Monday, February 28, 2011

5 Favorite Swan Songs

I picked up the latest Bright Eyes record today, and it got me thinking about swan song albums. Connor Oberst, the founder of the band, has said that this will be his last album under the Bright Eyes moniker, and while fans are often disappointed when an artist decides to hang it up, I've always had a certain amount of respect for musicians that knew when to hang it up before the music got stale or repetitive. Here are five of my favorite last hurrahs:

1. Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come

This album is legendary among indie snobs and Hot Topic regulars alike. That's no easy feat. The title of the 1998 record would seem arrogant if it hadn't turned out to be true.

2. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

In an uncomfortable interview before his last television performance with LCD, 41 year-old frontman James Murphy told Stephen Colbert that at certain point "it just gets embarrassing." As great as this album is, I suppose seeing Murphy sing "Drunk Girls" during his golden years would be a bit of a buzz kill.

3. The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes

These guys were all over the place stylistically, so it's hard to imagine that they could run out of ideas. The split was probably for the best, though. With all the impossibly high-pitched shrieking in their tunes, I'm guessing their throats were pretty sore.

4. The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Jack and Meg White may have called it quits this past February, but their music lives on, like in that commercial for the show with those two guys who collect garbage.

5. As Cities Burn - Hell or High Water

This album was definitely a departure from the band's metalcore roots. Instead As Cities Burn opted for a more melodic rock sound that even hints at new wave at certain points. It would have been interesting to see what direction the band would have taken on the next record.

-Riley Ubben

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