The 50 Best Album Closing Tracks in History

A few weeks back, we surveyed the art of the album opening track, putting together a pretty exhaustive list of our 50 favorites and generally opining on what makes for an effective introductory song. The flipside to this, quite literally, is the closing track, and so we’ve put together a similarly epic list of songs that demonstrate how to finish an album in style. There are several distinct genres here — the epic flare-out, the unexpected left turn, the reflective ballad — but they all share one characteristic: making you want to hit “play” again immediately.

Ash — “Darkside Lightside” (from 1977, 1996)

Not so much the song, although it’s great — this one earns its place for the closing “Sick Party,” a secret track that arrives some ten minutes after “Darkside Lightside” itself and features a recording of one of the band’s friends vomiting repeatedly on cue. True story: the first time I listened to this record, I left it playing and went off to school, blissfully unaware that the sound of chundering Irishmen had frightened the hell out of my mother about 15 minutes later.