“I keep going round and round on the same old circuit,
a wire travels underground to a vacant lot,
where something I can’t see interrupts the current,
and shrinks the picture down to a tiny dot,
and from behind the screen it can look so perfect,
but it’s not.”

I have a true affection for the last tracks on albums, an attraction that pulls at me, the songs grabbing hold of me right from the start, and more often than not sticking, and becoming one of my all-time favorites. I could write long lists, and make stacks of mixes, filled with last track songs (perhaps I will try that as a Friday music theme one of these days) and they would be well-loved, well-worn, and most likely over-played playlists, for me.

I do not quite know how it happens, though it could be in correlation to my habit of reading the last page first when starting a new book, or that almost anxious wishing for a film to end because I just want to see how it does all end. I remember when all my music came in the form of vinyl records, and the whole experience (ritualistic, almost) of opening the sleeve, holding the record carefully as to not leave fingerprints behind, and choosing the side to listen to first. Yes, even then, I would fashion the needle to that side b/last track to hear what it sounded like.

Endings are tricky, and they truly are that last glimpse you leave behind, that final memory. They are impactful, and important, and I suppose I am ever curious on what an artist of any kind chooses to be their creation’s ending. We all want the person leaving to remember us fondly – maybe we secretly want them to look back with longing – to hold with them that desire for more. We all want our final moments to be memorable, do we not? Do we not want the same from the art we love? Whether it be an album, a book, a show, or a film? Is it not the endings that form that final impression, often lasting, on the experience?

I have a true affection for the last tracks on albums, an attraction that pulls at me, the songs grabbing hold of me right from the start, and more often than not sticking, and becoming one of my all-time favorites. I could write long lists, and make stacks of mixes, filled with last track songs (perhaps I will try that as a Friday music theme one of these days) and they would be well-loved, well-worn, and most likely over-played playlists, for me.

I do not quite know how it happens, though it could be in correlation to my habit of reading the last page first when starting a new book, or that almost anxious wishing for a film to end because I just want to see how it does all end. I remember when all my music came in the form of vinyl records, and the whole experience (ritualistic, almost) of opening the sleeve, holding the record carefully as to not leave fingerprints behind, and choosing the side to listen to first. Yes, even then, I would fashion the needle to that side b/last track to hear what it sounded like.

Endings are tricky, and they truly are that last glimpse you leave behind, that final memory. They are impactful, and important, and I suppose I am ever curious on what an artist of any kind chooses to be their creation’s ending. We all want the person leaving to remember us fondly – maybe we secretly want them to look back with longing – to hold with them that desire for more. We all want our final moments to be memorable, do we not? Do we not want the same from the art we love? Whether it is an album, a book, a show, or a film? Is it not the endings that form that final impression, often lasting, on the experience?

I do not mean for this to sound morbid, or painted over with a somber attachment to death. As a matter of fact, I do not mean ending as a final stop, per se, but as a last glance (not necessarily a last gasp). Think of a concert, and that final encore – is it not usually the artists best of the best? Or if not, at least the fan favorite? The song choice soars through the crowd, hopefully inspiring much bouncing, dancing, and arms in the air, sing-a-longs, right? When you walk away, with your ears still ringing, is it not that last song that still rattles around inside of you?

Is it not the same with films, or shows, or books? Do we not all crowd around the symbolic water cooler (or online forum) and discuss ad-nausium how that season ender, series finale, last chapter, or final scene either shocked us, moved us, or fell flat on the floor?

It is in that spirit, and probably as part of my own idiosyncrasies, that draws me to the last track. Part curiosity (why did the artist, or producer, choose this one?) and part quirky love. Though I think I am not the only one that does this…I am sure I am not the only one who has some love for an ending, or last song. Pull out one of your favorite albums, check the track list, I bet you have a few last tracks that you have fallen in love with, too.

Those last moments, last words, and last lyrics that quickly fade into darkness, and leave you with something…

It’s Not :: Aimee Mann

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” ~ Orson Welles

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