Songs so good, they make the album look bad

These songs are worth a listen … the albums on the other hand

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ANH NGO

The Walkmen’s masterpiece is “The Rat,” off the mediocre album Bow + Arrows.

COLE QUINN, Evergreen photo editor

Whenever I listen to albums, I usually pick out songs that differ in quality from the rest of the album’s material. Some albums may have songs that are mediocre but one or two that are great. Some might have really good songs, but one that stains the album’s clarity. Today, I want to talk about albums that take that to the extreme. 

I would argue that some of the greatest songs ever written have come from a wide variety of albums. Even mediocre or bad albums can produce a gem of a song. Sometimes, one single track can define an entire album for decades. 

I probably won’t come back to these albums – BUT – I do come back to some of the tracks daily. Without further or due, here are songs that completely obliterate the rest of the album.

“The Rat” – The Walkmen, Bows + Arrows, 2004

This song is the epitome of a track so good it makes the rest of the album look bad. After hearing this song for the first time, I honestly didn’t want to finish the album. The music was so perfect I couldn’t stop listening to it. The song’s blistering drumming and guitar work, coupled with an electric organ, creates music unlike any other I have heard. 

This is one of the only songs I know that I can’t define emotionally. It can be sad, energetic, danceable or any other emotion. I would honestly consider the track one of the greatest songs of all time.

“Hide and Seek” – Imogen Heap, Speak for Yourself, 2005

Most people know this song as the “Mmm Whatcha Say” song, but only focusing on this part does a disservice to the rest of the song. The song is the greatest acapella piece I know of and differs from the other songs on the album. The only instrument used besides Heap’s voice is a harmonizer, which turns her voice into a robotic angel. The song sounds like an alien ascending into the heavens. It describes the divorce of her parents in a poetic way, and the composition and structure add to the song’s beauty. 

“Stockholm Syndrome” – Muse, Absolution, 2003

To be honest, I am not the biggest Muse fan. Most of their material is usually hit or miss. However, “Stockholm Syndrome” is an entirely different experience. The album “Absolution”  sounds like standard alternative rock, except this one track.

The song branches into metal, as its opening riff is one of the heaviest riffs I have heard. The song’s composition is all over the place with chromatic chord progressions, and the instrumental break after the second chorus is a section of pure energy. It cements the song above the rest of the catalog in “Absolution.”

“Space Age Love Song” – A Flock of Seagulls, A Flock of Seagulls, 1982

While many might say Flock’s best song is the iconic “I Ran (So Far Away),” I beg to differ. The best song on the band’s self-titled is “Space Age Love Song,” a new-wave masterpiece. Paul Reynold’s reverberated guitar adds so much to the song. The song truly sounds like I am flying through space after falling in love. The rest of the album struggles to reach the quality of the song.

“Enola Gay” – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Organisation, 1980

Another new-wave classic, OMD’s “Enola Gay,” is one of the happiest songs out there. The song’s brightness is ironic, as it describes the Hiroshima bombing during World War II. 

The dark lyrics coupled with a happy melody create a really weird juxtaposition of dread and beauty. The song trumps the rest of the album through its charm.