit which means that it isn’t up for consideration. So without further Adieu…
E. 1999 Eternal-Bone Thugs & Harmony, Bone would have finished better but there’s 50 seconds of random chatter before the intro song starts and that always bothered me cause I have to fast forward through it.
Jilltro-Who is Jill Scott, This was a tough one. If I had a top 11 this would be there, I may regret not putting it higher later in life.
Before Today-Everything But the Girl- Album was good but just not quite good enough. And the rest of the songs really didn’t live up to this powerhouse.
Yall ain’tready Yet-Mystikal- Same situation. Initially I liked all the songs on this album but they didn’t really stand the test of time for me and there’s only one other one I really like now.
Let’s Go Crazy-Purple Rain – Another really tough cut. Maybe if they would have had more than 8 songs on the album (I don’t count Computer Blue cause I don’t like it)
Samba De Bencao- Tanto Tempo- I think this one and Jill kind of did each other a disservice because I found them in the same 20 minute span. As a combo for best intro songs discovered in a night they are a distant 1st though.
Bring Da Ruckus-Wu Tang 36 Chambers-I didn’t really like this song at first. And although it rocks the house to me now it didn’t blow me away off top.
I’ll Play the Fool-Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band-If you count the Greatest hits which this is also an introduction for then it would move up but the integrity of this list would be in question if I used greatest hits (as if it isn’t already with 10 damn Honorable Mentions.
Inspiration Information-Shuggie Otis,
Find A Way-The Love Movement-Tribe Called Quest
10. I’m cheating on this one. I really like several Album beginnings by duplicate artists so those who can do it twice can get in there. Fiona Apple for Sleep to Dream/Extraordinary Machine combo, Nas for Get Down/NY State of Mind combo, and Marvin Gaye for I want you/Here My Dear combo. And Tupac for Holla if ya Hear me/Bury me a G making him our only three time participant.
9. Sweetback – Gaze-
It’s a testament to this list that this one is not higher because it’s quite a remarkable song and moved me greatly. It starts out with a thumping beat and quickly transitions into an angelic, hum by Amel Larrieux. She melodically entrances the listener throughout the song and sets the stage for this smooth sultry album.
8. The Obvious Child- Rhythm of the Saints- Paul Simon
The album is a tribute to African rhythm and song. “The Obvious Child” sets the stage with a rhythmic drum banging and soulful story told by Paul Simon then ends it on the same Drumout.
7. 10 Minute High- Groove Theory
This Album was at the listening station and I only listened because Amel’s look and beauty intrigued me. But this album taught me a lot about opening up to new things. This album was an important one in the Neo soul movement as it was one of the first with a hybrid soul/hip hop sound. This song comes in and she tells a powerful, chorusless tale of drug abuse that doesn’t let up.
6. Ambitionz as a Ridah- All Eyez on Me-Tupac
This was a long anticipated album for me because Tupac was and is for me the Essence of rap. This album came out in the Spring of my Senior year which is probably one of the best periods of my celebrated life, so in some ways this is the soundtrack to that era. Even though life has provided it’s share of letdowns for things I greatly anticipated. I knew this album would live up to my expectations as soon as I heard “I won’t deny it, I’m a straight Rydah, you don’t want to fuck with me!”
5. The Buzzard Song- Porgy and Bess- Miles Davis
This song could be on the alarm clock for anyone with a sleeping disorder. The horns come out screaming and then die down into the melody which continues to build and dip. It’s hard not to let the overall beauty of an album affect my decision making in this list but I think this song gets extra points for setting the stage for a remarkable masterpiece.
Before I knew who Curtis Mayfield was I knew his smooth sound thanks to this intro. This classic came out right around the time of Menace 2 Society which was the pinnacle of my infatuation with the West Coast. I wanted to be everything about this bathtub intro except for the being Snoop. Although I did want his smooth non-chalant speak.
I’m cheating again here. This is another combo hitter because I can’t differentiate between which intro I like best from these cats. There’s so many and they rock so hard, much harder than honorable mention worthiness. From their very first Peaches intro leading into myintrotoletyouknow, You may die, Hold on Be Strong, and on into the new era of Outkast music. They always bring you in the right way.
2. Midnight Marauders Tour Guide-A Tribe Called Quest
This was probably the most difficult, whether this was 2 or 1. At first there was no question until I thought about it and this is easily the best intro EVER. I modeled it several times for creative works of my own. It’s a combination of a song Aquarius by Cal Tjader and this chick talking me through the Tribe experience. Then they go and sample it and use it as an interlude through the rest of the album. As I think about it right now it’s moving into the number one slot so let me get to 1 before it changes.
1. Love is Stronger than Pride-Sade
This song literally changed my life. My favorite artist, my favorite album and my favorite song and it all starts right here. And I’m sure in no small part, the fact I was staring, lovingly at Sade while listening affected my experience. I can still remember as clearly as the basketball game I just watched, and more clearly than half the things that happened to me last week, 15 years ago as a 13 year old boy when I put this album on the record player. When Sade’s perfect voice came in “I won’t pretend…” I KNEW ( I mean that) my life would never be the same from that point on. And then the song had the nerve to get better. I wanted to share it with the rest of the world cause I was certain not too many people knew of this song, or else there would have to be World peace. Why would anyone not want to be alive when music like this exists. If life were as absolutely perfect as this song I would be married to Lark Voorhies and Stacey Dash, and the three of us would be immortal. It’s not a happy song lyrically, but it lifts me and is the standard by which I judged Gaze by Sweetback. And the lyrics, though melancholy, Have never been spoken truer. It almost deserves it’s own album.