It's a point that Liam 1p touched upon in his guest post last year (he highlighted Blur's Yuko & Hiro as an outstanding album track), and I'm revisiting it today. Here are five album tracks - that is, songs that were never released as singles - that, in my opinion, are better than any of the singles that surround them.
The View by Modest Mouse (from Good News for People Who Love Bad News)
This, of course, was Modest Mouse's big breakthrough album. It's best known for Float On, which was a #1 hit in America; Ocean Breathes Salty was also released as a single, albeit to far less fanfare. The View, however, trumps both of those songs, with its purposeful riff, infectious boots 'n' cats drumming, and strangely appealing world-weariness.
Auf Achse by Franz Ferdinand (from Franz Ferdinand)
I read something about FF's self-titled debut on Stereogum recently. It's been ten years (ten years!) since it came out, and somebody decided to mark the occasion with an article that basically ignored the brilliant album tracks and stated that the singles - Take Me Out, This Fire, et al - were the only truly great moments.
I disagree. In fact, I had a hard time picking just one Franz Ferdinand song for this list - slacker's anthem Jacqueline and the pining Come On Home both do more for me than Take Me Out, but it's Auf Achse to which my heart truly belongs. That aching synth line and the smart, mocking lyrics about unrequited love add up to a massive win in my book.
This Modern Love by Bloc Party (from Silent Alarm)
I remember seeing Bloc Party at Reading 2009. I remember thinking that I wasn't really that bothered about any of their songs. And then I remember how they played this song, reminding me that, actually, perhaps I was a Bloc Party fan after all. Words cannot describe the extent to which this passionate and slightly melancholy love song deserved to see the charts - I certainly prefer it to the hip but slightly sterile likes of Banquet. This should have been a single instead.
See also: Luno, which is one of my all-time favourite tracks to drum along to.
Disenchanted by My Chemical Romance (from The Black Parade)
I noted my fondness for The Black Parade back in July, with this particular track filling one of the fifty slots on my big summer playlist. I love this album's singles (particularly the crashing, twisted power ballad that is I Don't Love You), but I love Disenchanted even more - it's the perfect evocation of what it was like to be part of the whole emo scene back in the mid-noughties. Y'know, probably.
Oh, and the second verse - where the everything suddenly explodes into life - is amazing. Turn it up loud for that part.
(Antichrist Television Blues) by Arcade Fire (from Neon Bible)
One of my all-time most played, this. Some might argue that 5:10 is too long for a single, but Rebellion (Lies) was exactly the same length, and that was a single. Okay, so it's quite repetitive, but so is Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) from Funeral, and guess what? That was a single too. As far as I can tell, the only reason for this spectacular song's non-single status is the fact that there are brackets around its title. And that was the band's stupid decision.
Which other songs would you have missed out on had you neglected to buy the album? Answers in the comments.