Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where's the Good Shit?

I have heard it said that the first song on a record is always the best one.  To defend this argument, The Black Keys' Rubber Factory and El Camino were sitedIn fact, one might go so far as to say that the first half of a record is always the best half.  Personally, I have to respectfully disagree.  IF I'm going to prefer one part of a record over the other (this used to be referred to as the A Side and B Side, but in this age of CDs and digital music, those terms have all but lost their meaning), I will almost always favor the second half.  In fact, back in the day when I bought singles on cassette, I invariably ended up liking the B Side better than the song I had originally intended to purchase.  I'm just funny that way I guess. 

To prove my point, I scrolled through (so sad...) my music collection and pulled out a few examples.  The first one I came across could actually be used for either argument, so I'll offer it up first, just to be diplomatic or whatever.

AC/DC - The Razor's Edge - I love the shit out of this album and have forever it seems - I've listened to it so many times over the years that when I hear a song from it on the radio, I expect the next song on the album to come up next.  The first song is "Thunderstruck" which could possibly be called the best AC/DC song of all.  I mean, it is really great, but the second half of this album is loaded with some of my personal favorite AC/DC songs: "Are You Ready", "Got You By the Balls" and "Let's Make It" so of course I prefer it.

Matchbox Twenty - Yourself or Someone Like You - although "Long Day", my all-time favorite of their songs is the second one in line on this album, the last part is far and away better with "Damn", "Argue", "Kody", "Busted", "Shame" and "Hang" all in a row.  What a killer lineup of tunes.

Nirvana - Nevermind - Obviously a classic album from my youth (although not at good as the Unplugged album, if you ask me), but the songs at the end, the ones nobody every talked about like "Drain You", "Lounge Act" and "On a Plain" are definitely some of the best songs they did. 

Rob Thomas - Cradlesong - I love this album.  My sister gave it to me and I had it for a long time before I really came to appreciate it.  I couldn't tell you why that is, but whatever.  Anyway, when I finally got to really listening to it, I played the absolute shit out of it and have come to really adore the last 5 or 6 songs on it.

Anna Nalick - Wreck of the Day - another album that came from my sister that I had for a really long time before it grew on me.  I liked the radio hit off of it, but that was all, I wasn't in love.  Until I finally got around to listening to songs like "Bleed", "Catalyst" and my personal favorite of hers "Consider This" - all on the "B side".

My point is, don't give up on an album until you've listened to the whole thing at least once.  Sometimes the diamonds in the rough are hiding at the end of the record.  Because of my nature, this leads me to wonder even more about how albums are arranged - you know, how they decide what order to put the songs in.  Maybe someday I'll get around to asking someone who would actually know.

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