What is your favorite* closing track for a music album?
June 8, 2016 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I need some help wrapping up a playlist that I'm working on and the closing track is really giving me a headache, so I'd like to know if any of you have recommendations for songs that close out an album perfectly. More details inside!

I'm open to all suggestions, but the ideal candidate will be:

-fairly upbeat, but also kind of reflective
-not exclusively instrumental
-around five minutes long
-available on Spotify

If it's helpful, here's what I have so far:
1) Brill Bruisers, The New Pornos
2) Big Rock Candy Mountain, Harry McClintock
3) No Depression, Uncle Tupelo
4) Let It Happen, Tame Impala
5) Hello I'm A Ghost, Wussy
6) Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins), Father John Misty
7) Close to Me, The Cure
8) Somebody's Watching Me, Rockwell
9) Police on My Back, The Clash
10) Annie, Neon Indian
11) Backwater, The Meat Puppets
12) Hotel, The Antlers
13) This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) -Live, Talking Heads
14) ????

posted by Fister Roboto to Media & Arts (55 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
"Moving in Stereo" and "All Mixed Up" from The Cars.
posted by jason6 at 1:03 PM on June 8, 2016

"Lawyers, Guns, and Money" from Warren Zevon's Excitable Boy. (upbeat and reflective!)
posted by jason6 at 1:07 PM on June 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'm not sure if it fits the style you're looking for but something structured like "Stairway to Heaven". Starts off soft and slow and then dives into the loud hard rock section before closing on the soft and slow stuff again.

Another example is "Little Black Submarines" by The Black Keys.
posted by VTX at 1:08 PM on June 8, 2016

This is fun - I've thought about this very question recently. Ok, two more and that's it from me.

"Road Movie to Berlin" They Might Be Giants, Flood
"Street Spirit (Fade Out)" Radiohead, The Bends
posted by jason6 at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

"Road Movie To Berlin", They Might Be Giants, Flood
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2016

posted by Strange Interlude at 1:14 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Owen Pallett, On A Path

This song is too short, but it is great for ending mixes - Song for Les and Ray.
posted by Frowner at 1:14 PM on June 8, 2016

Doesn't hit all your criteria, but Time is Tight by Booker T. and the M.G.s is a great ending song.
posted by gyusan at 1:18 PM on June 8, 2016

Best answer: AC Newman and The New Pornographers make incredible closing tracks! You can literally see a curtain call in your mind when you listen to them.

You started with "Brill Bruisers", you could close with "You Tell Me Where" or, my favorite, "We End Up Together" from Together.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:21 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Police on My Back doesn't close out an album. tsk tsk
posted by humboldt32 at 1:21 PM on June 8, 2016

I'm going to make a weird suggestion, but this is the kookiest upbeat song about death I've ever heard
Snog, Make the Little Flowers Grow
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:22 PM on June 8, 2016

Probably my favorite album-closer is Soul Coughing, "So Far I Have Not Found The Science."
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:24 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

"After Hours" by the Velvet Underground is a great album closer, with Mo Tucker singing. However, it's only a little over 2 minutes long.

The Luna cover of the Serge Gainsbourg song "Bonnie & Clyde" on Penthouse is a good album closer.

"Moonlight Mile" is the closer for the Rolling Stones's Sticky Fingers album. About 6 minutes long, one of my favorites.
posted by vunder at 1:24 PM on June 8, 2016

I've always liked All I Want Is You, the closing track from U2's Rattle and Hum. It kind of starts off slowish and builds towards the end, like every other U2 song.
posted by bondcliff at 1:29 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

By far may favorite album closer (and one of my favorite songs period) is Sugar's Man on the Moon (YouTube link, Spotify URI) from Copper Blue. It's properly anthemic, positive but also quite reflective. No relation to the REM song.
posted by usonian at 1:36 PM on June 8, 2016

Also, Tom Waits' Come on up to the House (YouTube link, Spotify URI) from Mule Variations.
posted by usonian at 1:41 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

World Party's "Thank You World" ?
posted by aught at 1:42 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

How about The Beatles' A Day in the Life? Topically speaking, it's somewhere torn between banality, existentialism, and desire, so take it as you will, depending on intent... but the way the song builds into its supernova reverb is always darling to my ears.
posted by a good beginning at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding A Day In the Life or maybe The End (which is on the short end) by the Beatles .
posted by damayanti at 1:48 PM on June 8, 2016

There is only one answer: Dime Store Mystery from New York, by Lou Reed
posted by 256 at 1:50 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Though I guess it depends on your definition of "upbeat")
posted by 256 at 1:52 PM on June 8, 2016

I've always liked the way Queens of the Stone Age close out their albums. Mosquito Song from Songs for the Deaf or I Think I Lost My Headache from Rated R
posted by TwoWordReview at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Liz Phair’s Strange Loop is a great sendoff (May Queen from her next album is also pretty good but it’s <3 minutes long) (sorry, that's “under three minutes long”)
posted by miles per flower at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have a soft spot for Debbie Gibson's Between the Lines, if Debbie Gibson-type music is your thing.

I also really like They Might Be Giants' The End of the Tour.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:59 PM on June 8, 2016

I always thought Cradle Song by Shriekback was a fantastic album-closer.
posted by adamrice at 2:12 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've ended mixtapes to good effect with Monty Python's Galaxy Song.
posted by kelborel at 2:15 PM on June 8, 2016

They may not be the coolest band, but the ~4 minute Überlin by R.E.M. is upbeat and uplifting. Listen before you judge, it's pretty great.

I will make it through the day and then the day becomes the night.
posted by Night_owl at 2:39 PM on June 8, 2016

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - The Crane Takes Flight
posted by zchyrs at 2:41 PM on June 8, 2016

Best answer: I love Electrolite at the end of R.E.M.'s "New Adventures in Hi Fi." Feels to me like it would follow on that Talking Heads track well.
posted by dnash at 2:57 PM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: (oh, forgot to add - "Electrolite" ends with "I'm outta here" so it's perfect for a final track to whatever list.)
posted by dnash at 2:58 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

My username is actually a great closing song from New Pornographers' debut album (Mass Romantic), if you want another New Pornos suggestion.

Thirding (fourthing?) "A Day in the Life," arguably the greatest closing song (and greatest Beatles song, period) of all time.

"Ramshackle" by Beck if you want something a little more sad. Or - if the song does not need to specifically close out the album - "Jack-Ass." Both are on Odelay. "Jack-Ass," in particular, really captures the reflective-but-not-totally-sad mood you're going for, and while it's not the closing track on Odelay, I think it would work very well as a closing track for something.
posted by breakin' the law at 3:15 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm In Love With A Girl from Big Star's Radio City.

(also, Isaac Hayes' cover of Something from The Isaac Hayes Movement, but that's 12 minutes long)
posted by Chenko at 3:32 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

it's only 3:44 but Wall of Death -- Richard + Linda Thompson

"it's the nearest to being free"
posted by philip-random at 3:47 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Obviously Mefi has a thing for They Might Be Giants, but honestly the first thing that came to mind was Space Suit, the final track from Apollo 18. After the... unusual-ness of Fingertips, it brings you back with one of their rare instrumentals, and a soothing, spacey one to boot.
posted by Durhey at 3:48 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Left Bank Two
posted by pipeski at 3:50 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

How about Buckets of Rain,

the closer from Bob Dylan's album "Blood on the Tracks?

I think it has exactly the mood you mention.
posted by djinn dandy at 3:58 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Suede's The Next Life closes out their first album perfectly (but it is not upbeat, per se, albeit hopeful, plus it includes the phrase "flog ice creams").

Bowie's 'Station To Station' ends with Wild Is The Wind, which is about as perfect as it gets (also mournful, but hopeful... sensing a theme here...). It's also the first song I heard after he died.

The Beach Boys' '20/20' ends with Cabinessence, which is short and weird and interesting as hell and a perfect album wrap-up. Funfact, it's also the track that's widely credited for causing the BBs to fully hit the fan!

Ha, rereading I see that you're looking for a personal playlist closer, not celebrated last tracks. Ah well, I tried!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:27 PM on June 8, 2016

CAKE's "End Of The Movie"?
posted by Cheese Monster at 4:46 PM on June 8, 2016

Best answer: Except for one technicality, The Song is Over from Who's Next.

The album begins with an explicitly introductory song, Getting in Tune, in which the pianist declares that he is just playing and singing to get himself warmed up for the rest of the album. (And if you have ever read John Barth's first novel The Floating Opera, you may recall that the first chapter, called "Tuning my Piano" IIRC, uses the same concept.)

The album ends with another appropriately named tune, The Song is Over, which itself ends with a preview of another Who song, Pure and Easy, which showed up on the next Who album, Odds and Sods.

The technicality? The songs were not arranged in that order when the album was issued. When it was issued on vinyl, the album began with Baba O'Reilly as the first song on Side One (back then, children, we had sides on these things), presumably to allow the album to end with the anthemic Won't Get Fooled Again at the end of Side Two. So someone screwed up what was otherwise the perfect intro and outro combination by putting The Song is Over as the last song on Side One and Getting in Tune as the first on Side Two. And when the CD version came out, the songs remained the same.

I always played Side Two first.
posted by yclipse at 4:46 PM on June 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

I've always liked how Passing Afternoon wrapped up a very good Iron & Wine album.

For a far darker, but no-less-satisfying way to end the playlist, I think that either Life in a Glasshouse (from Amnesiac) or the absolutely haunting Videotape (from In Rainbows) would work super well.

(I wonder if there's any way that I can just find a radio station that only plays music in the same weird New Orleans dirge style as Life in a Glasshouse.)
posted by RubixsQube at 5:05 PM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Two Step" by The Throwing Muses. One of my favorite closing tracks; fits your criteria nicely; fits the overall mood and style of your mix.
posted by naju at 5:50 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Stalag 123 by Big Audio Dynamite. Album Megatop Phoenix. Bit short but a perfect song.
posted by erebora at 6:06 PM on June 8, 2016

Best answer: Sebadoh, State of Mine
3'48", ridiculously upbeat but sort of melancholy all at once...
posted by docpops at 6:22 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

the looming past by the bats.
posted by noloveforned at 6:29 PM on June 8, 2016

or surfside motel by doleful lions (although that one is a little more romantic).
posted by noloveforned at 6:37 PM on June 8, 2016

Response by poster: I'm at a three-way tie between We End Up Together by the New Pornos, Man on the Moon by R.E.M. and Goodbye Goebbels by Fat White Family.

The latter is my first choice, but I learned that the lyrics are pretty risque, so I'm reluctant to play it for people.
posted by Fister Roboto at 7:27 PM on June 8, 2016

Joyful, power pop, gotta dance: Can't Stop the World.

Life is tough, so take their advice:
Can't stop the world
Don't let it stop you

posted by Homer42 at 9:17 PM on June 8, 2016

I'm partial to Rilo Kiley's "Spectacular Views" from their album The Execution of All Things.
posted by augustimagination at 11:08 PM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

For me it's gotta be Camera Obscura's 'Razzle Dazzle Rose', from their album Let's Get Out of This Country.
posted by mrhaydel at 4:36 AM on June 9, 2016

I could listen to a whole playlist of these.
"Champagne Supernova" closes out Oasis' (Whats The Story) Morning Glory really well I always thought. Its a touch over your time budget though.
posted by paulash at 7:21 AM on June 9, 2016

R.E.M.'s closing track from Automatic for the People - Find the River. Contemplative and sweet. Try not to sing along.
posted by rfepilgrimage at 3:46 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mott the Hoople, "Saturday Gigs"? "Do you remember the Saturday gigs? We do. Goodbye..."
posted by Devoidoid at 4:39 PM on June 9, 2016

Glutton Of Sympathy by Jellyfish would close out a playlist nicely.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 6:53 PM on June 9, 2016

P.S. You Rock My World by Eels, off Electro-Shock Blues. (Spotify) (YouTube)
posted by D.Billy at 8:37 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

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