Top Five Songs ... 01.01.2021
DFM Masthead Disenfranchised FM Cuckoo's Eleven Top Five Songs Armchair Producer Music MD Tin Cans Scratch Take Life and Times Input


We're finally bringing the top five songs project to a close. Kind of (more on that later).

Two years ago to the day, I rebooted the Top Five idea with a theme of lead-off tracks. Today, I write about the complementing bookend: the closing track. For those of us of a certain age, the closing track carries unique importance: it's the artist's last word, last note, parting thought; over the decades, we've made songs our own parting thought through mix tapes, burned cds, or playlists. To keep things straightforward, this is a list of closing listed album tracks - hidden tracks are excluded (Millennials and Gen Z, ask someone older).

As usual, no Beatles or Stones songs are permitted in the list. Here are my top five:

HONORABLE MENTION - The Doors, "The End"

"My only friend, the end."

It's kind of hard to make a top five list about closing tracks without The Doors, Oedipal monologue and all. It's a bit too on-the-nose to make the official list, though.

NUMBER FIVE - Guns n Roses, "Rocket Queen"

"Don't ever leave me, say you'll always be there / All I ever wanted was for you to know that I care."

The first three minutes of this song would be enough to serve as a sufficient wrap to one of the greatest albums of all time. After all, it includes an infamous vocal booth encounter between Axl Rose and a groupie - a fitting conclusion to a album focused on the LA underworld. And yet, the song takes an interesting turn at the 3:25 mark, wrapping the album with a proper coda.

NUMBER FOUR - R.E.M., "[Untitled]"

"I stay up late to hear your voice."

Untitled but noticeably referenced as the eleventh track. The sparse instrumentation and vocal harmonies make it feel like a track that's more suspended between Green and Out of Time.

NUMBER THREE - Bob Marley and The Wailers, "Redemption Song" [YYYY]

"How long shall they kill our prophets / While we stand aside and look?."

Originally recorded as a full-band track for Uprising, Marley opted instead for an unaccompanied acoustic version. Recorded just over a year before his death, it's an appropriate closing track for both album and his legacy.

NUMBER TWO - Weezer, "Only in Dreams" [1994]

"She is your marrow, and your ride home."

Nearly nine minutes in length, it's an incredible end to The Blue Album, featuring a harmonic-driven crescendo in the last three minutes.

NUMBER ONE - Pink Floyd, "Eclipse" [1973]

"And all that's to come and everything under the sun is in tune / But the sun is eclipsed by the moon."

Dark Side of the Moon remains Billboard'slongest-charting album in the history (736 straight weeks, and 954 in total). Segueing from "Brain Damage", the song climbs verse by verse, until the listener is left with a heartbeat and an acknowledgement: the entire moon is dark; it's only because of the Sun that anything has light.

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