First

Album: Hold My Home (2014)
Charted: 105

Songfacts®:

  • Asked about the song's meaning by Radio.com, Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willet replied: "I think it's got something in common with probably a large number of Cold War Kids songs, kind of overcoming some doubt. There's a story there where there's like somebody just kind of burning out and needs to get their life back together."

    "There are some very clear things in there; it's just the idea of like waking up in somebody's front lawn with the sprinklers turning on and not knowing where you are."
  • This was released as the second single off Hold My Home but it nearly didn't make it onto the album. Willet explained: "It was literally just the last, last, last song for the record where we were thinking it was just maybe a B-side or something, and we thought, 'Okay, we'll finish this one.' And the minute that we were sending these songs in to the label and management and said, 'Okay, these are all done,' and people freaked out the minute they heard that song. And we were shocked. And they were like, 'This is gonna be a great single,' and we were like, 'Wow, okay. So we'll put it on the record, we won't just let it be a B-side.'"
  • The song lived up to its title, by becoming Cold War Kids' first ever #1 when it topped the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. It spent seven weeks at the summit.
  • According to data from Broadcast Data Systems, "First" was the most-played song of the 2010s on Alternative radio. It determined the song's 214,342 spins was the most of any song on the format over the decade.

Comments: 1

  • Alden Williams from New Jersey Excellent song by some underrated dudes. The kind of vocals that sort of just ooz emotion even when you’re not exactly sure what to feel. I guess I’ve always seen it as an edgy look into the long and confusing rebuilding of your own humanity a lot of people hit after being hurt. And the reflection that comes with it. Whether by a relationship or childhood or something else, the hurt always comes first. The song luckily has hope we can always still choose after the fact who we want to be.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

John Doe of X

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"

Matthew Wilder - "Break My Stride"They're Playing My Song

Wilder's hit "Break My Stride" had an unlikely inspiration: a famous record mogul who rejected it.

Oliver Leiber

Oliver LeiberSongwriter Interviews

Long before she was judging contestants on American Idol, Oliver was producing Paula Abdul. Here's how he helped turn this unknown choreographer into a star.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

The Real Nick Drake

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.

Joe Jackson

Joe JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Joe talks about the challenges of of making a Duke Ellington tribute album, and tells the stories behind some of his hits.