Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Opening Second

I recently made an incredibly dope mix for my soon-to-be one-year-old niece for her birthday in December.  Some might think this is a cheap gift, but let’s be honest.  She’s going to be freaking one.  She is as entertained by extravagant toys as she is by a cardboard box, she mainly passes her time by chewing on things, and she doesn’t even really know who I am yet.  But if I can get a head start and implant some crazy good songs into her subconscious, I might have some influence over her yet.

As I do with all mixes I make, after the burn has completed I listen to it a few times in my car.  You know, just to get a feel for it and make sure it turns out alright.   And while listening to this particular mix, I had sort of an epiphany that led me down the path of a topic I never heard presented before.  For it just so happens that on this mix I included, what is in my opinion, two songs with the greatest opening second ever.

Oftentimes, friends and fellow music fanatics will discuss their favorite songs or albums, and they may even go into more specific categories of favorite summer songs, or favorite opening tracks (as was hilariously discussed in the brilliant film “High Fidelity”)

But I've been thinking about a topic I just never heard anyone talk about: the best opening second of a song. 

At the core of my music fandom, I am drawn to a catchy hook and a great melody.  So naturally, I’m a pop guy regardless of what genre it comes in.  And while compiling this mix for my niece, I selected all catchy songs with infectious hooks and in many cases, songs she can dance to (eventually).  But two of the tracks stood out for me and I never really thought about why until hearing them so close together.  The opening second is phenomenal.  And let me be clear, I’m not talking about the first ten or five or even two seconds.  I’m talking about one second.  That brief moment that appears and quickly flees as the digital clock on your stereo turns from :00 to :01.  It’s so quick that after I tell you what songs I’m referring to, I will not be able to expand upon it any further, for that second, although immaculate and perfect in so many ways, is nearly impossible to describe why it is such for me.  All I can say is it draws me in almost before the song even starts.  Maybe you know what I’m talking about and maybe you even have a few songs of your own that fit the criteria to which I’m describing.  Or maybe I have too much time on my hands and am just plain lame (especially when you see which songs I’m talking about).  So take it for what it’s worth.  But I have thought about this a lot and I can’t really think of any other songs that grab me in that first second like these do.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the rest of these songs are great as well and are some of the best pop songs I’ve ever heard.  And yes, you have my permission to mock me.  I'm OK with it.  For I am totally comfortable with my affinity for these songs and will defend them to the day I die.


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