Earlier this week I wrote an article about albums that open with their longest song, such as David Bowie's Station to Station. These nine albums, however, pulled a completely different trick by easing listeners in with songs that are under two minutes long.
1. Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica (1969)
Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica runs to an unwieldy 79 minutes, but the 1:41 album opener "Frownland" serves as a sort of taste for listeners: if they can't enjoy this song, then the rest of the album is going to be torturous.
2. Cat Stevens - Teaser and the Firecat (1971)
Its 1:42 running time may have kept it from becoming a hit, but "The Wind" is still one of Cat Stevens' most beautiful songs, and a brilliantly inviting way to open his 1971 classic Teaser and the Firecat.
3. Cheap Trick - In Color (1977)
Cheap Trick's "Hello There" is the sort of song written specifically to open an album: a quick mission statement that greets the listener and introduces the album's tone.
4. Elvis Costello - My Aim is True (1977)
Elvis Costello is often lumped in with the UK punk scene of the late '70s, and songs like "Welcome to the Working Week," the angry minute-and-a-half opener from My Aim is True, demonstrate exactly why.
5. They Might Be Giants - Apollo 18 (1992)
Apollo 18 was They Might Be Giants' attempt at a more straightforward rock sound, which they somewhat manage with the Pixies-esque minute-long opener "Dig My Grave." Despite its brief running time, however, it's still only the 22nd shortest song on the album, which includes twenty-one songs in a row that are all under 30 seconds.
6. Sebadoh - Bakesale (1994)
Sebadoh's first few albums were pretty experimental and sprawling works, but 1994's Bakesale was the most straightforward and concise album they had released yet, exemplified with the highly charged 1:46 album opener "License To Confuse" and its off-kilter guitar riff.
7. Foo Fighters - The Colour and the Shape (1997)
The Colour and the Shape continues the pummeling hard rock sound of the Foo Fighter's debut album, but you wouldn't exactly know it listening to the minute-and-a-half opener "Doll," a gentle, lightly strummed pop tune that abruptly gives way to the more blistering "Monkey Wrench."
8. The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs (1999)
Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt once said that all songs should be short, and on the Magnetic Fields' massive album 69 Love Songs, Merritt cuts right to the chase with the 1:32-long "Absolutely Cuckoo." It's such a jarringly ungraceful album opener, but its brevity makes it work, especially since there are 68 more songs to go.
9. Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet (2012)
In this writer's opinion, the greatest opening one-two punch in rock history is Andrew W.K.'s I Get Wet, which opens with the minute-and-a-half power pop/metal anthem "It's Time To Party," immediately followed by the immortal "Party Hard." It sounds idiotic on paper, and it might be, but it's still unbelievably euphoric.