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The 20 Best Bonus Tracks

February 29, 2012  |  3:46pm

Thanks to the slightly wonky Gregorian calendar system, February is a bit longer this year. So to celebrate the bonus day, we’re highlighting 20 of our favorite bonus tracks on albums. Whether hidden within last songs or exclusive bonus tracks, covers or original songs, here’s to those extra bits of musicality that don’t often come around, but when they do, always makes the entire album experience always worth it.

20. The Civil Wars-”Dance Me to the End of Love”
Newcomers The Civil Wars included an excellent cover of a Leonard Cohen song on the digital version of digital bonus track on their Grammy-winning album, Barton Hollow. “Dance Me to the End of Love” first appeared on Cohen’s 1984 album, Various Positions, but the folky duo strips it down and squeezes out all the emotion in this extra acoustic track.

19. Counting Crows-“Big Yellow Taxi”
Before they released this version of “Big Yellow Taxi” with Vanessa Carlton’s superficial “ooh bop bop bops,” the Counting Crow’s cover actually appeared on their 2002 album Hard Candy. The cover of “Joni Mitchell’s single is buried minutes after the earnest closing track, “Holiday in Spain.”

18. Coheed & Cambria-“21:13”
On the prog-rock band’s second album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, Coheed & Cambria pay homage to Rush in the form of a hidden track named “21:13.” The nine-minute song follows 11 tracks sarcastically noted as, “A Lot Of Nothing I-XI.”

17. The Offspring-“Next to You”
When The Offspring’s Great Hits album came out in 2005, it didn’t seem too terribly noteworthy or necessary. However, a punk rock-tinged cover of The Police’s 1978 hit, “Next To You” was a lovely surprise to find tacked onto the end of “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You.”

16. Libertines-“France”
This quiet acoustic track follows “What Became of the Likely Lads” on the British indie rock band’s self-titled sophomore album. With walking bass lines and small guitar flourishes, it’s a beautiful way to close an otherwise rollicking LP.

15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs-“Poor Song”
Also known quite simply as, “Hidden Song,” this slow Yeah Yeah Yeahs track appeared at the end of the indie group’s 2003 album, Fever to Tell, following “Modern Romance.” The band has also been known to perform it as an encore during live shows.

14. Ben Folds Five-“She Don’t Use Jelly (Lounge-A-Palooza Version)”
This cover of the Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly” appears as a bonus track on the remastered, re-release of Whatever and Ever Amen in 2005. Ben Folds is known for his unconventional covers and this jazzy lounge version is no exception.

13. Green Day-“I Was All By Myself”
Green Day’s 1994 album, Dookie put the pop-punk band on the charts with massive hits like “Welcome to Paradise,” “Longview,” “Basket Case” and others. But the 90-second goof-off called “I Was All By Myself” that appears a few minutes after “F.O.D.” always seems to elicit a chuckle.

12. Guster-”Two at a Time”
This hidden track appears at the end of Guster’s 2003 album, Keep It Together. The alternative band has also been known to play the melodic, violin-laced track live on occasion.

11. State Radio-“Sybil III”
Frontman Chad Stokes (also of alternative band, Dispatch) has recorded special hidden tracks for his lady, Sybil, on each of the three State Radio albums. Aptly named “Sybil,” “Sybil II” and “Sybil III,” the most recent of the songs appears on the band’s 2009 album, Let It Go, but the only way to access it is by rewinding the CD/mp3 from the first track, “Mansin Humanity.”

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