Top Ten Best First Time Listen Songs
You know those songs that you love from the off? Often others you were not so "absorbed" by will eventually outrank it in your tastes, but these are for the ones that grabbed you from the virginal ears stage!
As always, no particular order:
Queen Bitch: David Bowie (Hunky Dory)
Snappy lyrics, great guitar loop. and a harmonious chorus. A reason it is a top soundtrack fave. Hunky Dory has a few candidates for this list. I could have chosen the infectious 'Bewlay Brothers', which holds its own, but Queen Bitch has such a great spirit that one struggles not to be swallowed by it.
Paradise City: Guns n Roses (Appetite for Destruction) 1987
Autobiographical this one is. Watching Top of the Pops, aged 10. Every week after the number one was played, there was an outgoing song played to the credits roll. Within seconds I was blown away and I needed to know this group. For my birthday, a few weeks later I got the album and a t-shirt, despite it depicting a rapist alien. My first ever favourite band!
Suicide is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H): Manic Street Preachers 1992
Not a fan of the Manics endless pretentious pencil-case slogans and the politics-with-a-small-p routine. I first heard them thanks to TOTP. Melodic and memorable. I did not hear them again for years, but this always made me want to hear more. Few years hence I got the chance. They released Everything Must Go (my sister in-law played it every Saturday while I was dying from a speed comedown) and I fell in love with a Manics fan and learned the back-catalogue. The latter got me more into them but despite some great music nothing they did grabbed me as much as this track did. Worth noting that at that time, and to this day I have never seen M*A*S*H.
High and Dry: Radiohead (The Bends) 1995
My personal favourite from my preferred Radiohead album. Many rate 'Fake Plastic Trees' higher after all Thom Yorke gets to show a more powerful ballad voice which makes it a more rewarding tune, however, High and Dry was the more instantly pleasing. Its spaced-out drumbeat in its intro makes it into a more thoughtful song, distracting almost. This helps with instantly absorbing it. First time, hundredth time, it is a classic and was used to magnificent pathos in the movie 50/50.
Robbie Williams: Angels (Life Thru a Lens) 1997
You only have to visit our articles to see our views on Robbie Williams to see the love we have for our favourite meathead. Still, a good song is a good song. Basic, and does not withstand multiple plays, but instantly endearing nonetheless. The Ivor Novello and Brit Award winner was cited as being written about Rob's family. He and Guy Chambers were sat watching a fountain when the words came to him and he ran off in a cab to record it. Sound like interview bollocks? It is. In truth it was a pastiche of a song by Ray Heffernan about his wife's miscarriage. they toyed and tinkered with it until it made chart magic! This showed two things. Robbie was lost without Chambers, secondly it shows he is a manipulative conman. He eventually paid Ray Heffernan £7,500 for the song. Man of the people, right? "I'M RICH BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS" he famously yelled, totally unplanned (you could tell by the awkward look he gives at the time he planned it). Tell you who isn't? Ray Heffernan.
Road Rage: Catatonia (International Velvet) 1998
The worst thing about this truly spectacular effort is that it lost out on an Ivor Novello to one of the most boring songs in the universe: "Here's Where the Story Ends" by Tin-Tin Out. Catatonia's effort was a song of daring key-changes, enticing lyrics, and obviously Cerys Matthews uber-Welsh magic voice, it was misconceived as being about the Tracey Andrews Road Rage killing when that was only the inspiration for the title. Regardless of the reasons it’s a glorious track from a band that never wanted to be known as "indie" and only wanted to be pop. Ironic that they were better at it than many claimants.
Starman: David Bowie (...Ziggy Stardust...) 1972
A second entry for Bowie. Given his prowess and catalogue it is quite likely that would happen anyway. Track 4 from the iconic Ziggy album, it is a melodic and optimistic song of youthful indulgence and innocent childhood secrecy. Look up the overall story and it loses its harmless feel somewhat. Either way it is a magnificent composition and a memorable first listen of perhaps unbeaten levels.
Jealous Guy: John Lennon (Imagine) 1971
It could be the simplistic chords and the whistled solo. It could be the fact that such honest heart-pouring was totally unheard of. Nowadays, of course, there is a queue of shoegazing and tedious singer/songwriters (eeugh) who cannot wait to spew their "feelings" over the floor of the 'Sunday Brunch' studio. John did it when it took balls and effort, and of course he meant it. Perfect stuff. Respectfully reincarnated by Bryan Ferry's Roxy Music years later as a tribute to his hero
Spanish Bombs: The Clash (London Calling) 1979
The power chords and acoustic riffs of this track from London Calling are reason enough to be mesmerised by it on first call. The right-on lyrics about historical atrocities and a humorous comparison to modern tourism give it lyrical mettle. Not to mention tear-evoking tributes to fallen heroes of the war, and the brave Republican volunteers from all over Europe coming together ("The ragged army") this is simply what rock n roll is all about in less than 5 minutes. It is not just one of the best first time listen songs, it is one of the best songs ever.
You Really Got Me: The Kinks (Kinks) 1964
A power-chord blues oriented "love song for street kids" set the ubiquitously English Kinks as one of the front-runners in the British Invasion of UK acts to the USA.
The unmistakable opening riffs are obliterating and as recognisable as any Beatles song. The rising harmonious vocals leading to the chorus can make anyone do what they are doing but faster so is a staple in gym workout playlists, that is providing you can avoid seeing Ray Winstone and Phil Daniels' penises every time it plays.
The Farm: All Together Now
Stone Roses: Mersey Paradise
The Verve: Lucky Man
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