A band’s first impression on us can last a lifetime. Usually we hear a popular single first and later discover the rest of what they have to offer, sometimes by picking up their first album and starting from the beginning. They are not always the best songs by the band or the favorites. These songs however are the first on the debut studio albums and that were wisely chosen to leadoff the bands’ careers.
‘Dead and Bloated’ from the album ‘Core’ by Stone Temple Pilots
‘Dead and Bloated’ is a perfect song for Stone Temple Pilots to make an impression on fans. Starting off quiet with no instrumentals, singer Scott Weiland gruffly begins repeating the chorus which includes the song’s title. Only a few seconds later the drums and guitar smash together and we are introduced to what Stone Temple Pilots can do. During the height of their popularity the band was sometimes accused of trying to sound too much like the other popular grunge bands of the era, ‘Dead and Bloated’ being a perfect example. Thievery aside, this song remains one of my favorites from STP. In the days when Weiland was singing Christmas carols, it was nice to go back to this and hear what he once was.
‘Once’ from the album ‘Ten’ by Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam’s debut album ‘Ten’ starts off with some strange noises that slowly build up until we get to the beginning of their song ‘Once.’ A fast guitar riff that we were not prepared for picks up before we get to hear Eddie Vedder’s voice for the first time under the Pearl Jam name. ‘Once’ is a song that was overshadowed by other hits from the album, never reaching the status of the mainstream hits. Coming from the deep Pearl Jam catalogue, ‘Once’ remains a classic able to take Pearl Jam fans back to the first time they heard the band. Fans of Vedder’s solo work steer clear, your ear drums might be blown out.
‘Breakin’ Chains of Love’ from the album ‘Pickin’ Up the Pieces’ by Fitz and the Tantrums
The indie pop/neo soul band from Los Angeles known as Fitz and the Tantrums differs a lot from the rest of the bands on this list, which may say something about how diverse their audience can be if I’m on it. ‘Breakin’ Chains of Love’ is the perfect representation of the band, featuring the duet singing between Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. The band’s sound and style hits immediately and you will swear this song is older than it is. Not really a love song, not really a breakup song; but still a song about relationship song in a beautiful way.
‘Everything Zen’ from the album ‘Sixteen Stone’ by Bush
On an album with megahit ‘Machinehead’, it was tough for ‘Everything Zen’ to get the attention it deserved. Batting leadoff on the album gave it a chance to pull fans in to stick around for what was still left to come. The song is abrasive and angry, throwing Bush into the grunge category despite coming from across the Atlantic.
‘Fly from the Inside’ from the album ‘Leave a Whisper’ by Shinedown
Shinedown is one of the few bands to come out in the last ten years that remain consistent. The first song off their debut album got them off to a great start. ‘Fly from the Inside’ mixes a perfect sound, one that is actually a bit different from the others. The biggest positive from this song is how it manages to showcase singer Brent Smith’s vocals, something predominant in all feature songs the band has put out ever since.
‘We Die Young’ from the album ‘Facelift’ by Alice in Chains
I hold Alice in Chains to an unbelievably high standard, being my favorite band and all. I knew most of their singles before having heard the first song off their first album, ‘We Die Young.’ When I finally did hear it I realized this was a band I had to hear everything from. This should be the goal of every first song from a debut album. The same way when you introduce yourself to another person for purposes of having them get to know you, the first song on an album should make a person want to listen to more. ‘We Die Young’ keeps Alice in Chains to their metal roots while giving a bit of a different feel from other popular songs they would later put out. Also perfect, ‘We Die Young’ is the lead-in to arguably the most popular Alice in Chains song around, ‘Man in a Box.’
‘Moon Baby’ from the album ‘Godsmack’ by Godsmack
From Alice in Chains to a band who took their name from an Alice in Chains song, Godsmack’s first song on their debut album was ‘Moon Baby.’ This was not a favorite song of mine at first, but as time went on it reminded me why I liked Godsmack in the first place. ‘Moon Baby’ represents Godsmack well and helps to define their hard rock sound and the consistent rage we hear in singer Sully Erna’s lyrics.
‘Welcome to the Jungle’ from the album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ by Guns N Roses
Arguably the best first song on a debut album as far as popularity goes, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ was the previous generation’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ From the opening cords and the rest of the instrumental build-up, we know we are about to get our faces kicked in by Axl Rose and the boys. The song has seen an incredibly amount of mainstream success, reaching anthem level. Perfectly placed as the first song on ‘Appetite for Destruction’, the song helped make Guns N Roses the last great band from the 1980s.