Tracks that mess up good albums

Disclaimer for the young: there used to be these things called albums, which were like a bunch of mp3s, usually by a single artist or “band”. Ask an older relative about “CDs” and “LPs” or drop by your local nursing home.

I was listening to The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty today. If you’re familiar with it, it may not be surprising that I’m going to mention “Operator”, a track that makes me itch to press fast forward. I think it might be the vocals. There are some other arguably weak tracks on the album, but I can live with them.

Any nominees from other albums?

Album:Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure

Song:Bogus Man

On an album that veers towards much more conventional rock territory than the debut, BM is close to ten minutes of amusical whispered chanting, random noises like gunfire, and a bunch of echoing silence like it was recorded in a empty warehouse. Apparently Eno says it was an attempt to copy krautrock.

The Police - Synchronicity - “Mother”. It starts bad and gets worse, so much worse.

I could probably come up with a bunch of examples, but two that always greatly annoyed me, and immediately spring to mind, were from two different Alice in Chains EPs, *Sap *and Jar of Flies.

If you’re familiar with them, then you immediately know that I’m talking about the closing tracks of both EPs. If you’re not familiar, then you should know that these two EPs were filled with some of the most beautiful music being done at the time - don’t let the band name of “Alice in Chains” fool you. (Interesting bit of trivia: Jar of Flies was the first ever EP to reach #1 on the Billboard album charts. So we’re not talking about some run-of-the-mill, slapped-together EP, here.)

With the noted exception of the closing tracks, the two EPs each deliver a collection of songs even more cohesive than what you would usually find on a typical full album, not to mention a typical EP. In listening to both in their (near) entirety, you enter into a specific mood of musical bliss that can start to put you into a zen-like state of satisfaction you hope will never end… That is, until you get to those two closing tracks that smack you across the face as they commence laying a big, fat, anticlimactic turd (and, in the most egregious case of Sap, complete with fart sounds and insults) in the delicious and intoxicating punchbowl you were just thoroughly enjoying.

For the uninitiated, Youtube conveniently has both EPs available in their entirety, all in one go. If you’ve got the time, and can dig the tunes, I recommend just listening to both of them from start to finish, so that you get the full experience and see what I mean. For those less inclined, or in a hurry, Youtubers have been considerate enough to provide timestamped track listings in the top comments so that, after listening to a sampling of the preceding tracks, you can click on the timestamps of the final tracks and see what I’m on about.

Without further ado, I give you:
Alice in Chains - Sap
Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies

Ah, the famous “Four Sticks problem.” (That would be Zep 4).
Okay, how about:
“Just a Touch”, R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant
“Doctor Robert”, Beatles, Revolver (UK version)
“Up to Me”, Jethro Tull, Aqualung

Some might say “Voices of Old People”, Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends, but I love that track.

Oh, and “You Got the Silver,” Rolling Stones, Let it Bleed.

(Sorry, Captain Teague! Please don’t slay me!)

No one’s mentioned “Revolution Number 9” yet?

Well, there are those LPs where the artists thought it would be cool to stick some amateur performance on at the end… like “Thoughts on a Grey Day” on Fleetwood Mac’s Bare Trees and “Thank You” on the Strawbs’ Bursting at the Seams.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it “messes up” the album even though it’s the obvious weak track. I’d even go so far as to say it brings more balance to the album because it joins Goin to California in mixing straight up blues rock with mystic psychedelia-influenced stuff, as opposed to the other six tracks which are all completely one or the other.

It’s just poorly written is all (but pretty well executed which saves it from being a genuinely bad track.)

Just a Touch is great! Isn’t Superman the more obvious choice?

True. Now that I appreciate punk more than I did as a younger person, “Just a Touch” isn’t so bad. And “Superman,” conversely, has aged poorly – it bears several parallels to “Sloop John B”, from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.

As for “Four Sticks”…yeah, I’ve come to appreciate that one, as well. But it’s clearly the one track on Zep 4 that doesn’t get all kinds of love from all kinds of folks.

Love Song is so out of line with the rest of the EP but is so funny I don’t mind it once in a while.

I happen to think Jar of Flies is perfect. Swing On This is a bit out of place musically but it is the lyrics that make it work for me.

RIP Layne and Mike.

I always thought “Money” seemed jarringly out of place on “Dark Side of the Moon”, as if it was slapped on to ensure a hit on an otherwise cohesive, flowing concept album. I like the song itself, just felt that it didn’t belong.

Came here to post that. Good album, terrible song.

I always seem to come in right after someone else has made my point for me.
Then I just sound like I’m riding along on someone else’s coattails.
So thanks, solost! :slight_smile:

“Money” doesn’t belong on the rock masterpiece of “Dark Side of the Moon”.
The thematic concept of lunacy is kept intact (rampant consumerism is arguably one of the most common forms of insanity). However, the lyrical composition is so different from the other songs that it seems to have been created for an entirely different album.

I’m not a huge fan of Keef’s voice, but I love that tune.

“The Guns Of Brixton” on London Calling comes to mind…

You are welcome, sir. :wink:

I was surprised I got to be the first to mention that one- I figured it would be the first or second answer when I read the thread title.

“She’s Leaving Home,” Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

More Beatles piling on…

‘Here Comes the Sun’ totally disrupts the flow of Abbey Road. A stinker on a whole sit through, and a stinker of a side 2 starter. It’s always sounded like something found on John Denver’s cutting room floor.

The Last Dog and Pony Show is a good Bob Mould album. “Megamanic” is a clumsy, amateurish rap on it that sticks out like a sore thumb. The song does sound like it was a lot of fun to record, but once they’d had their fun, they really needed to just scrape this mess off their plate straight into the garbage can.