What do you call a skinny, old, bearded man in a cupboard? The hide and seek world champion, 1974. Ouch. Not quite as good as hiding (particularly since the dawn of the download) is the hidden album track. A musical treat at the end of an LP, which (when an LP was an actual, 33 1/3 rpm Long Play) really was hidden to those who didn’t study the grooves in detail. Whether providing something that didn’t suit the style of the rest of the songs or something subliminal, it’s always nice to get a little extra value for your money. When your CD player displays 55 tracks, however, there’s something suspicious considering the fact that only 12 tracks feature on the tracklisting. (Although other acts would add the track at the end of the last listed track, thus giving the impression of a 12-minute outro on the timer.)
For those who switched off too soon or just didn’t look hard enough, here are 14 (who do we think we are, BuzzFeed?) hidden album tracks worth hearing, which we’ve unearthed for your ears like some sort of indie Indiana Jones. Think we’ve missed anything? Let us know on Twitter #GigslutzHidden
14. Green Day ‘All By Myself’
Green Day’s drummer Tre Cool attempts a Phil Collins with this self-penned, self-sung, 1.40 hidden closer from 1994’s Dookie. The acoustic track (with Cool on guitar) also made an appearance on 2012’s live album, On The Radio. It’s not the first time the sticksman has taken lead vocals either, having sung on tracks from their debut, Kerplunk!, and adding a section (‘Rock and Roll Girlfriend’) to ‘Homecoming’ from the rock opera stylings of American Idiot.
13. Little Boots ‘Hands’
A rare, non-electro moment from Little Boots, or Victoria to her family. As with many hidden tracks, ‘Hands’ (also the title of her 2008 debut it appears on) appears to be in more of a demo-form than the other album tracks. It’s exclusion from the running order may also be because it’s heartfelt, deeper lyrical content does not match the rest of the album, with to and fro lines about a girl who says, “I’ve got a broken heart, can you help me fix it?” with Little Boots adding that, “She went up to the heavens” as “We just don’t have the technology.” Rather Kate Nash/Lily Allen, really.
12. Manic Street Preachers ‘Working Class Hero’
James Dean Bradfield’s trademark angst takes centre stage on this cover of the iconic Lennon track. Included as a hidden track on 2007’s Send Away The Tigers, it joins a long list of unlikely Manic’s covers including Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ and Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ as they join a list including Bowie and Ozzy who have laid down their own versions of the track. As you’d expect, the message isn’t lost on the Street Preachers’ version.
11. Hurts ‘Verona’
‘80s influences run throughout Hurts’ debut, Happiness, from the clean cut melodies on top of echoed synths and beats, to the Kylie duet and the fact that the highest charting single shares its name with one of the decade’s better one-hit wonders, Black’s ‘Wonderful Life’. In keeping with the theme, the duo’s ode to ‘Verona’ does for the Italian city what Ultravox did for Austria’s capital city, providing a dramatic narrative set in an iconic location.
10. Olive: You’re Not Alone (Acapella)
When broken down, this ‘90s classic dance anthem becomes something completely different. The echoed synths and stand-alone vocals are only a midway-drum-and-bass-suckerpunch away from the SKREAM remix of La Roux’s ‘In For The Kill’, although the original (the act’s only major hit) would later be donked on by ATB and Tinchy Stryder.
9. Jamiroquai ‘Deeper Underground’
Despite being the lead single from 1999’s Synkronised, and their only number 1 to date, ‘Deeper Underground’ was a hidden track. While not as exciting as a brand new, unheard number, this decision was clearly made to include the track which was released almost a year before (the monster funk/jazz/disco number featured on the Godzilla soundtrack). Weird spiky head, a mouth big enough to get him into trouble and the ability to reinvent himself when it seems he’s gone for good… The two have more than the song in common.
8. The Thrills ‘A City Of Long Nights’
It’s immediately noticeable that A City Of Long Nights has a more electric guitar heavy lead than other tracks from The Thrills’ second LP, Let’s Bottle Bohemia. The highlight of the track, however, are the claims that, “The greatest plastic surgeon/used car salesman/TV adventurist/politician alive couldn’t make me believe in your past or your lies”. It also leads nicely into a finale style instrumental of listed closer, ‘The Irish Keep Gate Crashing’.
7. Damian Marley ‘And You Be Loved’
Sampling one of their Dad’s most iconic tracks, Could You Be Loved, Damian and brother Stephen recorded this sequel (or remake, perhaps) for the surfing movie, Blue Crush. The irresistible reggae beats are given a new lease of life when the song kicks in at the end of his second album, Halfway Tree, however Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers (featuring Sharon, Cedella and Stephen Marley) performed the track in its original style many times.
6. Kings Of Leon ‘Talihina Sky’
Remember before Sex On Fire and band on hiatus, when Kings Of Leon were just four family members sporting beards before they were in? It’s difficult now that they’ve been well and truly tarred with the mainstream brush, and while there are moments post-Because Of The Times that are inspiring, they still struggle to match the magic of their earlier work – even the hidden songs. ‘Talihina Sky’, coming in after the silence of their debut Youth And Young Manhood’s “official” closer, is a simple, bluesy piano lead gem. They did get out, as the song suggested. The question is, do they regret it? “Life goes by…”
5. The Jam ‘English Rose’
While a track dedicated to England’s Rose (Elton John’s ‘Candle In The Wind ’97’ more specifically) has become the biggest-selling single of all time, The Jam’s ode to a rose is a much quieter affair. “No matter where I roam, I will return to my English rose,” Paul Weller sings on one of his most honest and open lyrics at the time, however the lyrics – and track name – were omitted from the All Mod Cons album, reportedly because Weller didn’t think that the lyrics meant much without the music. Although some believe it was about a girl at home, it’s more widely believed that the track is about England herself. What’s interesting here is the fact that most hidden tracks appear at the end of an album, however ‘English Rose’ was technically Side A Track 4 of the band’s third full length EP, released in 1978.
4. Mystery Jets ‘Twenty One’
Sounding more like previous album, Making Dens, than anything on their second album, ‘Twenty One’ features just Blaine Harrison’s strained (in a good way) vocals and piano. Whether the song is an ode to Ian Curtis, someone in the same position or Blaine himself, lines including “Do yourself a favour, don’t do yourself any harm,” and, “Even ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ don’t ease the pain”, allude to the struggles that Curtis faced, and act as a touching tribute to the icon.
3. Lauren Hill ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’
Following on from Andy Williams, Manic Street Preachers, Morten Harket and SO many more, former-Fugee Lauren Hill added her take on the Franki Valli classic as one of two bonus tracks on her only solo album to date, 98’s The Miseducation Of… The end result blends the ‘60s classic with her own hip-hop influences, a sound also heard on single Doo Wop (That Thing), and was so highly regarded that it was nominated for a Grammy Award.
2. Madness ‘Madness’
Originally unlisted from the One Step Beyond LP, the track is a cover of a Prince Buster song, who also originally released the title track, ‘One Step Beyond’, and the track which is quoted at the start of the song (“Don’t watch that, watch this”), ‘The Scorcher’. An earlier version of ‘Madness’ also appeared as the B-Side to debut single ‘The Prince’, which was written about Prince Buster. …That’s a lot of Prince Buster for one debut album, and probably makes him some sort of unofficial member, or an official obsession.
1. Coldplay ‘‘Til Kingdom Come’
Upon Bono’s advice/command, Coldplay’s 3rd album, X&Y, was written to sound like a U2 album. ‘‘Til Kingdom Come’, however, was reportedly written to be performed by Johnny Cash with Chris Martin, but as he passed away before the recording was made, the Coldplay frontman took on a deeper vocal, performing the track in its entirety in Cash’s honour. It wouldn’t have fitted in on the album, which as hinted at before, was made up of huge, arena filling tracks and the band’s first foray into electronics (including the Kraftwerk-sampling ‘Talk’ and anthemic lead single ‘Speed Of Sound’) but as an extra little addition it’s become a firm fan favourite. The song would later feature in Spidey’s reboot, The Amazing Spiderman. Simple, raw, yet a stunning addition to Coldplay’s already impressive back catalogue.