Top Ten Thursday: Essential Easter Egg Tracks
Easter is upon us! And what is everyone’s favorite part Easter?Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs of course! Full size, none of that bite size bull spit. A distant second is the Easter egg hunt. And just as that sneaky little bunny manages to hop into our lives once a year to hide those colored eggs around the house, the yard, or wherever he deems fit, artists and their producers have been finding clever (or sometimes not so clever) ways to hide tracks within their albums since the dawn of the LP. That was until recently when iTunes and record labels decided to bone us all by charging a dollar extra for hidden tracks and label the albums as “bonus track editions”. What used to be a fun, playful game turned into a ploy for an easy extra buck. Although, this kind of thing has in fact been happening with bonus tracks for quite some time, just in a different fashion. In fact, some songs on our list began as hidden tracks, but after a striking rise to popularity, labels began printing the albums with the tracks listed on the album. So here you go, whether still listed as hidden tracks or not, here are our favorite Easter egg tracks of all time:
10. The Beatles – “Her Majesty”
A soft, quick, clever little ditty about The ole Queen of England herself. The abrupt end to the track (and album, Abbey Road) suggests that maybe a bit more had actually been recorded than what was released. I imagine the song didn’t make the album itself due to is extreme light heartedness, and it’s nursery rhyme vibe. Nonetheless, it has captured our hearts and put smiles on our faces, therefore, it’s on the list. One favorite little idiosyncrasy of mine is how the track moves from one channel to another, as if Paul is just strolling by you and singing away. Put on some headphones when you give it a listen and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
9. Kings of Leon – “Talihina Sky”
Before they were rocking out in stadiums and lighting sex on fire, Kings of Leon were a group of down to earth southern country boys, and their music reflected that. This was a bonus track off of one of their best efforts, Youth and Young Manhood. It was also tacked onto the tail end of “Holy Roller Novocaine”, a great early track, and a helluva combo when listened to back-to-back. “Talihina Sky” is a soft relaxing tune, with a comforting Southern feel to it. Listening to it makes me want the old KOL back again.
8. Nirvana – “Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip”
My personal favorite Nirvana album (In Utero) ends on quite an awesomely raw note. This track, like many others, derives heavily from their influence Pavement. If Pavement were having the most frustrating day in their lives, didn’t give a shi*t at all anymore, and Steve Malkmus’ voice was a few octaves lower … In other words, it sounds like an fairly regular badass-Nirvana track. The song sounds like it may be about an accidental pregnancy, but takes some strange avenues that I’m not sure aren’t just lyrics being made up on the spot and screamed. If that is the case, it’s as rad and raw as it seems. If the lyrics had been written prior to the recording, it doesn’t change that.
7. Cold War Kids – “Sermon vs. The Gospel”
Again, like Kings of Leon, we have a band that had began on such a strong note, and quickly began imitating U2 as soon as they saw the shimmering light of fame off in the distance. This track is a raw mix-down of an old timey, gospel-sounding song. It’s deep, soulful, and fun to belt out while singing along to it. It’s very beautiful in its simplicity as well. Just a rough mix of high end vocals with guitar, and a piano slowly following along. A heck of a bonus track that holds up better than any single track off their most recent album.
6. Q-Tip – “Do It, See It, Be It”
Q-Tip’s Amplified has received a bit of praise on LxL before. Listen to this bonus track and tell me it’s not warranted. This track was supposedly a track that wasn’t good enough to make the album? Are you serious? Is anything this man touches bad? Amplified is a phenomenal solo album, and it’s Easter egg track is no exception. According to some sources, a sticker had been placed on the album cover in record stores, advertising that this track was indeed on the album. I guess Q-Tip is just cool like that.
5. Dr. Dre – “Bitches Ain’t Shit”
This hip hop legend was originally a hidden track. Imagine, that someone thought that this track should possibly be hidden. This is one of the greatest things that Dr. Dre ever accomplished (and actually finished) and he almost kept it hidden from everyone? Luckily the label came around, realized how poular it had become and decided to just list it on newer copies of the album. Offensive? Yes! Derogatory? Yes! Sexist? Yes! Bitch-hidden-track? No!
4. TV On The Radio – “Mr. Grieves”
Among my favorite recorded covers of all time. Mr Grieves was originally an incredible Pixies track from an incredible Pixies album, Doolittle. Breaking the track down the way TVOTR does here, and making it into a deep a cappella, gospely-blues, harmonious, stand-up bass driven track was shear genius. This was originally a hidden track on the Young Liars EP. So not only was it a hidden track, but it was a hidden track on a hard-to-find EP. The song still was able to find it’s audience and become a TVOTR staple.
3. M.I.A. – “M.I.A.”
Here we have a track from M.I.A.’s first album Arular, that could easily hold it’s own against anything in her entire library still today. This track was even attached to “Galang”, her most popular track on the album. I think that in itself is a testament to how much confidence she had in the track. For one reason or another, it didn’t make the final track listing, but at least it made the album in some form.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Poor Song”
It’s stunning what this track does to an already-almost-perfect album. It’s adding perfection to something that is almost perfect in itself. It’s the equivalent of eating a pizookie (delicious cookie/ice cream dessert from BJ’s (how do you name a restaurant in this day and age BJ’s?))after your favorite of all your grandmother’s home cooked meals. These things are supposed to live in two separate worlds. Pizookie’s reside at BJ’s, and the latter stays at your Grandma’s house. Combining them is only saying that it is possible to experience heaven on Earth. That is what you have when listening to this track after the completion of Fever to Tell. Apparently, others agree and this track has found it’s way into becoming a staple at live shows as well. I’d say with good reason.
1. The Clash – “Train In Vain (Stand By Me)”
It came as quite the surprise to me to learn that this brilliant track, and arguably one of The Clash’s most poular tracks was originally an unlisted bonus track. It was an undoubted first place on our list, and deservingly so. The track is fun, poppy, punky, has great lyrics, and is probably the most accessible Clash song of all time. After several years of listening to London Calling, and deeming it my favorite album, it seems ridiculous to think that this track was originally not listed to be on the album. Maybe they thought it too poppy for the album. I don’t know. But the fact that it arose through the ranks from a lowly hidden track, to becoming one of their most successful singles of all time, is mind boggling. But then again, The Clash themselves are mind boggling. It’s fitting that even their “leftovers” even become legendarily iconic.
The “just missed our list” list …
Todd: Green Day – “All By Myself”
As a young lad growing up in the 90′s, Green Day, or even just Dookie rather, was quite the staple in my discman. Also being an adolescent teen, this song was not only hilarious, but made sense. Because it held such significance and provided so much humor and guidance in my life, I couldn’t possibly not mention it when the opportunity arose.
Wes: Wilco – “Candyfloss”
Wes’s usual Wilco plug for the week. “Candyfloss” was a track that was hidden from the somewhat respectable Summerteeth. Wes found it, and like all other Wilco fans, claim it’s the best whatever out of anything because it’s Wilco.
Austin: Damien Rice – “Prague”
Part 2 of a 3-part final track in which only the first is listed on the album: “Eskimo” > “Prague” > “Silent Night” … as if “Eskimo” wasn’t already a perfect ending to an album. And if it didn’t break you down and turn you into a weeping shell of a man, “Prague” certainly will. Austin is right to choose this track, as that is all he has become since first hearing it in 2002.