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Lew Bundles

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Why is the second song in an album almost always the single (ignoring intros)?

By the final mixing of most albums, the producer has listened to the same tracks hundreds of times. He (or she) will have a very good idea of what songs are better than others, as well as a feel for a narrative order for the songs. If he wants listeners to like the album as a whole, he will try to spread the best songs out between the others so they can all get equal ear time. Most music afficianados listen to albums in their entirety for just these reasons, and so the producer will often open an albums track order with the song that is the most outside the bands normal comfort zone, to catch the listeners interest. He will immediately seek to offset it with the song he feels is sure to be the first single. The catchiest track. It is intentional.

The second track has always been the perfect spot to put the best song on an album and most producers know this. The first song is usually something dramatic to get people’s attention, usually a song that is a little catchy so you get instant gratification when you put on the album. However, the best song might not be the most immediately likable but it needs to be featured right there in the second slot so the general perception is that the album is great. It’s a first impression thing. You don’t want to save the best song for later. Many great albums only have 4 or 5 really great songs, and I don’t know but I will tell you a little secret. I run a radio station and we get sent LOTS of CD’s from young, and not so young, artists. I listen to the beginning of the second track and if it catches my attention in the first few seconds I graze the rest of the album.

The second track is always the best for some reason.

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Raspberries Second Songs:

Come Around And See Me

Goin' Nowhere Tonight

Last Chance

Play On

 

Eric Carmen Second Songs:

That's Rock n Roll

Marathon Man

Haven't We Come A Long Way

Lost In The Shuffle

I'm Through With Love

Someone That You Loved Before

 

Um.....????

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Compare that to the first songs...

 

Raspberries First Songs:

Go All The Way

I Wanna Be With You

Tonight

Overnight Sensation

 

Eric Carmen First Songs:

Sunrise

Boats Against The Current

Desperate Fools Overture

It Hurts Too Much

I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips

I Was Born To Love You

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