8 Perfect Album Closers – Women’s History Month Edition
From Taylor Swift to Adele, Jessie Ware, Fifth Harmony and more
As Women’s History Month comes to a wrap this week, here’s a look at eight songs by some of the most powerful female voices over the last decade who gave us perfect gems to close out their full-length albums.
These days artists seemingly are spending less and less time thinking about song placement and with streaming dominating our consumption of music, we often fail to make it to the end of an album, unless the albums themselves are reissued as deluxe or bonus editions.
These artists gave us reason to stay until the end!
“Begin Again” – Taylor Swift (From 2012’s Red)
Hard to believe 10 years have passed since Taylor Swift released the original Red album. While Red (Taylor’s Version) updates the songs, it also extends the album to include eight more tracks thus bumping the original album closer “Begin Again.” It’s a shame because “Begin Again” is that perfect closer. Released as the second single from the original album, the song was universally acclaimed, more so for Swift’s songwriting skills. In many ways, the single was a great foreshadowing of the evolution the artist was making not just into the pop market but also into the more folksy and Americana worlds we’d see her perfect years later with Folklore.
“Kiss Me More” – Doja Cat, SZA (From 2021’s Planet Her)
Doja Cat’s first release from her Planet Her era was this sultry collaboration with SZA. “Kiss Me More” became a smash hit for the twosome proving that Doja was here to stay. While normally a first single would never feature last on an album, here it works because in many ways the song perfectly encapsulates the journey we’ve seen with the artist. And once you experience the album, you understand that the song concludes a sonic journey that begins with “Woman”and never misses a beat, not even for a minute!
“No Way” – Fifth Harmony (From 2016’s 7/27 Deluxe Edition – Original Release)
This Victoria Monet penned ballad should have been a single. Fifth Harmony scored a huge hit with their first single from the album, Work From Home. But rather than switch up the formula, the ladies (or their label) decided to try and replicate the success with another single that basically felt like an extension of the hit and once again trying to be more sexual than needed. It’s a shame really because “No Way” is instantly sensual and all of the ladies sound wonderful on their own and unlike most of their other tracks from that era, their voices blend perfectly together here to create an even deeper impact.
“Remember Where You Are” – Jessie Ware (From 2020’s What’s Your Pleasure)
My favorite album of 2020 happened to house probably one of my most favorite album closers ever. While Ware opted to go disco with the majority of the fantastic album, the last track on the album felt like the perfect meeting point between the rest of the album, slowing things down and the Ware that previously blew us away with her retro soul on her highly underrated previous album Glasshouse. “Remember Where You Are”is vintage R&B and it’s no wonder the single ended up even making it onto Barack Obama’s year-end playlist! A brilliant single that reminded us all that a good melody is timeless.
“Formation”– Beyonce (From 2016’s Lemonade)
Let’s get this out of the way. Hands down, Lemonade is Beyonce’s best album to date. The song goes from strength to strength, and it was a brilliant move on the part of the artist to close the album with her first single “Formation.” While the song itself is a great stand-alone track, listening to the entirety of the album and understanding each track for its narrative, the culmination that is “Formation” feels all the more powerful and celebratory, giving us a new depth and appreciation for the killer track.
“POV” – Ariana Grande (From 2020’s Positions)
In what is arguably Grande’s most Mariah Carey song ever, “POV” was a breath of fresh air from the talented singer. Grande had seemingly been releasing cute bop after another. Of course, her voice is at the forefront but often times the music and the style doesn’t permit for the histrionics only she can reach from her age range at present. So the simplicity of the ballad that is “POV”felt like a joyful ode to Grande the singer. It helped that the single’s lyrics matched the beauty of her voice and the melody.
“Love Is A Game” – Adele (From 2021’s 30)
A lot has been written about Adele’s 30 and I must say despite the initial hoopla and particular love for first single Easy On Me, the rest of the era so far hasn’t really resonated as strongly with audiences. It’s a shame because the album closer “Love Is A Game” is one of Adele’s strongest vocal performances and also one of her most vulnerable, no belting required. In a just world, an edit of the track would be made for radio and the track would become a single we all could sing along to. But instead of that, we get to conclude our hour with the singer with an ode to love and she ends the track opening herself up to…loving again.
“Rainbow” – Kacey Musgraves (From 2018’s Golden Hour)
Golden Hour is one of those perfect albums where each song’s placement is so perfect and so spot on, it’s no wonder “Rainbow” has become such an anthem. Musgraves is undeniably vulnerable on the song and perhaps not since Kermit’s reassuring us on “The Rainbow Connection” has there been a track that’s managed to capture love as the empowering message so effortlessly. Timeless.