Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why Won't You Just Let Me Hear It, Already???

What the hell is with the 'hidden song'? Is it necessary, really?

I got to thinking about it while I was listening to the Kings on Leon the other day in my Jeep. The end of the CD came up, I was in traffic, paying attention like I'm supposed to be doing (in actuality, I was lighting up a cigarette, updatine my FaceBook status on my Blackberry and checking out the brunette in Acura next to me. All during a red light, I might add. I'm quite the multitasker).

So, the light changes and I continue on my to wherever it was I going and several minutes go by before I realize that there is no sound, no music and all I can hear is the sound of the snow crunching underneath the tread of my vehicle. I look to the CD player and see the track seconds ticking by, so I decide to check to see if this is indeed a case of the 'hidden song'.

I begin fast forwarding and sure 'nough. Another song starts, still on the eleventh track, some four and a half minutes after the four minute original song ended. The song was a little country diddy, purdy good but the name I couldn't tell you because the god damn thing isn't listed in the jacket.

Now this got me to thinking. Is there a reason for it, who does it and has anyone been sucker punched in their lip for doing it? All good questions.

I got some answers. Not all of them, but some.

The Beatles are credited with being the first to do it. They did it on Abbey Road. 'Her Majesty' was the thirteenth track and was never listed on the UK version but did indeed show up on the U.S. version. This decision was based on the fact that people just didn't get the whole 'Paul is dead' message, heard played backwards on 'Revolution #9 and their popularity started to wain, so they had to do something creative like place a song on an album that no one could find. This tactic proved to save their careers (except of course Ringos.) Funny sidenote to this whole story, Paul happens to be the only one alive, whether in life or career. Ha ha ha!!!

Other reason that artists do it is as simple as just to surprise the fans with a hidden 'gem', just to be sneaky, I guess. Or scare the bejeezus out them. Wierd Al Yankovic tried this after his song 'Bite Me' ended. A ten minute pause ensued before the new song came on, thus scaring the shit out of the listener because they had gone into a kneeling position, thanking God that the CD was finally over when all of a sudden a new one came on.

The Ramones, the Clash, Lauryn Hill have all done it and the Counting Crows and Marilyn Manson have done it countless times. The Blur did it, calling the song effectively enough 'Me, White Noise'. Cold Play did it a couple times on their latest album, 'Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends'. I have to presume they did this because they didn't have any money left to actually put the names of the 'hidden songs' anywhere on the jacket because the whole budget for the album art went to just the name of the album itself.

So as you can tell, I put a lot of research into figuring this out and I still don't get it. It confuses and frustrates me, which I think might be a 'hidden' reason for the artist doing it.

Let me put into another sort of perspective. A demonstration of how I see a 'hidden song', a comparison to what hiding a song might be if an author did the same thing. Here goes.

After writing in a normal font, now I've changed to the smallest possible one I could come up with. It probably has you pissed off, because you're desperately straining to see it, and if your like me, your vision isn't so good any more so it makes it a major pain in the ass. You're probably having to get right up close to your monitor, maybe rubbing your eyes trying to focus on a type set that's way to fuckin' small, and if I was writing in a normal font, you wouldn't want to walk away, maybe never reading my blog again. Right?

Okay, back to normal. So you see, the product may be there but why in the hell should we have to strain to find it? Sucks!!! Please don't do it.

Which leads me to the fact that the next time I'm checking out the hotty in the car over from me and I suddenly find myself in a state of musical void, you can count on that I'll be cussing those hippy sons of bitches and not so secretly hoping there is someone that has taken me up on my proposition of punching these punkass' in their face.


  1. It got you to write a post and me to point that out. I'm gonna have a secret 'hidden post' with the type the same color as the background, HA! Robot Nine

  2. I have a friend that is a musician in the UK. He's an indie. When it went to production, each song would be available as a single, and downloadable and blah blah wolfy wolfy. However the only way to make 1 song special, a reward for actually buying the CD. The only way production would allow this, was if it was indeed a hidden track. They even specified how long of "dead air" had to be present between the last song and the "hidden track". I was involved with the entire process and he did it, to indeed give people who purchased the album a reward a present, that you didn't get for just downloading a single. ( I have it, I also have the power to share it, stop drooling.)