A while ago, following an NME discussion, I posted several examples of amazing ‘three song streaks’ – brilliant examples of three tracks in a row, that alone could define the album from which it came. Quite some time later, another installment of favourites.
Weezer – Pinkerton: Tired of Sex / Getchoo / No Other One
While not containing the tragic, acoustic closer ‘Butterfly’, these three songs are Rivers Cuomo’s pleas for love at their bluntest. ‘Tired of Sex’ is about as direct as one can be, listing the groupies whom he has had duvet-covered relations with recently, and he is done, and wants to ‘make love come true’. And he certainly doesn’t care who knows, as in ‘Getchoo’, despite the previous pledge to find true love, he is a little too direct in his quest. Come ‘No Other One’, he is clinging by his fingernails to his flawed partner. He don’t wanna be alone.
This anger and disappointment is what separated it from previous album Weezer (or The Blue Album), and gave it the rough edge that in 1996 was unwelcome, but years down the line proved to be Weezer’s finest half-hour.
Radiohead – Kid A: Kid A / The National Anthem / How To Disappear Completely
Another band who made pretty clear that they had had enough of the era of their magnum opus, with another album great enough to snatch that title.
Aside from the following instrumental ‘Treefingers’, the unintelligable vocals of ‘Kid A’ and the sounds of a trumpet having a seizure on ‘The National Anthem’ were far detached from Radiohead’s OK Computer personas, with ‘How to Disappear Completely’ then settling the mood down to a human level once again, to reflect on the misery that Yorke and friends had been amidst. In three songs, they were alien, they were mighty hacked off, before miserably, but brilliantly, brought back to earth.
Sigur Ros – ( ): Untitled 2 (Fyrsta) / Untitled 3 (Samskeyti) / Untitled 4 (Njósnavélin)
The lyric-less ( ) is the atmospheric equivalent to the aforementioned ‘Treefingers’, a curious 72-minute drone separating two more conventional albums (Ágætis byrjun and Takk…)... at least by Sigur Ros’ standards.
Aside from the unpredictable fury at the end of the album’s closer, ‘Untitled 8’, these three tracks are the album’s most defining. ( ) is split into two halves, one supposedly ‘optimistic’, and the other more miserable and ‘melancholic’. The miserable ‘Untitled 2’ appearing on the happy side is a calm and upsetting warning of what the darker second half brings. ‘Untitled 3’ is just plain lovely (which also had a beautiful alternate version on Hvarf/Heim). Untitled 4 is about as happy as ( ) gets at all, before a plunge into the glorious misery of tracks 5-8.
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?: Roll With It / Wonderwall / Don’t Look Back in Anger
Considering their iconic status, it seems to be a crime to have omitted them from the original list. It’s standard practice outside of concept albums; that most of the lead singles are bundled up at the beginning. So what happens when you take tracks 2, 3 and 4 from the beginning of an album as important as Morning Glory? You are left with thirteen-minute bundle that defines the British music mainstream of the mid-1990s. At least during the lapses of the world ogling the Spice Girls anyway.
While the lyrics of ‘Wonderwall’ are gibberish and undeniably repetitive, and the elusive Sally (who can wait, and knows it’s too late…) from ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ has sadly been exposed as a figment of Noel’s coke-clouded imagination, these three tracks are quite an achievement. Half of Great Britain knows all three back to front, and quite rightly so.
Nine Inch Nails – A Warm Place / Eraser / Reptile
While The Downward Spiral is also a tale of woes, this might to the Kid A streak’s polar opposite, beginning with a calm instrumental, seemingly out of place on a 90s NIN album, and closing on perverted maniacal and mechanical fury (ultimately leading to the suicide of the concept album’s lead character. Oh, sorry. Erm… spoiler alert…)