Felt like doing a quick list of some songs I really like that appear towards the end of an album. A lot of artists front-load albums with the best songs and put the lesser stuff, experiments, or half-baked ideas towards the end. Hey I know it’s tough to come up with an albumful of great songs. I guess artists figure we’ll get bored after 5-6 songs (probably not a bad assumption in today’s music environment) and won’t here the middling stuff or will forgive it due to the greatness of the first half of the album. But, every once in awhile, if you are patient and find a really great song buried in the latter quarter of an album. A while ago, I wrote about a Strokes tune that closed out their debut, Take It Or Leave It. Here’s a few others I’ve been listening to recently:
1) U2, Surrender from War (track 9 of 10) – An album that knocks it out of the park in the first third, then kind of hits the doldrums and picks up steam again in the last quarter. Some great Edge guitar work and a very pretty chorus anchor a song that could compete with the hits from the same album.
2) TV On the Radio, DLZ from Dear Science (track 9 of 10) – A slow burner that keeps building in intensity, but never completely losing control. A standout for me on the album where a lot of the hype from their first album (which I still haven’t ever taken much liking to as a complete work) gets realized.
3) De La Soul, The Art of Getting Jumped from Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (track 16 of 17) – A start-stop beat anchors this fast-paced rap about going to the club and getting “jumped”. The chorus “jump jump jump to it” has a disco feel to it. And the explanation at the end of song for its inclusion on the album is vintage De La humor.
4) Black Keys, Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be from Attack & Release (track 11 of 11). Proving that they could tame some of that raw energy, slow things down and still make beautiful music, this is my favorite track from their Danger Mouse-produced album. I think it’s also a precursor to the direction they’d take with the fantastic Brothers.
5) Chemical Brothers, Life is Sweet from Exit Planet Dust (track 9 of 11). Electronic music seems particularly susceptible to the end of albums doldrums. The Chemical Brothers not only succeeded in creating a cohesive album of electronica, but was able to do so without sacrificing quality. This sprawling six-minute song kinda encapsulates what makes this such a great album; big booming beats colliding with spacey effects that make you want to dance and listen carefully at the same time (and a guest turn from Tim Burgess on vocals doesn’t hurt either). The strange video for the radio-edit version below: