The thread title is the question; the rest of this is just discussion.
When I got my first CD player, back in 1991, I thought the shuffle feature would breathe new life into familiar albums, what with the novelty of hearing the songs in a new, unfamiliar order. As it turns out, though, I usually just listen to CDs straight through from beginning to end. The “official” track order often flows better than any other.
Recently, though, I was listening to my CD of the Kinks’ Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (brilliant album, by the way), and noticing once again that the songs on it are in a different order than they were on the cassette version which was my introduction to the album, so that the CD sounds shuffled, and I think maybe the cassette’s song order works better.
And just now, in the Decemberists thread, I read fusoya’s comment
So now I’m thinking, hey, maybe I ought to try listening to it that way. And I’m wondering, what other albums aren’t as good as they might be with all the same songs but in a more felicitous order?
Pink Floyd’s Meddle — “One of these Days” should most certainly not be followed by “A Pillow of Winds”. What they should have done is started with Pillow, gone to Fearless, San Tropez, and (if they had to have it anywhere) Seamus, then end Side One with “One of These Days” and you flip it over and you’re in “Echoes”. Or here in the CD era, dispense with the flipping and just continue on.
In a similar vein, the Moody Blues’ Every Good Boy Deserves Favor… I don’t know if there’s any right place for that silly song about the mice playing daffodil and I can see them they can’t see me, but it sure doesn’t follow properly after “One More Time to Live”.
Pink Floyd’s ‘Division Bell’ should just have the first track outright removed. I can’t imagine why anyone who is in a mood to listen to the kind of music on the rest of the disc would possibly also be in any kind of a mood to hear Cluster One.
Or why anyone, ever, would want to hear that song.
Sometimes two songs compliment eachother perfectly and need to be heard back-to-back as if they were both part of the same song.
A good example would be Queen’sWe Will Rock You - We Are The Champions. Originally on the News of the World album together it seemed they always had the good sense to keep the two together on all of their “best of” albums.
Another example would be Van Halen’sEruption - Really got me now.
They just compliment eachother so well and need to be heard together.
So I was pretty confused when their “Best of Both Worlds” album came out, included both songs, but had 6 tracks in between them?? Who the heck made that call?
I was thinking about this the other evening while playing the Rolling Stones’ Out of Their Heads (U.S. version–the British version is a whole other issue). Here London had two classic Stones originals that had already been hits–“The Last Time” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”–set for inclusion. Either one would have made a ripping album opener. Instead, they opted to kick off the album with two workmanlike mid-tempo R&B covers, “Mercy, Mercy” and “Hitch Hike,” while burying “The Last Time” in the middle of side one, and saving “Satisfaction” to kick off side two. It may be that neither the label nor the Stones themselves had quite figured out that the band was now writing its own best material and that the covers were starting to sound like album filler.
Led Zeppelin 1. I had the cassette version which opens with Your Time is Gonna Come. For years I imagined the people who bought it listening to a rather mellow organ opening at a low volume, then increasing the volume to hear it better, then CRASH! I was disappointed when I heard it was not originally the opening shocker I thought it was.
Biffy, to my knowledge, Keef tossed off Satisfaction as a filler track - he salvaged it off that tape he made simply because he needed material. I remember an interview with him where he talked about standing up and popping off when he heard the label wanted to release it as a single - he thought they were mad. I think the cultural-phenomenon success of Satisfaction was a critical turning point in how The Glimmer Twins viewed their songwriting abilities…
The track order on the CD version of Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers is supposedly the way that Alex Chilton wants it, but I vastly prefer the order of the songs on the original vinyl release, which is almost completely different. The LP version has an arc to it; it opens with the beautiful “Stroke It Noel” and has the three miserably slow depressing songs all at the end, creating a wonderful slide into emotional murk that culminates with “Thank You Friends,” which in this context sounds like false optimism. The CD version just sounds like it’s on shuffle to me.
I think it’s more a question of what you’re used to. The first album I ever seriously got into was Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road.” The thing is it was on 8-track, and therefore the songs were shuffled to accommodate track changes. I could never completely enjoy the album the on vinyl the same way because it didn’t flow properly.
I’ll take Keef’s dismissive remarks about the song with a grain of salt, myself, knowing that he was never satisfied (snerk) with the Stones’ rendition. He conceived the famous riff as a horn part, and says that the Otis Redding version was closer to what he had in mind. But the band must have known that they were onto something, since they worked their asses off on it, recording it during a marathon session at Chess in Chicago, flying to L.A. the next day, and re-recording it at RCA. London immediately put it out as a single, but Decca didn’t follow suit in the U.K. until after the song had already hit big in the U.S.
You’re probably right about that being the one song that really got the Jagger-Richard songwriting career into gear; their next “real” album was Aftermath. If you look at the U.K. versions of the albums, which up till that point had all been more covers than originals, what a massive step up the all Jagger-Richard Aftermath was!
As to the topic, Bright Eyes’ Lifted would benefit from removing the first song, “The Big Picture”. I actually like the song, but that’s because I like anything Bright Eyes churns out. In reality, it’s a long, lo-fi mess.