As discussed ad nauseum on this blog, music is everything in my world. I wake up, go to bed, and dream about music. I am a grown woman that still sings into her hairbrush and, when my ankle is not impaired, will still do the dance routines to every Janet Jackson video from the 80s and 80s – albeit more out of breath. There are several components that make a song great, but one surefire way is to make the opening GREAT. So today, I will give you five songs (and a bonus) that had me hooked within the first five seconds and made me love them.
5. “Ambitions as a Rider” by Tupac – It starts with this almost unassuming husky whisper, “I won’t deny it…” That could go anywhere. “…I’m a straight rider, you don’t wanna fuck with me.” Piano, bass, lyrics, boom. Love it. This intro is what catapulted “All Eyes on Me” into the position of instant classic amongst Tupac lovers, even prior to ‘Pac’s death.
4. “Stronger” by Kanye West – The first two words in this song tell it all: “WORK IT!” As irritating as autotune has become, it was perfect for this hook. The bass comes in, and you’re sold. At least I am…and that’s what matters here, right? It matters not to me what Kanye does or doesn’t write. He has a talent for knowing what a song will require, and his delivery is virtually always on point. This song gets me so amped. I was on one of my famous road trips, when this came on, and it gave me energy for another hour on the road. True story.
3. “Freaky Thangs” by LUDA! (I have to say it that way) ft. Twista & Jagged Edge – I’m a sucker for that Spanish guitar sound. Faizon Love provides a rather entertaining intro, leading into vocals by Jagged Edge. LUDA! and Twista proceed to spit all sorts of filth and flarn in true rapid fire fashion. This song almost makes me want to perfect my pole skills. Did I say perfect. I meant develop. On second thought, considering how accident prone I am, it may be advisable that I leave that to the professionals. It’s definitely a head nodder.
2. “Somebody to Love” by Queen – Sometimes it’s the simplest thing; Freddie Mercury’s typically powerful voice starting with the soft plea, “Can,” and the choir follows up with, “AN-Y-BO-DYYYYYYYYYYYYY.” The damn song can end right there. Right there, the song is the shit. Mercury’s vocals were ridiculous, and he always fits into the category of my top ten favorite singers. Possibly even my top five. The passion carried throughout this song, from beginning to end, gives me that little tight feeling, not so much on the verge of tears, but quite possibly being on the verge of the verge. His death was a huge loss to music.
In the battle of Prince vs. MJ, I NEVER chose sides, and I will not do it here. When you look at the catalogs of both performers, the question of their songs being at the top was not “If,” but rather, “Which?” So, without further ado, the number 1s:
1. “Kiss” by Do I Even Have to Utter His Name? – Funky Guitar riff followed by an unmistakable groan. No one does anything like Prince, and that includes seizing your instant attention. Now, I don’t worship at the alter of Prince as some of my comrades do, but I respect game, and the brother has it in spades. This song has the fun and sass to make you pull your granny on the dance floor when it comes on at a family function, and just enough sexiness to get you to grind on a sexy somebody if it comes on at a party. Everything stops for me when this song comes on. Every time. He takes that saying your mother used to make you feel simple (“Act your age, not your shoe size”) and geniusified it. Yes, “geniusified” is a word, as is “geniusify,” and “geniusification.” Deal with it.
1. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by The King of Pop Michael J. Jackson* -*bass* You know I was…I was wondering if you know, you could keep on…” What?! Mike got SEXY ON YOU FOOLS! Everything about this song, even with that bass line and Mike whispering at the intro, lets you know that you should be prepared to get bucked up, because it’s going down. I’m listening to the song as I type this, and my fingers are working overtime. The song gets me that excited. A song like this lets us know that Mike was giving us his all, and in retrospect, quite possibly not keeping enough for himself. I think that’s why as his fans, many of us take the loss of him so personally.
*Okay, maybe my alliance DOES lean on the side of Michael, but that is no shade against Prince.