Five Albums That Started Right

Creating an album can be a fickle process where every step of the way is scrutinized to the Nth degree.  Opinions are often emotionally charged thus resulting in multiple discussions on how both songs are constructed and how they fit within the larger whole of an album.

While listening to albums I often wonder how the artists came up with the order in which the songs are laid out.  Did Muse have the foresight to realize that although “Knights of Cydonia” would find itself at the end of the album, it would somehow become one of their biggest hits?  Or at what point did The Beatles realize that the perfect way to close out Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was with the anthem known as “A Day In The Life”?

Questions we will more than likely never have answers for.

It was at this point that I descended upon my music library in search of albums that are not only great overall (a task which is much harder than expected) but also have the privilege of starting out great.

The most recognized concept album since “Tommy”, Green Day’s 2004 masterpiece, American Idiot came at a time when society needed it most.  The political landscape was a mess, the people were hungry for change and the first single “American Idiot” (named after the album) appeared to be the catalyst needed to begin the cleansing process.  The opening track sets the narrative for an hour long rock opera that still holds up today.

Lots of talent, loads of attitude and an unforgettable front man.  Guns N’ Roses came out of the gates swinging with the aggressiveness of a band ready to take over the world.  Spawning two of the most recognized hard rock songs of all time, Appetite For Destruction was the perfect stepping stone for this controversial Los Angeles rock band.  With a grit and filth that matched both the artists and the material, “Welcome To The Jungle” was the embodiment of the band in a single track.

On just their second studio album, Led Zeppelin had crafted what many consider, one of the most influential rock albums of all time.  With their ability to create a unique sound, even to this day, by blending blues with rock, Led Zeppelin paved the way for all those that would follow within the hard rock world.  “Whole Lotta Love” is a riffy masterpiece that chugs its way through verse and chorus while planting the seeds for what was next to come.

U2 were finished.  After creating two of the greatest albums of all time (The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby) it appeared that the Irish lads were untouchable.  Zooropa would follow and even though album sales were lower than expected, critics were giving positive reviews; then Pop happened and it appeared all was lost.  Jump ahead 3 years later and U2 were back and as good as ever.  All That You Cant Leave Behind, would garner the band 7 Grammy awards and placed them back on top as musical kings.  “Beautiful Day” not only kicked off one of U2’s most successful albums but it also represented this group kicking off their career in a new and fresh direction.

Matthew Good might be one of the most snarky Canadian artists we’ve ever produced, but early on this snark is exactly what helped him carve out a space on the Canadian musical landscape.  With just his second outing, Underdogs, Matt Good and co proved that the post-grunge sound was alive and well.  “Apparitions” and “Everything Is Automatic” might have been the biggest hits but it’s “Deep Six” that thrusts this album into Canadian indie-rock greatness.



About the author


Jeff is one-fourth of the group that makes up HAFILAX. His usual ramblings can be read right here on the website. If reading isn't your thing, he also hosts the Basement Tapes podcast.