We posted a PropertyOfZack Friday Discussion on The Best Album Openers last week, so we’re following it up this week with The Best Album Closers. Album closers have the ability to leave a truly emotional mark on the listener, and we’ve experienced quite a few memorable ones over the years in our scene. We put the closers together in an Rdio Playlist to listen to as you read the Discussion as well. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with some of your favorite album closers!
Obviously music plays a major role in my life as well as many others. It’s fun for me to think about the first time I heard a specific song or band, or the moment a band you had heard before “clicks” with you and pulls you in. So I looked at my Last.FMtop 10 overall artists and re-remembered those moments.
NOFX - The very first song I heard from them I was hooked. It was “Kids of the K-Hole” on the compilation Punk-O-Rama 4. I hadn’t listened to any of the Fat Wreck/Epitaph punk bands at this point in my life and that compilation and song directed a good portion of my future musical taste. The intro bass line is still one of my favorites and so is the song.
Foo Fighters - Even though I was in 4th or 5th grade at the time, I was aware of Foo Fighters when they debuted after the tragic end of Nirvana. However, I wasn’t really into them until a couple years later when the film Varsity Blues came out. It sounds cheesy, but there was a trailer for it that was basically a typical sports movie cliche, but it was set to the song “My Hero”. The combination of the two was goosebumps worthy. The drum intro to that song is now an instantly recognizable and iconic piece of drumming in my opinion.
blink-182 - One of the bands that I can actually thank the radio for. “Dammit” came out right after a middle school breakup, so of course it was my theme song for the few days before the next week long “relationship”. Also, I feel like I discovered them again the first time I heard “What’s My Age Again?” on the radio. It was a revelation at the time that punk music could be poppy as well. Bonus fact: Before MP3’s, I had bought Dude Ranch about three or four times because my mom kept throwing it away for the questionable content. Apparently parents don’t like songs about voyeurism, bongs, streaking, masturbating, prison rape, etc. Who knew?
Alkaline Trio - Another revelation in pop-punk; lyrics could be dark, but fun, unlike self-important corporate rock. It was fun to actually listen to every word that Dan and Matt sang because you never would expect what would accompany the catchy guitar riffs and vocal melodies. The first song I heard from them was “Stupid Kid,” because the guitarist of my band at the time was concerned that it sounded too much like one of our songs. He was right, we unknowingly were playing almost the exact same intro guitar riff. Unintentional plagiarism has its upsides if you can discover new music I guess.
Nine Inch Nails - Another band I was aware of long before I became a fan (pretty sure everyone knows the song “Closer”). By 2005, I had become a Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters superfan and I had read that he had recorded drums on With Teeth. I loved the album and so I then went back and started working my way through the rest of their discography and have been a fan ever since. It also helped that Josh Freese, another of my favorite drummers, took over drumming duties after With Teeth came out.
Atmosphere - I actually don’t remember the first time hearing them, but I guarantee it was while working in Circuit City Car Electronics on the shop stereo. And it was probably my coworkers-at-the-time/friends-now Mikey or Chris who put it on. Atmosphere was also the gateway drug for me discovering a lot of other indie hip-hop artists, and up to that point I had pretty much stayed away from any kind of rap or hip-hop.
Minus the Bear - Another band that I love where I don’t remember the exact discovery moment, but it feels like I’ve been listening to them forever. My guess is that my friend Brandt showed them to me, since he is usually the one who shows me bands that I generally would not find on my own.
The Beatles - The Yellow Submarine was one of my favorite movies as a kid, thanks to my grandparents, but two things made me actually start listening to the Beatles later in life: the fascinating stories on the Anthology DVD’s, and hearing Sgt. Pepper for the first time. My good buddy Quinn (and his dad) can take credit for both of those events.
Against Me! - When I worked at Circuit City, the XM punk music channel Fungus (R.I.P.) was always on and this band had regular plays. I didn’t particularly like them so much until I had a chance to go see them live, specifically, hearing the epic last section of the song “Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists” for the first time. Their energy on stage makes you hear their songs on the album in a whole new light.
Taking Back Sunday - I actually didn’t like them at first. This was probably due to the fact I was trying to be cool by thinking “emo” was lame and all bands even remotely related sucked (whatever “emo” was/is). But there are only so many times you can hear those choruses coming through your car speakers before you can’t stop yourself from singing along at the top of your longs and invite funny looks from the people in the cars next to you. Also, pretty sure any high schooler can relate to most of those over-dramatic-at-times lyrics.
Alkaline Trio - Blue in the Face (Demo)
I just found this, the electric version of one of my favorite Trio songs. I think I still like the acoustic version better but it’s always fun to listen to alternate versions of awesome songs.
Alkaline Trio - “Jaked on Green Beers”
One of my favorite Trio songs and I’ve never seen them play it live. They’re pretty much obligated to play it tomorrow night right? Being that it’s St. Patty’s Day and all…