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“Circular” Albums

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    “Circular” Albums

    Post The Beatles “Get Back” documentary I've been on a bit of a Paul McCartney kick (enough to drive the kids away, which, bonus, maybe?), and put Band on the Run on the playlist for a bit of a drive. I've always enjoyed the way “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” ends with a bit of a callback to “Band on the Run”, as it kind of makes the album feel like a cycle, arriving where it started, whether it knows the place for the first time or not… Fly From Here ends in a similar way, with just a hint of a callback to the lyrics at the tail end of “Into the Storm”, and so I got thinking about other albums that do something similar, concept albums or not. It's a small thing, but it somehow gives the album a bit of structure and plays with the pre-cd/streaming audio form — connective tissue, maybe. Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick is a great example, too, and TaaB 2, even, even though they're both more obviously concept albums with a running narrative throughout. Saga's The Chapters Live flips this, and starts with the opening from the *last* song, also kind of cool.

    Any other examples of “loopy” come to mind, or even albums with structural elements just beyond the songs you enjoy? I was thinking, as they have a brand new album out I need time to listen to, of Trail of Dead's Source Tags and Codes, and all the interstitial radio noise sounds between the songs.

    #2
    Pink Floyd - The Wall

    There's the end of some spoken dialog right at the top of the album "/we came in?", and the beginning of that spoken dialog is at the end we "
    "Isn't this where/"
    .

    I think, together, it says "Isn't this where we came in?"



    .


    Pink Floyd - Animals

    The album opens with Pigs On the Wing, Part One and ends with Pigs On the Wing, Part 2, basically the first and last verses of a two verse song, the first verse being depressing, the last, hopeful.

    What you may not know is that the middle of the song, a fifty second instrumental section with a guitar solo from touring second guitarist Snowy White was cut and unused. Except for the 8-track tape version of the album, where the medium is on a continuous loop, where if they used the LP track list, it would always play the two parts back to back, but in the wrong order.

    Last edited by pianozach; 07-18-2022, 03:31 PM.

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      #3
      The first album I realized had this "circular connection" is Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" - starting and ending with the heartbeat fade-in/fade-out & sound effects.

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        #4
        Originally posted by brianos View Post
        The first album I realized had this "circular connection" is Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" - starting and ending with the heartbeat fade-in/fade-out & sound effects.
        Yeah, that's right. How could I have missed THAT?

        Floyd also connects the beginning and end of THE WALL with the bookend songs In the Flesh? and In the Flesh!

        So, as long as we're talking bookend songs, there'sSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which starts with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and repeats Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise) near the end, a trick that Paul McCartney also used on Ram, with parts one and two of Ram On.

        And, speaking of Beatles, the original versions of LET IT BE were originally going to be called GET BACK, and started with Get Back, and ended with the Get Back (reprise)

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          #5
          Blood, Sweat & Tears, second album is a good one. It begins and ends with A Variation On A Theme By Eric Satie. Their first album is also a good example. It begins with Overture and ends with Underture.

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            #6
            In the late 1970s Ambrosia made a great album “Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled”. After a brief prelude (“And”) the title track leads off the album. The album concludes with “We Need You Too” which fades out with a one line Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled reprise to put a nice bow on the album.

            I also always loved the opening door sound and another round of “We Have Heaven” after the end of “Heart of the Sunrise” to conclude the Fragile album by Yes.

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              #7
              Originally posted by Roundabob View Post
              I also always loved the opening door sound and another round of “We Have Heaven” after the end of “Heart of the Sunrise” to conclude the Fragile album by Yes.
              More than a whiff of Abbey Road to that, and I always enjoyed that too…

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                #8
                Crime Of The Century by Supertramp. The title track, which is the last, ends with some harmonica sounds also heard at the start of the opening track School.

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                  #9
                  I love the way the closing track of Trick of the Tail incorporates themes heard earlier in the album - from Dance on a Volcano, Squonk - and then even pays tribute to the closing of Supper's Ready during the outro vocals.

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                    #10
                    Fragile is like that in a way. I am thinking from We Have Heaven where the door slams shut to where they burst open again at the reprise.

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                      #11
                      I want to expand on my previous post about Fragile.

                      We Have Heaven is like a party. Suddenly, the doors slam shut, and the dream starts with the wind leading into the South Side of the Sky. After the journey to the Heart of the Sunrise, the doors burst back open to the party, which is the reprise of We Have Heaven.

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                        #12
                        For meta-circularity, I suppose, is Marillion's Script, which contains an excerpt of their own "Market Square Heroes" single played on the radio at the beginning of "Forgotten Sons"… And of course Clutching at Straw's final song begins (lyrically) where the first song did — "Hotel hobbies padding dawn's hollow corridors".

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                          #13
                          genesis: selling england by the pound

                          Dancing with the Moonlit Knight has the same riff and structure in its opening as Aisle of Plenty at the end.
                          The Definitive YES Albums

                          -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
                          -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
                          -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

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                            #14
                            Pink Floyd's The Final Cut is also a circular construction in that the albums ends in the same place it began.
                            Rabin-esque
                            my labor of love (and obsessive research)
                            rabinesque.blogspot.com

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by luna65 View Post
                              Pink Floyd's The Final Cut is also a circular construction in that the albums ends in the same place it began.
                              I didn't know that.

                              I'm a pretty solid PF fan, but I've never really liked The Final Cut all that much. Odd that Water would use the same gimmick two albums in a row.

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