The tracklisting for an album can make or break the listener's opinion of it. If an album doesn't open powerfully enough, the listener might not even make it through the rest of the songs. These eight albums got around this problem by placing the best song right at the top.
1. Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1969)
Most of the tracks on Frank Zappa's 1969 album Hot Rats are lengthy jazz-fusion improvisations, but Zappa opens up the album with a brief but tightly composed piece called "Peaches en Regalia," arguably the best thing he ever wrote.
2. Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)
Though Paranoid contains Black Sabbath's two most famous songs, "Iron Man" and the title track, neither of these are the best on the album. That honor goes to album opener "War Pigs," which contains more incredible riffs in eight minutes than most guitarists write in their entire lives.
3. Can - Tago Mago (1971)
Can's classic Tago Mago is among the most avant-garde rock albums of the '70s, a 74-minute album of just 7 songs, but opener "Paperhouse" is relatively straightforward in the context of '60s/'70s rock. There are verses, bridges, and an extended jam section, all filtered through Can's darkly psychedelic lense.
4. Patti Smith - Horses (1975)
The original version of "Gloria" by Van Morrison's band Them is a garage-rock classic, but it's a famously primitive and repetitive song. Patti Smith's poetic, epic rendition of the song for her 1975 album Horses is on another plane entirely, and the perfect introduction to not just the album, but Patti Smith in general.
5. Devo - Freedom of Choice (1980)
"Whip It" might be the only song that the average person knows from Devo, but the entire Freedom of Choice album is a new wave classic, particularly the first song "Girl U Want," a more driving and jittery take on the riffy synth-pop of "Whip It".
6. Low - Things We Lost in the Fire (2001)
One of the most remarkable songs of the '00s comes in right at the start of Low's album Things We Lost in the Fire. With just a few open chords, a simple melody, and an incredibly basic rhythm, "Sunflowers" acquires a completely haunting quality that few songs ever match.
7. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening (2010)
LCD Soundsystem opened its second album Sound of Silver with the excellent seven-minute slow build "Get Innocuous," but wisely decided to shake up that formula for the opening to its third and final LP This is Happening. Instead of gradually layering more and more instruments, "Dance Yrself Clean," remains quiet and unassuming for its first three minutes, until it suddenly explodes with a drum fill and heart-stopping synth line.
8. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (2011)
PJ Harvey loves to shake up her sound and her image for each new album, and the opening title track to her incredible 2011 album Let England Shake assures listeners that this isn't just another Rid of Me. Harvey completely abandons the gritty punk-blues of her early work to give us something far more gothic and atmospheric.
What other albums do you think open with their best song? Let us know in the comments section!