The 20 Best Bonus Tracks

Music Lists

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.”

10. The National-“Santa Clara”
This melodic song was included as an iTunes bonus song on the Brooklyn band’s 2007 album, The Boxer. It later appeared on The National’s compilation entitled The Virginia EP the following year.

9. Punch Brothers-”Packt Like Sardines In a Crush’d Tin Box”
Bluegrass darlings the Punch Brothers have been recently commended for their cover of Radiohead’s “Kid A” on their acclaimed Who’s Feeling Young Now?. But the homages to Britain’s’ wonderband began earlier, notably with the iTunes exclusive version of “Packt Like Sardines In a Crush’d Tin Box” that appeared on 2010’s Antifogmatic.

8. TV on the Radio-“Things You Can Do”
TV on the Radio’s 2006 breakthrough album, Return to Cookie Mountain spawned hits like the “Wolf Like Me” and the David Bowie-assisted “Province,” but after 15 tracks of silence, random noises, and “ambient audio,” a few bonus tracks and remixes suddenly present themselves. The last of which, the horn-laden “Things You Can Do” is the ultimate closer for one of the year’s best albums.

7. Pete Yorn-“A Girl Like You”
Closing Pete Yorn’s 2001 album,Musicforthemorningafter is “A Girl Like You.” The hidden love song comes after “Simonize,” rounding out the songwriter’s critically acclaimed debut album.

6. Dr. Dre-”Bitches Ain’t Shit”
While non-hip-hop fans probably discovered this song from Ben Folds’ 2005 chart-cracking piano cover, the original “Bitches Ain’t Shit” wasn’t actually listed on Dr. Dre’s 1992 hip-hop album, The Chronic. When the LP was re-released in the 21st century, however, the newly popularized song (which had also birthed covers and references from Funkdoobiest, Trina and Cam’Ron) was clearly denoted on the back cover.

5. Beck-“Diamond Bollocks”
In the U.K. release of Beck’s 1998 album, Mutations, this six-minute jam is allotted its own track number and listing. On the more widespread American version, though, “Diamond Bollocks” comes in more than a full minute after the end of “Static.”

4. Cracker-”Eurotrash Girl”
What is now considered one of Cracker’s best singles was first released on their 1993 EP, Tuscon. Later, the song appeared as an unlisted track (number 69, to be specific) on their 1994 album, Kerosene Hat.

3. Wilco-”Candyfloss”
Appearing 23 seconds after the last track on Wilco’s 1999 album, Summerteeth, “Candyfloss” has all the makings of a typical Tweedy song-it’s jangly, slightly unnerving and totally addicting.

2. Nirvana – “Endless, Nameless”
This hidden track appears 10 minutes after “Something in the Way,” the closing track on the grunge group’s seminal 1991 LP, Nevermind. We’re quite fond of the whole album, really.

1. The Clash-”Train in Vain (Stand By Me)”
The Clash’s London Calling made the top five of our Best of the 80s list, but “Train in Vain (Stand By Me)” almost didn’t make the album. While “Train in Vain” was eventually added at the last minute and later became the third single from the record, it’s considered a secret track because its information originally did not on the back of the LP or in the liner notes.

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