Now the majority of the moving-in rigmarole is finally done – we have a couple of small side tables to build and that’s about it – not to mention our fibre broadband finally installed and live, I can begin to return to some kind of normality on /amodelofcontrol.com. That should mean a return to weekly /Tuesday Ten posts, and perhaps more importantly my livestreams will return as of next week.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue the concept of endings this week, but in a different way. I’m talking about the use of false endings in song, which artists have used and abused in a great many ways for a long time, including, as some people in the suggestion thread noted, back in classical times. Some are just bits of fun, some are dynamic and shocking.
It turned out, too, that this was a difficult one. I got 59 suggestions, ten of which had been used before. There were 56 unique songs, too, and 39 people suggested songs. Thank you all, as ever.
A quick explanation for new readers (hi there!): my Tuesday Ten series has been running since March 2007, and each month features at least ten new songs you should hear – and in between those monthly posts, I feature songs on a variety of subjects, with some of the songs featured coming from suggestion threads on Facebook.
Feel free to get involved with these – the more the merrier, and the breadth of suggestions that I get continues to astound. Otherwise, as usual, if you’ve got something you want me to hear, something I should be writing about, or even a gig I should be attending, e-mail me, or drop me a line on Facebook (details below).
/The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste
One of the mightiest songs in industrial (metal), one of the breakthrough points for the nascent Ministry, and also one of the first songs to liberally sample Full Metal Jacket (a trend in industrial that literally took two decades to abate), well beyond thirty years since release, this song still fucking destroys (especially live, where it was a batshit highlight to a fantastic Ministry show in London in 2019 where the ‘pit basically became the entire venue). But, as my friend Mark noted when suggesting it for this post, this is the king of false endings in industrial music. Yet more samples from FMJ help to create no less than seven false endings over the last thirty seconds, before it finally collapses with one last guitar flourish.
One of the searing highlights of the sometimes-uneven Rabies – a record that appeared to have a significant influence from Al Jourgensen of Ministry – is an early industrial song preoccupied with environmental issues – specifically oil-based pollution, something that had come to worldwide attention thanks to the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which when it happened in early 1989 was, and remains, the oil spill that had the worst impact on the environment. The song coils and snarls around a galloping rhythm that remains the beating heart of the track until about ten seconds from the end, where it stops dead, and a second or two later, creepy looped voices take us to the close. The live version of this is off the charts, too.
I’m struggling to think of another Sheffield band that have sold over 100 million records – or even come close to the 25 million that Hysteria sold. That success was thanks to the host of radio-friendly singles on it, like Animal, that like so many of their big hits relies on wordplay to make the monstrous, catchy chorus work. Through the song, the band make good use of a short stop dead after each chorus, but as the song wraps up, it appears that the end of the repeated chorus is the end of the song…but then, they get one more refrain in before finally stopping for good.
Those who were paying attention after the fuss died down already know this, but there was, and is, a lot more to Electric Six than Danger! High Voltage and Gay Bar. Their knack with catchy, smart punky-pop-electro songs has continued to this day, and another of those songs that really should have crossed over like the others is the outstanding Improper Dancing (which comes from that same breakthrough album). Basically an ode to dancing whenever you like, and to whatever the fuck you like, without being judged by anyone else, the reason it joins this list is thanks to the lengthy coda, interrupted by Dick Valentine’s “Stop…! Continue” with twenty seconds or so to go, that has more than likely caught out a DJ or two over the years.
/Joan of Arc
/Architecture & Morality
Unusually one of two songs about Joan of Arc, that were sequenced back-to-back on this excellent album, it is perhaps not quite as much-loved as the following Maid of Orleans is. Like most of OMD’s best output, though, it is a masterpiece of economy, with few flourishes on the song aside from the choral sounds, leaving it a rather stark song compared to the swooning beauty of the “other” song, almost as if the pair are opposite sides of the same coin. The song ends weirdly, too, fading away almost entirely, before the choral vocals pick up the thread and drag out the song for another few bars – and providing a neat segue into what follows, as it happens…
Only a third appearance in this series for one of the most enduring British Goth/synthpop bands – even if these days they are more of a live proposition than a recording one. This song, an enduring goth dancefloor and live favourite, is one of those songs that made me a committed fan of them, a relentless, breathless song that fits in a lot of words and probably even more hooks, and ironically for the title, perhaps, reprises the chorus at least once more after the point where you think the song is ending, and squeezes in a key change when doing so…
/You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire
/Songs for the Deaf
The lead song on QOTSA’s commercial (as opposed to critical) breakthrough, it opens with a fake rock radio station ident, before spectacularly switching from mono to stereo (with the volume up, it’s a sensation not unlike the band crashing through the wall onto your sofa), and it becomes clear that the title is as long as the track is brief (it is a Nick Oliveri-led track after all). Although, not as brief as first appears, as the song stops thirty-five seconds short of the allotted time…and six seconds of dead air follow before the band pick up again and carry you to the finish. Josh Homme has form for this kind of fake endings – at least two other songs he wrote also made it into the suggestions this week!
I slept on this band for far too long, despite the recommendations of particular friends whose opinions I should have listened to long since. I mean, viciously noisy rock with shoegaze and goth edges really should appeal to me, right? Certainly the mighty Exploding Head does (from start to finish), and now, I’m moving on the timeline a bit. The title track to this album seems more restrained in some respects, rather than the step-on-every-pedal-and-then-turn-them-all-to-eleven of what came before, but it is still a bracing listen, and another dead air gap comes out of nowhere to fake out the ending here.
/Never Let It Go
Another track, like Thieves, to have multiple false endings – but one less at six I think, and with liberal use of dead air rather than samples – this came from the album that really saw Mushroomhead gain some unexpected mainstream (metal) success just after the Millenium. Like Slipknot (a band they never appeared especially happy about being compared to), they were a large collective, who wore sinister masks and something of a uniform, but there was a difference in their sound. Less outright aggressive and dangerous-feeling than Slipknot, there was malevolence and more than a few nods to Faith No More (particularly in those synths), and the first half of this (perhaps overlong) album contains some of the best experimental metal of the time – maybe unsurprising in that it was collated from three previous self-released albums. The band have continued to this day, too.
A mile away from the bright youth and simplicity of their earlier work, Good Vibrations closes us out this week with a tour de force of recording technology, songwriting and ideas. I mean, there’s about four songs going on here within the four minutes of this song, it jumps all over the place (a testament to the insane technicality (of the time) that created this, but somehow works perfectly. The ghostly use of Electro-Theremin weaves in and out of the mix, as do vocal harmonies, pianos, guitars, phased drums, and probably the kitchen sink and most of the white goods too. The song seems to be fading out amid church organ and harmonies…before that extraordinary chorus crashes back in one more time, and even that isn’t the end, with that Theremin-led kick providing one last thrill in the final seconds. Many of their contemporaries, not to mention followers, had entire careers with less ideas than there are in this song.