A GUEST POST by jimdoes
THIS IS THE END
An Imaginary Compilation Album of final tracks.
There’s something special about last songs on albums – where a band have taken you on a journey and leave their big statement to last. Something to remember them by and something that it’s impossible to follow. By it’s very nature this would be an extremely long ICA (those last tracks tend to go on and on). Quite a few of these bands haven’t had ICAs of their own but I’m sure at some point most of them will. It’s hard to get the order right when there’s supposed to be silence after every track but I think they flow well. I’m sure a lot of your readers will be VERY familiar with my selections – and I’m equally sure that you could choose 10 completely different tracks by different bands and create and equally brilliant ICA.
01: THE PRIVATE PSYCHEDELIC REEL – THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS
From DIG YOUR OWN HOLE
Possibly the final track to end all final tracks – but here it gets the honour of being side one track one of this ICA. It ticks all the boxes – sprawling, loud and full of false endings. It’s the track that The Chemical Brothers used to end their live shows with and it’s the last track on a truly classic album. When it first came out I’d shove it on the office stereo turn the volume up and blast my colleagues with an aural assault – they were never the same again. It was like nothing I’d heard before (Soon by My Bloody Valentine is possibly closest) and was a welcome relief from the idiocy of most Britpop. And without a doubt it’s the sound of taking drugs.
02 : SHOOT SPEED/KILL LIGHT – PRIMAL SCREAM
This song fills me with so much joy. It’s my favourite track off XTRMNTR – Primal Scream’s second creative peak. They were an absolute beast of a live band around this time – and these shows were some of the best I’ve ever seen – yet I don’t remember them ever playing this song last. New recruits Mani and Kevin Shields took the band to new levels that they haven’t matched since. It’s got everything – driving bass, screeching guitars and Bobby Gillespie intoning the same 4 words over and over – what more could you want?
03: I AM THE RESURRECTION – THE STONE ROSES
From THE STONE ROSES
The drumbeat. The bass. The voice – “Down Down you bring me down”. Then the guitar. It’s a record that needs no introduction – I’m sure everyone has heard it and most will love it. It was probably the first time I was aware of the whole epic final track thing – as much a statement of intent and arrogance as the opening track on their classic debut – “I wanna be adored”. They’re a band that I don’t hold dearly any more (it’s all the bellowing beer boys at their gigs and how they’ve become Oasis) but this track still gets me every time. Again it has all the hallmarks that you need for a final song – length, a certain over-the-top-ness and more false endings than I know what to do with. It’s truly special – it transports me back to being 19 spinning round dancing to it and it still makes me want to dance.
04: MOANER – UNDERWORLD
From BEAUCOUP FISH
Like being repeatedly punched in the face by a drum machine. In the nicest possible way. It builds and builds – Karl Hyde working himself up into an absolute frenzy – getting more intense until it all sort of collapses. I’ve given myself whiplash on more than one occasion dancing to this when Underworld have played it live. Unsurprisingly they always used to play it last because there really was nothing they could follow it with.
05 7:20AM JULLANDER SHERE – CORNERSHOP
From WOMAN’S GOTTA HAVE IT
I saw them first on the bill at a free gig. Expecting jangle, slightly angry indie pop I was absolutely blown away when they sat down and played sitars for 15 minutes and sang in Punjabi. It’s an uplifting, hypnotic track that I never grow tired of and it’s something of a curiosity on my ICA as it’s the same song (with added bass) as the opening track on the album it’s from. I love this track even though I’ve no idea what Tjinder Singh is singing about – in fact, to me this song is the king of the misheard lyric. When this is on in the car and I’m singing along I kind of replicate the sounds he makes which must look and sound pretty ridiculous to anyone who happens to catch sight of me. Having done a bit of research it appears to be a song calling for peace and unity – and you can’t go wrong with that.
06 SEA WITHIN A SEA – THE HORRORS
From PRIMARY COLOURS
Listening to these tracks as I write this ICA, it’s occured to me that lots of them have a driving, motorik beat – and this track is no exception. It was the first single released from The Horrors second album and proved to be a massive departure in sound and ambition from the gothic noise of it’s predecessor. And to me it’s a song they’ve never bettered although they have made some wonderful music since this. It’s one of those songs that seems to go on and on and you can get lost in – always incredible live as they teased new sounds out of it – and when the keyboard kicks in about halfway in I can’t help but feel an adrenaline rush of pure joy. There’s a great live recording of it from Glastonbury 2009 on YouTube that is worth checking out – I was there and it was pretty special.
07 A CERTAIN ROMANCE – ARCTIC MONKEYS
From WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY I AM, THAT’S WHAT I’M NOT
What a band they were. Incredible that this was made by folk just out of their teens. It was a song that my best mate played as the last song at his wedding disco – everyone went bonkers, dancing, screaming and hugging each other – it’s just one of those songs. He’s divorced now, mind.
08 STREET SPIRIT – RADIOHEAD
From THE BENDS
A song that doesn’t conform to my rules of the last track – although it is epic. It fills me with emotion. Majestic. It was also the song that closed perhaps the greatest show I’ve ever seen – Glastonbury 1997 – it sends shivers down my spine watching it on YouTube. I’d seen the Chemical Brothers on the NME stage with my friends who were determined to see Primal Scream in the Dance Tent – I had other ideas – my wife and I legged it through the backstage area (a shortcut between stages – one of the advantages of working for a national newspaper at the time) to catch a band make the transition from indie band to genuine stadium fillers. it was one of those situations where it was easier to go with peer pressure but I was rewarded for going with my instincts – especially as we were all chemically charged and it was before mobile phones so meeting up later was going to be tricky. Their more recent music doesn’t excite me (I stopped buying their albums around the time of In Rainbows) but I understand why the ‘young folk’ I work with (30somethings!!!) think they are amazing – they grew up with them.
09 SUNRISE – PULP
From WE LOVE LIFE
The final track on Pulp‘s final album – and what a track. Jarvis get’s the singing over pretty sharpish and from about 2 minutes in this song conforms to the last track template. The band just go bananas creating a joyous uplifting sound that seems to go on and on. And stop and start. Must be great hearing it at sunrise after a long night of dancing.
10 PURPLE RAIN – PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION
From PURPLE RAIN
A song that needs no introduction – this seems like the perfect track to close this ICA. Everyone can sing along. I used to listen to the Purple Rain soundtrack on headphones in my parents living room and it’s one of my favourite albums EVER. At the time Purple Rain was my least favourite song on the album but I’ve come to appreciate it’s sheer perfection over the intervening 34 years (how to feel old!). And the album contains one of the greatest opening tracks on an album EVER – but I’ll leave that for another ICA!