The Ten Best Last Songs on an Album

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homer_simpson_end_is_near.jpeg
Time to party, then
​According to Christian radio host/old-timey nutjob Harold Camping, the Rapture will occur this Saturday, May 21. On Saturday, all of Camping's followers -- an estimated 200 million -- will be taken into heaven as God's chosen people after earth is ravaged by a massive earthquake, set to strike at 6 pm. No word on which time zone that will be. The end of the world as we know it, then, will take place five months later on October 21. Oddly enough, I feel fine about all this nonsense.

However, for those worried about the fate of humanity, I have prepared a list of the ten best last songs on an album. These final tracks are the last glimpse we have of a certain album -- that last gasp of air before the silence comes and we have to either play the album over again or move on with our lives. Since the end is nigh, we might as well celebrate those songs that act as small reminders that our lives are, in fact, finite. 

"The Repudiated Immortals" -- Of Montreal, from 2005's The Sunlandic Twins
This is probably my favorite last song on the list. Many Of Montreal fans get bogged down by Hissing Fauna and False Priest, yet I believe The Sunlandic Twins is Kevin Barnes' best work. To put such a peppy, upbeat song like "The Repudiated Immortals" as the last song on the album is a brilliant move -- it's perhaps the best song on the album.

"A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to be Free" -- Elliott Smith, from 2004's From a Basement on the Hill
This is, for all intents and purposes, the final song on the final album from Elliott Smith -- an album, might I remind you, that was posthumously released after Smith's death from an apparent self-inflicted knife wound in October of 2003. It's a stripped-down, sombre offering from Smith, a fitting end to one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time.

"Chonkyfire" -- Outkast, from 1998's Aquemini
Many a hip-hop album is ended with the standard "outro" or some asinine skit. Outkast, back before they got into polaroid pictures and roses, released perhaps their best album, Aquemini, in September of 1998. The album concluded with the perplexingly enjoyable "Chonkyfire," proving that hip-hop albums can, indeed, end with an actual song -- perhaps even a good one.

"Knights of Cydonia" -- Muse, from 2006's Black Holes and Revelations
The last track from the British rock trio's landmark album can be seen as the real last gasp from the band, especially considering what their follow-up to Black Holes, The Resistance, turned out to be. Black Holes was overblown, grandiose and just fucking good. Sigh, things were so innocent back in 2006.

"Would?" -- Alice in Chains, from 1992's Dirt
Some might already disagree with the songs on this list -- which may or may not matter since The Rapture is set for this Saturday at 6 p.m. "How could he start the list with such a weird of Montreal song?," some might think. You know what? So I made a big mistake -- try to see it once my way.

"Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" -- The Mars Volta, from 2003's Deloused in the Comatorium
I have no problem admitting that I was a huge fan of At The Drive-In. Lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and lead guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López were always my favorite members of the seminal El Paso indie/punk band. Once the band split in 2001, The Mars Volta, of which Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López were both members, quickly helped ease my pains. Deloused is still a favorite album of mine, and its final song, "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt," concludes the concept album -- one that follows the life of its main character, Cerpin Taxt, as he ingests suicidal amounts of morphine and rat poison and slips into a coma, eventually dying.

"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" -- Radiohead, from 1995's The Bends
One of Radiohead's more celebrated songs -- whether you are an original, Pablo Honey-era fan or a post-Kid A sympathizer -- "Street Spirit" is arguably the best last song the band ever wrote. "Motion Picture Soundtrack" (the last track on Kid A) might be favored by some, but I'm more inclined to give The Bends some love. Besides, how many of those diehard Radiohead fans actually still listen to Pablo Honey these days?

"Train in Vain" -- The Clash, from 1979's London Calling
Fun fact about the final track on The Clash's 1979 masterpiece -- it was added to the album at the last minute, ending up in the song being left off the album sleeve. Good thing they decided to add the song -- it ended up becoming the third and final single from London Calling, a rather fitting title for the album's final track.

"Bold as Love" -- Jimi Hendrix Experience, from 1967's Axis: Bold as Love
The name of the song is in the album's title -- it has to be the best song on the album, right? You're damn right. It was a toss-up between this song and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" from 1968's Electric Ladyland. There's something ephemeral about "Bold as Love," a quality that transforms the song into one of the best songs to ever close out an album. Hendrix didn't have to melt your face to show that he was the best guitar player that ever lived, he could do so in a mellow, somewhat toned down fashion. "Bold as Love" proves this point perfectly.

"Raining Blood" -- Slayer, from 1986's Reign in Blood
Slayer.


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46 comments
danny
danny

what about... "the end"- by the Doors!! come on.

Ryan_isis
Ryan_isis

Threshold of Transformation by ISIS

Lucas
Lucas

 After the Storm by Mumford and Sons is a good one too

Traderious
Traderious

Blue Veins from Broken Boy Soldiers by The Raconteurs  

Leasna
Leasna

 "Moonlight Mile" _Sticky Fingers_

Blockjess
Blockjess

 This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) from Speaking in Tongues by the Talking Heads, would definitely be on my list.

Bigchuck181
Bigchuck181

Iron Maiden- Hallowed Be Thy Name-The Number of the Beast 

Phars
Phars

 Oasis- Champagne supernova

Guestion
Guestion

Iron Maiden... Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. Can't get no more epic than that.

Scrum
Scrum

Springsteen! Jungleland from Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town from the album of the same name.

Prometheus242
Prometheus242

These came to mind

A Day in the Life - The Beatles / Sgt. PepperThe Ocean - Led Zeppelin / House of The Holy  You Can't Always Get What You Want - Rolling Stones / Let it BleedEclipse- Pink Floyd

yup
yup

 yeah I 2nd A day in the Life...The perfect lennon/mcartney song and a hell of a way to end a great album

Moatilliatta
Moatilliatta

'"Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt," concludes the concept album with the eventual death of its main character, Cerpin Taxt, by an overdose of morphine and rat poison.'

Actually, that is the start of the album, how Taxt entered the Comatorium. He died, in the end, by throwing himself off a bridge. (Televators: "Just as he hit the ground...").

But props for including this in the list

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

I stand corrected! Thanks for the info - I have adjusted the post accordingly. And here I thought I was a fan of TMV... 

Chris
Chris

 "Mississippi"- Train, Drops of Jupiter. Thank me later.

Drodrig4
Drodrig4

yellow ledbetter-pearl jam

Michael R. Allen
Michael R. Allen

ummm.... that's a b-side. or are we counting compilations and/or random live albums?

Drodrig4
Drodrig4

You're right, I was listening to this on Rearviewmirror, but it was only on the Jeremy B-Side.  I don't know, if we can include live albums and compilations this list would get all kinds of wierd.

Winston Moore
Winston Moore

 Only in Dreams, Weezer, Blue Album.   I know they suck now, but back in 97 or whenever that album came out it rocked.  It's and 8 min song with a hypnotic bridge that reminds me "she's so heavy" but doesn't sound like it at all.  It's my favorite song on a GREAT album, and while Weezer certainly doesn't have the resume of these other bands, this song certainly fits the criteria for this list. 

Talmadge
Talmadge

It's typical, but how can you leave out the aptly titled "The End" from The Doors' debut album?

Mike p
Mike p

 Yet another "music fan" who has done most of their listening from Guitar Hero and Rock Band...

No wonder 90% of what we here today is shit

Rob
Rob

If the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't cover They're Red Hot I would expect to see Sir Psycho Sexy on this list...but alas.

Dapharmer
Dapharmer

hows about Tool - Third Eye ... damn epic song from a damn epic album 

Catguy
Catguy

 Dude. "Superman" - R.E.M from Life's Rich Pageant

Mike R. Meyer
Mike R. Meyer

 Slayer indeed.

Nice list, but I'll nitpick one point: There used to be a time when the last song on a hip-hop album was frequently the best. A ton of "Golden Era" hip-hop albums ended with some great posse cuts. "The Last Song" by Above the Law and "The Grand Finale" from the D.O.C.'s first album both featured N.W.A in their gangsta prime. Kool G Rap's "Two to the Head" had guest spots from Scarface, Bushwick Bill & Ice Cube. They're not posse cuts, but "Fight the Power" and "B-Boy Bouillabaisse" are also great hip-hop closers.

Okay, I'll nitpick two points: Maybe it's just too obvious, but couldn't you have found room for "A Day in the Life"?

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

Oh, dammit - I forgot to add that addendum. Well, hold on - I originally had streaming music with every song, but it was taken out. It is an absolute bitch to get Beatles music streaming anywhere, so I had to leave it off. "A Day in the Life" was definitely on my original list, though.

Lenni Rosenblum
Lenni Rosenblum

"Bold As Love" might even be my favorite Hendrix track. Fantastic.

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