To All Musicians:
I'm fired up!
Recently, Soul Asylum, Boy Kill Boy and The Rewinds have chosen to raise my ire by tacking hidden "bonus" tracks onto the end of their respective albums. You know what I'm talking about? The last listed song ends, but then there's a period of silence - sometimes as short as a minute, sometimes as long as 30 - followed by an additional song.
I hate this practice absolutely. In the past, artists have tested my patience by tacking on a ridiculous amount of dead air only to be broken by studio chatter, a bit of acoustic strumming or some symphonic bullshit (The Rewinds, Robbie Williams, Ok Go and Jars Of Clay should all be guiltily avoiding eye contact right now).
Other artists give us real songs after our wait, artists like Atmosphere, Counting Crows and the above-mentioned Soul Asylum and Boy Kill Boy. I use these as examples because the bonus songs are actually somewhat worthwhile in each case. But let me make this clear: It has nothing to do with the quality of the song! You could put something wonderful like Dream Police by Cheap Trick as a bonus track and I'd still be pissed. As I see it, bonus tracks are indulgent and unnecessary and compromise the integrity of your album.
So here is my plea: STOP IT! The idea is played out and it was never a brilliant practice in the first place. I know Nirvana did it on some pressings of Nevermind and Alanis Morissette did it on Jagged Little Pill, and the Beatles invented it accidntally on Abbey Road, but I'm sorry, a bonus track is not going to get you multiplatinum sales. It just makes you seem kind of like a jerk.
If you want to add an extra song to your album, go to town! I don't even care if you choose to keep it unlisted on the album artwork, give it its own track number and let it play immediately after the "final" song (as The Clash did with Train In Vain on London Calling). Please! I implore you.
A Music Fan