Friday Open Thread: Best Album Closers

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July 31, 2008

The albums that end perfectly, summing up everything that's come before, but also peaking with the last track.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, “This is Love”, from Stones in the Road.

Garth Brooks, “Face to Face”, from The Chase.

Wynonna, “Rescue Me”, from What the World Needs Now is Love.

Keith Urban, “Everybody”, from Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing.

Kathy Mattea, “Black Lung”, from Coal.

Trisha Yearwood, “Heart's in Armor”, from Hearts in Armor.

Emmylou Harris, “Cup of Kindness”, from Stumble into Grace.

Alison Krauss & Union Station, “A Living Prayer”, from Lonely Runs Both Ways.

And my favorite, all-time closing track. Dixie Chicks. “Top of the World.” From Home. When the song ended, I said, “Wow. That's the best album I've heard in years.” My friend Charlie said, “Kevin, you say that about every record when it first comes out.” I said, “No, seriously dude. I mean it this time.”

I took a big chunk of the great ones, but there are a lot more out there. What do you think is the best album closer?

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  1. John MagliteNo Gravatar says:

    “Very Last Country Song” would be an excellent closer for a country album.

  2. KevinNo Gravatar says:

    John,

    I totally agree.

  3. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    I think a good album closer is Big And Riches “Live This Life” from their debut album. The album is such a high octane experience that the closing song kind of allows the listener to finally cool down and reflect after running what feels like a marathon.

    I’ll think of more, because album closers are really quite important. I think I like it when albums conclude with something slow, something to ponder.

  4. “The Grandpa That I Know” from Patty Loveless’s Dreamin’ My Dreams album.

  5. SD says:

    I think ‘If I had Only Known’ was a perfect closer to Reba’s ‘For My Broken Heart.’ It’s really heartwrenching, and sums up the entire album for me.

  6. ZachNo Gravatar says:

    I totally agree with “Top Of The World” and “If I Had Only Known” as excellent closers

    For Me I guess “Blessed” was a great closer for Martina’s ‘Greatest Hits’ album (It kinda fits in with the theme of a Greatest Hits album)

    and I also agree that “Rescue Me” from Wynonna’s album totally rocks as a closer! (I Luv that abum)

  7. Dan M.No Gravatar says:

    I like most of the ones you named (the rest I haven’t heard).

    I also really like how the album closer of Keith Urban’s Be Here, “These Are The Days,” reprises the opener, “Days Go By.” It’s a very soothing sentiment after all of the drama of the album, and the full-circle thing gives the whole set sort of “concept album” feel, which I love.

  8. Dan M.No Gravatar says:

    Oh, and Dierks’ “Prodigal Son’s Prayer” from Long Trip Alone – what a perfect ending to a travel-themed album, just as “Every Mile A Memory” was the perfect beginning.

  9. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    I second “Prodigal Son’s Prayer”!

  10. Matt B.No Gravatar says:

    a new one “Between Jennings and Jones” from Jamey Johnson’s “That Lonesome Song.”

    “The Dance” from Garth’s self-titled debut.

    “Love Remains” from Collin Raye’s “I Think About You” album.

    Cross Canadian Ragweed’s records all have great album closers that have spiritual overtones.

    Dan Wilson ends his “Free Life” album with his verson of “Easy Silence” (co-written with the Chicks).

    “Gonna Get There Someday” is a song I really relate to from Dierks’ album “Long Trip Alone.” (Especially since my mother just had a breast biopsy to see if she has cancer or not).

    I would venture to say that the album ‘closer’ is as important as the album opener on a truely complete album.

    Hell, I’d even say “I’m Movin’ On” is a great album closer.

  11. End of The Line-Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

    Kentucky Mine-Diamond Rio-Love A Little Stronger
    (I Will) Start All Over Again-Diamond Rio-Unbelievable

  12. LJNo Gravatar says:

    Definitely “Very Last Country Song” off Sugarland’s new “Love on the Inside”. (reg. edition)

  13. TomNo Gravatar says:

    the best album closer is a song that is on par with the opener. not an easy task for most of the not so great mainstream artists. their albums tend to run out of steam after the hit songs.

  14. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Matt,

    Best wishes to your mom. I remember, last year, how scarey it was when the same thing happened with my sister who’s only 14. Thankfully, everything turned out fine. I hope the same happens for your mom.

  15. TrailerNo Gravatar says:

    Some good ones:
    Joe Nichols w/Leeann Womack – “If I Could Only Fly” on Real Things
    Bruce Springsteen – “Jungleland” on Born to Run
    Cash – “I’m Free From the Chain Gang Now” on American V
    Drive-by Truckers – “GD Lonely Love” on The Dirty South

  16. Philly JeffNo Gravatar says:

    “High Lonesome Sound” (the bluegrass version) on my favorite Vince Gill album, High Lonesome Sound. I thought having two versions of the same song on the same album would be a little too cute, but they really did feel different. And the bluegrass version was the perfect end to this album.

  17. Tad says:

    Here are a couple:

    “The Queen of the Silver Dollar” off of Emmylou Harris’ Pieces of the Sky.
    “Live and Learn” from Clint Black’s Killin’ Time
    “Where Have You Been” from Kathy Mattea’s Willow in the Wind
    “Rosalie’s Good Eats Cafe” – Bobbie Bare’s Lullaby’s Legends and Lies.
    “This Old Guitar” – John Denver’s Back Home Again

    A couple Don Williams closers:
    “Good ol’ Boys Like Me” – Portrait
    “She Never Knew Me” – Harmony
    “We Got a Good Fire Goin’” – New Moves
    “Amanda” – Don Williams 1

    “Amanda” also works for Waylon: the Ramblin’ Man too.

    “Ode To Billie Joe” from Bobbie Gentry’s album of the same title (and sorry about not naming the song I mentioned yesterday – it was “Mississippi Delta” off of the same album – my coffee hadn’t kicked in)

  18. BrodyNo Gravatar says:

    Not only does Guy Clark’s Dublin Blues have a great opener, which I mentioned in yesterday’s thread, but it has a killer closer in “The Randall Knife.” And “The Last Gunfighter Ballad” from Texas Cookin’ is pretty killer itself. One day I will complete my quest to convert everyone into raging Guy Clark fans. Until then, I’ll have to settle for littering your threads with my fandom.

  19. TomNo Gravatar says:

    it would help your campaign immensely, if guy clark was a slightly better vocalist. even the finest songs have to pass the ears first.

  20. Cynthia says:

    I second “These are the Days,” and of course Trisha’s “Sing You Back to Me” is a beautiful closer to her HHPOL album.

  21. BrodyNo Gravatar says:

    He’s not a bad vocalist by any means, he just sounds different than the homogeneous, doctored vocals of the radio environment. His voice is honest and emotive and he actually believes the words he’s singing. Real, would probably be a good term to describe his vocals. But to each their own.

  22. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Brody, have you heard the song that he does with Vince on Vince’s These Days album? I don’t think he sings on it, but he is really effective for the purpose of the song.

  23. Hard TimesNo Gravatar says:

    “Someday I Will Lead the Parade” by Patty Loveless on “The Trouble With the Truth.”

  24. BrodyNo Gravatar says:

    Yup, it was one of my favorites from that project, and probably still would have been even if Clark wasn’t on it. Good stuff.

  25. Philly JeffNo Gravatar says:

    I forgot one: “Patches” by George Jones and B.B. King on “Rhythm Country & Blues”.

    I think Brody’s right: Guy Clark has a good, but out-of-left-field, voice. I just don’t think it’s a radio friendly voice. But then I don’t think Willie Nelson has a radio friendly voice or that Kris Kristofferson has (or had) a particularly good voice. But there are other elements that make up an artist other than to hit soaring notes. See, e.g., Bob Dylan.

  26. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Brody, I knew I liked you!

  27. Chris N.No Gravatar says:

    You are correct, sir: It’s “Top of the World.” Holy crap, that is awesome.

  28. TomNo Gravatar says:

    these posts about guy clarks vocal qualities are great. they easily beat the reasoning of that chrysler design team that gave the automotive world the amc pacer car.

  29. banjoNo Gravatar says:

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  30. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry, Tom, I find myself scratching my head to reach to comprehend your analogies sometimes.:) I’m not sure what you meant there, since I don’t know anything about pacer cars?

  31. gabyNo Gravatar says:

    yep kevin “top of the world”

    hands down my favorite (off one of my favorite albums ever)

  32. Greg M says:

    Along with the songs mentioned, how about “I Hope” off the Chicks’ Taking the Long Way album. The whole album is a rollercoaster of emotions (Dealing with the incident, Alzheimers, birth of children) but it ends very optimistically. That really was a well-rounded album.

  33. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Gregg M.,

    I meant to post that song too. I thought of it in the middle of the night, but apparently forgot about it by morning. I completely agree.

  34. Stephen H.No Gravatar says:

    “Live This Life” by Big & Rich, excluding the “hidden track” at the very end of that song.

  35. Matt B.No Gravatar says:

    I have to second the “Kentucky Mine” mention from Diamond Rio’s album.

    Also “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” from “Only What I Feel.” Such an emotionally intense song.

  36. Matt B.No Gravatar says:

    “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” being a Patty Loveless song and all…

  37. B. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    Patty Loveless tends to draw her albums to a close on a reflective note (“The Grandpa That I Know”, “How Can I Help…”, “When I Reach the Place I’m Going”, Someday I Will Lead the Parade”. All testaments to the truth and beauty in overcoming our worst moments.

  38. TomNo Gravatar says:

    leeann,
    you probably know the amc pacer – it’s the car in which wayne and garth (wayne’s world) listen to queen’s “bohemian rhapsody”. it looks like a half- bubble on wheels and has a lousy performance. in short, it was such a flop, it eventually became cult.

    i imagine in order to “sell” such a lousy idea, the design team had to resort to all kinds of euphemisms to get the “go ahead” for this incredible motor. now, we can find all sorts of adjectives like “real”, “out-of-left-field” or as you mentioned “not even singing” to best describe guy clarks vocals but in the end the fact remains – he’s just not a great vocalist.

    having said that, i agree entirely that his style of singing and his songs blend beautifully in rugged sort of way. moreover, the fact that i paid $110/seat to see kris kristofferson two weeks ago here in zurich might serve as an idication that i thoroughly enjoy great songwriters even when they sound somewhat “real”.

  39. PeterNo Gravatar says:

    Hard Times Says: August 1, 2008 at 8:18 am
    “Someday I Will Lead the Parade” by Patty Loveless on “The Trouble With the Truth.”

    I’ll second that and add Til I Get Right from Trisha Yearwoods’ Thinkin About You

  40. LeeannNo Gravatar says:

    Ah, I see what you’re saying now. Thanks for clearing it up for me.

    When I say Guy wasn’t singing on the Vince song, I was being literal. Vince had him do a speaking part. I’m not too familiar with Guy Clark’s vocal abilities, though Brody’s enthusiastic recommendation will motivate me to give him a try, so I can’t participate further in the Clark debate.

  41. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    Well, I definitely agree on “Top of the World”, an amazing song from an amazing album.

    I also loved “Very Last Country Song” from Love on the Inside, yet again an amazing song from an amazing album, in my opinion.

    Of course, “Sing You Back To Me” from H,H,atPoL by Trisha Yearwood, it just left me stunned, really.

    Why Should the Fire Die? by Nickel Creek is a great album, and it closed with the title track, one of my favorites from the album, and it left me relaxed and it’s a gorgeous song as well.

    Lastly, I know it’s not country, but I just got The Diary of Alicia Keys. Her outro/song “Nobody Not Really” just closed her album very well for me, in a different jazzy way that I wasn’t really expecting.

  42. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    Whoops, I forgot the acoustic version of “Stay” from Little Big Town’s the Road to Here. They used their harmonies perfectly to convey the longing of the song, and it’s one of my favorite songs from them as well.

    -Sorry for the double post.

  43. Dan M.No Gravatar says:

    Chris, you’re a much more gracious double-poster than I am!

  44. Chris D.No Gravatar says:

    Thanks, I hate it when I forget to put stuff in my posts! I had been looking through my itunes and realized I forgot LBT…

    Maybe another good topic after the past two would be the worst album openers/closers?

  45. MarcNo Gravatar says:

    I smell a “best male/female duet/collaboration” open thread coming soon. I’m ready!

  46. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar says:

    or a best female/female duet collaboration …

  47. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I thought “Fade to Blue” from LeAnn Rimes’ album “Blue” was pretty cute, especially since she started the album by singing “Blue.” Besides, the lyrics of “Fade to Blue” actually talk about a stage is set, the curtain is closing.

  48. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    I would say “Top of the World” and “Hearts in Armor” are my two favorites, but I do think “Lying to the Moon” from Trisha’s “The Song Remembers When” album and “What I Cannot Change” from LeAnn Rimes’s latest release deserve honorable mention.

  49. TenPoundHammerNo Gravatar says:

    Best album closer: “Live This Life” by Big & Rich from Horse of a Different Color. Other great closers include “Take Me Back” from The Kentucky Headhunters’ Electric Barnyard album

  50. Peter KohanNo Gravatar says:

    I’ll toss in a couple of Lyle Lovett album closers:
    1. “Once is Enough” from Lyle Lovett and His Large Band
    2. “She Makes Me Feel Good” from Joshua Judges Ruth

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