There are a few songs which most of us can identify within the first few seconds, and will be able to do so to the grave.
Love it or loathe it, the intro riff to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is one of these. So is the opening to Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”. REM made a huge splash with “Shiny Happy People” and “Losing My Religion”, both of which have immediately catchy riffs.
Axl Rose may have been bitten by a radioactive asshole when he was a young boy, but he and his G’n’R cohorts were no strangers to the great riff either. Will there be a day in our lives where we can’t place the first few measures of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “Don’t Cry” or “Paradise City”?
This phenomenon is by no means limited to rock. Since the day that Beethoven wrote the first measure of the Fifth Symphony, the immediate in-your-face intro has been a fixture of all styles of music.
However, this art appears to be… well, if not dead, then at least starting to smell that way.
Who, today, is creating riffs which can stand with Van Halen’s “Jump”, with AC/DC’s “Back In Black”, with Def Leppard’s “Photograph”?
This question is not rhetorical. I really enjoy songs that I can immediately get into, and would welcome any suggestions along these lines. Perhaps you, my faithful readers, will come up with more recent examples in such multitudes as to render this entire post invalid. Indeed, I truly hope you do.