Sublime song outros
April 22, 2019 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I’m making a playlist called “Songs of Two Halves: Outros, Codas, and Tone Shifts” and I need suggestions of additional tracks to put on it. Essentially, I’m looking for songs that either develop or shift tonally in their second halves, with the stipulation that that development or shift be beautiful, sublime, or epic in some way. Examples inside.

Obviously, what constitutes “beautiful” or “sublime” is thoroughly subjective, but I have a few songs already on the playlist that hopefully illustrate the kind of AB song structure I’m looking for.

Category 1: epic outros and crescendos.
Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. I guess this is your classic “Beatlesesque” crescendo, but it’s got very much the epiphanic mood and melodic payoff I’m looking for.
Sufjan Stevens, Wallowa Lake Monster. There are any number of Sufjan Stevens songs that follow this basic structure to at least some extent, but this one embodies the qualities I’m looking for the most, I think.

Category 2: gradual or sudden tone shifts
Pond, Burnt Out Star. Abruptly (and awesomely) transitions into laid back psych-trance half way through.
Radiohead, You and Whose Army?
Amen Dunes, L.A. Like Burnt out Star, this transition works via percussion, introducing a new tempo and rhythm part that carries the second half of the song into a different place.

I guess what unites these songs is that they more or less are unrecognisable by the time they end. And that their second parts aren’t just brief outros, but come to overwhelm and define the entire song. Any suggestions for similar songs would be greatly appreciated! I’m happy to share the full playlist once it’s done.
posted by Sonny Jim to Media & Arts (60 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by macadamiaranch at 7:06 AM on April 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Joanna Newsom - Baby Birch
posted by Balthamos at 7:17 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Beginnings by Chicago!
posted by wellred at 7:26 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Probably an odd pick, but it's what I thought of first. The last track of the final album put out by Midtown, a pop-punk band, starts off as you'd expect, then transitions to a harmonic, slow repetition around 3:10-3:30 that continues for another ten minutes.

So Long As We Keep Our Bodies Numb We're Safe
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:26 AM on April 22, 2019

Assassin, by John Mayer.
posted by yawper at 7:37 AM on April 22, 2019

Rilo Kiley- Better Daughter/Son might fit category 1

Black Mountain - Bright Lights might fit category 1 or 2 I'm not sure, it's 16 minutes long so it goes some places.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 7:44 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Kanye West's Runaway
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:55 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Throwing Muses Vicky's Box, Rabbit's Dying, and Call Me the whole album is filled with unexpected shifts in tempo and tone, but these three songs most notably.

Fleetwood Mac Oh Well
posted by gusottertrout at 7:58 AM on April 22, 2019

How do you feel about jam-band canonical song pairs that literally do this? E.g. the thing where the relatively fussy and uptight Grateful Dead song China Cat Sunflower normally segues in shows into the much looser and crescendo-ier I Know You Rider?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:00 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Each song on the Of Montreal album White is Relic/Irrealis Mood is a two-parter and some of them have very distinct shifts between the first and second halves of the song.
posted by terretu at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2019

Nlogax by Boards of Canada takes a turn for the psychedelic halfway through.
posted by Ian Scuffling at 8:15 AM on April 22, 2019

The Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot
posted by Botanizer at 8:19 AM on April 22, 2019

Following nebulawindphone's point, lots of funk songs & jams have a Part 1 & Part 2 (I just searched for "Part 2" on wikipedia's James Brown discography page and got more than 40 hits.) That's a rich trove but maybe not what you're after? Anyway, two more specific suggestions:

Franz Ferdinand, Take Me Out (The shift happens about a quarter of the way through the song, so maybe that's more of an introduction than a Part I, but the tempo shift is still quite grand.)

Can, Mother Sky (Note: this is long! Shorter versions trim out the opening guitar freakout, though, which defeats the purpose here.)
posted by miles per flower at 8:22 AM on April 22, 2019

Does Suite: Judy Blue Eyes count? It changes multiple times. Also another Chicago song, Hard to Say I'm Sorry, does this in a big way, but it is major Velveeta.
posted by wellred at 8:22 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also: Deerhunter, Nothing Ever Happened
posted by miles per flower at 8:31 AM on April 22, 2019

Pixies "All Over the World", "No 13 Baby"
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:32 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sonic Youth - The Sprawl. Actually, a lot of Sonic Youth is this way.
posted by spudsilo at 8:35 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, and on the epic outro front: Cake's "Jolene," which is (a) not the Dolly Parton song and (b) not Cake doing the "deliberately self-mockingly catastrophically joyless" thing they do on most of their singles.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:49 AM on April 22, 2019

"I'm Your Captain" by Grand Funk Railroad.
"Peel the Paint" by Gentle Giant.
Weirdly, Modest Mouse has two songs that do this both featuring the word Lounge, "Lounge" and "Lounge/Closing Time."
If "You And Whose Army" counts does "Exit Music (For A Film)" count too?
"Flood" by Tool.
"Starship Trooper" by Yes.
Also, what about "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" by Journey? The coda of that song gets pretty epic (and I say this as someone who otherwise genuinely dislikes Journey).
posted by saladin at 8:51 AM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Category 2: Destroyer - The Bad Arts: two distinct tonal shifts over 7 minutes, and a big, gaping maw of a Joy Division reference to close it that might actually get it into Category 1 territory as well...

Also Destroyer - Bangkok builds to such a wonderful brassy crescendo. The hook that gets into Sunny doesn't start for over 3 minutes, but totally takes over the song (and your brain) by the end. The single guy sitting at a lonely piano is completely left behind.
posted by carsonb at 9:00 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hey Jane by Spiritualized.

Cherry Lane by Ryan Adams & The Cardinals.

Maybe Coal War by Joshua James.
posted by ejbenjamin at 9:01 AM on April 22, 2019

The last 30 seconds of D'Angelo's "one mo'gin" from the masterful Voodoo, comes out of nowhere. It would fit perfectly in your Category 2.
posted by elmer benson at 9:02 AM on April 22, 2019

The second half of The New Pornographers' "The Bleeding Heart Show" from Twin Cinema is an example of Category 1: it starts as a soft acoustic ballad and explodes into a huge anthem.
posted by elmer benson at 9:06 AM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

For category 1, David Bowie's "Memory of a Free Festival."
posted by /\/\/\/ at 9:14 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Guess Who - No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

Seconding elmer: The New Pronographers tend to close out their shows with The Bleeding Heart Show (forward to 53:27) as it ramps up so much. Amazing to hear it live - it picks you up and wrings you out.... the show is *over* when its done.
posted by cfraenkel at 9:19 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

My Morning Jacket - Off the Record
posted by humboldt32 at 9:23 AM on April 22, 2019

Category 2, Paul McCartney, "Band On The Run"
posted by thelonius at 10:10 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Guided by Voices, "Local Mix-up/Murder Charge"
posted by ITheCosmos at 10:12 AM on April 22, 2019

DJ Spooky - Galactic Funk
posted by gyusan at 10:22 AM on April 22, 2019

[The New Pornographers] Amazing to hear it live - it picks you up and wrings you out.... the show is *over* when its done.

Almost all of the later TNP albums have incredible epic album closers in the Cat 1 style. It's like listening to the end credits of a movie.

If you think The Bleeding Heart Show has an epic finish, then you need to listen to We End Up Together or You Tell Me Where. The vocal bridge on the latter is incredible.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:28 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Whoops this is the link for We End Up Together
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:35 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow—such a wealth of responses here. It’s going to take some time to work through them, but I just wanted to say thanks for all the answers so far.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2019

Rhythm and Blues Alibi by Gomez
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 10:39 AM on April 22, 2019

Never Lose That Feeling by Swervedriver is a great example of type 1
posted by capnsue at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2019

I remember my music theory professor playing "Hey Jude" for us in class because the na-na-na-na section at the end was the best example he could find of a double-plagal, or IV/IV-IV-I, chord progression.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:10 AM on April 22, 2019

I assume nobody mentioned this one because it's so damn obvious, but I'll do it: Hey Jude. (edit: jinx!)

These might not fit the pattern exactly but they're in the ballpark:
Elliott Smith - Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
The Beta Band - Dry the Rain
The Black Keys - Little Black Submarines (not an outro, just a dramatic style shift)
posted by Quiscale at 11:11 AM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

It's not exactly the same song (meaning with a single Mp3), but Just Beneath the Surface by Dawes and Just Beneath the Surface (Reprise) fit in my opinion.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:16 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

'Oh Well' by the earlier weirder version of Fleetwood Mac.
posted by ovvl at 11:20 AM on April 22, 2019

The Tragically Hip - Grace, Too.
posted by bassomatic at 11:27 AM on April 22, 2019

Massive Attack - Group Four. Starts and stays moody, but has a nice change at 5:30.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Sir Psycho Sexy. Not a safe-for-work song, but an interesting outro starting at 5:37.

Sublime - Let's Go Get Stoned. Since your title has sublime in it, why not? Groovy change at 2:20.
posted by Don_K at 12:41 PM on April 22, 2019

Not sure if these count but I'll give it a whirl:

Roy Harper - Me and My Woman

Guns n Roses - November Rain. I know that essentially it's just a really good outro but I really hate everything about this song up until Slash' s guitar part.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 1:09 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I can't believe nobody has said Stairway to Heaven yet.
posted by raider at 1:49 PM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Actually, a lot of Sonic Youth is this way.

Yeah, I was totally going to say Dirty Boots

So, um, Dirty Boots
posted by ctmf at 2:12 PM on April 22, 2019

Well, perhaps Elton John's "Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Leading" from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album fits this. I guess it's technically two songs, but I've never heard either of them played separately, and to me they're just one!
posted by lhauser at 7:08 PM on April 22, 2019

Genesis, "Unquiet slumbers for the sleepers/In that quiet earth". Instrumental, but I think it fits.
posted by coppertop at 7:29 PM on April 22, 2019

First Night by The Hold Steady.
Starts out a slow ballad, and the change comes in at around the 3:15 mark or so.

It's still the same song, same piano and lyrics, but whoa, the whole tempo and mood of it change.

Thank you for asking this question & thank you to all who have posted! I'm having fun learning about new music.
posted by SaharaRose at 7:52 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hurray for the Riff Raff - Pa’lante.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:18 PM on April 22, 2019

"Live and Let Die" goes back and forth between two different moods/styles. Sublime... your call
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:46 PM on April 22, 2019

How no purple rain ?!?
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:24 PM on April 22, 2019

What a great question! I'll add a few more examples to the pile; hopefully some of these are close to what you're looking for.

The Mountain Goats - Heel Turn 2
Phoenix - Love Like a Sunset
Daft Punk - Contact
Maybeshewill - He Films the Clouds pt. 2
RADWIMPS - Ame no hi ni kiku ("Listen To It When It's Raining")

And maybe an honorable mention for the full-length version of I Will Possess Your Heart, just because the intro is longer than everything else put together.
posted by teraflop at 10:38 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I Got The by Labi Siffre.

Sublime 70s soul with a first act that easily stands on its own merits, but then shifts into a completely different musical gear and blows up at 2:10, source of one of the most recognizable samples of all time.
posted by rodeoclown at 11:16 PM on April 22, 2019

Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" is interesting in that the bulk of the song is anthemic and epic but the tail end shifts abruptly into something looser, jauntier, hopeful, and even fun.

More Radiohead - "All I Need" has one of their all-time best outros, a glorious climax of piano and strings very different from the subdued bass textures and chimes of the main track. Along the same lines, their 2011 B-side "The Daily Mail" is also very much a song of two parts -- an achingly spare piano ballad that briefly rises in grandeur before exploding into a blaring rock outro swarming with horns, freewheeling electric piano slides, and jazz accents.

Would "Hey Jude" be too obvious? Or maybe the outro to "Hello Goodbye"
posted by Rhaomi at 11:48 PM on April 22, 2019

Esta Melodia by Marisa Monte - starts very gently then shifts into a samba with a final repeated refrain to a long fade. A mixture of your category 1 and 2.

Also - a mention to Ravel's Boléro with its temporary and unsettling key change from C major to E major - about here. Category 2.
posted by rongorongo at 12:33 AM on April 23, 2019

Lou Reed Satellite of Love
posted by wannabecounselor at 2:59 AM on April 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Love: You Set the Scene
Donovan: Atlantis
The Doors: The Soft Parade
Simon & Garfunkel: The Boxer
The Rolling Stones: 2000 Man
posted by heatvision at 4:23 AM on April 23, 2019

If we're allowed a song within a song then:

Talking Heads - No Compassion

The Beatles - A Day in the Life


ELO - Mr Blue Sky

The Beatles - You Never Give me Your Money

Genesis - Fly on A Windshield

Peter Gabriel - Humdrum

Rolling Stones - Continental Drift
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 6:41 AM on April 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

opeth's deliverance goes through some tone-shift changes, but ends with an outro repeating a probably-epic drum pattern.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:47 AM on April 23, 2019

If you'll accept songs that have more than one/two tonal changes, I'd add Mother Love Bone - "Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns" to the list. It's a roller coaster ride, and the end is definitely a different song than the beginning.
posted by jzb at 1:13 PM on April 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

LCD Soundsystem, Dance Yrself Clean
posted by Sublimity at 8:16 PM on April 24, 2019

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