Most bands are content with traditional album structure, compiling as many full-length songs on a CD as possible. However, some of my favorite albums have taken a 180 from that approach by writing in introductory tracks, interludes, and outro songs. For some bands, it works. For others, it doesn’t, and it comes across as unnecessary filler. Here’s a look into three tracks that make their respective albums that much better by taking breaks from the usual song length and serving as intermissions for the listener to take a breath between songs.
1. “The Takeover” – Four Year Strong
A good pop-punk album needs to start not with a bang, but with a flat-out explosion nowadays, and Four Year Strong found a way to kick off their album Rise or Die Trying with the musical equivalent of a supernova. Opening with ambient guitars and sleepy guitar riffs, once the gang vocals take the intro in a throttle with the line “Start the take over!” it sets the pace for the rest of the album, and is worthy of a minute-and-a-half mosh pit all to itself.
2. “The Fallen Interlude” – Blink-182
On what is in my opinion Blink-182’s best album to date (the jury’s still out on the release date of their reunion effort) Mark, Tom, and Travis sandwich “The Fallen Interlude” between sullen pop-punk jam “Down” and the angst-ridden, furiously paced “Go.” Although it probably gets overlooked as one of the more underrated tracks of the album, “The Fallen Interlude” is an understated ballad that emphasizes a relaxing vibe and low-key instrumentation that comes as a welcome break.
3. “Exitlude” – The Killers
Sam’s Town was a heavy departure of sound from Brandon Flowers and company’s faux Brit-pop on Hot Fuss. On a heavily Bruce Springsteen-influenced Americana-rock album, the inspiration for the ending track sounds more like The Beatles. With jaunty piano chords, Flowers’s voice oozing with melancholy and heartache, and some nifty full-band vocals, this heartstring-tugging melody is a bittersweet way to end the band’s sophomore effort.