Nick's Picks: Round 2Posted 06/02/2009 09:10AM by Nicholas Fritz as Nick's Picks
Welcome to the second round of Nick’s Picks.
Every few weeks I’ll be choosing a music-related topic and picking my ten favorites within that category. Since I haven’t heard every song by every band ever, this is not a “best of” list so please keep that in mind while reading it. These articles are meant to be fun and incite discussion, so feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section, as well as any other topics you’d like to see covered in the feature.
Album intros will be discussed this time around. One of the most important aspects of an album is the way it begins so I picked my ten favorite openers; the ones chosen for this list range from media clips, full songs, and sections of opening tracks. Enjoy!
10.) Through the Eyes of the Dead
Song: Intro + Two Inches from a Main Artery
Bloodlust didn’t really do it for me as an album but it has a great beginning. The intro sounds like a media clip from a horror movie and provides a nice creepy start to the appropriately titled album. This sound bite alone isn’t completely effective on it’s own though, it’s the beginning of “Two Inches from a Main Artery” combined with it that make the opening of the album truly great.
Album: Eat, Sleep, Repeat
Song: Where’s My Head
One could argue that this isn’t really an intro but it does have a different feel than the rest of the songs on the album and doesn’t seem like a complete song, more like a precursor of what’s to come. It’s a beautiful and interesting piece though with trashy drum sounds, layered with ambient guitar riffs, and some soothing xylophone notes.
8.) The Judas Cradle
Album: Where Child Actors go to Die
Song: The Convenience of a Disposable Halo
There’s not much to say about the start of this EP besides that’s odd but awesome at the same time. The Judas Cradle used a media clip from the movie Gummo that isn’t so much about what’s being said as it is about the way it’s being said.
“These two kids I know, these two brothers. They murdered their parents. They both claim to be raised as Jehovah Witnesses. They came to school in really nice shorts and polished tennis sneakers. And their shirts were always collared with buttons, and their hair was always slicked back. And their teeth were always brushed, and their shirts and pants were always ironed, and their shoes were never scuffed up or anything like that. They seemed to have a wonderful life. I don't know what went wrong.”
7.) Four Year Strong
Album: Rise or Die Trying
Song: The Take Over
I don’t particularly like Four Year Strong, mainly because I’m not a big fan pop punk/hardcore bands; however, I must admit that the opener on Rise or Trying is just downright fun. Granted, the Silent Hill doomsday siren clip is a bit played out but it’s still entertaining to listen to and overall, the song succeeds at getting the listener pumped for the rest of the album. It’s upbeat, uplifting, and a solid start to a solid album.
6.) Brand New
Album: Deja Entendu
“Tautou” isn’t necessarily a jaw dropping intro but it does represent a transition into a newer, better Brand New from Your Favorite Weapon. It’s clear from the beginning of the track that Brand New has switched to a more serious tone and grown up quite a bit since their previous release, and it’s a fitting start to one of the best albums of 2003.
5.) Arma Angelus
Album: Where Sleeplessness is Rest from Nightmares
Song: An Anthem for Those Without Breath and Heart
From the alternating guitar feedback to the spoken then screamed vocals, this song starts out with an effective build that leads to thirty seconds of heavy riffage with “Fuck their control” screamed over it. Arma Angelus makes a statement early on this album by showing listeners they’re pissed off and aren’t afraid to swear about it. Fun fact about this band - Arma Angelus stemmed from defunct hardcore bands Racetraitor and Extinction and interestingly enough, featured Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy on vocals and Tim McIlrath from Rise Against on bass. Also, both Patrick Stump and Joseph Trohman of Fall Out Boy were both members at one point.
Song: Derivative Opener
I know these guys were on the last list but this is a different album and completely different form of Fairweather. Lusitania is a fantastic, epic album with a dreamlike opening track that gives the listener enough time to accept that they’re not a pop punk anymore. “Derivative Opener” puts you in a trance, which is then abruptly ended when the next song kicks in.
The opening title track off Isolation has so much energy and passion packed into two minutes that it makes the listener excited to see what the rest of the album has to offer. It’s also nice to see a hardcore band do an energetic opener that gets you pumped without relying on breakdowns; Carpathian greatly succeeded with this opener and created one hell of album as well.
2.) La Dispute
Album: Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
Song: Such Small Hands
La Dispute is slowly but surely blowing up and for good reason: they’re an amazing band. As soon as Jordan Dreyer starts his poetic rant in “Such Small Hands” the listener is introduced to a refreshing but familiar vocal delivery, as comparisons to mewithoutYou cannot be avoided. The vocals get more aggressive as the song progresses, and I had chills the first time I heard Dreyer shout, “I think you ought to stay away from here; there are ghosts in the walls and they crawl in your head through your ear.” Incredible lyrics by an incredible band who make the most of the first 90 seconds of this full length.
1.) Misery Signals
Album: Of Malice and the Magnum Heart
Song: A Victim, a Target
Even early in their career Misery Signals knew how to write an album, and the opener on their debut full length is a great example. “A Victim, a Target” is basically one long groove-oriented breakdown in the background with layers of ambient sounds and vocals but it works so well. It sounds like they put as much thought into this 90 second song as the rest of the album, which is the primary reason it’s so effective.