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Friday, September 17, 2010

Great Fade-Outs !

       Most songs ending abruptly do so in a grand way.  We love that.  Many fade-out casually without fanfare.  No problem there either.  But, there are others that like to tease with a hint of a chord change that hadn't yet appeared in the song or simply decide to finally have a solo, only to barely squeeze it in before the faders shrink it down to silence.  (And in the old days, plenty of hiss to go with that silence.)

       How many great fades have you tried to keep alive by cranking the volume all the way up before you had to quickly bring it down before the next song starts?  I thought I'd be swift and record them cranked-up for mix tapes back in the '80's only to realize I'd ruined the impetus of the track.  So, in the '90's I'd let 'em be except I'd shave off the quiet ends (after a signature lick) for my Mini-Disc collections.  It worked much better.  (I don't manipulate them much in my current music module.)

       Here then are some favorites:

The Police - "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic".  Everyone knows this classic ending right, "It's a big enough umbrella..."

The Steve Miller Band - "Golden Opportunity".  What a nice, but powerful little pop tune.  For a hardcore R'n'B lover, Steve Miller sure loves himself a great pop tune here and there.  One of my favorite songs even before the nice guitar solo on the fade, ending on a high note... literally !

Van Halen - "House Of Pain".  My favorite Halen song.  Having variety and power, this heavyweight doesn't have a special fade exactly, but the guitar improv and guitar/drum sync-up sends us out nicely.

Hall & Oats - "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid".  With 2:30 left on this quiet little tune, our dynamic duo of soul decide to blow our sonic minds with the closest thing they've ever delivered to a Beatles tune.  Powerful simplicity!  And vocal improv on the way out.  An all-time favorite.  Thanks, you guys!

John Lennon - "Nobody Told Me".  The beauty of the band's driving simplicity.  So tight, so clean.  One last drum fill with a cymbal crash on the fade. Great words, great vocals, great playing.  How odd to have such a complete sounding work on an album released three years after his shocking death.  I want to thank everyone involved in making the album Milk And Honey.  It may not mean much to world now, but this album allowed me (and probably millions more) to smile through the tears.  Especially after the gut-wrenching sadness of listening to Double Fantasy.  (I happen to be writing this particular section on 12-8-10.  Didn't plan it that way.)

Rush - "The Big Money" The different times the band decides to hit accents.  "Vital Signs" The vocal variations and band accents.  "Manhattan Project" The light touch of various accents.  "Grand Designs" Start & stop accents.  The most exciting of the lot.

Steppenwolf - "Skullduggery".  After getting used to the tambour of the backing vocal, this song just screams for radio play.  Great guitar on the fade, with the tremolo bar making the last wave good-bye.

The Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations".  For a song so overplayed when we were children, it's hard to remember how badly you wanted the ending not to fade so quick.  The power of a stark stringed instrument blazin' away as if a hard guitar were present.


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