1. I hear a gang fight on a human factory farm
THE CLASH - "This Is England". From their last alBUM which nobody liked, this is a state of the nation rant. The first line sets the tone quite well but what a "human factory farm" is I am not sure. 5/10
2. No rabbit hutch about it, I bought it off the Baptists*
The actual first line is "My new house, you should see my new house", because this is "My New House" by THE FALL. It is about a new house and has therefore been in my head for a MONTH. This isn't a great opening line, he should have gone straight to "According to the postman, it's like the bleedin' Bank Of England". 2/10
3. From the second I heard you step in here I lost my head
T2 - "Gonna Be Mine": The lyrics on this are very good, they complement the urgent music well. Not an immediately enticing opening line but does its job. 6/10
4. Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone
MADONNA - "Like A Prayer": It's all in the delivery and arrangement really - on record this is Madonna coming down from the mountain w/stone tablets, on paper it might be Dido. 4/10 as a line, 10/10 as a performance.
5. MOTOR. POWER. FORCE. MOTION. DRIVE. POWER. FORCE. MOTION. DRIVE.
PROPAGANDA - "P Machinery" - this line is sung by German robots as they swing their big concrete hammers. I like this kind of brutalist single-word lyric approach. 7/10
6. There's nothing I won't do, anything you want me to, can't keep my hands off you
TAANA GARDNER - "Heartbeat" - So good they got nicked by JX for a totally different song! Good basic rhyme scheme anyway though, plenty for a singer to work with. 6/10
7. Into a dream I took a turn and promised to return
MERCURY REV- "Tonite It Shows" - The internal turn is a big bee in my critical bonnet right now but it's the "promised to return" that makes this such an intriguing opening line. The rest of the lyric has real moments but doesn't necessarily deliver on this. 8/10
8. Ils ont marché au beau village - marché, marché, marché, marché.*
The creatures marching to the fine village are an ELEPHANT and a HIPPOPOTAMUS! Win! This is TOM TOM CLUB - "L'Elephant". My French is not up to working out what they get up to. I like the repetition in this. 7/10
9. It's a teenage dream to be seventeen and to find you're all wrapped up in wrong
BAY CITY ROLLERS - "Give A Little Love" - GREBT opening except I think I've misheard the final word here. Doesn't make a huge amount of sense in my version but I like it that way. 9/10
10. I've seen those English dramas too.*
VAMPIRE WEEKEND - "Oxford Comma", and the proper opening line is "Who gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma?". Which will have increased google searches for the term if nothing else. I like that opening line but obviously this takes a turn into crypticism pretty sharpish. 6/10
11. Livin' the life, you're a jet setter, living the life, you got it all together.
ASHFORD AND SIMPSON - "Bourgie Bourgie" - great song btw and it has lots of lines more interesting and funny than this functional scene-setter. 5/10
12. "This is a beautiful day. It is a new day. We are together. We are unified and of one accord."
PRIMAL SCREAM - "Come Together (Album Version)" - love the track but even in 1991 this was a couple years too late to be sampling preachers. 3/10
13. On the window sill my elbow's numb as I heard the door go and saw your car
FRAZIER CHORUS - "Typical" - this is good indie lyric writing, I like the way it fans out following the protagonists attention from sill to door to car. The ultra-mundane opening is very Frazier C. 7/10
14. There I was completely wasting, out of work and down.
JUDAS PRIEST - "Breakin The Law" - more scene-setting, but urgent and immediate. 6/10
15. Last summer we took threes across the board, but by Fall we were a cover story
FALL OUT BOY - "Thriller" - initial bafflement quickly resolved (3s meaning "stars" or "out of ten" I guess!). I always rather like bands singing about what's been happening to the band. 7/10
16 "If you don't eat your meat, how can you have any pudding?"
PINK FLOYD - "Another Brick In The Wall" - this sample of an angry Scotsman is arguably more interesting than the song which follows it. 5/10
17. Can't you see I'm trying, I don't even like it.
THE STROKES - "Is This It?" - offputting inertia which sets the tone for the whole album really (though I still like the whole album somehow). NB Lex I got my numbers muddled up - this isn't the one I thought you would only dislike! 4/10
18. I hear the doorbell ring and suddenly the panic takes me.
ABBA - "The Visitors" - Really excellent scene-setting this: what angst (or worse) is about to descend upon our heroine? 9/10
19. Too high to get over (yeah yeah) too low to get under (yeah yeah)*
MICHAEL JACKSON - "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" which is the actual first line. Good first line to open an album with! Especially good if its the biggest selling album ever, I guess! 6/10
20. Forgive? Sounds good. Forget? I'm not sure I could.
DIXIE CHICKS - "Not Ready To Make Nice" - This is excellent, as you'd expect from a genre which prides itself on smart, economical lyric writing. Immediate intrigue, immediate tension. 10/10
21. "Watch it I'm coming - mmmmm! Green - STEP UP!"
This is Shabba Ranks on SCRITTI POLITTI - "Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me". The "mmmmm" on this sounds FILTHSOME but in a really Benny Hill way. May well Podcast Panel this at some point. I always approve of people introducing other people on records. 7/10.
22. We move our shoulders forward heads back get under control like Janet Jack*
LIL MAMA - "Shawty Get Loose" - the actual opening line is something about getting loose. This is a good opening line though, hooray for dance instructions. 7/10
23. The winds begin to rise and drop from yonder dropping day
THE WRAITHS - "The Rooks" - I think I misquoted this, anyway it is a 19th Century POME that the Wraiths have set to music. The Wraiths have a very lovely lady singer, which is why I thought Lex might only dislike them despite their being K-Nindie. But erm this is a bad line. 2/10
24. We're gonna go far. It's a beautiful permanence.*
HOUSE OF LOVE - "Love In A Car" - The actual first line is "My love in a car / We're gonna go far...." which is pretty shit really, how long did Guy Chadwick take over that one? "Beautiful permanence" is more evocative but still clumsy. 2/10
25. Oh my magpie eyes are hungry for the prize, give me the money I'll shoot it right between the eyes
THE LOFT - "Up The Hill And Down The Slope" - on paper the repetition of 'eyes' makes this clumsier than it sings. When you discover it's actually about a fairground the imagery works better, I think. 6/10