photo by Ada Chen
Song intros! You’ve likely heard of them! Did you know one estimate says that roughly 92.7% of songs actually begin with “an intro”? It sounds fucking mental, I know, but it’s true! And as any motivational speaker will tell you…you only get one chance to make a first impression! That is, unless you have a rag soaked in chloroform handy! But most people don’t! Or shouldn’t! So yes! Song intros!
Bearing all those exclamation points above in mind this column is hereby dedicated to the "Top 5 Song Intros" from the past week, or month, or year, as a means of promoting Greater Song Introduction Awareness before it’s too late. So now with no further ado…
05) Kissed By An Animal “Be”
First off, any song that starts off with a certain mid-tempo bass drum and snare rhythm (you know the one!) as in the one that makes you think you’re about to hear Joan Jett’s “Do Ya Wanna Touch Me” automatically makes the Top 5. And that’s not to dunk on Kissed By An Animal either because this is a cool song otherwise too—cool enough that I’m not even mad when it doesn’t turn into “Do You Wanna Touch Me”—with an intro that builds layer by layer with bass and guitar and the whole thing is a fun rock ’n’ roll journey. “So” can be heard on I Don’t Have To Explain Myself To You, an album released exactly a week ago.
And hey I don’t wanna dwell on Joan Jett too much here but if you’ll humor me just compare the two versions of “DYWTM” below and tell me the Top Of The Pops version isn’t much superior to the "official" music video because the video makers had the nerve to lop off the iconic drum intro part which completely ruins the whole thing I mean wtf were they thinking?! (but at least this nicely illustrates my argument re: song intro importance…)
04) Joudy: “El Renacer”
This New York-via-Venezuela three-piece has the right idea on their single “El Renacer” (released a few weeks ago aka “The Rebirth” if you’re a gringo) thrusting the listener directly into the most pit in medias res (Latin for “throw the baby into the deep end”) with the thrashing triplet guitar that’s actually the chorus to the song so you see how Joudy pulled a “She Loves You” on us except of course it’s an instrumental version of the chorus here.
Joudy recently signed with Trash Casual which is a pretty groovy record label so good on them. And take it from me, these gents are totally sick on stage so wear a mask if you "catch" them tonight (7/15) at Arlene Grocery
03) Monarch “The Risk”
Ok, you seriously didn’t believe you’d get through this list without any wind chimes did you? HELL NO! But wind chimes are in short supply these days in Brooklyn thanks to the global supply chain crisis so it’s lucky that the instrument/patio decoration is native to Hudson Valley which means we get this charming track by Monarch who return to play NYC on 8/26 at Pianos.
“The Risk” opens on a sustained guitar chord and a swell of everything else (including wind chimes!) and yeah I know this intro may only last for three seconds but that’s what makes it work—it wipes the sonic slate clean with a quick smear of sound before launching into a “Blue Moon” progression with vocalist Sarah Hartstein sweetly intones some linesw about the night sky and the mysterious interconnectedness of the universe. Also, check out the soaring choruses and a very active bassline played by Jesse Hartstein.
02) Pan Arcadia: “Leaving Paradise”
Released last week or thereabouts, this is what’s known in the industry as a “statement song.” And as for the six rapscallions who make up Pan Arcadia they’re here to tell us they wanna rock and dammit if I believe ‘em because this song slaps. Which isn’t to say these six gents haven’t always rocked, but this is a more raucous affair than they’ve committed to tape before (live I’ve seen ’em rock to this level maybe but that’s another story) and they assert this new rockatude right from the first microsecond of the intro (crucial!) which opens with a peal of feedback and a gliss down the guitar neck and then a Crue-worthy riff and a Who-worthy power chord/feral scream and would somebody please remind me when they’re leaving for the tour with Aerosmith again?
In the meantime, Pan Arcadia will appear at Bowery Ballroom tonight (7/15) opening for Quarters of Change. Apparently it’s a mostly if not entirely sold out show but a small clutch of tickets will reportedly be released at the door early this evening. Plus rumor has it they’re been cosying up with a former Rolling Stone editor lately so here’s hoping they remember the little people when they hit it big.
01) Johnny Dynamite & The Bloodsuckers “The Last Ones”
“The Last Ones” has been billed as being for fans of The Cure, M83, A Flock of Seagulls, and MGMT. And if you’re bold enough to propose such an esteemed musical familiy tree then you better get your song intro game on point son and boy did Mr. Dynamite nail it on his new single released just yesterday called "The Last Ones".
And when it comes to this particular musical demi-monde it’s the achievement of the perfect chiming, twinkling, crystalline reverb-laden guitar arpeggiation tone and texture that’s absolutely crucial if you even plan to aspire to be in a band with a fighting chance of getting a song placed on Stranger Things Season 5 and peeping the music video above for “The Last Ones” with its neon hues, pretty young things and graphic bloodletting makes me think this was maybe Johnny’s plan all along—a plan that now seems entirely plausible after hearing “The Last Ones.”
And yes it’s true that JD&TBS have already nailed the arpeggiated guitar intro once before with “Can’t Stop My Love” with its well-honed admixture of acoustic guitar and electric bass but still I think the new intro potentially nails it even more (even if it’s shorter) because it sounds like a glass menagerie in sound and more Cure-esque to boot, especially vis-a-vis the guitar line in the intro to The Cure’s relative obscurity “To The Sky” or at least to my ears (don’t worry Johnny, I won’t sic Robert’s lawyers on ya!) and truly I could write a whole ‘nother article on Cure song intros because well I mean many of their song “intros” are more lengthy than the actual "song" (i.e., vocal) portions of thee songs themselves and just go listen to Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me if you don’t believe me. Song intros!! (Jason Lee)
TO THE SKY: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/By7QW2_7dh4" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>