30 Day Song Challenge, Day 14: A Song No One Would Expect You To Like
I think people generally know I like frivolous pop and that most rock genres really really aren’t my thing. So, I think people might not expect me to like:
Guns ‘n’ Roses, “Welcome To The Jungle”
This song has, unequivocally, the BEST introduction in all of pop music. It builds and builds tension (mainly harmonically, but there’s some rhythmic intensification and timbral aspects (mainly in Axl’s screech) to the build as well) so that the downbeat of the first verse feels like a huge release or climax. This GTA San Andreas trailer does a good job of visualizing that build: sweeping establishing scenes, to more rapid cuts of activity that lead up to an SUV leaping through the air, crashing down in time with Axl’s “cha!”, which is effectively the pickup into the downbeat, which both sonically and, in the video, visually, explodes. The introduction intensifies the downbeat of the first verse, making the first verse seem more like a climax than a, well, first verse. I would go so far as to say this introduction epitomizes a lot of the things that brostep (and fellow LA artist Skrillex) takes from rock/metal.
The rest of the song is nothing to sneeze at. It’s pretty ok. There are some climaxes and moments of de-intensification, but none as forceful as that first hit. It feels like the song never really lets up after that first hit, only till Slash and Axl put the brakes on in the last few measures (the “we’re-gonna-bring-you-down…huha”).
The Clash’s Clampdown has a similarly structured introduction:
The Dead Kennedys “MTV Get Off The Air” is probably runner up for the best introduction in pop music:
The cheesy MTV VJ parody is fantastic, and its sugar-coated poppiness makes the hardcore part of the song seem harder. Also, this intro ends with “the future of rock ‘n’ roll,” which 97X used in station IDs and promos, so it always has a place in my nostalgic heart.
Runners Up: The Shamen, “Ebeneezer Goode“