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Lyrical Cold Open
Most songs start with an instrumental intro before heading into the first verse or chorus. Some even have a fade-in. A Lyrical Cold Open is the musical equivalent of a Cold Open, where the vocalist jumps in with lyrics at the very beginning, often adding an element of surprise or impact. Makes the song instantly recognizable to anyone who's heard it before, with the first line often becoming one of the most memorable parts.

A Capella songs don't count, nor does Studio Chatter.

Contrast with Epic Instrumental Opener.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime  

     Theatre  

     Film - Animation  

     Film - Live Action  

     Live Action TV  

  • The Pushing Daisies version of "Morning Has Broken". "Birdhouse in Your Soul" does this as well, although it's also true of the original version.
  • "Philosopher's Song" in one of the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches.
  • "Heart of Gold Montage" from the Firefly soundtrack, which starts with Arabic vocals.
  • The second theme song from Ultraman Leo, used from Episode 14 forward.
  • The first theme song from Ultraman Eighty

     Music - Alternative  

  • The All-American Rejects - "My Paper Heart" and "Believe"
  • All Time Low - "Dear Maria Count Me In"
  • Chevelle - "Tug-O-War"
  • Cobra Starship: "The City is at War" and "Guilty Pleasure"
  • The Dresden Dolls: "Delilah" and "Bad Habit"
  • Heavily used by alternative/indie band Blue October, in tracks like "Blue Skies", "Calling You", "Sound of Pulling Heaven Down", "X-Amount of Words", and hidden bonus track "It's Just Me".
  • Evanescence: "Going Under," "Call Me When You're Sober" and "Exodus"
  • Franz Ferdinand: "Do You Want To", "Lucid Dreams" (album version).
  • Hole - "Doll Parts" and "Miss World"
  • "Mexican Wine" by Fountains Of Wayne
  • Gotye - "Eyes Wide Open" (listen very closely and you'll hear it)
  • My Chemical Romance: "Famous Last Words" and "Teenagers"
  • Pearl Jam: "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town"
  • REM: "New Test Leper", "Wake Up Bomb", "King Of Comedy"
  • Heavily used by Saves The Day: in some songs like "Certain Tragedy" and "Firefly" they launch into the vocals instantly, while in others like "At Your Funeral" and "See You" they come in after just a single note.
  • The Smashing Pumpkins - "Bullet With Butterfly Wings".
  • The Summer Set: "Jukebox (Life Goes On)" and "Boomerang".
  • The Used - "The Taste of Ink"
  • They Might Be Giants - "Bangs", "Birdhouse in Your Soul", "Narrow Your Eyes", "Thunderbird", "You're On Fire"
  • Three Days Grace - "Pain"
  • "Pennyroyal Tea" by Nirvana
  • Marianas Trench: "Say Anything"
  • Jimmy Eat World - "The Sweetness"
  • Enter Shikari -"Gandhi Mate, Gandhi"

     Music - Country  

  • Alabama - "Roll On" (the single/radio edit), "Southern Star," "I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)" and "Reckless."
  • Bill Anderson: "Still" and "For Loving You" (with Jan Howard). Both had backing vocalists do the honors.
  • Eddy Arnold: "Make the World Go Away."
  • David Ball: "Thinkin' Problem," which starts off cold with a "Yes, I admiiiiiiiit…"
  • The Band Perry — "If I Die Young"
  • Garth Brooks – "Longneck Bottle."
  • Jim Ed Brown and the Browns – "The Three Bells (Les Trois Cloches)," the No. 1 country and pop smash.
  • The Buffalo Club: Short-lived 1990s country group whose "Heart Hold On" invoked this trope; the radio edit had the first half of the chorus edited into the open.
  • Carl and Pearl Butler – "Don't Let Me Cross Over."
  • Johnny Cash - "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" (backing vocalists) and "Folsom Prison Blues" (the live 1968 recording where he says, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash"). Also, "Get Rhythm."
  • Mark Chesnutt – "Brother Jukebox."
  • Dave & Sugar – "The Door is Always Open" and "Golden Tears."
  • The Davis Sisters – "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know." Notable as the only chart topper in the career of Skeeter Davis, one half of the Davis sisters, and only single release in their short career (as the other half of the duo died in a car accident shortly after the song was released and became a hit).
  • Jimmy Dean – "Big Bad John" (the backing chorus singing the title lyrics) and "The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (and the Last Thing Ev'ry Night)."
  • John Denver - "Follow Me", "Goodbye Again"
  • Joe Diffie – "Third Rock from the Sun" (album and dance mixes only, which open with an electronic-voiced "Welcome to Earth, third rock from the sun!")
  • Emerson Drive — "Fall into Me", although it was edited out of the radio version.
  • Sara Evans - "Big Cry"
  • Donna Fargo - "Superman."
  • Florida Georgia Line — "Cruise" and "Stay."
  • Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers – "All the Gold in California."
  • Crystal Gayle – "Why Have You Left the One You Left Me For."
  • Mickey Gilley – "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time" (his spoken word, "Ah 1, ah 2, ah 1-2-3-go!" before the rollicking piano opening).
  • Gloriana - "If You're Leavin'"
  • Jack Greene – "There Goes My Everything," "All the Time" and "You Are My Treasure."
  • Lee Greenwood – "Hearts Aren't Made to Break (They're Made to Love)"
  • Merle Haggard – "Natural High."
  • Emmylou Harris – "Together Again" (where she takes a very audible deep breath before opening) and "Beneath Still Waters." Also, her 1984 top 10 hit "Pledging My Love."
  • Freddie Hart - "My Hang-Up is You" and "Bless Your Heart."
  • Bobby Helms – "My Special Angel" (backing vocalists).
  • Johnny Horton – "When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)" and "North to Alaska," both with backing vocalists doing the honors.
  • Ferlin Husky – "Gone" and "Wings of a Dove" (his country gospel No. 1 smash from 1960).
  • Alan Jackson – "Don't Rock the Jukebox" and "Someday."
  • Sonny James - "You're the Only World I Know," "Behind the Tear," "Need You," "Only the Lonely" and "Empty Arms." Also, the backing vocalists on "I'll Keep Holding On (Just to Your Love)."
  • George Jones: "The Grand Tour" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Also his 1961 top 10 hit "The Window Up Above."
  • Cristy Lane: "One Day at a Time," the perennial country gospel No. 1 hit.
  • Little Texas — "Life Goes On"
  • Love and Theft - "Don't Wake Me"
  • Tim McGraw — "Last Dollar (Fly Away)"
  • Willie Nelson – "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time" (his spoken word, "1, 2, 1-2-3-4" before the opening guitar chord) and "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground."
  • The Oak Ridge Boys - "Trying To Love Two Women"
  • Dolly Parton - "Why'd You Come In Here Looking Like That"
  • Johnny Paycheck – "Take This Job and Shove It."
  • Kellie Pickler - "Best Days Of Your Life"
  • Webb Pierce – "In the Jailhouse Now."
  • Elvis Presley – "Heartbreak Hotel."
  • Charley Pride – "I'll Be Leaving Alone."
  • Collin Raye – "My Kind of Girl."
  • Rascal Flatts' "Bob That Head" begins with a Title Scream.
  • Jim Reeves – "I Guess I'm Crazy" (which went No. 1 shortly after his 1964 death).
  • Restless Heart — "Let the Heartache Ride"
  • Marty Robbins – "Among My Souvenirs."
  • Johnny Rodriguez – "Love Put a Song In My Heart."
  • Carl Smith – "Hey Joe." When redone in 1981 by Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley as a duet ("Hey Joe (Hey Moe)"), it had a standard instrumental opening.
  • Joe Stampley - "Soul Song" and "All These Things."
  • The Statler Brothers – "Elizabeth."
  • Wynn Stewart – "It's Such a Pretty World Today."
  • Tanya Tucker - "What's Your Mama's Name" and "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)."
  • Pam Tillis - "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)"
  • The Tractors — "Baby Likes to Rock It" (album version only; the single and radio edits go into a standard instrumental opening).
  • Randy Travis - "I Won't Need You Anymore (Always and Forever)" and "I Told You So"
  • Trick Pony's cover of Bonnie Tyler's "It's a Heartache" uses one, although the original doesn't.
  • Shania Twain - "No One Needs To Know." Also, her top 10 hit "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under."
  • Conway Twitty - "Hello Darlin'" and "I Can't Stop Lovin' You."
  • Jerry Wallace - "If You Leave Me Tonight I'll Cry (The Tune in Dan's Cafe)."
  • Kitty Wells – "Heartbreak U.S.A."
  • Hank Williams, Jr. – "Mind Your Own Business"
  • Tammy Wynette - "Run, Woman, Run" and "Bedtime Story."
  • Dwight Yoakam – "Always Late (With Your Kisses)" (the remake of the 1951 Lefty Frizzell hit).

     Music - Electronic  

  • Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close" and "I'm Not Alone".
  • Daft Punk - "Technologic", "Doin' It Right" and "Daftendirekt" (The "Da funk, back to the punk, c'mon" Madness Mantra is repeated several times at the beginning of the song, going from heavily distorted to really easy to hear).
  • "New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down," "Watch the Tapes," "Drunk Girls," and "Sound of Silver" by LCD Soundsystem
  • "Expialidocious" and "Jiminy" by Pogo.
  • Joy Electric: “The Otherly Opus”, “The Memory of Alpha”, “Red Will Dye These Snows of Silver”. All three of these come from the album The Otherly Opus, which has more of a focus on vocal harmonies than any other JE album.
    • Also "Whose Voice Will Not Be Heard" from Dwarf Mountain Alphabet.
  • On Covenant's Modern Ruin, "Kairos" is a cold open to "The Beauty and the Grace".

     Music - Metal  

     Music - Pop  

  • 3OH!3 - "Don't Trust Me"
  • Anna Nalick - "Breathe (2 AM)"
    • Anna does this again in "Shine" and in "Car Crash" with one of her characteristic unusual metaphors ("I think I love you like a car crash, dear")
  • Belinda Carlisle - "Heaven is a Place on Earth"
  • Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes - "I've Had the Time of My Life" (as mentioned under Film above)
  • Billy Joel - "The Longest Time"
  • C้line Dion - "Because You Loved Me"
    • Also "The Power of Love" ("The whispers in the morning...")
  • Cher Lloyd - "Want U Back" and With Ur Love"
  • The Corrs - "Breathless"
  • Demi Lovato - "Heart Attack"
  • Don McLean - "American Pie"
  • D Ream - "Things Can Only Get Better"
  • Eric Clapton's version of "I Shot the Sheriff"
  • Fleetwood Mac - "Monday Morning"
  • Florence + the Machine: "Kiss with a Fist", "I'm Not Calling You a Liar", "Cosmic Love", "Falling", "Addicted to Love", "Bird Song", and "Shake it Out".
  • fun. - "Some Nights", "At Least I'm Not as Sad as I Used to Be" and "Benson Hedges"
  • Gary Puckett and the Union Gap - "Young Girl"
  • Harry Belafonte - "Banana Boat Song", better known by its first line "Day-o, day-O, daylight come and me wan' go home..."
  • B'coz I Love You by Hitomi Yaida
  • Gonna be here, by Junko Noda
  • Kitto Wasurenai, by ZARD
  • Kerli - "Chemical".
  • Kesha - "TiK ToK".
  • Lucky Soul - "Could It Be I Don't Belong Anywhere"
  • Nena - "99 Luftballons"
  • One-Hit Wonder Nine Days and their hit "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)", which launches right into the hook/chorus. Todd in the Shadows called this "a damn good move" because of how strong the hook is.
  • Marina And The Diamonds: "Numb" and "Primadonna".
  • Maroon 5: "Daylight", "Payphone", "Won't Go Home Without You" and "One More Night".
  • Nickelback - "How You Remind Me" and "Rockstar"
  • **NSYNC: "Tearin' Up My Heart" and "I Want You Back"
  • Pat Benatar: - "Shadows of the Night"
  • Plain White T's - "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)"
  • The Playmates - "Beep Beep"
  • P!nk – "Perfect" (and its f-worded variant).
  • The Righteous Brothers: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" and "Unchained Melody"
  • Rihanna - "Where Have You Been", "S&M" and "Don't Stop The Music"
  • Seal - "Future Love Paradise", which launches straight into its distinctive opening verse:
    But if only you could see them, you would know from their faces, there were kings and queens, followed by princes and princesses...
  • Serena Ryder - "Stompa" (the radio version, however, cuts out the opening lines)
  • Smashmouth - "All Star"
  • t.A.T.u. - "Stars"
  • Tegan and Sara - "Closer"

     Music - Punk  

  • The Clash: "London's Burning", "Know Your Rights", "The Sound of Sinners"
  • Green Day, "Basket Case"
  • The Offspring, "Self-Esteem", "All I Want" (though it's Scatting in both cases), "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (a bubbly-voiced man saying "Gunter glieben glauten globen", sampled from Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages") and "Why Don't You Get A Job?"
  • " I Went Out With A Hippy" & "Now I Love Everyone Except For Her" by Frenzal Rhomb
  • "Killing Away" and "Panic Attack" by OFF!
  • Motion City Soundtrack:
    • Delirium
    • Stand Too Close by
  • Rancid - "Roots Radical"

     Music - Rap  

  • Beastie Boys: "Paul Revere", "Slow And Low", "Time to Get Ill", "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn"
  • Boogie Down Productions - "Criminal Minded"
  • Kanye West - "Gold Digger" (albeit it's Jamie Foxx doing the singing), "Dark Fantasy", "All of the Lights" (if not counting the album's interlude)
  • LL Cool J - "Rock the Bells"
  • Nicki Minaj - "Roman Holiday", "Pound the Alarm".
  • Pitbull loves this trope. "Give Me Everything", "Feel This Moment", "Don't Stop the Party", "Back in Time", etc.
  • Public Enemy - "Rightstarter"
  • Run-D.M.C. was fond of this trope early on. To wit: "My Adidas", "Peter Piper", "Run's House", "King Of Rock", "It's Tricky"
  • U.T.F.O. - "Roxanne, Roxanne" and the Answer Song "The Real Roxanne"
  • Will Smith - "Will 2K"
  • Eminem - "Who Knew?", "I'm Back", and "Not Afraid".
  • Big Daddy Kane - "Set It Off".

     Music - R&B  

  • Betty Everett - "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)"
  • Beyonc้ - "If I Were a Boy"
  • Clarence "Frogman" Henry - "Ain't Got No Home"
  • Four Tops - "Standing in the Shadow of Love"
  • Otis Redding - "These Arms of Mine"
  • R. Kelly - "Bump N' Grind"

     Music - Rock  

  • "Banana Co." by Radiohead
  • The Beach Boys - "Barbara Ann"
  • The Beatles were fond of this trope, doing it in "All My Loving", "Eleanor Rigby", "Girl", "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", "Help!", "Hey Jude", "I'm a Loser", "Julia", "The Long and Winding Road", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "No Reply," "Nowhere Man", "Wait", and "Yellow Submarine".
    • And solo as well: Paul McCartney on "Another Day", "Bluebird", "Junk", and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey". John Lennon on "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)", "How?", and "(Just Like) Starting Over".
  • Bon Jovi - "You Give Love a Bad Name"
  • Elvis Presley - "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • Fats Domino - "Ain't That a Shame"
  • Foo Fighters - "Best of You", "Breakout", "This Is a Call", and "Lonely As You"
  • Genesis - "Looking for Someone", "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and "Supper's Ready"
  • "Gold Soundz" and "Stop Breathin'" by Pavement
  • Jefferson Airplane - "Somebody To Love"
  • Journey - "Any Way You Want It"
  • Kansas - "Carry on Wayward Son"
  • Lita Ford - "Kiss Me Deadly"
  • Marillion - "Script for a Jester's Tear"
  • The Mars Volta - "Inertiatic ESP" (aside from the four split second guitar chords),"Cassandra Gemini", and "The Widow".
  • Ozzy Osbourne - "Crazy Train"
  • Papa Roach - "Last Resort"
  • Pink Floyd - "Mother", "Young Lust", "A New Machine" parts 1 and 2.
  • Quiet Riot - Their version of "Cum on Feel the Noize"
  • The Rolling Stones - "Ruby Tuesday"
  • Many Queen songs have this. Some loudly announce themselves with an opening chorus ("Bohemian Rhapsody", "Fat Bottomed Girls", "Bicycle Race", "It's A Hard Life", "I Want It All") while others open with a quiet fade in of Freddie's vocals ("We are the Champions", "Save Me", "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy"). "Somebody to Love" does a bit of both ("Can...any-bo-dyyyy...").
  • Roxy Music - "Do the Strand"
  • Sparks - both halves of the medley "Propaganda" and "At Home, At Work, At Play"
  • Bruce Springsteen - "Atlantic City"
  • Starship - "We Built This City"
  • Styx - "Renegade"
  • Van Halen - "Tattoo"
  • Yes - "I've Seen All Good People", "Leave It", and "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)" (although the last of these averts this trope on the 2003 remaster, which adds an instrumental intro that wasn't present on any previously released version of the song).
  • Nick Cave has "And No More Shall We Part", "Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow", "Oh My Lord", "Sweetheart Come", "The Sorrowful Wife", "Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?", "Train Long-Suffering", "Black Crow King", "The Good Son", "Sorrow's Child", "Brother, My Cup Is Empty", "Loom of the Land", "Loverman", "Lay Me Low", "The Lyre of Orpheus", "There Is a Town"... He sure loves this trope.
  • The Guess Who - "Star Baby"
  • Cheap Trick's version of "California Man" by The Move, where Robin Zander sings the first four words of the song acapella before the rest of the band comes in. The original song, however, is not an example.

     Music - Other  

  • Kristen Chenowith - "Taylor the Latte Boy"
  • The version of "Sally's Song" by Amy Lee (lead vocalist of Evanescence)
  • Within Temptation - "Forsaken"
  • Mr. Bungle - "Squeeze Me Macaroni"
  • Used by Japanese all-girl J-Rock Chatmonchy in their hit songs "Hana No Yume", "Renai Supirittsu", and "Daidai" (which was a Bleach ending theme) as well as in several others ("Mayonaka Yuuenchi", "Joshi Tachi ni Asu wa Nai", "Weekend no Maboroshi").
  • Rednex - "Cotton Eye Joe"
  • The Black Ghosts - "Full Moon"
  • Celtic Woman - "Mo Ghile Mear", "Over the Rainbow"
  • Jim Brickman - "Never Alone"
  • Bay City Rollers - "Saturday Night"
  • ABBA - "Super Trouper", "Take A Chance On Me"
  • Vitamin C - "Volare"
  • Hemoglobin by Beborn Beton
  • Five Iron Frenzy's "Anthem."
  • J.S. Bach's sacred cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (BWV 80) starts right away with the vocals instead of the traditional instrumental beginning.
    • He also does it several times in his B minor mass: The opening Kyrie (both of them), the opening of the Credo, the Sanctus, the Osanna, and the finale (Dona Nobis Pacem). The most jarring example comes as a fantastic Mood Whiplash in the middle of the Credo sequence, when a five part chorus and a full orchestra goes from the depressing "funeral" part to the optimistic resurrection, without giving the choir any break at all - they have to instantly skip one and a halv octave up!
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - "The Saga Begins"
  • Undead Corporation's 天涯 - It also has a karaoke version, which sounds rather strange opening with 20 seconds of silence.

     Video Game  

     Western Animation  


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