What is up with the 5th song?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Poehlman, May 17, 2002.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I've noticed a 5th song phenomena I would like to share with you.

    Have you ever noticed more often than not that the 5th song on an album is usually the most popular or hit song from that album. (this doesn't apply to various or greatest hits compilations)

    Go ahead grab a CD at random out of your rack and look at the 5th song. Why is that? Is this some sort of studio theory that a listener needs a little "pick-me-up" by the 5th song?

    To test this theory I do the following.. whenever I go into a tavern or pub I've never been to or I am not real familiar with, I will play song 2305 on the CD jukebox without even looking at what it is. It's kind of a Russian Roulette with music. It's fun.. but, usually, it's a hit song and not some obscure tune.

    Anyone else notice this?
     
  2. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Dave, amazingly enough, I've noticed the same thing with Fates Warning CDs. Ok, none of their songs are "hits," but almost all of their 5th tracks are their best on the albums.

    Weird.

    NP: Tony Levin, Pieces of the Sun, CD, which also a has a really neat 5th track
     
  3. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    I did a little experiment. Exported my entire track listing and filtered on the track index, i.e. only displayed songs that were the fifth track on the CD.

    I then removed greatest hits, compilations and all of my live CD-Rs. The results:

    Most of my CDs didn't have a "hit" or the best song on track #5. Artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen had plenty of #5's that weren't hits or even one of the best songs on the album. Same with Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.

    I think you're just experiencing a case of selective memory.
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  5. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

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    I happen to have two discs of oldies with me.

    You be the judge:

    Electric Light Orchestra-Secret Messages, fifth song: Time After Time, fourth: Take Me On And On, sixth: Four Little Diamonds.

    Paul McCartney-Wingspan, cd1: fifth song: Jet (BINGO!), fourth: Live and Let Die, sixth: My Love;

    cd2: fifth song: Helen Wheels, fourth: Maybe I'm Amazed, sixth: Bluebird.
     
  6. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  7. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  8. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    Despite unnecessary attempts to shoot down the topic, I do think it would be interesting to analyze decisions made to influence track order.

    While I think the song 5 rule is too strict, I would be surprised if there WASN'T a formula that record execs used to determine an "appealing" song order, especially in popular music.

    For instance, I've noticed that a lot of albums I own seem to have a strong, but relatively obscure 1st song, followed by a "rocker" in the second track.

    For some reason, my favorite song on all of the first three Dave Matthews albums has been song 9.

    Of course there is no rule or set of rules that would apply to all albums, but I'm sure that more than ART goes into the decision for track order in the majority of cases.

    NIN - And all that could have been DVD-V
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Actually, I noticed the 3rd song phenom back in the early 90's.
    Spin Doctors : Pocket Full Of Kryptonite
    3. Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
    Nirvana : Nevermind
    3. Come As You Are
    Nirvana : In Utero
    3. Heart-Shaped Box
    Pearl Jam : Ten
    3. Alive
    Pearl Jam : Vs.
    3. Daughter
    Counting Crows : August & Everything After
    3. Mr. Jones
    Black Crowes : Southern Harmony And Musical Companion
    3. Thorn In My Pride
    Hum : You'd Prefer An Astronaut
    3. Stars
    Faith No More : Angel Dust
    3. Midlife Crisis
    Temple Of The Dog : Temple Of The Dog
    3. Hunger Strike
    Alice In Chains : Jar Of Flies
    3. I Stay Away
    Local H : As Good As Dead
    3. Bound For The Floor
    Smashing Pumpkins : Siamese Dream
    3. Today
    etc, etc, etc...
    My friends and I always notice that on Alt rock albums, often #3 was the lead single- while #5 was a later single. Probably coincidence, but popped up all the time.
     
  10. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    vince:

    i was just thinking about nirvana when i read this thread. however, nirvana's hit off nevermind was "smells like teen spirit" (track 1), but you are right about "come as you are" (track 3) and even to an extent "lithium" (track 5), dave makes a point. however, being a huge nirvana fan, every song on that album is a "hit" to me.

    kevin t
     
  11. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    Pretty off the subject, but this reminded me. Why is the last track of an album often a hidden "silly track" stuck on after a bit of white space. The first I noticed this was on Nirvana's Nevermind (though it was probably not the first), and now almost "everyone" feels the need to do this. It's not always unwelcome, but can be pretty annoying.
     
  12. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Nirvana might not have been the first- but I would blame them for the fact that it caught on. Kurt talked about his desire to do that in the "Come as you Are" book, claiming the inspiration came from a prank he used to play on his roomate using cassette tapes.

    So many bands have done it, in several different ways.

    My favorite hidden track method is placing a song in the "countdown" preroll before track 1! The x-files soundtrack used this "track 0" method- making you rewind from Track 1.

    Kinda interesting, especially if you REALLY want to hide it

    -V
     
  13. Frank_S

    Frank_S Supporting Actor

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  14. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

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    Course Of Empire 's 'Initiation' disc also uses the negative track trick Vince mentioned. They also have a song on the album hidden in white noise that can only be extracted by some sort of fidgeting in mono or something. Those guys were into messing with their listeners!
     
  15. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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  16. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    I think Frank_S nailed it.

    As far as silly throwaway tracks, I think the classic example is Her Majesty on Abbey Road.
     
  17. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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  18. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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  19. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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