Back for another round – after adding several new staff members to Mind Equals Blown, I decided to bring a few of them in on the rank-action. The hiatus from this bit has proven to be beneficial in my eyes, piecing together different categories which are not only rank-able, but also intriguing (at least to me, anyway). For this segment of MEB Ranks, we have collaborated on the most influential hidden tracks of all time. A category which is quickly disappearing in modern music, it has always proved to hold a firm grasp on my relationship with music. As always, enjoy:
Jarrod Church’s #1 Hidden Track – “This Time Imperfect” by AFI
Choosing a favorite track of all time has been an easy choice for around 10 years or so now. The song just so happens to fall nine minutes into Sing the Sorrow‘s final track “…But Home is Nowhere”. Following several minutes of haunting keys behind both a young girl and vocalist Davey Havok’s combined reading of faint poetry, the music gently chimes back in. What follows, is undoubtedly AFI‘s best track in their entire discography (including their unreleased and B-sides, which have always been outstanding). The bias-ness is perhaps a bit high coming from my personal perspective, considering the album in which the track lies sits at the very top of my personal list. That being said, many opinions have since reiterated the simple fact that both the album and the hidden gem lying so deep within the album’s roots transcend perfection. To put the cluster of 3:59 into words is a tough task due to the emotional storm of lyrical genius wrapped around a musical crescendo, but I will give it my best shot. “This Time Imperfect” – A prolific masterpiece. Perfect.
Megan Ammer’s #1 Hidden Track – “Lullabye” by Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy’s “Lullabye”, the hidden track on Folie à Deux is my preferred hidden track because of its calm demeanor and silly lyrics. It’s so unusual for Fall Out Boy to produce something so inane as this, especially with lyrics like “Honey is for bees silly bear/and besides there’s jellybeans everywhere,” but somehow the song forms into this statement on the turmoil of life. The simplicity of Patrick Stump’s voice and guitar accompaniment, which never really changes in rhythm except with a chord change in the chorus, work together to create a short, sweet, hidden introduction to their last, pre-hiatus album. It’s just a sweeter side to the harsh realities Fall Out Boy so painstakingly point out with each emo-pop hit, and a cute reminder that “life is just a Ferris wheel/it’s always up and down/don’t make a sound/when you wake up/the world will come around.”
Connor Feimster’s #1 Hidden Track – “Blood” by My Chemical Romance
Let’s take a trip to 2006. I had just begun my freshman year at a new school and virtually had no friends. My favorite band at the time was My Chemical Romance and they had just released their explosive concept record The Black Parade. This was back when I didn’t give a shit about what my parents thought of my music taste and forced my mom to let me listen to the whole record in the car. As we drove and played it, “Famous Last Words” had uplifted my sad little boy mood and all I planned to do was repeat the whole thing again. That was when track 14 began and little ol’ me was pretty confused. A minute passed and “Blood” began. There was something about its placement at that time but I immediately fell in love with the classic lunacy of the track. It felt as if I was watching a sideshow and singing along long before I’d even originally heard it. Its wackiness intrigued me and reeled me in and I like to think of it as a catalyst for my wide range of musical interests.
Chelsey Milkovich’s #1 Hidden Track – “All By Myself” by Green Day
Growing up as a rebellious, punk teenager (or so I thought), Green Day was my favorite band and Dookie was my absolute favorite album. Looking back and laughing at the childish phase I went through, I can’t hide the fact that I still have a soft spot in my heart for Green Day. That being said, one of my favorite tracks found on Dookie is the hidden track named “All By Myself”, which can be found after seconds of silence on “F.O.D.”, the last track. When I think of hidden tracks I think one of two things. Either this hidden track is going to be something absolutely mind blowing or a total joke. In Green Day’s case, “All By Myself” just so happened to be the second choice. Want the run down? Plain and simple, it’s drummer Tre Cool’s own acoustic mini-song about masturbation. Not only is it a lyrical laugh, but the background sounds indicate it was recorded in a laid-back setting, making it a joke in that sense as well. While the song obviously isn’t one of Green Day’s greatest hits, it’s a great example of the band at their early, less mature stage, and I mean that with no offense intended. This hidden track takes me back to the immature punks Green Day once were – pure nostalgia.
Nick Niedzielski’s #1 Hidden Track – The Final 29 Tracks of The Mark, Tom and Travis Show by blink-182
That’s right. My choice for best hidden track is actually 29 hidden tracks. And none of them are actual music. So what if that’s cheating? All I know is that The Mark, Tom, And Travis Show is the funniest and most entertaining live album that I have ever heard, and the majority of that can be attributed to the second half of the record. After 19 blistering live tracks and 1 new studio track, the listener is then treated to almost 12 minutes of straight stage banter. Covering a variety of topics (actually it’s mostly just dick jokes), the hidden tracks are what make the record special. Not only are they hilarious, but they give you a glimpse into the personality that made people love blink-182. So if you ever get bummed out about whiny-accented Tom and his super serious life-changing Angels & Airwaves music, throw on The Mark, Tom And Travis Show and listen to him tell the audience that Santa Claus is going to come and rape their dogs, and everything will be alright.
Gene Buonaccorsi’s #1 Hidden Track – “Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)” by The Lawrence Arms
In 2 minutes and 38 seconds, Brendan, Chris and Neil serve up a hilarious and pointed tongue-in-cheek slap at one of punk’s most derailed traditions. With twanging guitars and mellow vocals, they pull no punches in commenting on everything from the hive-mind mentality of tour-goers to the price of nachos. Although it sits hidden behind the album’s final track, “Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)” is pure essence of The Lawrence Arms. While the content doesn’t fit particularly well on Oh! Calcutta!, it feels like a shame that the song can’t sit in a more prominent seat. Commentary is one of The Lawrence Arms’ finest tools in their kit.
Craig Roxburgh’s #1 Hidden Track – “Rocks” by Imagine Dragons
Most people tend to hate hidden tracks because you have to wade through many minutes of silence just to get to them. One of the things that make “Rocks” great is that the silence between “Nothing to Lose” and it isn’t that long. That isn’t why I love it though. I love it because it’s such an upbeat song. It sounds like folk music’s massive kick-drums met indie rock’s upbeat sensibility laced with the happy-go-lucky synth sounds of indie pop. If I ever need to cheer myself up, I just throw this song and have a good old dancing and sing-along session. Note: I can’t dance. Or sing.
Jeremy Vane-Tempest’s #1 Hidden Track – “Wings For Marie Pt. 3” by Tool
I’ve never been shy about my infatuation with Tool. Lateralus is probably my favorite album of all time, and Aenema is breathtaking. 10,000 Days wasn’t up to their usual standard, but they put a hidden track in 10,000 Days in a way that only Tool would ever think of. It’s like this: you get these three songs from 10,000 Days: “Wings For Marie Pt. 1”, “10,000 Days (Wings For Marie Pt. 2)” and “Viginti Tres”. You play “Viginti Tres” and “Wings Pt. 1” in that order, and simultaneously play “10,000 Days (Wings Pt. 2)”. Listen here and have your mind blown.
Eli Shively’s #1 Hidden Track – “Endless, Nameless” by Nirvana
Being too young to have experienced the age where stumbling upon a hidden track in an album would have been a genuine surprise, I can only imagine how it would’ve felt to discover the true closing moments of Nirvana‘s 1991 grunge masterpiece, Nevermind. The last track listed on the record is the somber, emotional ballad “Something in the Way”, which caps off the poppy yet hard-hitting collection of songs quite nicely…that is, unless you decided to leave the LP or CD spinning after it was over. After several minutes, dark, powerful sounds emerge from pure silence, and “Endless, Nameless”, the track hidden at the end of the album begins. Pounding drums, dissonant guitar sounds, a maniacal vocal performance – everything about the track seemed eerie and sinister in a way. Nirvana had proved their talent for writing lighter-sounding material on Nevermind, but a listen to “Endless, Nameless” is like taking a peek behind the curtain and seeing the what kind of sounds the band was truly capable of producing. While “Something in the Way” showcased the band’s more sensitive side, “Endless” proved that they still had the talent to make incredibly heavy music that shakes the listener to their very core.