When you’re listening through an album, it’s not necessarily vital that each song flows into the next smoothly, but when it does, it sure is rewarding. It’s important to remember that every album is crafted with different intentions, which may be a satisfying start-to-finish listen, or a collection of songs that each stand alone. Obviously, I like my fair share of both, but song transitions slowly became something I paid attention to when I started listening to CDs in my car rather than the aux. These are some transitions that enhanced albums for me.
Citizen – “Sleep” into “How Does It Feel?”
After spending countless stereotypically sad nights driving alone with my Youth CD forever lodged into the slot in my car, I quickly learned to anticipate the transition between these songs. It’s a smooth transferring of the bleak, agonizing energy that circulates through the whole album, and it’s the perfect level of loud.
Title Fight – “Safe in Your Skin” into “Where Am I?”
“Safe In Your Skin” diverges from the rest of Shed, as it moves at a slow, soft pace. It serves as an interlude, prefacing the irresistibly catchy “Where Am I?” The hum vibrating throughout “Safe In Your Skin” yields the guitar riff in a way that feels unexpected but inevitable, and it is that guitar riff that is ultimately the centerpiece of “Where Am I?” So what better to kick off the track?
Remo Drive – “Art School” into “Hunting For Sport”
Remo Drive’s debut album Greatest Hits has more to offer than just a sly title. The first track “Art School” is bubbly and upbeat, but leaves around twenty or thirty seconds of soft instrumental at the end, gradually accumulating until the riff of “Hunting For Sports” provides the climax. The contrast between the two songs is eased with this alluring nexus.
Basement – “Fading” into “Plan To Be Surprised”
Ending a song with a piercingly high-pitched reverb is nothing new. But what can I say? When it’s followed by post-harcore-era Basement’s noisy, catchy rhythms, which is then followed by one of the best breakdowns of the album, it just works. It works so well that if I drive to it, I have no choice but to hit the gas.
Title Fight – “Liar’s Love” into “Dizzy”
Not to bring up Title Fight again, but they truly have a knack for start-to-finish listening experiences for their albums. Similarly to the aforementioned Remo Drive, “Liar’s Love” includes some time at the end of the song that breaks off from the rest, and it sounds like everyone is just testing out their instruments to see if they work. A chord recurs and feels important, especially because of its dreamy sound, and finally, as “Dizzy” starts, the chord is expanded on instead of just strummed a couple of times, and it becomes the foundation of the atmosphere in the song.
Seahaven – “Black & White” into “Save Me”
Seahaven is known to have well put-together, cohesive albums. Though Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only is probably the expected mention, the transitions between these songs on Winter Forever never fails to strike me. Intensity drenches the album — this sense of urgency manifests through the lyrics, instrumentals, and vocals. Between these two songs, the urgency is especially accentuated through the instrumentals, as the intensity in “Black & White” spills out onto new territory in “Save Me.” The change of songs is seamless enough to go unnoticed, but at the same time, the rhythm gains momentum and becomes even more exciting, instead of staying stagnant.
Save Face – “Merci” into “Bad”
Save Face clearly planned on making Merci an album for start-to-finish listening. The title track, which opens up the album like an introduction, propels us straight into the chaos of the noisy, unapologetic “Bad,” as well as the craze of the whole album in general.
The Hotelier – “In Framing” into “Your Deep Rest”
Speaking of obvious start-to-finish albums, The Hotelier’s iconic Home Like NoPlace There Is can’t go without mentioning. This transition feels unlike all of the others I’ve discussed; it’s more inexplicable. It’s not seamlessly connected, it’s not really connected at all, but it’s not disjointed, either. “In Framing” closes with this build-up of voices singing, “When you felt alone,” in a fast pace that ultimately leads up to the satisfying riff that commences the similarly tragic “Your Deep Rest.” You can listen to “Your Deep Rest” on its own and feel satisfied, but if you listen to “In Framing” and that riff doesn’t immediately follow the cluster of voices at the end, it feels like a piece is missing.
Neutral Milk Hotel – “Two-Headed Boy” into “The Fool”
I have never quite felt qualified enough to write about Neutral Milk Hotel’s timeless In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. It goes without saying that it’s a masterpiece. The transition between these songs is just a little detail that contributes to the overall beauty of this album. NMH worked hard to create an album that encompasses a whole world within it, and the time period is especially pinpointed on “The Fool,” with antiquated trumpets playing tunes that are reminiscent of a military march. The end of “Two-Headed Boy” prepares us for it with the strange repetition of “dee dee” that, as soon as “The Fool” begins, turns into “dee doo.”