Here are some of my favorite tracks that serve as introductions to albums, interludes between songs, and just plain interruptions. Enjoy:
De La Soul – Intro (Buy It) The classic introduction to De La’s debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, on which producer Prince Paul establishes the running theme of a game-show, complete with bad accents, bizarre questions and plenty of jokes. I kinda doubt Prince Paul and the De La crew were the first to do a hip-hop concept album (somebody out there can do the research and let me know), but they definitely did it the best, paving the way for nearly every other hip-hop album that “told a story” that would come after. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders Tour Guide (Buy It) Speaking of which … ATCQ updates the De La model with an album tour guide who assures the listener that the album program’s Average Bounce Meter “will be in the area of 95 BPM” and hopes that the listener finds the album to be, “Precise, Bass Heavy and Just Right.” Ryan Adams – (Argument with David Rawlings Concerning Morrissey) (Buy It) Contributor Charlotte discussed this glib intro to the album Heartbreaker way back when, writing “Adams is letting you know the following: 1) He is a betting man; 2) He has a sense of humor enough to make funny voices; and 3) Even though the album you’re about to hear is primarily alt-country (complete with Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris cameos), he’s down with the Moz.” ‘Nuff said. DJ Shadow – Best Foot Forward (Buy It) On the intro track to his groundbreaking Endtroducing…, DJ Shadow interrupts his own corporate-sounding introduction … to introduce himself again with plenty of scratches. Jurassic 5 – How We Get Along (Intro) (Buy It) This one goes down in the “Damn, that’s funky” column. Talib Kweli – Keynote Speaker (Buy It) The always-funny Dave Chappelle introduces Kweli as the album’s keynote speaker over a breezy guitar line, calling him “A good friend, scholar, ghetto philosopher, three-time Nobel Peace Prize winner, first black man to pilot an aircraft, the n—- that made up the Nike swoosh, the man that made Kool-Aid say Oh Yeah! … Brooklyn’s own … Talib Kweli!” The Minutemen – Take 5, D (Buy It) Reading an angry note from a flooded downstairs neighbor like it’s an open-mic poetry night … and then two guitar freakouts, the track serves as a bizarre little stopgap on the album. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Pea (Buy It) And speaking of bizarre stopgaps … “Pea” is Flea and his acoustic bass hilariously venting his frustration with “big and tough and macho” homophobic assholes who can kick his ass because he, like the titular pea, is “teeny tiny.” Beastie Boys – The Blue Nun (Buy It) A brief dose of high culture before the beat drops and the upper-class sounding party gets a little more loose. The Roots – Act Won (Things Fall Apart) (Buy It) The closest thing to an album manifesto I’ve ever heard, sampling a clip from Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues (discussing why sometimes black artists don’t seem to be reaching black audiences — “You grandiose motherfuckers don’t play shit that they like! If you played the shit that they like, the people would come.”) It segues into someone discussing the lack of serious attention and analysis that hip-hop records receive, saying “They’re not maximized as product … Not to mention as art.” Right out of the gate, we know the direction the rest of the album is going to take and what we are meant to get out of it.
Bob Dylan – Introducing The Band (Poets) (Buy Dylan music) This might not count, since I’m pretty sure it’s not on an album, but I think it’s funny so here it is. It’s Dylan high as hell introducing his backing band on his first “electric” tour (The Band, with the exception of Levon Helm, who dropped out of the tour after getting frustrated with the angry response from folk fans). Apparently, they’re all poets.
posted by Adam