Songs that don't end, but suddenly stop

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Not songs like "Tattooed Love Boys" where the band ends the song mid-phrase. Songs where, in mastering, the "mute" button is hit seemingly arbitrarily. The song doesn't end but suddenly stops. I associate this "thing" most with Portishead's "Silence" but remembered today that it also occurred on D'Angelo's "Untitled" and Talk Talk's "Ascension Day"...

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 15:35 (two weeks ago) link

Beatles - I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

mizzell, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 15:37 (two weeks ago) link

^^ first one i thought of too

roflrofl fight (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 15:38 (two weeks ago) link

Yes!

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 15:38 (two weeks ago) link

Joan Crawford segueing into Don't Turn Your Back?

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 15:46 (two weeks ago) link

16 and Love You More by the Buzzcocks

Dr X O'Skeleton, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:23 (two weeks ago) link

Not sure those two count?

I Can't See Gervais In My Mind (Tom D.), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:37 (two weeks ago) link

Actually, I can't remember how 16 ends!

I Can't See Gervais In My Mind (Tom D.), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:38 (two weeks ago) link

From memory, "Negativland" by Neu!

I Can't See Gervais In My Mind (Tom D.), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:40 (two weeks ago) link

"Every Second Counts" by New Order (more or less).

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:41 (two weeks ago) link

Mystery Zone - Spoon

29 facepalms, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:43 (two weeks ago) link

^good one

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 16:56 (two weeks ago) link

The Dinosaur Jr version of Just Like Heaven

Gavin, Leeds, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 17:48 (two weeks ago) link

Real Estate's homage to She's So Heavy, Two Arrows

mig (guess that dreams always end), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 18:37 (two weeks ago) link

Pretty sure a song on the third Strokes album does this... maybe "Ize of the World"?

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 18:37 (two weeks ago) link

Swell Maps have several - Big Empty Field, Collision with a Frogman, Doctor at Cake
Obviously early Mothers and Faust pioneered harsh tape cuts and did it a lot

Really there are two main flavors of this, Beatles-style where there's a shocking silence after, and Zappa/Swell Maps style where the harsh edit takes you to another chaotic song

Agree the Buzzcocks ones don't fit this; there's another thread where songs are listed where when the singer says stop, the song stops, sixteen should be there if it isn't

mig (guess that dreams always end), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 18:59 (two weeks ago) link

"In It for the Money" by Supergrass.

Kim Kimberly, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 19:22 (two weeks ago) link

"Red" by XTC.

Don't know if this would also include songs where the coda is a jumble of chaotic noise that suddenly cuts off - it's not as if the song is ending "in the middle". In that case, "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" by Pere Ubu, and "In the Court of the Crimson King".

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 19:28 (two weeks ago) link

on the pixies thread someone linked to an article where i learned that "where is my mind" ends abruptly because they ran out of tape

orifex, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:10 (two weeks ago) link

Hit me with your Rhythm Stick

Mark G, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:28 (two weeks ago) link

Pavement may have taken the Swell Maps cue on tracks like "Jackals, False Grails..."

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:34 (two weeks ago) link

xp "Hit Me" seems to come to a conclusion?

visiting, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:38 (two weeks ago) link

The Boo Radleys - Wilder

Urbandn hope all ye who enter here (dog latin), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:42 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, Where is my Mind and Dig for Fire are edge cases, not exactly what this thread is looking for but close, and cool endings.

I never trust stories like "we ended it that way because we ran out of tape". That sounds like the songwriter imagining an effect he wants the ending to conjure.

mig (guess that dreams always end), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:47 (two weeks ago) link

The Fall: "Spectre Versus Rector", "C'n'C – S Mithering", others probably.

visiting, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:50 (two weeks ago) link

"Knew" by Leila (from Like Weather)

technopolis, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:56 (two weeks ago) link

"White Car in Germany" by the Associates, which comes to an end before a coda returns and then is stopped abruptly.

visiting, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 21:58 (two weeks ago) link

"/BREATH" by Le Butcherettes

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 22:00 (two weeks ago) link

Elvis Costello: "Night Rally"

Precious, Grace, Hill & Beard LTD. (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 22:09 (two weeks ago) link

More Beatles, same album: Her Majesty

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 22:16 (two weeks ago) link

SPK - Wars of Islam

And probably many more in the early days of industrial.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 22:18 (two weeks ago) link

xp "Hit Me" seems to come to a conclusion?

― visiting, Wednesday, January 5, 2022 9:38 PM (forty-three minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Almost. But.

Mark G, Wednesday, 5 January 2022 22:23 (two weeks ago) link

Girls at Our Best! - "Getting Nowhere Fast"
His Name Is Alive - "The Other Body"

ernestp, Thursday, 6 January 2022 00:41 (two weeks ago) link

Mission of Burma - "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate." Peter Prescott yells just as the tape runs out.

Chris L, Thursday, 6 January 2022 00:56 (two weeks ago) link

Unrest, "Soon It Is Going to Rain" (another tape thing)
Deerhunter, "He Would Have Laughed"

sloop johnnin' skater (geoffreyess), Thursday, 6 January 2022 02:48 (two weeks ago) link

The Downward Spiral has a bunch of these:

Mr. Self Destruct
Heresy
Ruiner
Big Man With A Gun
Eraser
Reptile

Other songs sort of have an outtro but either some instruments hard cut on their way out or the remaining guitars or atmospherics of the song just end:

Mr. Self Destruct
Hurt

octobeard, Thursday, 6 January 2022 02:59 (two weeks ago) link

Wonder how many songs do the opposite – start up as if the engineer suddenly hit record while the band was already playing

Royal Trux “Teeth” is kind of like that

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Thursday, 6 January 2022 03:52 (two weeks ago) link

The studio version of Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” does that.

Chris L, Thursday, 6 January 2022 04:40 (two weeks ago) link

Tyler, The Creator does this a bunch, and it seems a big part of why his songs don't feel like radio singles.

... (Eazy), Thursday, 6 January 2022 05:03 (two weeks ago) link

Jandek – "European Jewel" on Ready for the House

aegis philbin (crüt), Thursday, 6 January 2022 06:15 (two weeks ago) link

The Smiths - Some girls are bigger than others

Nabozo, Thursday, 6 January 2022 07:03 (two weeks ago) link

Every Smiths song ends suddenly, in my house anyway, when some idiot puts them on

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 6 January 2022 15:19 (two weeks ago) link

I think what I was hoping to suss out in this thread was "the first occurrence of this happening on a well-known record" and I guess it's kinda apparent that The Beatles coined it, well done Beatles

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 6 January 2022 15:22 (two weeks ago) link

Dinosaur Jr, Just Like Heaven

Xgau Murder Spa (nikola), Thursday, 6 January 2022 16:02 (two weeks ago) link

xp Kinda relates to Godard et al's editing a few years earlier.

... (Eazy), Thursday, 6 January 2022 17:31 (two weeks ago) link

Stereolab has a bunch of these, some of the ones that immediately come to mind:

Golden Ball
Transona Five (remastered version added an ending)
Space Moment

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Thursday, 6 January 2022 17:37 (two weeks ago) link

Nobody's mentioned Sex Pistols "No Fun"?

Mark G, Thursday, 6 January 2022 18:29 (two weeks ago) link

I never trust stories like "we ended it that way because we ran out of tape". That sounds like the songwriter imagining an effect he wants the ending to conjure.

― mig (guess that dreams always end), Wednesday, January 5, 2022 9:47 PM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

If you track down "Cheryl's coming home" off John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett's album, it really does sound like the tape ran out.

Mark G, Thursday, 6 January 2022 18:32 (two weeks ago) link

Talk Talk - “Ascension Day”

Indexed, Saturday, 8 January 2022 01:40 (one week ago) link

Wonder if any of the Beatles had heard Xenakis's "Bohor", from 1968, which cuts off on record as the roaring reaches a peak, just like "I Want You".

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 8 January 2022 02:59 (one week ago) link

FWIW, the Red Crayola did that in '67 ("War Sucks").

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Saturday, 8 January 2022 05:04 (one week ago) link

Talk Talk - “Ascension Day”

Mentioned in the very first post of the thread.

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Saturday, 8 January 2022 05:37 (one week ago) link

Hole in the Sky, Sabbath

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Saturday, 8 January 2022 12:20 (one week ago) link

yeah there's some great editing between tracks on Sabotage

Ste, Monday, 10 January 2022 12:22 (one week ago) link

Woops missed that

Indexed, Monday, 10 January 2022 15:48 (one week ago) link

The Hold Steady - Most People are DJs

Critique of the Goth Programme (Neil S), Monday, 10 January 2022 15:53 (one week ago) link

The Fall, "Spectre Vs. Rector".

I Can't See Gervais In My Mind (Tom D.), Monday, 10 January 2022 16:01 (one week ago) link

The Mincer - King Crimson (the tape ran out)

29 facepalms, Monday, 10 January 2022 16:12 (one week ago) link

The fade of Paul Simon's "I Know What I Know" ends with the voices petering out and a bubbly little Fripp-esque guitar riff that doesn't quite resolve - I suspect it might be backwards or sped up, in any case it is pretty absurd

nonsensei (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 10 January 2022 17:30 (one week ago) link

I love the end of that song ya

flamboyant goon tie included, Monday, 10 January 2022 18:11 (one week ago) link

Me too. I confess I don't know whether that guitar part is Ray Phiri or Simon himself, or someone else. I don't have the liner notes handy and google is unhelpful.

There is some trickery going on. It doesn't really sound Simonish. Phiri could certainly PLAY that riff but it doesn't seem like something he would have suggested.

nonsensei (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 10 January 2022 19:04 (one week ago) link

Belew? Not according to Wiki but maybe it was just something from an outtake that they put there for funsies.

nonsensei (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 10 January 2022 19:08 (one week ago) link

gusgus "silence" from the latest album also ends abruptly (inspired by the portishead track perhaps?)

it's certainly an efficient trick to grab one's attention but the intentional jarringness of it makes you wonder

scanner darkly, Monday, 10 January 2022 21:29 (one week ago) link

I think what I was hoping to suss out in this thread was "the first occurrence of this happening on a well-known record" and I guess it's kinda apparent that The Beatles coined it, well done Beatles

― flamboyant goon tie included

'a house is not a motel' is earlier?

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Monday, 10 January 2022 22:40 (one week ago) link

i'm not real clear on this, but i believe on the earlier CD remaster it fades out, but on the original LP they "ran out of tape" and the original ending was restored on later CD versions

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Monday, 10 January 2022 22:49 (one week ago) link

What was?

Mark G, Monday, 10 January 2022 22:51 (one week ago) link

Per this thread , it fades out on the original pressings, but ends abruptly on early vinyl reissues. The earliest one mentioned here as having the abrupt ending is from 1971 (after the Beatles had done it).


Doug Smith: Johnny...thanks so much for the add. Your sunny disposition & musical might has been a real refreshing and influential force on me. I do have a question that I would hope you could answer about the track "A House is Not a Motel" - I had a Greek pressing of FOREVER CHANGES years ago when the record was out of print in Canada (approx 1984). The tune did NOT fade out as it seems to in subsequent reissues...but rather ended with what sounds like someone grabbing the 2" reel and stopping it with their hand...this is after the mesmerizing solo you just rip our spines out with at the end of the song and when the tape is stopped like that it really jolts the listener & kinda adds to the effect of the cataclysmic nature of the song & album...was this intentional? Was that the way it was supposed to be originally, and the powers to be, in their infinite wisdom (?) "fixed" it going forward? I hope I am not being irritating for asking. Cheers!

Johnny Echols: Hey Doug, thanks for the kind words. "A House is Not a Motel" was originally supposed to end abruptly with no warning. Which was meant to signify the fleeting nature of life, one moment you're here, the next you're gone. But the folks at Elektra decided that might cause problems with the radio stations, so they decided to fade the ending.

So, put THAT into your pipe n smoke it - SEEK THIS VERSION OUT!!!! So awesome!

i wonder if this ending is found on any pressings of 'Forever Changes' that predate 'Abbey Road'?

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Monday, 10 January 2022 23:09 (one week ago) link

I mean, in this case they actually emulated the sound of tape running out, so it may not qualify anyhow.

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Monday, 10 January 2022 23:15 (one week ago) link

Squeeze - F-Hole

PaulTMA, Monday, 10 January 2022 23:59 (one week ago) link

I think Parable of Arable is a nice clean edit on the beat and doesn't count. It's not a sharp cut into silence, but the Mothers' Uncle Bernie's Farm -> Son Of Suzy Creamcheese is a better pre-Abbey Road example, where the tape slash is pretty random as one song is edited into another. Before that you'd have to look to George Martin's edits for the Goon Squad or musique concrete but these are not genres I'm familiar enough with to produce an example from memory.

mig (guess that dreams always end), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 00:58 (one week ago) link

> The fade of Paul Simon's "I Know What I Know" ends with the voices petering out and a bubbly little Fripp-esque guitar riff that doesn't quite resolve

This is definitely just the bass guitarist showing off, it's the same timbre as the bass riffs throughout the song just higher on the neck, and yes, the edit comes halfway through the last note you hear

mig (guess that dreams always end), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 01:07 (one week ago) link

The Wrens - Everyone Choose Sides

josh az (2011nostalgia), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 02:01 (one week ago) link

"Shoo Be Doo" by The Cars

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 02:11 (one week ago) link

"It's No Game Part one" by David Bowie

Alex in NYC, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 02:12 (one week ago) link

This Forever Changes information is very strange:
So while recording/mixing the record, Lee et al wanted to have a full stop, but Elektra or the producer said no (despite allowing the weird backwards/forwards tape edits at the end of "Good Humor Man"). Then, in a later reissue in the 70s, they remastered it to include the stop? Was Lee even involved with Elektra at that point?

Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 04:48 (one week ago) link

i wonder if this ending is found on any pressings of 'Forever Changes' that predate 'Abbey Road'?

― The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Monday, 10 January 2022 23:09 (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

Thanks for the clarif..

Yeah, I believe a version released in the UK 'restored' the "sudden stop", but it's more a sudden ending than an actual stop.

It got added to one of the deluxe editions, and i will say that for all those years I was irritated by the fiddly ending, but hearing the alternate made me appreciate the fiddly one more. Maybe just more familiar with it.

Mark G, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 09:35 (one week ago) link

It's a sudden ending, it just cuts off, I always preferred it that way.

I Can't See Gervais In My Mind (Tom D.), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 10:26 (one week ago) link

I can't find the version of "A House Is Not A Motel" that does the thing. There is an alternate mix version, but it fades out to 2/3rds volume and then cuts, it's not the same effect; also, it's an alternate mix. The alternate mix, too, there must've been reverb on the mastering chain, there's a tail on the cut. It is cool to read that Johnny Echols claims to have deliberately sought out that precise sound. On that Love thread though, people mention that "The Good Humor Man..." does something similar and I checked and yeah, it's interesting... I wonder if it is that track (and that track alone) that features the "sudden tape error" that people are speaking of. It's a pretty wild way to end a song!

I heard nothing like what I've described on Red Crayola's "Parable" but man it was so good to hear that album again. Yes to Sabbath's "Hole In The Sky" and Wrens's "Everyone Choose Sides" (which is such a good song I die every time I hear it). I love the Iommi instrumental on that Sabbath album too.

Stuff like "It's No Game" it's a different thing. Same with the Paul Simon. Zappa it's songs abruptly shifting into other songs it's different. This is a specific effect you know?

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 01:48 (one week ago) link

Perhaps I mischaracterized the ending of "War Sucks"... I'll listen again.

i woke up alarmed (morrisp), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:18 (one week ago) link

I wonder if it is that track (and that track alone) that features the "sudden tape error" that people are speaking of. It's a pretty wild way to end a song!

i've heard 3 different endings of 'a house is not a motel', i think.

-fadeout
-sudden tape error
-just stops, like the mastering engineer hit the mute button arbitrarily.

it's not an alternate mix that features the abrupt ending(s)

the effect at the end of good humor man is something else entirely, i would def call that an "ending".

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:21 (one week ago) link

it fades out to 2/3rds volume and then cuts,

don't think i've heard that one!
wonder if it's slightly different on ever edition?

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 02:23 (one week ago) link

Caetano Veloso - Irene stops at 0:45 and starts again at 1:00

Nabozo, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 08:59 (one week ago) link

yeah, but it's not an abrupt or arbitrary stop, it's some very musical studio chatter at the end of a verse...

jugband blues stops abruptly and resumes, though.

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 09:05 (one week ago) link

Sly Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay" does a bunch of things at the end. I think the song peters out/falls apart, the track fades, *and* it suddenly stops?

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 13:20 (one week ago) link

idk why I'm so interested in this. The emotional response is so specific. When you hear the performance peter out or the tape fuck up it's different. A deliberate cut-to-nothing has a totally unique feeling to it, it always shocks me. I must've heard "She's So Heavy" and been shocked by it as a kid, but then it was "Ascension Day" and it shocked me in my early 20s, and "Silence" (Portishead) in my late 20s. Does this happen in any other medium aside from the finale of The Sopranos?

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 14:14 (one week ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZ25mPwXWo
Simple Minds - Murder Story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y87K9-fJbdQ
Elvis Costello - Night Rally

willem, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 14:31 (one week ago) link

"Ascension Day" isn't quite a cut to nothing, though, it segues straight into "After the Flood"?

Does this happen in any other medium aside from the finale of The Sopranos?

The film of Marat/Sade cuts to black in the middle of a riot, no credits, end of movie.

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 16:08 (one week ago) link

Something like this happens at the end of Two Lane Blacktop.

Kim Kimberly, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 17:16 (one week ago) link

Yes, as if the film is melting in the projector a la Persona!

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 17:40 (one week ago) link

The last track on Black Dice's Beaches and Canyons does this--"Big Drop", at least on the CD...the vinyl version I had went into a locked groove.

mr. milligan, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 18:11 (one week ago) link

John Cale - Ghost Story

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 21:45 (one week ago) link

excellent thread and fgti otm, there's something about the unexpected cut that's very affecting, takes me right back to hearing Abbey Road in like 1979 or whenever

bad milk blood robot (sleeve), Wednesday, 12 January 2022 22:55 (one week ago) link

I think every song on Immortal’s battles in the north does this.

brimstead, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 23:48 (one week ago) link

"Metal Machine Music"

Someone left a space telescope out in the rain (Tom D.), Thursday, 13 January 2022 07:39 (one week ago) link

That was originally a locked groove, different kind of not ending

Nerd Ragequit (wins), Thursday, 13 January 2022 12:26 (one week ago) link

Tho I guess the first three tracks count

Nerd Ragequit (wins), Thursday, 13 January 2022 12:27 (one week ago) link

Yes, I should have specified Sides!

Someone left a space telescope out in the rain (Tom D.), Thursday, 13 January 2022 12:44 (one week ago) link

Realized that a song I voted for in the tracks poll this year kind of does this (and this time I ctrl-F'ed) - Self Esteem's "I Do This All the Time."

The music tapers, and she starts speaking as though starting another verse, and then the song cuts mid-sentence: "We laid there in the darkness and you were asleep/ And I wasn't checking my phone for a moment and I felt..."

Indexed, Thursday, 13 January 2022 15:33 (one week ago) link

'06 by vince staples

roflrofl fight (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 19 January 2022 21:36 (yesterday) link

Does this happen in any other medium aside from the finale of The Sopranos?

I guess Finnegans Wake (and presumably a bunch of novels since) cuts off midsentence, but the sentence is resumed at the start of the novel so maybe doesn’t count

assert (matttkkkk), Wednesday, 19 January 2022 22:03 (yesterday) link

Yeah Dhalgren does exactly the same thing.

Kim Kimberly, Wednesday, 19 January 2022 23:09 (yesterday) link

And Pink Floyd The Wall

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 20 January 2022 03:33 (twenty hours ago) link

On the ceeenema side, the final shot of Hal Hartley's Henry Fool (1997) cuts off in an ambiguous way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuCmF3l_bqQ

It's not as abrupt/unresolved as The Sopranos, I guess (also, Hartley was likely influenced by Godard, who is mentioned above... not sure I ever made it to the end of a Godard film, though. Lmao!)

Rockin’, and rollin’, and whatnot (morrisp), Thursday, 20 January 2022 03:51 (twenty hours ago) link


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