Writing and recording the perfect album is a delicate art form. The very best examples possess themes and debates that run through each and every song, giving the finished article a unified and coherent feel whilst capturing the zeitgeist and reflecting the inner states of those who were part of its recording process. With this in mind, the sequencing and track-listing of the LP is of paramount importance and no songs position is more vital than an albums closing track.
Of course, an incendiary and arresting opening track is required to engage the listener and set out the artists stall but a records final track should offer closure. An essential closer should strive to tie-up all of the records loose ends, answer the questions offered throughout its preceding songs and conclude in such a way that its listener feels enriched and satisfied as the needle pops out of the groove.
10. Jet Boy - New York Dolls (New York Dolls, 1973)
Ironically for a band that on first look and listen are hugely indebted to the bluesy charisma of the Rolling Stones, no band has ever successfully imitated the thrift-store chic and B-movie gloss of the New York Dolls. Aping Mick Jaggers sex appeal, sneer and audacity but upping the Stones front mans campery tenfold (yes, that is possible), David Johansens androgynous mystique gave voice to songs which both explored New Yorks seedy underbelly and mused on loneliness and unrequited love.
Their iconic guitar whirlwind Johnny Thunders, whose flamboyant name is actually taken from a rather whimsical Kinks tune, is one of the major factors, in addition to the bands devil-may-care attitude, that the New York Dolls are often credited with inventing punk music, or at least the ethos behind it. Indeed, Mick Jones, of Clash fame, often mentions the life-changing impact that this record had on him as a musician and his own musical principles. And the schlocky glamour, rudimentary blues and grimy stories that resonated with the Clash axe man are easily detectable on the Joe Strummer-fronted bands debut release, four years after the arrival of the Dolls opus.
Jet Boy is the achingly cool finale to an album brimming with tales of junkies, sexual deviants and bad girls. Playing to their strengths, it is Thunders rough-and-ready guitar theatrics that kick off a closing paean to the unbridled swagger and drug-addled chic of the eponymous jet boy. Garnering influence (perhaps unintentionally so) from the Velvet Undergrounds Heroin, Johansen bestows worship and reverence on a figure who has managed to transcend the crushing disappointment of the end of the 60s hippie dream and retreat into the satisfaction of a drug-fuelled utopia.
Turning it up to eleven on the camp-o-meter and held in place by the kinetic bass line of the eras pre-eminent four-string player, Arthur Killer Kane, Jet Boy is a thrilling and exuberant glam-hybrid whose infectious chorus and searing riff will have you embracing your inner transvestite in appreciation.
A 22 year old English Literature graduate from Birmingham. I am passionate about music, literature and football, in particular, my beloved Aston Villa. Lover of words and consumer of art, music is the very air that I breathe.