Fourth Songs for the Fourth
Rather than provide another rundown of BBQ-worthy songs this Independence Day, we present the best fourth tracks from our favorite albums.
We’ve all seen the scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack and his record- store cohorts rattle off their favorite album openers of all time. And certainly, music history has more than its share of epic LP closers. But the impending fireworks and festive gorging of Independence Day got us thinking: What about lonely little track four?
It’s not even distinguishable as the segue cut from one side of vinyl to the other. But if one were analogizing it to a baseball lineup, it would be the cleanup hitter of a record, the song that drives an album out of the park after its threesome of predecessors load the bases with build-up and anticipation.
And it is in that spirit that we present to you quartets of its favorite fourth tracks. (And yes, we heart Pavement.) Enjoy, and happy holidaze. KENNY HERZOG
Charles Aaron, Music Editor
— Labi Siffre, “I Got The” (The Best of Labi Siffre) Brandy snifter funk, with a bass line that convinced millions of little white boys they could rap — except, they couldn’t.
– Evie Sands, “Any Way That You Want Me” (Any Way That You Want Me): There’s a reason she was Dusty Springfield’s favorite singer, and it’s that lump in your throat, kid.
– Big Star, “Thirteen” (#1 Record): Because it even inspired a hardened alt-rock machine pol like Shirley Manson to become a vulnerable human being.
– Oasis, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” ((What’s the Story) Morning Glory): Obviously, for the melodic originality and lyrical ingenuity — ahhhhh, foook aahhhhfff!! Get them hands up, mate!!
Peter Gaston, Interactive Director
— The White Stripes, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do” (Elephant): Only because it’s exactly what I’m feeling about this 4th of July weekend.
— Smashing Pumpkins, “Hummer” (Siamese Dream): Quoted it my senior yearbook, and I love the cojones on Corgan for dropping a seven-minute fuzzfest that early in a tracklisting.
– Hot Chip, “Over and Over” (The Warning): The mantra repeated by diminutive Hot Chip frontgeek Alexis Taylor, “Laid back, laid back,” never fails to bring a grin to my chin.
— Fleetwood Mac, “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac): No band embodies this time of year like the Mac. That Fender Rhodes melody makes me want to sell my worldly possessions, buy a gas-guzzling ’70s convertible, and drive to Los Angeles — only to make it as far as Tennessee, thanks to gas prices being four bucks a gallon.
Steve Kandell, Deputy Editor
— Bob Dylan, “From a Buick 6″ (Highway 61 Revisited)
– Pavement, “Cut Your Hair” (Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain)
— Pixies, “Wave of Mutilation” (Doolittle)
– Sebadoh, “Liscence to Confuse” (Bakesale)
William Goodman, Online Editorial Assistant
–The Breeders, “The She” (Title TK): “Smoked the Bible, rolled it up,” sings Kim Deal over a rumble of Moog and drums. Enough said.
— Wilco, “Muzzle of Bees” (A Ghost is Born): Plucking acoustics and buzzing electrics build to swirling, boggling, and simply heavenly heights — ideal for lightning bug-filled, lakeside romps.
— Pavement, “In the Mouth of a Desert” (Slanted and Enchanted): Lackadaisical Malkmus at his best, here, even setting the tone for the future of hip-hop-like silliness: “I’m going to treat it like an oil well, put it underground out of sight.”
— Sonic Youth, “Cross the Breeze” (Daydream Nation): Breezy, flanged opening guitars segue to chugging, banging riffs and Kim Gordon’s sultry hushes — a summertime staple for any rock fan.
Abby Everdell, Editorial Assistant
— Animal Collective, “The Purple Bottle” (Feels): “Can I tell you that you are the purple in me?” Best love song ever.
— Joanna Newsom, “Only Skin” (Ys): It took me at least a dozen listens to understand all the words of this 17-minute album crescendo, and at least half of them left me in tears.
— Pavement, “Cut Your Hair” (Crooked Rain Crooked Rain): The cynicism of this song would kill me if it wasn’t so goddamn catchy.
— Television, “Marquee Moon” (Marquee Moon): Not only is this riff absolutely immortal, but nothing compares to the moment at 8:40 when it explodes into a sparkly orgasm.
Kenny Hezog, Online Contributing Editor
— Built to Spill, “Car” (There’s Nothing Wrong with Love): When Doug Martsch sang, “I want to see movies of my dreams,” it felt like someone finally understood me. Then again, I usually have horrifying nightmares.
– Black Sabbath, “Iron Man” (Paranoid): The definitive metal track may have been abused for a movie of the same name, but it’s still the reason evil exists in popular culture.
– Bruce Springsteen, “Candy’s Room” (Darkness on the Edge of Town): Any real fan has this at the top of their live-set wish list. Possibly Bruce’s most punk rock moment.
– The Clash, “Hateful” (London Calling): The song that really gets the rhythm rolling on one the best punk record of the last 30 years.Even more honorable mentions, and post your own, after the jump >>
Yeah, we know, we know, we left off virtually every vital selection on your pop music spectrum. So go into your iTunes, sort by track number, and post your own four fourths. We’ll even give you a head start by listing off some songs we left off our own lists, and then you take over from there in the comments section below.
The Arcade Fire, “Neigborhood #3″
Beck, “The New Pollution”
Bjork, “It’s Oh So Quiet”
Bloc Party, “Banquet”
The Clash, “Rock the Casbah”
Coldplay, “The Scientist”
The Cribs, “Mirror Kissers”
Daft Punk, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”
The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”
Death Cab for Cutie, “Expo ’86”
Dr. Dre, “Still D.R.E.”
Elastica, “Car Song”
Eric B and Rakim, “I Know You Got Soul”
Fall Out Boy, “Sugar, We’re Going Down”
Gang of Four, “Damaged Goods”
Green Day, “Long View”
The Hives, “Main Offender”
Hot Hot Heat, “Bandages”
Iggy and the Stooges, “Penetration”
Jose Gonzalez, “Heartbeats”
Kanye West, “All Falls Down”
Kings of Convenience, “I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From”
Kings of Leon, “McFearless”
Liz Phair, “Dance of the Seven Veils”
Massive Attack, “Inertia Creeps”
Metric, “Combat Baby”
MGMT, “Electric Feel”
Okkervil River, “Black”
Outkast, “So Fresh, So Clean”
Pearl Jam, “Why Go” and “Glorified G”
The Velvet Underground, “Pale Blue Eyes”