Rocking the Decade: Unforgettable Album Closers in the 2020s

by Barbara

A Thrilling Countdown: The 10 Best Rock Album Closers of the 2020s

The 2020s, a decade of unexpected twists and turns, have witnessed remarkable shifts on the global stage. With events ranging from political transitions and cinematic triumphs to the relentless advancements of technology, the decade has left an indelible mark on history. As the world continues to navigate this era of transformation, the realm of music has provided a silver lining, delivering powerful, evocative album closers that resonate deeply with audiences across genres. Within the realm of rock music, the 2020s have gifted us with an array of spectacular album closers that encapsulate the essence of the times.

1. “I Know The End” – Phoebe Bridgers (Punisher)

Phoebe Bridgers, a maestro of melancholic melodies, has redefined the art of sad music through her distinctive blend of Americana and folk influences. Her 2020 album “Punisher” concluded with the masterpiece “I Know The End,” a song that serves as a testament to her unique style. Bridgers’ ability to infuse raw emotions into her music is unparalleled, and “I Know The End” takes listeners on an unforgettable journey. The track begins as a somber acoustic reflection before morphing into a crescendo of chaos, with horns, electric guitars, and a whirlwind of sound that culminates in a cathartic explosion. Bridgers delivers a tour de force, leaving nothing behind and crafting a closing track that is nothing short of breathtaking.

2. “Murder Most Foul” – Bob Dylan (Rough And Rowdy Ways)

Bob Dylan, a living legend of the music industry, defies expectations with his 2020 album “Rough And Rowdy Ways.” The final track, “Murder Most Foul,” stretches over a staggering 17 minutes and delves into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dylan’s characteristic poetic lyrics are accompanied by a tapestry of piano and strings, creating an introspective atmosphere that examines the profound impact of the event on American culture. Despite its extended length, “Murder Most Foul” captivates listeners with its insightful narrative and the wisdom that only Dylan can impart. A fitting finale to his album, the song rekindles the allure of Dylan’s storytelling prowess and resonates as a testament to his enduring relevance.

3. “Skrting On The Surface” – The Smile (A Light For Attracting Attention)

When Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood, members of Radiohead, embarked on their project “The Smile” in 2020, their impact was undeniable. Their album “A Light For Attracting Attention” boasts a track that stands as an extraordinary closing statement. “Skrting On The Surface” exudes a cinematic quality, fusing elements of film score and pseudo-jazz. Yorke’s ethereal falsetto takes center stage, guiding listeners through a mesmerizing sonic landscape. The song’s lush instrumentation and serene progression evoke imagery of gliding on ice, leaving a lasting impression reminiscent of classic Radiohead albums. With this track, “The Smile” asserts their artistic prowess and reinforces their place in the musical pantheon.

4. “Distance” – Mammoth WVH (Mammoth WVH)

Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the iconic Eddie Van Halen, introduced himself to the world under the moniker “Mammoth WVH” with his eponymous debut album in 2021. The poignant track “Distance” is a tribute to his late father and carries a depth of emotion that resonates profoundly. Despite its straightforward arrangement, “Distance” strikes a chord with its sincerity and vulnerability. Wolfgang’s acknowledgment of his father’s enduring presence despite physical distance adds a poignant layer to the song’s narrative. It’s a heartfelt closing that encapsulates the album’s themes of legacy, love, and remembrance.

5. “Sleep Paralysis” – Nova Twins (Supernova)

London-based duo Nova Twins defied expectations with their 2022 album “Supernova,” a genre-blending masterpiece that shattered stereotypes. “Sleep Paralysis,” the album’s closing track, delves into the eerie phenomenon it’s named after with unrelenting intensity. The duo’s powerful vocals, coupled with a relentless soundscape, creates an atmosphere of spine-chilling tension. Nova Twins’ ability to infuse genuine fear into their music is a testament to their creative prowess. “Sleep Paralysis” leaves an indelible mark, both for its gripping narrative and its ability to push the boundaries of rock music.

6. “The Dying Light” – Sam Fender (Seventeen Going Under)

Sam Fender, the UK indie sensation, continues to captivate audiences with his introspective songwriting and distinct blend of American heartland rock and British sensibilities. His 2021 album “Seventeen Going Under” culminates with “The Dying Light,” a soaring ballad that reflects on his hometown and the lives intertwined with it. Fender’s emotive vocals and wistful lyrics create a resonant atmosphere that encapsulates the album’s themes of youth and growth. As the album’s closing chapter, “The Dying Light” serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of roots and upbringing.

7. “Gigantium” – Mastodon (Hushed And Grim)

Mastodon, the stalwart purveyors of sludge metal, make a resounding statement with “Gigantium,” the closing track of their 2021 double album “Hushed And Grim.” The song stands as a testament to their mastery of the genre, blending weighty vocals with a blistering guitar solo that exemplifies their prowess. “Gigantium” epitomizes the spirit of an album closer, offering a satisfying culmination to the extensive musical journey presented by the double album. With its fiery energy and impeccable musicianship, Mastodon reaffirms their status as titans of the metal scene.

8. “The Beach II” – Wolf Alice (Blue Weekend)

Wolf Alice, known for their genre-defying music, adds a touch of cohesion to their 2021 album “Blue Weekend” by bookending it with two parts of the same song. “The Beach II” serves as a captivating conclusion that complements its counterpart “The Beach.” Despite the songs’ contrasting styles, they contribute to the album’s thematic coherence. Wolf Alice’s ability to fuse dreamy melodies with poignant lyrics shines through in “The Beach II,” reinforcing their reputation as boundary-pushing musical innovators.

9. “Ohms” – Deftones (Ohms)

Deftones, renowned for their distinct fusion of heavy metal, shoegaze, and post-rock, provide a compelling album closer with “Ohms.” The title track of their 2020 album “Ohms,” the song resonates with its blend of mesmerizing vocals and evocative lyrics. Deftones’ ability to craft a wall of sound that envelops listeners is showcased in “Ohms,” which delivers a powerful closing statement that lingers long after the music fades.

10. “The Loneliest” – Måneskin (Rush!)

Måneskin, the glam rock revivalists, seize the spotlight with their anthemic single “Music Man” in 2023. Hailing from Italy, the band’s journey from runners-up on the Italian version of The X Factor to winning the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest is a testament to their remarkable rise in the music world. “Rush!,” their latest album released in 2023, features “The Loneliest” as its closing track.

“The Loneliest” embodies Måneskin’s glam rock roots, channeling the spirit of the 1980s with a sweeping love ballad. The band’s confidence shines through in powerful vocals and a raw, edgy approach that characterizes their musical style. With a nod to the sounds of iconic bands like Guns N’ Roses, the track pays homage to rock’s golden era while maintaining a contemporary resonance. “The Loneliest” encapsulates the journey of an independent artist, embracing individuality and the authority to create music on their terms.

As Måneskin’s star continues to ascend on a global stage, “The Loneliest” serves as a fitting closing statement for “Rush!” and a promising indication of the band’s future endeavors. Their ability to seamlessly blend nostalgia with modernity resonates deeply, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in their dynamic sound.

In Summation: A Decade of Captivating Closers

The 2020s have ushered in a musical era defined by innovation, introspection, and a willingness to explore new horizons. Within the realm of rock music, album closers have taken on a special significance, serving as the concluding chapters of artistic narratives that capture the essence of the times. From Phoebe Bridgers’ emotionally charged crescendo to Bob Dylan’s reflective exploration, these tracks invite listeners to journey through a tapestry of emotions and ideas.

The diverse offerings of Mammoth WVH, Nova Twins, and The Smile showcase the vast landscape of possibilities within rock music. As Wolfgang Van Halen pays tribute to his father, Nova Twins craft spine-tingling experiences, and The Smile masterfully experiment with soundscapes. Sam Fender’s introspective ballad, Mastodon’s explosive culmination, and Wolf Alice’s thematic bookending exemplify the multifaceted nature of rock’s creative spectrum.

Deftones’ fusion of genres, Måneskin’s glam rock revival, and the indie charm of “The Beach II” all contribute to the vibrant tapestry of rock’s evolution. These albums’ closing tracks resonate with authenticity, creativity, and a dedication to pushing boundaries.

As the 2020s continue to unfold, the rock genre’s journey remains dynamic and unpredictable. From iconic legends to rising stars, each album closer shapes the narrative of this transformative decade. These tracks serve as a reminder of the enduring power of music to evoke emotion, provoke thought, and unite audiences across the globe. Whether through melancholic ballads or soaring anthems, these album closers leave an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of listeners, illuminating the path ahead for rock music in the years to come.

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