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Last Cuts

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So last night I had my second to last radio show (ever) and quite appropriately I played last tracks from albums. In introducing the theme of the show I said that part of what constitutes a last track is the conditioning you get from listening to an album over and over again. I then went on to talk about other characteristics of last tracks including the fact that some just don’t know how to end and the use of fade-out by the group/artist. I’ve since been thinking about what I think contributes the most to what makes a last track a last track. I concluded earlish this morning that the reason a person might identify a last track as such is because they’ve been conditioned to thinking of it as a last track from listening to the album it finishes off over and over again. In our world of downloading what I consider to be the hallmarks of a last track (namely that sense of finality you get when listening to it) may not be as universal as it use to be. It’s not like with a classical piece where you go through certain structures (exposition, development, recapitulation, coda) that lead you to a sense of finality. I identify these songs as last tracks because I’ve listened to the albums enough to be conditioned to identify them as such. The reason I put “Come On Home” and “40′” from Franz Ferdinand’s first album together is because when I listened to the album (about a million times) I became conditioned to identify them as one big lump. So while there are things that are universal about last tracks, it’s also a very personal thing. However none of this changes the fact that songs that you identify as last tracks are hard to program within a radio show. Unless you put them last in which case it works just fine.

  1. Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere
  2. The Clash – Train in Vain
  3. Cake – Tougher Than It Is
  4. Kate Nash* – Merry Happy**
  5. Keane – Love Is The End
  6. Ok Go – Bye Bye Baby
  7. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
  8. The Zutons – Don’t Ever (Think Too Much)
  9. The Cribs – Things Aren’t Gonna Change
  10. Franz Ferdinand – Come On Home/40′
  11. The Beatles – Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End***

*Nifty fact about Kate Nash: She’s from Harrow, Middlesex which is where I lived when I studied abroad. Also she’s dating one of the lead singers of the Cribs Ryan Jarman.
**Another nifty fact: I can play the main piano theme that you hear at the beginning and the other piano theme from the end. Knowing how to play those two things lead me to learn the following about the song: It’s in the key of A major. Yay being a music major!
***The Beatles – Her Majesty

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