Good night, sleep tight
Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight"
Even outside of the Rock Opera genre, an album of music can be seen as a story in itself. Consequently, it's extremely common for the last song on an album to try to provide some sort of closure to that story.
This is often accomplished by making the final track a slow, introspective ballad where the rest of the album might have been more upbeat—as though after all they've been through, the singer is slowing down to really reflect on what they've learned. If the album is romance-themed, this might be either a tentatively hopeful love song about finding true connection after all the tumult, or a Downer Ending about break-ups and departures. On other albums, it's common for the last track to discuss death and dying—or, contrastingly, rebirth and renewal.
The song might be longer than the other tracks, transition between different styles, include some Spoken Word in Music, or have a title like "The End" or "The Last [X] ." May call back to an earlier song, either from the same album or a different one.
This is the musical equivalent of Dénouement. Extremely common on Concept Albums. Opposite trope to Album Intro Track, sister-trope to Solemn Ending Theme (which is about credits music). May overlap with Hidden Track or Medley. Might be a Grief Song, Break Up Song, Lonely Piano Piece, or "When I'm Gone" Song, among others.
- A Different Kind of Human by Aurora ends with "Mothership," a short, slow song with few lyrics that wraps up the album's themes of belonging and deconstructed Alien Abduction.
- Phoebe Bridgers's album Punisher concludes with the melancholy song "I Know the End." It's the longest song on the album by over a minute and shifts into pseudo-Heavy Metal for the outro, which is about the apocalypse.
- Kate Bush:
- The last song on Never for Ever is "Breathing," which is from the perspective of a child in the womb during a nuclear apocalypse.
- Hounds of Love ends with a song called "The Morning Fog" that wraps up the lost-at-sea subplot of the album's second half and discusses themes of redemption and new beginnings.
- The Cardigans ended Life with "Closing Time" which includes callbacks to several of the album's previous songs and provides a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue for some of the characters mentioned therein.
- Lana Del Rey:
- Lust for Life finishes with "Get Free," about redemption and finally moving on.
- The last track on Norman Fucking Rockwell is the heartwrenching, stripped-down piano ballad "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but I have it".
- "Lumina," the closing track to Joan Osborne's Relish, is its slowest and most introspective.
- Most of Skating Polly's albums end with a soft acoustic track that contrasts with the rest of the album. For example, Fuzz Steilacoom, which is otherwise entirely raw, noisy punk, ends with "A Little Late", a soft piano ballad about being nice to people.
- Toni Childs's The Woman's Boat closes with the song "Death," which calls back to the album's first song, "Womb": at the end of her own life, the singer again addresses her mother, this time apologizing for any pain she may have caused her and implying she will see her again soon.
- Dessa's album Chime ends with "I Hope I'm Wrong," a sad song about her mother's death.
- At the end of her Every Where Is Somewhere album, K. Flay addresses the last few months of her life and recovering from a low point in "Slow March."
- The final song on Avril Lavigne's Goodbye Lullaby (before the Hidden Track) is a Break Up Song called "Goodbye."
- The last official track on My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade is called "Famous Last Words," referencing the Dying Speech trope.
- Curve's Come Clean, an album with a general theme of addiction, ends with "Recovery", a soft, gentle song about a Recovered Addict.
- Panic! at the Disco:
- Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die finishes with "The End of All Things," a slow, longing love ballad that contrasts sharply with the rest of the album's heavy, upbeat Synth-Pop.
- The last song on Death of a Bachelor is its slowest and saddest—"Impossible Year."
There's no sunshineThis impossible yearOnly black days and sky greyAnd clouds full of fear
- Pray for the Wicked, theretofore an upbeat jazz-pop dance record, concludes with "Dying in LA," a heart-wrenching piano/violin ballad about how Celebrity Is Overrated.
- The closing track of II by The Presidents of the United States of America is "Ladies and Gentlemen Part 2," which thanks the audience for listening says goodbye . . . at least until the Hidden Track. The album opens with "Ladies and Gentlemen Part 1" which serves as an Album Intro Track, so the two songs together act as Bookends.
- Lou Reed's Transformer ends with "Goodnight Ladies," about leaving a bar late at night.
Goodnight ladies, ladies goodnightIt's time to say goodbye
- Most of The Smashing Pumpkins' studio albums end with some kind of gentle, acoustic track that eases the listener out:
- Gish ends with "Day Dream", the shortest track on the album that's almost like two songs conjoined, and is an ethereal track predominantly featuring vocals from bassist D'Arcy Wretsky in addition to Billy Corgan's harsher vocals.
- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness ends with "Farewell and Goodnight", a Surprisingly Gentle Song featuring vocals from the whole band that wishes the listener goodbye. The album is a Concept Album cycling through the day, so ending with a lullaby is fitting. It also Bookends to the Title Track, a gentle and mellow Album Intro Track.
- Adore ends with "17", a 17-second acoustic instrumental that according to the liner notes is supposed to provide space for breathing and reflection.
- The final track on Patti Smith's Horses LP is called "Elegie", as in the closing oration at a funeral. It's particularly slow and somber.
- Soundgarden's debut album Ultramega OK ends with "One Minute's Silence," a "cover" of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Two Minutes' Silence".
- The Styx album Paradise Theater has an an outro called "A.D. 1958", a counterpart to the intro "A.D. 1928", both based on "The Best of Times" from the same album (with intro being a parody). There is, however, a track after the outro called "State Street Sadie", though it's just a light piano solo lasting less than 30 seconds.
- "Broken Bones," the last track (and closest thing to a Title Track) on the CHVRCHES album The Bones of What You Believe, is an ominous, dystopian-sounding story song distinct from the upbeat Synth-Pop of the rest of the album.
- Discovery ends with the aptly-named ten-minute "Too Long", which celebrates finally getting to do whatever you want with your life. It's a nice way to see the listener out the metaphorical door.
- The Eurythmics' album Savage ends with the song "Brand New Day," about renewal and the future.
- Alice Glass's eponymous EP is mostly chaotic, high-intensity electropop, but it ends with "The Altar," a short, slow, melancholy track about despondency and capitulation.
- Radiohead's Kid A ends with a Hidden Track after a minute's silence past "Motion Picture Soundtrack"'s final note, representing the "next life" to which it was referring. Then there is yet more silence.
- Jade Bird's debut album ends with a song called "If I Die".
If I die, put me in a song
Tell everyone how in love I've been
If I die, put me in a song
So I'll live on in your melody
- The Devil Herself by Megan Jean and the KFB ends with the song "Last Days," which is about the Biblical apocalypse.
- Bob Dylan almost always ends his albums with a song that seems to say "If we don't meet again, remember this...". Some examples:
So I'll make my stand and remain as I am
- The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964), his most Protest Song-heavy album, ends with "Restless Farewell."
And I'll bid farewell and not give a damn
Strike another match, go start anew...
- Bringing It All Back Home (1965), his first electric album, ends with "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."
- Highway 61 Revisited (1965) ends with "Desolation Row", which is not only Longest Song Goes Last but also seems to sum up the whole album.
- Blonde on Blonde (1966) and Desire (1976) both cap eclectic albums with intimate love songs to his (new and soon-to-be-ex, respectively) wife, "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" and "Sara."
- Shot Of Love (1981) caps his trilogy of Christian Rock albums with the calm, accepting "Every Grain of Sand."
- Time Out of Mind (1997) ends with the "Highlands", a 16-minute stream-of-consciousness song about moving on from all the ruminations on death and loss that make up the album.
- Rough And Rowdy Ways (2020), his first album of original material in almost a decade, ends with "Murder Most Foul" which is not just the longest song on the album but the longest song of his career, and lyrically goes all the way back to 1963.
- Joni Mitchell's popular song "Both Sides, Now," which looks back on a life and reflects on the embodiment of multiple perspectives, appears as the last track on Clouds (whose title it drops). The revamped version (the one featured in Love Actually and other movies/TV shows) also provides closure to Both Sides Now, her 2000 release that's otherwise a Cover Album.
- Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour ends with "Rainbow", a song about staying hopeful even when times are hard.
- Carrie Underwood's Blown Away ends with "Who Are You," an epic ballad implicitly about turning to God at the end of an ordeal (the rest of the album is less overtly religious).
- In a refreshing departure from the usual Album Closure, Watkins Family Hour's Brother Sister closes on its most upbeat song, a cover of Charley Jordan's "Keep It Clean" with guest vocals from several people who'd collaborated with them during live shows.
- Acid Bath's Paegan Terrorism Tactics ends with "Dead Girl", a 7 minute acoustic ballad about necrophilia. The CD includes a hidden spoken word track after over 10 minutes of silence.
- WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? by Billie Eilish ends with "goodbye," a short, slow song comprised of one lyric from each of the album's previous songs.
- Halsey's MANIC finishes with "929," a simple autobiographical track where Halsey honestly addresses where she is in life and her various feelings about it.
- The final song on the album Madman Across The Water by Elton John is entitled "Goodbye." It's a slow, quiet, and doleful selection that mourns the loss of a love relationship from the standpoint of the person rejected. Many of the songs on this release deal with personal interactions involving other people ("Tiny Dancer," "Razor Face") or society ("Indian Sunset," "Rotten Peaches"), and this break-up song provides closure to the collection.
- Jonas Brothers' 2008 album A Little Bit Longer ends with the Title Track, Nick Jonas' reflection on his diagnosis with diabetes.
- Kesha's Rainbow album ends with "Spaceship," a song about wanting to be carried off by aliens after death. It contains a lengthy, philosophical Spoken Word in Music bridge about how humans are made of star-stuff and connected to all of creation.
- Katy Perry:
- After a whole album of uproarious Ode to Youth and teen romance songs, Teenage Dream ends with the somber "Not Like the Movies," which deconstructs such idealistic notions of storybook romance.
- Prism concludes with "By the Grace of God," Perry's most explicitly religious song since her Christian Rock days. It was clearly inspired by the disintegration of her relationship with Russell Brand.
- The last song on Lady Gaga's Born This Way is "The Edge of Glory," about being close to finally breaking through to some higher plane. Or maybe it's about sex. According to Gaga herself, it was inspired by her grandfather's passing, so it's closer to the first interpretation than the second.
- Taylor Swift:
- Fearless ends with "Change," a song to Swift's band about how they will overcome all the obstacles holding them back and go on to greater things.
- Her next album, Speak Now, ends with a Sequel Song to "Change": "Long Live," another song to her band about how they did overcome challenges and conquer the world. She expresses the hope that they will remember each other forever, even if they should part ways someday.
- The last song on Red is "Begin Again," a soft, tentative song about moving on after the kind of tempestuous relationship the greater album is preoccupied with.
- Similarly, "Clean," the closing track to 1989 is about finally getting "clean" from a toxic relationship—complete with Redemption in the Rain.
- reputation, a dense electropop record, ends with "New Year's Day," a slow, simple, acoustic piano ballad about the renewal of commitment.
- The final song on Lover is "Daylight," a slow, introspective song where Swift explicitly addresses all that she's learned. It ends with a monologue that delivers the album's thesis statement: "You are what you love."
- Out of keeping with her normal pattern, Swift concludes folklore with its saddest song: "hoax," a quiet piano ballad about feeling broken by a lover's betrayal but staying anyway.
- The final song on Allie X's EP ColXtion I is the Love Is Like Religion song "Sanctuary," about finding refuge from life's difficulties with her beloved.
If they come with torches'Cause they don't like the truthThey can't hurt me when I'm with youYou're my sanctuary, baby
- Aqua: The last two tracks of the greatest hits album are "Turn Back Time" and "Goodbye to the Circus."
- The Beatles:
- Not counting the Hidden Track "Her Majesty", the final track of Abbey Road is, appropriately enough, "The End"; its final lyrics are "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
- The White Album ends on "Good Night," a lullaby from Ringo Starr to the listeners, wrapping up the ride the double album has taken them upon.
Good night, everybody
- The final track on The Doors' Self-Titled Album, appropriately called "The End," discusses endings of all sorts. They frequently used it to close their live concerts as well.
- Kasabian's Velociraptor! ends with "Neon Noon", the slowest and bleakest song of the album, about dying and leaving no physical trace behind.
- Halestorm's ''The Strange Case Of..." concludes with "Here's to Us," a song about reflecting on all that you've been through and celebrating life. It's slower and considerably less heavy than the rest of the album.
Stuck it out this far togetherPut our dreams through the shredderLet's toast 'cause things got better
- Magma's Kohntarkosz ends with "Coltrane Sundia", a Celebrity Elegy to John Coltrane.
- The Moody Blues' concept album Days of Future Passed charts a day from dawn to nightfall. The last track on the albumnote is a spoken-word piece on the aimless futility of life and the inevitable demise of any sort of optimism, called "Late Lament."
- Pink Floyd sometimes close their albums with these.
The endless river
- The Dark Side of the Moon closes with "Eclipse", the second half of "Brain Damage," which helps to bring all the themes of the album that it was illustrating together in an epic closer.
- The Wall ends with "Outside the Wall," a brief track that, while still leaving Pink's fate ambiguous, wraps up the album with a message about how it's not all that great to isolate yourselfnote .
- The Division Bell, which for over two decades seemed to be their last album, ends with "High Hopes" that sounds like an elegy for the band's whole existence and quotes a line from their second single, 27 years earlier, before ending on funeral bells.
Forever and ever...
- "God Save the Queen" is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and British colonies. Queen made an instrumental version of this song as the last track of their Concept Album A Night at the Opera. This version became so popular that Queen also used it as the song they play on tape as they take their bows and their curtain call.
- Rustic Overtones' third full-length album Rooms by the Hour ends with the aptly titled "Outro." Rather than the rock/funk/ska of the majority of the album, this is a short, calm track that's nothing but a cool sax winding the disc to a close.
- Bright Red by experimental artist Laurie Anderson ends with a long Spoken Word in Music piece called "Same Time Tomorrow" about endings and the cyclical nature of time.
- The official Diablo II soundtrack closes with two conjoined songs ("Coda" and "Roger and Me") that were composed specifically for the soundtrack and don't appear in the game at all.
- Liza Minnelli's Confessions album ends with a found-love song called "At Last," about finally finding peace in love after looking for years.
- The final song on Pink Martini's Sympathetique is a slow instrumental track named "Lullaby."
- Versions of "We'll Meet Again" close such diverse albums as Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds, Classics by She And Him, and American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash.
- "We'll Meet Again" also sometimes closes compilations by its original artist Vera Lynn, if they don't close with the equally suitable "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" or "From the Time You Say Goodbye (The Parting Song)". The latter provided Album Closure on We'll Meet Again: The Best Of, the compilation which made her the oldest artist ever to have a UK number-one album.
- Many Christmas albums end on a New Year's song, since New Year's happens a week after Christmas, usually "Auld Lang Syne" or (much less commonly) ABBA's "Happy New Year".