List: Five From the Boneyard

I’ve been dipping in and out of Julian Cope’s entertaining book Copendium and came across his concept of the “boneyard” position. Basically, the boneyard is the penultimate placing on an album. Cope reasons that, if a band is stuck with a filler track it has to use, it will be placed in the album’s boneyard where it’s more likely to be overlooked. It got me thinking. So, for a fun experiment, I’ve picked five albums at random to see if this concept holds up. I’m going to take a look at each one and decided if its penultimate track belongs in… THE BONEYARD!

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UFO – A Fool in Love (from the album No Heavy Petting)

Here’s some mid-70s UFO, by the short-lived line-up with Danny Peyronel on keys. It’s most notable for its opening tracks Natural Thing and I’m a Loser. The rest of the album, while good, doesn’t quite live up to the classic opening. But the album’s B-Side features a couple of great deep cuts in the moody On with the Action and the cosmic ballad Martian Landscape. Our penultimate track, A Fool in Love, is lost between those two. It isn’t awful but it’s a bit of a throwaway and I feel like it’s been buried between those two epics for a reason. Boneyard? YES

[UFO – A Fool in Love]

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AC/DC – Love Hungry Man (Highway to Hell)

Hmm… obviously a classic album but what about track nine, Love Hungry Man? Is this anyone’s idea of a classic AC/DC track? It does sport a great chorus but it’s a bit laid-back and lazy otherwise and the bass fills sound like a desperate attempt to liven up a dull tune. Far from a disaster but definitely not one of Acca Dacca’s shining moments either. How about we avoid offending the band’s adoring legions and call this the “least-good” song here? Boneyard? YES

[AC/DC – Love Hungry Man]

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Black Sabbath – I (Dehumanizer)

Dehumanizer was a lumbering, colossus of an album from the reformed Mob Rules lineup. It’s not held in the same esteem as that album or its predecessor Heaven and Hell but I’ve always thought it a rewarding album-for-life. So get it up ye. And its penultimate track I is one of the best songs Dio Sabbath ever put out. Pure invigorating metal bravado. Black Sabbath smashing faces in… but with a smile. Boneyard? NO

[Black Sabbath – I]

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Iron Maiden – 2 AM (The X Factor)

Maiden’s first album with Blaze Bayley has some under-rated gems but is also quite heavy-going and joyless. I had thought the penultimate track here was The Unbeliever, one of my favourites from the album, but it turns out it’s actually 2 AM: a track I had forgotten existed. Doesn’t bode well does it? It’s one of the least flabby tracks which is good but the lyrics are absolute shite: a brainless, artless mid-life crisis from a band that is supposed to be cleverer than this. Boneyard? YES

[Iron Maiden – 2 AM]

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Megadeth – How the Story Ends (Endgame)

This 2009 album is still the pinnacle of modern Megadeth and one of the greatest albums of the ’00s. How the Story Ends (odd title for a penultimate track?) is a sturdy anthemic chugger that, along with the raging Headcrusher, helps recover Endgame after a slight mid-album lull. The riffs are a bit stock by Mustaine standards but it’s a catchy, engaging tune that adds to the album. Boneyard? NO

[Megadeth – How the Story Ends]

So, the boneyards have it… but only just. It’s close enough that another random selection might have went the other way. Obviously, the concept relies on there being a filler track in the first place (and the artist being self-aware enough to know that a given track is sub-par). Also, for the sake of discussion, Cope applies the concept chiefly to vinyl but does the boneyard concept apply equally to albums designed for CD or Spotify?

Hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you think about the boneyard position and my examples. Got any good examples of your own? Or exceptions? Chip in below.

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81 thoughts on “List: Five From the Boneyard”

      1. I know. But if Rime was split into different tracks like a Rush epic…well…it would be open to debate! Just be glad we don’t have to open this particular can of worms.

        Kiss used the boneyard spot for stuff a lot, I’ve discovered. BETH.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was just about to reply and say that same thing about Beth. I would agree it’s boneyard… But it is pretty funny that it went on to be their biggest hit.

        I really like While the City Sleeps but we’ve disagreed on Animalize before! You didn’t rate it much at all if I remember?

        What about the debut though? 100,000 Years? No way!

        Like

      3. Yes, I was thinking about that too… my tape of The Elder had a different running order to the CD.

        And the remixed Creatures actually relegated Saints and Sinners to the boneyard didn’t it? And promoted Killer to second place… interesting!

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  1. Carr doing Beth…Gah! Poor Carr had not choice…I like this HMO keep it going…Good on you tossing down and finding good things still about the albums whereas I toss everything in the poop chute on 3/4’s Filler

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we’ve disagreed on the merits of “Gangland” before? I don’t think it is boneyard but I think you have it as filler. I think it’s a great track! Interesting concept though and will think about it when listening to other stuff…..

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  3. I don’t know, man. Seems like someone may need to call foul here. How can a random trundle through the HMO holdings not produce at least one album coming from some band named something like Nargaroth or Nephrolith or some such? Regardless, I’ll try one… ok, here we go:

    Sleep – Jerusalem (Jerusalem)
    It’s true! Theory proved. Of all the Jerusalems, the penultimate is the “least-good.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well that proves it! And good point about the lack of extremity… I’ll definitely need to do a sequel and see what happens. Maybe my iTunes shuffle has it in for the extreme stuff? Funnily enough, last night I listened to Inquisition’s ‘Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult’ and the boneyard track on that was tremendous. Best thing on the album!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting. Couple off the top of my head Dirty Little Thing from Velvet Revolver’s Contraband, Big Shiny Nine from ZZ Top’s La Futura and Weiland & The Wildabouts’ take on 20th Century Boy are definitely BoneYard quality. But then, Stone Temple Pilots’ MC5 is an album highlight, as is Iggy Pop’s Chocolate Drops (off his new album), Faith No More’s Matador, and Robert Plant’s Brother Ray isn’t the worst track on Mighty Rearranger. So, a mixed bag.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only one of those I know or can remember is Matador! Although, all those are all more modern efforts… Wonder if this idea works works better with pre-CD albums? Can’t really see why though… penultimate is penultimate!

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  5. I love this concept! So many albums have filler. Good on Cope for his thinking this out. Somebody’s paying attention!

    Out of curiosity, let’s try the first 5 Metallica:

    Kill ‘Em All: Seek And Destroy. Boneyard? Fuck no.

    Ride The Lightning: Creeping Death. Boneyard? Fuck no.

    Master Of Puppets: Orion. Boneyard? Fuck no.

    …And Justice For All: To Live Is To Die. Boneyard? Haha nope!

    Black: My Friend Of Misery. Boneyard? Nope no way. I like that track.

    Looks like Lars and the boys dodged it this time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, your post was 5 records, I suppose if I’d kept going Ronnie might’ve been the first mis-step.

        Also: I almost said Am I Evil? for Kill ‘Em All, because my old CD copy has the two bonus tracks. It still would’ve avoided the boneyard!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha wuss. I’ll try it!

        Ronnie: boneyard? It’s bluesy and OK, but yup.

        Attitude: boneyard? Nope, it’s a decent rocker.

        Purify: boneyard? Nope, I like this track (I liked St. Anger! 🙂 )

        Suicide & Redemption: boneyard? Hell no. Great instrumental track.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Honestly I can’t remember the last three.

        I do have a vague notion that the DM instrumental was quite good. Also, I remember the last songs on St. Anger being the best ones so I’ll agree with you on that (even though I don’t remember the song at all). Attitude… don’t have a clue about that one!

        So I think I agree!

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      4. Funny, I don’t consider that a Metallica album as it appears in my iTunes as Metallica & Lou Reed. I suppose you could include it, if you want!

        But if so, then you gotta do Garage Inc. too, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. OK sure, why not!

        Garage, Inc.: Stone Dead Forever. It’s Motörhead, and therefore not a boneyard track by default.

        Lulu: Dragon. Boneyard? It’s 11 minutes of build into a Metallica rocker, but it’s weird to hear Reed’s vocals over it. Disorienting, today! Boneyard? I haven’t a clue. Ummm… no?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Garage Inc is a comp, yup, cover tunes. I dunno, if we’re including the duet album with Lou Reed, why not their comp that plays like an album anyway? Hahaha

        Mince… is that a good or a bad thing?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Neat idea!
    I’d argue the 2nd track can be kind of a boneyard position – lead with strength, put in a subpar song while you’ve already got their attention, follow it up with a biggie and the weak track 2 is already forgotten!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Or perhaps not a boneyard, but a challenge to the listener – where track 1 may be a comfortable song for the listener, track 2 may be a bit of a curve, a different sound before returning to more familiar territory on track 3

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Why I thought you’d never ask!
        The Hip’s Music @ Work (2000)
        1. Radio-friendly My Music at Work
        2. Complete left-turn (the best kind!) with Tiger the Lion
        3. Back to evergreen sound with Lake Fever.
        They did a similar setup on a 2006 album, maybe it’s a Hip thing!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I suppose it is. It does overlook the fact that filler tracks are everywhere. I can think of albums that open with their weak tracks. And are many artists even this clever?! Hmm…

      But for the purposes of a fun post and discussion, I like the idea!

      I reckon the woman and monkey are both mutually co-dependent. Intrinsically linked in some weird Thorgersonian pact!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who is capable of contemplating on things like this. Now you got me wanting to mentally go through every album I know and think about the penultimate track.While I agree that “Love Hungry Man” is the weakest track on “Highway to Hell,” I’m not sure I would class it as boneyard. I can say the same for “Shake a Leg” from “Back in Black.” A more obscure offering comes from TNT’s album “Knights of New Thunder.” “USA” is probably a boneyard track. I’ll be thinking of more as the night goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I’m glad you’ve caught the bug too. It is impossible for me to think about albums now without thinking about the boneyard! 🙂

      I get what you’re saying about AC/DC… it’s the weakest track but I didn’t mean it’s a bad track or filler. But it is the weakest song so it does support the theory! Good call on Shake a Leg too! Don’t know the TNT one…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that I’ll be doing that with every album I listen to from now on. Right now, I’m listening to the Dead Kennedys “Frankenchrist” album. I know you didn’t mean that those AC/DC tracks were bad or even filler but you’re right, they do support the theory.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I listened to the “Frankenchrist” album and I don’t know if I would call the penultimate track, “At My Job” filler per se, but they do kind of go experimental on it. So that could give further weight to the theory. I do have one to the contrary. On Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage Act 1” album, the penultimate track, “Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?” is one of the best.

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