I mentioned In the Flesh? in the other thread and now I’ll mention The Wall’s closer too, Outside the Wall. Not necessarily an album highlight either but a great closer from a narrative perspective. We get the cyclical theme common throughout the albums of the Waters era (Is this where.... we came in) and it leaves the album open to many different interpretations. Is Pink finally free from his wall post trial? Did he get sent to the “funny farm”? Did he kill himself?
Again, most of the closers from the Waters era are worthy of recognition here. I want Eclipse played at my funeral and the mammoth 23+ minute Echoes is something else.
A few others I’ll just list off:
Would? - Dirt (Alice in Chains) Tomorrow Never Knows - Revolver (The Beatles) A Day in the Life - Sgt. Pepper (The Beatles) Desolation Row - Highway 61 Revisited (Dylan) Train in Vain - London Calling (The Clash) Memory of a Free Festival (Bowie) The End (The Doors) Riders on the Storm - L.A. Woman (The Doors) When the Music’s Over - Strange Days (The Doors) Gold Dust Woman - Rumours (Fleetwood Mac) Hallowed be thy Name - The Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden) When the Levee Breaks - IV (Led Zeppelin) All Apologies - In Utero (Nirvana) High Hopes - The Division Bell (Pink Floyd) Answering Machine - Let It Be (The Replacements) Salt of the Earth - Beggars Banquet (Rolling Stones) You Can’t Always Get What You Want - Let It Bleed (Rolling Stones) Shattered - Some Girls (Rolling Stones) Z) Eliminator, Jr. - Daydream Nation (Sonic Youth) European Son (The Velvet Underground & Nico) Sister Ray - White Light/White Heat (The Velvet Underground) Won’t Get Fooled Again - Who’s Next (The Who) Time of the Season - Odessey and Oracle (Zombies) Hurt - The Downward Spiral (Nine Inch Nails)
The Replacements rep as a recording band at least was to some extent based on 4 classic closers from Hootenanny-Pleased To Meet me where they set you up and pull the rug out from under you.
Great mentions so far I'd add
Moonlight Mile From Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones) and Radio Radio From This Years Model (Elvis Costello) and I'm In Love With A Girl From Radio City (Big Star) which is where the Replacements got the idea that I mentioned above - Radio City is basically a bitter album of girls Alex Chilton hates, who bore him, are witches (or rhymes with it) or mere sex objects and that song makes you reconsider everything you've heard before.
Well, for me Room on Fire has the best opener/closer duo of any album I’ve heard, so of course I Can’t Win.
Random group of other favorites - Speed Living from City Club, Bound 2 from Yeezus, 2113 from In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth, New York City Serenade from The Wild/Innocent/E Street Shuffle, Secure the Bag from 1017 vs the World, Group Home from Super Slimey, Last Caress from Beware.
I had mentioned this in another thread a while back that this is the greatest career closer in Rock history - Husker Du's "You Can Live At Home" from their last record Warehouse: Songs and Stories.
This was essentially a big F-You/kiss off from Grant Hart to co-leader Bob Mould where those two fight for who owns the last 3 minutes in the bands recorded legacy - Hart repeats "You Can Live At Home now" over and over and Mould solos furiously over his vocals until at some point the two drown each other out and you aren't quite sure who got the last word anyway.
Has one of my favorite lyrics - in Metal certainly - "Fnck it all and fncking no regrets, never happy endings on these dark sets" - I say this constantly, particularly at work where it will one lead to an HR issue at some point I'm sure........
Later versions added (the great) Fools Gold but to anybody who knows what's up this closer summed up everything that was stupendous and contradictory about this band - violent pacifists, shy narcissists, show-off musicians who liked pop - it is amazing how many hippy dippy song ideas are salvaged and made exciting by their true colors seeping out.
An album which had them literally wanting your undying adulation right from the first song, comparing themselves to Christ for not f'n hating you as much as they'd like to (this song), and wishing casual murder on Queen Elizabeth (still around 30 years later lads!).
Waterloo Sunset (Something Else by The Kinks) Ooh La La (Ooh La La) Gouge Away (Doolittle) Lawyers, Guns and Money (Excitable Boy) What Became of the Likely Lads (The Libertines) Salt of the Earth (Beggars Banquet)
Outro on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (M83) Cudi Montage on Kids See Ghosts (Kids See Ghosts) Future Reflections on Oracular Spectacular (MGMT) Lost in Hollywood on Mezmerize (System of a Down) Solider Side on Hypnotize (System of a Down) The End on The Doors (The Doors) A Day in the Life on Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles)
pacinoyes hot take - David Bowie never made a single album as great as T. Rex's Electric Warrior/The Slider - oh he made many more good albums - Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, Low but never topped those 2 peaks and Bolan never came close to them again either. Fight me for it!
The Slider closes with this and it is everything that made T. Rex/Marc Bolan so compelling - the song seems very simple, but can be read many ways - is "main man" a drug reference, an artistic reference, a sexual reference, a spiritual reference? - the songs style is insanely and addictively repetitive so it almost casts you under an eerie spell and the lyrics are at once bizarre and straightforwardly direct, sad. It can't be explained or forgotten, like the best Rock and Roll itself......
The original NY Dolls - 2 albums, 2 classics, 2 classic closers...........2 flops too. 3 years later they were famously selling more copies as out of print, high priced imports than they were in their own time.
This one, from album #2 is the one that sums up their personality and worldview. In the first 20 seconds they gave the Ramones their 1-2-3-4 count off, identified themselves as outcasts who maybe aren't for you and already started their unique twin guitar soloing.
The emotional knockout closer of Spoon's best album and one of the 2000s best - and it ingeniously implicates their audience too - "all you weird kids up front - tell me what you know you want - someone to take care of tonight" linking singer and fan in indie cliche where songs romanticize romantic despair ............in this song, it's no joke.
Elvis Costello's 5th album - after the best first 4 albums ever - is half-great/half a let down to me - the first side is a stunner.........side two starts to flag and for the first time ever, throwaway songs appear on a Costello album which previously had a laser-like focus ......but the closer "Big Sister's Clothes" is an Elvis specialty - short, sharp, mysterious and......unexpectedly over.......just like that.
It looks ahead in many ways to his 1986 masterpiece "King Of America" but that was still a good bit away.....
One of the few new album tracks that matched their classic singles in quality - it closes their one and only, life-changing album in marvelous style and ends in a great kiss off to their (former) record label "and blind acceptance is a sign - of stupid fools that stand in line!" - fits the Oscars too come to think of it.
The "closer" from Closer is one of the most agonizing and painful - and stunning - songs in Rock - taking weird fragments of things that never really worked before in pop music - romantic poetry, off-kilter, oddly shifting rhythmic passages, spoken words mixed with actual singing and crooning even.
This didn't even sound like Rock music, it sounded like something new ....and something when you first hear it that you're not sure you should be listening to at all.
Slim Slow Slider - Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)
Van Morrison's 1968 masterpiece - the best record he ever made, one of the best anyone ever made, and he was just 22 when he made it - is a genuine singular artistic event. Not only without many forebears - which happens sometimes - but a record wildly copied that doesn't really have successors either. It's a Rock record that uses no 4/4 time signatures, it's a Jazz record that relies far more on words than any Jazz record - it evokes the greatest poets.
The song that closes it, like all great poetry is specific and elusive - in a very short time it invokes a sense of location yet being lost, feelings of love, or more likely, being out of love, of being frighteningly addicted to someone or something - and Death. It ends with odd, jerky rhythms as if the words now, have run out.........
One of the scariest songs in Rock - a sort of mysterious, ominous song where the words don't give it away but suggest an otherworldly creepiness anyway - people who like Punk, Alternative Rock, Metal, Prog - everyone loves this song - and no one ever hears the same thing.
"The other one's a duplicate" - what does that mean?!?!? You could write a whole movie around this.......
The Stones, as the greatest or at least most enduring band of all time had their career salvaged at different times by Mick (Beggar's Banquet) and at others by Keith (Exile on Main Street). But they never needed a true comeback like Mick (mostly) provided on "Some Girls" - at their mid-30s in 1978 - an age where no band yet had made a great record, they not only made one, they made their biggest one at the same time.
Mick was living in NYC at least part time in '78 and he had a lot to say about it - "Don't mind the maggots!" - and he also kind of invented rap in a weird way here - he was never further away from his British roots and never more keenly observational either.
This is probably my favorite album closer of all time:
Other ones I love:
"A Certain Romance", Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys "I Won't Share You", Strangeways, Here We Come by The Smiths "A Wolf at the Door", Hail to the Thief by Radiohead "My Body is a Cage", Neon Bible by Arcade Fire "Armour Love", La Roux by La Roux "Train in Vain", London Calling by The Clash