As we approach the end of another year, I’m reminded of listening to the last song of an album. Not sure in this era of digital downloads one can still enjoy a really good final song. Often they are as good as anything on the album. Most of the time these songs are not released as singles. Usually they are relatively unknown.
What a great experience to be greeted by an unknown gem. It ties the whole package together, like a dessert after a good meal. When you listen to the album again, you know you will be rewarded with that last song.
I can think of a handful of albums that have a great finale. A couple of examples favorites of mine are:
I’m sure there are others I am forgetting, but what are your favorite final songs?
On Shelby Lynne's "Suit Yourself" there's a pause at the end and then what she labels as "Track 12" comes on.....It's actually Rainy Night in Georgia. Absolutely beautiful cover of that song and I look forward to hearing it every time I put the CD on.
The song that popped into mind immediately was "The Road It Gives, The Road It Takes Away" which closes Tom Russell's Borderland. I believe it's an autobiographical tune, quite wistful, bittersweet, but with an almost joyous sound to it.
When my running is through by rod Picott... Another trully outstanding album and another outstanding final song.
If it's been mentioned here I missed it - I hope that's what happened. But my standout final track this year - indeed my pick for song of the year - is the last cut on Note Of Hope - Rob Wasserman's remarkable tribute to Woody Guthrie (with many guest singers). Crafted from Woody's journal, You Know The Night is almost 15 minutes of pinpoint-joyful-ache-loveletter sung by Jackson Browne in easily my favorite performance of his in-and-for ages. Robert Christgau called it "hypnotic" . While it plays that's so true. I remain under the influence.
"Moonlight Mile" - The Rolling Stones /Sticky Fingers
"Come On Up to the House" - Tom Waits /Mule Variations
"Good Feeling" - Violent Femmes/Violent Femmes
"Jungleland" - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band/Born to Run
"Thank You For Talkin' to Me Africa" - Sly & the Family Stone/There's a Riot Goin' On
Neil Young 'Tonights The Night' open and closer
Gaslight Anthem - Backseat - The 59 Sound
Jolie Holland - Mexican Blue - Springtime Can Kill You
Classic records by the likes of Dylan, The Who, the Stones, the Airplane and the Dead have stacks of them, Quick special mention for Journey From Eden by the Steve Miller Band on Recall The Beginning..
Agree with Andy on "Tonight's the Night" as well as most listed so far. Also, a more recent good example is Neko Cases's "The Needle has Landed" on the Fox Confessor album.
Perhaps dating myself here and at the risk of coming across as some out of touch old fart, but in this new age of listening to music, I just had to go back to the time when listening to albums meant flipping the record, listening all the way through, the sequencing of songs was ingrained in our consciousness and it really seemed to mean something to both the artist and listener.
Tower of Power (eponymous) - Just Another Day...beautifully ends an album that seamlessly mixes hard-charging funk with aching Lenny Williams voiced ballads.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road/Elton John - Harmony...maybe cheating a bit here, but the perfect closer to an excellent double-album, one song that perhaps encompasses everything that came before it and one that sometimes gets lost among the bounty of those preceding tracks.
Wired/Jeff Beck - Love Is Green...always loved the way this record ended with his acoustic playing and an almost straight jazz finish to what was one of the great records of the fusion era.
A great last song is critical for a good album as shown by any Beatles or Stones album. It leaves one wanting for more and wanting to hear it again. Back in the LP days, each side needed a good last song, but we started losing that as digital took over and there seemed to be more focus on selling the individual songs for people to mix on their digital devices. I think some artists, new ones included, remained and remain aware of the album concept. So any good album has a great last song and I'll share five recent favorites that occurred to me as I thought of this, but there are a lot more...
10,000 Miles Away - Theatre of the Unheard - Darrell Scott
Solid Gold - Age Of Miracles - Chuck Prophet
The Tourist - OK Computer - Radiohead
Mystery of Life - Tomorrow Morning - Eels
Butterfly - Born With A Tail - Woodbox Gang
Good point, Joe. The CD also brought us the bonus tracks, the hidden track and the big gap you have to sit through with a CD player to get to the amusing joke track. Dynamics be damned. Neko got this right with Marais La Nuit; which made you wonder if you'd left the window open.
Without doubt - Photographs by Robert Ellis springs immediately to mind. Great finale to a brilliant album.