What’s the best way to sign off in song? Four key changes and a slow fade? A desolate, crashing downbeat? Or what about an on-the-nose, unashamed comedy sound effect?
Seeing as how you take your leave in music is just, if not more, important than how you make your entrance, here are 10 examples of what TV Cream considers to be the finest final 60 seconds in pop.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want THE ROLLING STONES
Slap on a church choir singing progressively higher chords, add a runaway honky-tonk piano and a titanic pair of maracas, then top it all off by suddenly shifting up a further gear by switching the drums into double time. Fade before matter fuses with anti-matter and Mick Jagger explodes.
Titanic Days KIRSTY MACCOLL
Proceedings then sink down into a cruel lullaby of tolling bells, lapping waves, cawing gulls and statuesque strings.
One by one the sounds disappear, until just an echo of melody remains. *Sniff*.
Slave to the Rhythm GRACE JONES
Great fuck-off slabs of synthesiser pop and parp all over the place while strings swoop, brass squeals, the bass burps, an audience bursts into applause, the drums declare World War Three, and suddenly: “here’s Grace”. Cue a post-coital coda of strangely poignant keyboard seepage.
Left to my Own Devices PET SHOP BOYS
After musing on the practicalities of Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat, our hero Neil vows to “sit up all night and day, waiting for the minute I hear you say…” Cue ENORMOUS orchestral crescendo, a similarly seismic drum roll, and a final, triumphant charge through the chorus with flags and bunting a-flying. “Come on baby!”
The Message GRANDMASTER FLASH AND THE FURIOUS FIVE
But just as the conversation is flowing, sirens are heard, the NYPD arrive and a spectacular miscarriage of justice unfolds. “We down with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five!” pleads one. It’s no good. “I doan wanna hear yer mouth!” growls a cop, and slaps on the cuffs. Message well and truly sent.
Some Girls are Bigger Than Others THE SMITHS
A case of triumph being snatched from four square Salford jaws of defeat. Morrissey forswears his hitherto pen portraiture of pan-generational breastage for the plaintive instruction: “Send me your pillow, the one that you dream on – and I’ll send you mine.”
Cue a cycle of lush, magical, Marr-coated refrains of ever-evolving guitar noodlery, which seem, and really ought, to go on forever.
Lovely Rita THE BEATLES
One of McCartney’s “deceptively simple” (© every Beatles scholar ever) and masterfully-crafted (ditto) classics, that you know he dashed off in five minutes between baking an acid pie and learning the French horn.
It ends with a demented but fantastic bit of nonsense comprising, among others, a bluesy piano, some hissing, groaning, heavy breathing, someone yelling as if being repeatedly prodded, a ghostly wail (not, for once, Yoko) and Lennon telling someone to “leave it” (ditto).
New Life DEPECHE MODE
The boys have already treated us to a textbook pop recipe of singalonga-harmonisable-toetapping tunesmithery, when they suddenly break into a Twist and Shout-esque sandwich of “ahhhhs” audaciously piled one on top of each other.
These build and build until joyously erupting into a shower of synthetic squeaks, sizzles and farts, as if a bomb has just gone off in an especially handsome electronics shop.
The Downtown Lights THE BLUE NILE
Paul Buchanan looks around him, notes “the neons and cigarettes, rented rooms and rented cars… the crowded streets, the empty bars… chimney tops and trumpets… the golden lights, the loving prayers… the coloured shoes, the empty trains…”
He then concludes: “I’m tired of crying on the stairs.”
Nobody Does it Better CARLY SIMON
The best Bond theme of all time signs off with a truly fabulous coda comprising an evermore alluring fugue of swaggering strings, angelic trumpets and an entire battery of Carly Simons all harmonising with each other. Yes, we’re going to say it: double-oh heaven.