music monday: seconds first

Many of the rules governing music mixes I also apply to albums. First and foremost among these transferred rules is the importance of the first track. Firing an appropriate opening salvo in an auditory assault sets the stage for every song following. To make another reference to High Fidelity, Nick Hornby's Rob Gordon puts forth "Janie Jones" by the Clash and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana; John Cusack's Rob Gordon also includes "White Light/White Heat" by the Velvet Underground. These three are all premiere examples of tracks that define entire albums, introducing a perspective or theme that is, in some way, sustained throughout the rest of the record.

There are records, though, which falter when it comes to felicitous first tracks. This is not to say such records, or the artists/bands producing them, are terrible. It is only that I sometimes disagree with how an artist/band chooses to introduce their work to a willing listener. Minor sins of this nature include a spoken-word track that outright explains the theme of the recording when the album cover already has (Lovage's Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By) and tracks less than a minute in length featuring snippets of unfinished songs (Fugazi's The Argument and the Black Heart Procession's Amore del Tropico).

However, I do not include the Black Heart Procession, Fugazi or Lovage in the following mix because their openers are not actual songs. I wanted to concern myself only with those artists/bands and their respective albums featuring what I heard as questionable introductory selections and put together a mix of their superior second tracks. These songs are more indicative of both the artists/bands themselves as well as the albums from which the tracks come.

Seconds First

1. “Boys Better” – Dandy Warhols

2. “Harnessed in Slums” – Archers of Loaf

3. "God's Gonna Cut You Down" - Johnny Cash

4. "White Winter Hymnal" - Fleet Foxes

5. "Evil" - Interpol

6. "Dear Head On The Wall" - Alejandro Escovedo

7. "Don't Run Our Hearts Around" - Black Mountain

8. "The Way I Feel About You" - The (International) Noise Conspiracy