My Top Five Closing Tracks

Written by on October 4, 2023

What makes an album perfect? Is it good vocals, great production, or stellar songwriting? Yes, yes, and yes. Luckily, we live in a time where there are millions of artists making quality music, so what separates the great from the perfect?

The devil is in the details, rather than its brain-melting transitions like Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE or cohesive narratives like Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE. Sometimes, an artist puts a little extra love into a record only the most compulsive of listeners can clock. In this article, I’m writing about the artists who put extra thought into their album send-off. Here are some of my favorite closing tracks.

1.) “I Know The End” by Phoebe Bridgers

I Know the End (Official Video) by Pheobe Bridgers

“I Know The End” is the triumphant and cinematic ending to Pheobe Bridgers’ second studio album, Punisher. The song keeps you guessing to the very end. It starts with her traditional melodic folk sound and descriptive story-building lyrics, then ends with a chorus of screams. You have not lived until you have listened and screamed along with her. It is so therapeutic. Go do it. Now.

“I’m like, OK, I want some – I want a crazy outro, and I want to scream”

Pheobe Bridgers on the It’s Been a Minute podcast

2.) “Get Free” by Lana Del Rey

Get Free (Offical Audio) by Lana Del Rey

“Get Free” is Lana Del Rey’s modern manifesto! It is the final song of her fourth studio album, Lust for Life, where she pays homage to the swinging sixties. Think Summer of Love meets Playboi Carti. I love “Get Free” for its optimistic lyrics and nostalgic sound. It’s not a goodbye, but a see you later. There’s something magic about an artist like Lana breaking out of her traditionally sad mold to end an album with a song about realization, retreat, wonder, and peace.

“Well, in my head, the black was negative thinking, and the blue was a bit of a retreat into nature.”

Lana Del Rey on the World Cafe podcast

3.) “goodbye” by Billie Eilish

goodbye (Official Audio) by Billie Eilish

Out of all the songs on this list, “goodbye,” the final track of WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO, is the most intentional. The song was developed for the express purpose of ending the album. It is essentially an amalgamation of all the songs on the album delivered in Billie’s signature style: unique sensory production and haunting vocals. The music really does sound like an ending. It is incredibly cool.

“I don’t like when a song just ends an album and then nothing feels like it’s actually over. I really wanted something to feel like a finish line, to feel like a period at the end, you know?”

Billie Eilish, verified commentary, Genius

4.) “20 Something” by SZA

20 Something (Official Audio) by SZA

Ctrl, SZA’s debut studio album, ends with “20 Something.” It is a soul-bearing track about the turmoil and confusion that is unknowingly synonymous with the decade. It reflects the album’s first song, “Supermodel”. The album starts and ends with a grainy voice recording of a phone conversation between Sza and her Mother. This, coupled with the two songs’ similar instrumentation, makes the album feel circular and cohesive. It just scratches the brain.

“And if it’s an illusion, I don’t want to wake up I’m gonna hang on to it Because the alternative is an abyss, is just a hole, a darkness, a nothingness Who wants that? You know? So that’s what I think about CTRL, and that’s my story And I’m sticking to it”.

Audrey Rowe “20 Something”

5.) “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” by Tyler, The Creator

ARE WE STILL FRIENDS (Offical Audio) by Tyler, The Creator

IGOR is a linear story album that chronicles a tumultuous relationship between Tyler and a past lover. “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” the album’s closing track captures the melancholy, regret, and anxiety of parting ways. He leaves the album fighting, dragging his feat with pleading lyrics and chaotic musical composition. I like this song as a closing track because Tyler signs off from his fifth studio album by not signing off at all. He ends the album with a question, a Hail Mary pass at continued connection with his ex and the audience.

Can’t say goodbye, goobye

Tyler, The Creator “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS”

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