Imaginary Mix, Volume One: Track 3

Someone finally identified the thing that all of yesterday’s songs had in common. They’re all Track 3 on whatever album they came out on.

The reason they’re all fairly old is, I went with songs from about the time when I first noticed the propensity for Track 3 to rock just a bit harder, to guitar just a little hookier. You’d get Track One, that would just sort of ease you into the album or grab your attention, Track Two would often give you something a little different, and then bam! Track Three would just pull out the stops. After that things might settle down a little.

I thought about making a mixtape (yes, “tape” — that’s how old the idea is) containing nothing but Track Threes. Were I to make it today, it’d be a CD, and the cover might look like this:

Here are some more good Track 3s that might be on it:

Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning
The Books – Tokyo
Cake – Never There
Fiona Apple – Limp
Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly
Fountains of Wayne – Denise
Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
Matthew Sweet – The Ugly Truth
The Mountain Goats – This Year
Rilo Kiley – The Execution of All Things
Soul Coughing – Casiotone Nation
Weezer – Keep Fishin’
Wilco – Box Full of Letters

What Track 3s would you put on such a mix?

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5 Responses to Imaginary Mix, Volume One: Track 3

  1. pronoblem says:

    Track 6 is better.

  2. John says:

    My favorite track three is “Julieanne” from the first Ben Folds Five album. “Jackson Cannery” and “Philosophy” are both good songs, but the humor and peppiness of “Julianne” is what got me to buy the album and made me a Ben Folds fan for life. Close behind: Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend,” track 3 on the album of the same name.

  3. Ken Lowery says:

    I’m away from my iTunes right now, so I’ll just have to go with the Track 3 that rocks perhaps harder than any other Track 3 I can think of, which is admittedly not much right now: “Everybody Knows That You Are Insane,” by Queens of the Stone Age.

    Seriously. That song has all the rock.

  4. Stewart says:

    Great contest, Dave… I should have suspected something strange when I pondered the thought of you actually listening through all of Robert Plant’s “Now and Zen” album.

    After finding out the secret link for all of these songs, I realize I was way off track in trying to find a common thread- I first thought “chant-like lyrics”, then “angst-y introspection”, then “weather related depression”, and finally settled on “lyrical metaphors for masturbation”.

    As a parting thought- certainly cassettes have hit the bricks, CDs just turned a wayward 25 years old, and digital music now dominates. Will track numbers themselves become a thing of the past as a-la-carte downloads replace albums? Will shuffling outpace structured song presentation?

  5. Dave says:

    When I first started making mix tapes I noticed that in doing so I was given four key moments to plan: the beginnings and ends of each side. I’m sure that bands putting together records had the same situation: what to put in those four key slots. with the advent of CDs, the number of key moments got reduced. And now it seems we’re back to the song itself as dominant. I admit that I don’t have as many current Track 3s because I have more individual songs off CDs and don’t know the track numbers for them.