Seven of the best: Album openers

It’s an almost impossible task, but the brave Adam Terris was man enough to take it on: here are seven of his favourite ever album openers.


The start of an album can be magical, it can be intense and it can be powerful. Get it wrong and you’ve lost the audience – get it right and you might just have made a masterpiece on your hands.

I gave myself the task of coming up with the best album intro’s of all time thinking it was easy. But so many starting songs have been perfect – whether they are intricate, epic or just down right great. This makes this task very difficult indeed. So here goes: the perhaps not-so-definite list of my seven favourite album intro’s, ever.

‘Genesis’ from ‘†’ by Justice

‘Genesis’ by Justice is one song that a boxer sure has to use to enter the ring (no idea why it hasn’t been done yet). It sets the brilliant, gritty tone of † by the French house pair. It grabs you by the balls and says ‘hey, listen to me’. From the funky bass lick to the dirty synth sound that Justice have now become so well known for, ‘Genesis’ is the ultimate dance album intro.

‘On Sight’ from Yeezus by Kanye West

If you’re looking for a raw, intense and blood-pumping album intro, then the best one has to be ‘On Sight’ by Kanye West from the album Yeezus. Forever breaking ground in mainstream rap, ‘On Sight’ offered up the rawest of dirty synth rap. As soon as the thick, deep distorted synth turns into the back to basics melody, you just know that Yeezus is going to be an absolute stormer of an album.  You can tell he’s not lying when Kanye raps, “How much do I not give a fuck?/Let me show you right now ‘fore you give it up.” ‘On Sight’ sets Yeezus up to be one of 2013’s best albums and yet another groundbreaking one from Kanye West.

‘Dance Yrself Clean’ from This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem

We’ve all missed the genius of LCD Soundsystem since they called it a day in 2011, but thankfully This Is Happening was a brilliant way to bow out, with it’s perfect introduction ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ definitely one of my favourite ever. From it’s subtle introduction, like a band just subtly playing in the corner of a bar, to its quite spectacular five minute crescendo (if that’s possible), the song sums up everything that is brilliant about James Murphy and co. Put simply, it is nine minutes of electronic perfection.

‘Is This It’ from Is This It by The Strokes

Where would we all be without The Strokes? It’s a question that often causes me nightmares with cold sweats, but thankfully it’s never a scenario we need bare think about. Is This It? was a ground-breaking, even defining album of the 21st century so far, and without it we would not have bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines. The album’s title track sums up a generation’s emotions in a post-y2k society whilst seamlessly creating a new genre of guitar music all in the space of two and a half minutes. Impressive, isn’t it?

‘In One Ear’ from Cage The Elephant – Cage The Elephant 

One of the best album openers that translates into an epic beginning to a gig is Cage The Elephant’s ‘In One Ear’ from their self-titled debut album. The raw energy grabs hold of your bones like some incredibly weird groovy virus and shakes you until you are part of a mosh pit you didn’t even know existed. As an introduction to their debut album it epitomizes everything that the Nashville band is about; sweat, rock n roll and hell of a lot of moshing.

‘The View from the Afternoon’ from Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys

‘The View from the Afternoon’ is the entry point into what has become one of the best albums of all time, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. It’s fast past, almost digital-esque guitar riff combined with the bygone notion of relatable lyrics from Alex Turner create a quite incredible intro. “I want to see you take the jackpot out the fruit machine,/ and put it all back in, / You’ve got to understand that you can never beat the bandit.” ‘A View From An Afternoon’ defines the life of a 21st century teenager and is the beginning of a quite extraordinary album story.

‘The French Open’ from Antidotes – Foals

Foals are one of those bands you just can’t help but love. Their debut album Antidotes introduced a university indie genre that went on to be emulated by many other bands – although still no one does it quite as well. When the horns begin on ‘The French Open’ and the unique short, quick plucked guitar swings into action you get a sense that you are hearing something that has never quite been done before. When the pace picks up you feel the energy that the Oxford band bring to their music it quickly becomes easy to see why they are one of the most coveted live bands in the world.

Which great album openers have we left out? Leave us a comment below. Follow Adam and the Music Factory on Twitter @adamterris and @MusicFactoryNo1.

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