Desserts. Picking players for teams. Giving good news after shockingly bad news. These are some examples of saving the best for last.
In this article, I’m deferring gratification in records talking about some of my favorite songs on albums that are found at the very end of the album. For arguments sake, let’s skip over albums that have bonus tracks or hidden tracks at the end, which would technically be the last track(s). I mean, let’s not get too proper here; it’s only rock n’ roll (or pop or country, as the case may be!). So I’ll stick to regular albums – no Greatest Hits!
These albums are not presented in any order of choice or preferences for one over the other, nor is this a top (#) list of songs or choices. This is simply a listed collection of ‘end-of-the-album songs that I love and feel are most likely, the best tracks on said album. Or at the very least, worthy for your re-consideration.
In this day and age of buying/downloading single tracks on iTunes and the like, I know this idea seems a little archaic. But if you are like me, you love owning the album collections, you love vinyls or CDs and you like owning physical copies of your music collection, this is for you. So in this regard, end tracks are something of value to you and like me, you wait til the songs play through in order to get to the end (no skipping, that’s cheating!) You love classic media just like me. You like it done old school. That’s how I enjoy my music media. And to top it off, I also wrote this blog post on a typewriter. Just kidding. It was a Commodore 64!
So let’s get into it:
I forget what the band has said about the cover, I think it was a producer’s daughter or son or some nonsense about dressing them up for this to be clever, I don’t quite remember but as awful as the cover is (Hey, another blog post idea – crap album covers!), the music on here is top notch and fans of the late 80s hard rock/metal crowd would and still do love this. The final track, written with Paul Stanley of all people, is melodic wonder, with the pre-chorus being the main attraction on here. It’s a great and heavy song, it has some nice commercial appeal, and just perfectly closes out an album that is full of heavy but melodically packed rockers and ballads. Singer Drew Hannah is/was amazing and is the real star of the show, along with great backing vocals and guitar from Benny Rhyndance and guitar work from former Vince Neil guitarist Brent Woods. It came too late in the rocking 80s game to get the sales, but if you look you will find it and you won’t be disappointed. The last track reminds you of the ones before it but it is not a copy – it stands on it’s own. So check it out, it’s an album I still listen to on a regular basis. The bass and drums just thump on these tunes and they are made for your vehicle. So buy it, and stay til the end!
This whole album is a late ’80s/early ’90s styled melodic rock fest, and the last track is no different, except that it’s probably one of the best Cooper songs ever, in my opinion, shared probably by almost no one, but you’ve heard it before, you should give it another chance. If you haven’t heard it, well….
To me this track is a perfect blend of the pop-metal style that this album is permeated with along with a nod to his past ’70s creepy/shock works, as the subject matter focuses on the thoughts and feelings of a long forgotten toy in a child’s room that really masks as an indictment of feelings of a child who is an outcast and not feeling needed/wanted by his parents. A child who is lonely and feeling like just an out of date wind-up toy, as it were. A child who is always looked down upon and feels like they are being singled out due to being different. I could be totally wrong here, but if you listen right to the end of this track, that familiar, no less creepy and disturbing voice that Alice has used on so many of his best works is back and to me is a chilling way to end an album that is somewhat more bright and sunny (but not really) than his other works. Alice would never really return to this sound as all subsequent albums got heavier in tones, or the modern day Alice is to sound like his glory ’70s works. To some, this album could sound dated, but if that’s the look your’re looking for – ‘Wind-Up Toy’ bridges many gaps in the Coop discog, and you will be pleasantly surprised at this sleeper track. Begged to be played live.
’80s country – you can love it or hate it, but it’s gonna mean something to you even today if you are a fan of this genre – today’s country is modern pop with a twang and an auto-tuner. It’s country-pop. It’s just not the same. I only like old things!!! Either way, if you like the Eagles and you like em with a bit more country, with that great sound of the 1980s production, Restless Heart is your gateway. Despite having some very big hits on country radio, today they are pretty much forgotten, and probably live in the shadow of Alabama. (Not the state). Here’s a song that was never a hit, I don’t think, and was not featured on their main greatest hits packages, but as far as vocal harmonies and blending go, this bad boy is right up there in my books. All members of this band can sing, and could sing LEAD. That’s a big distinction of how a band can harmonize. Many bands have players that are great background vocalists, that you can use to help get you a fuller sound, but to have a bunch of players who are also capable of being lead singers, Restless Heart, like the Eagles before them has this going for them. This fact is on display here, with a mourning melancholy instrumentation playing low key in the background, this simple story song is all about the vocals and telling the tale. It’s really about losing someone you love to their career and passion in the hopes that when they’ve finally found their dreams they’ll come back to you – an ‘if you love them set them free’ type of story. It’s what’s missing today on the radio. This is a song you can feel and will give you chills, if it hits you in the right nerve. This is real vocals and real instruments. This is real good. Yeah, I don’t care how corny that sounded! If you like your songs slowed to snails pace with a soaring pre-chorus, this is the one you need to check out
I know I’ve talked about this album a lot in previous blogs that I’ve written, and for damn good reason; it’s a masterpiece to my ears. True, music is subjective, but you need to subject yourself to this album – it boasts 3 fantastic players, an amazing power trio if you will, but they are not like Rush or Triumph, they have a different sound (on this album) that is pure late 80s, but the other difference that sets Blue Murder apart is this man: John Sykes. I had never become fully aware of him before, other than one of many guitarists in Whitesnake. However, after hearing this album in full, now I can fully say that I can pick out the music he wrote on the Whitesnake albums (although I think he only played on the U.S. release of ‘Slide It In’), and played on because his style is completely noticeable. And then there’s his vocals – powerful, bombastic, dripping with melody and infused with his distinct British accent which is definitely indicative of his home region, but without it these songs would be so generic and uninspiring. To me, although this album boasts classic after classic tune, you take it right to the end for the final send off, and the last track on this album, Black Hearted Woman, is pure speed and power, it’s heavy and super melodic at the same time. The band just rips right through this track and Sykes just wails on several points in the song, it definitely gives David Coverdale a run vocally, and shows that if he was given the chance, he could have been a long and fruitful contributor to the Whitesnake brand. But I am happy he gave us Blue Murder albums, and if you stay to the very end of this one, you will not be disappointed. Don’t blink, it’s over in a flash but man (and woman) what a ride. This is how you end a great album!
“I Get No Respect, No Respect At All”.
This iconic Rodney Dangerfield line could be a tagline for the hard working/rocking Canadian band Helix, as they are always on the move, always touring and recording, and now back again with most of their classic line-up intact. This would be the final album with classic (not original, but most well known) guitarist Paul Hackman, and the quality of the album shows more than anything they would release from then to the present day. And the last place he can be heard is on the final track, ‘Wheels of Thunder’. What can I say about this track; it is, like the mentioned above Blue Murder track, a fast pace and high energy send-off, but this one also boasts some amazing backing vocals from the guys and the way they echo chant on the chorus and the melody that pours over the faster paced tune just clicks perfectly to me, on an album that is stellar for quality memorable songs to begin with. It’s all about riding your bicycle, ahem, motorcycle and the feeling and rush of emotions one gets from doing so, and to suit that subject matter, the song just roars along, and even though it gets you to the end of the album quicker, it’s a stunning trip. If you know this band and love their style, this is a song you need to hear if you have not or wrote them off after the their 1987 glam fest. This is song is perfectly suited to Brian Vollmer’s rough around the edges vocal style, and it has that classic early ’80s vibe going on for a tune recorded/released in 1990. So check this out, stay to the end as I’ve said before, because this track is the perfect bookend.
I like Papa Roach’s music. And I have to include an album of theirs here on this list because I want to show off my musical taste diversities. I’m not just an 80s guy, not just a metal guy, although I do LOVE these and they will always be my ‘go-to’, however what I want this list to represent is my love and appreciation for many artists and styles, as this is what you’ll find on my iPod plugged into my car and in my CD racks at home. So for this track, I am attracted to the power and subject matter in this song; it is uplifting and positive, about standing up for one’s self and giving it their all. It’s now or never and the time is right, blah blah blah. This whole album is heavy, I love the way singer Jacoby Shaddix screams and then croons within a song and breath, and it’s examples of this found in this song that makes it a perfect end to a great album. They dropped the rapping on this album and opened up the songs to a more classic sound and moved away from the nu-metal tags. The album is about standing up and believing and nothing says it more than doing or die. So give this album a try and it will carry you through right to the end and beyond!
A highly underrated and nearly invisible album to the masses, this, on a whole, is melodic rock vocals with M. Schenker’s classic and amazing soloing and unique sense of song structures that benefited the Scorpions when he was a member of the band. Now this album is a little bit hit and miss for me, but it hits hard at the end as a last strike. ‘Take Me Back’ starts slow and melancholy and then builds up strong and quick, starting with the insistent strumming of some acoustic guitar, then the drum beat pounds on point. and kick starts the song into a fantastically powerful bombast, a now-heavy rocker with passionate vocals from Robin McAuley and amazing backing vocals from, well, someone else in the band! The chorus is the key here, it’s just so tasteful and speaks to your late 80s melodic metal heart so beautifully. “I want to, love you; then when it’s over, love you all over again”. It’s not the deepest lyrics you’ll ever find but they sound the sweetest, and this is just feel good while driving music at it’s best. So thank you to the MSG
Not really a BRC fan, and this is the only album of his that I have ever heard or owned. It’s worth the mention because the last track is the BEST track on this album. This is also where ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ resides, the line dancing phenomenon song of the early 90s that turned BRC into a household name if your household had a soccer mom in it. ‘Some Gave All’ is a thoughtful song, a great tribute to military service people and explaining basically and somewhat cleverly that even though everyone gives something of themselves, some people give it their all. It’s rather clever and showed that BRC has some substance beyond a novelty hit. The album has some good tracks on it, but the best is definitely saved for the last hear. I personally am not a huge of this album like I was back in the day, but the final track, the title tracks, stands the test of time and it deserves your attention or re-attention
How can I go from Billy Ray Cyrus to Metallica? Easily.
I’m an eclectic guy with eclectic tastes, right? I’d hear some BRC and then throw on some Metallica in heartbeat anytime, and this list is just an extension of me that I present to you.
So now on to this album: it’s great. The End. Speaking of the end, this last hurrah of the classic era of Metallica music with Cliff Burton is an all shots fired type of song, that builds up super slowly, you almost don’t know what kind of track this will be – is it just fade out or end of album noises. But when it kicks in, James Hetfield barks his lyrics like never before or since, and also, wouldn’t this title also be a cool name for business? Think of the logo opportunities here.
I won’t spend a lot of time explaining why this song is the best, everyone knows it well by now. To me, it was everything that was great about classic Metallica in the ’80s, and the song is not overplayed, I don’t believe it’s ever been on regular radio and even rarely played on Satellite radio, that I’ve heard anyway. It’s magic and it’s a great send off to the late Burton who’s bass playing and melodic senses intertwined nicely with the hungry youth of Metallica at the time. Oh yeah, and they cuss in this song a lot too, how cool is that??
Exactly what is a Bangalore Choir, I do not know. It may be a choir of singers from that city in India. It may also be a euphemism for lots of sex and singing about it (bang, galore, get it?). One really doesn’t know unless they ask, but that may take longer than ‘Just One Night’ to figure out. In the meantime, this is a great album with an amazing vocalist, who seems to have never found a true band to call his own. I’m talking about David Reece, who stayed in Accept to record an amazing but heavily derided album (1989’s Eat The Heat) and then stayed here for one album before moving on to the awesome but nearly unknown Sircle of Silence for two more albums, both great as well. It is here where David Reece and co. make the melodic hard rock/metal sound a thing of their own that the band Accept started to do previously but never seemed comfortable with. This is a more comfortable sounding fit for him, and his voice and sense of melody and lyrical phrasing make this a pop-metal near classic to me, despite arriving in 1992. They also get a little help from Aldo Nova on one of the tracks, but not the track in question. For the last track, the pre-chorus is the winner here and makes it so very worthwhile, quite frankly it overshadows the chorus itself – the refrain “I’m a shy boy, going a little crazy” and the way the music begins to accelerate around it (starts off as a stop and start bop that seems like it’s going to be a low key number, but then the band rushes in to ramp the whole thing up), make it something you need to hear. You may not know that this album exists (spoiler: it does) but you should pick it up and the end, like many other things, will not leave you disappointed. This is the style of music that David Reece’s large and powerful voice was suited for. I’m a huge fan of his work and this track is on target. See what I did there?
I love Helloween and I love almost all of their albums as a whole, every era with each of their 3 vocalists. So am I hard pressed to say that the best songs are at the end of any of the albums that I own. But when it comes down it, in my opinion, this album has some really amazing tracks in their catalogue but overall it doesn’t flow as cohesive as their previous effort with then new (and still current) singer Andi Deris. Like I said, to me there are some stunning tracks on this album but then there’s a lot of ‘meh’ songs that sound like they could be great but just don’t stick with you (me) in the long haul. I like it, but it’s not my ‘go-to’ album when I want to blast my Helloween. So I present to you, my favorite track on the album being the one at the end, where they saved the memorable and awesome track for last. It’s a slow build and just soars; the music they made in the 1990s was always dynamic yet simple and that to me is why I believe, mainly because of this song that the 1989-2001 era of Helloween will always be their best. This is an epic tune and must not be skipped. Plus, they built their album around it and named it after it, or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, this is a track to remember and then needs to be seen through to the end. If you pick up this album, the finisher will be worth the journey to get there
Late ’80s/early ’90s pop has a certain charm to me, and it always will, especially now when I look back on the times and the fond memories. I missed this gem the first time around, but a friend of mine owned a copy and when I heard it the album on the whole, I never let it go. For mainstream pop of the day, this was a very consistent album that also showed just how powerful Alanis’ voice could be, and I believe she was all of 16 years old when this album was recorded/released. So it showed that she had the vocal chops early on. Now mostly forgotten especially by Alanis herself, I will always champion this album and never let it be forgotten. Almost all the tracks on here are winners and the end track is right on up there as the best. Again, it’s the pre-chorus that makes the track, the melody line and feeling of the song are well structured and it just speaks to me the most. The lyrics themselves aren’t over thinkers – about dumping a wild one after the thrill is gone or when constant partying has lost it’s substance/search for substance in a relationship – but it doesn’t have to be either. Simple messages get the word across and it is just more pleasing to the ears that way. This an album you should dig up and keep forever. And it’s good to know that you will be entertained til the very last note.
There’s many more albums that I could have included, but this is just a small and thoughtful taste of some of my favorite albums with the best (that I feel) tracks are tagged on at the end. While a lot of albums fade in quality and interest as they go, these ones stand up well and book end the albums they are found on to keep you going til the final second. I hope you have enjoyed some of this light reading as I have enjoyed sharing my albums and love of them with you! If you like, say so, and if you don’t, say so as well. Comments and ideas and questions are always welcome.
Thanks for reading !!
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