There was a time before digital releases when you’d let a record or CD play after the last track and be pleasantly surprised by a secret bonus song. These hidden gems still exist today. Hidden and bonus tracks are often just leftovers that didn’t make the cut for the album; meaning sometimes they fall short. Not these ones though. Here are 10 great songs you may have never realized your favourite band put out.
Vampire Weekend – Giant
Giant is a bonus track on 2010’s Contra. The lyrics start the same as Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”, but Vampire Weekend put their own privileged twist on it.
The National – You Were a Kindness
Anyone who is a fan of The National or crying while listening to music will love this bonus song. “You Were a Kindness” comes off the reissue of High Violet that features a couple more solid bonus tracks.
Born Ruffians – Oh Cecilia
This song came after their 2013 album Birthmarks was released. They demoed the song and thought it sounded great, but it didn’t fit with what they’re doing for the next album. The solution was to put it on the reissue of Birthmarks that came out earlier this year because it sounded like a Birthmarks song.
alt-J – Lovely Day
If you let alt-J’s record This Is All Yours play to the very end you’ll hear this cover of Bill Withers’ classic “Lovely Day”.
The New Pornographers — High Art, Local News
The New Pornographers album Twin Cinema was shortlisted for the inaugural Polaris Music Prize (2006) awarded to the best Canadian Album of the year. The guitar riff in this bonus song has a Kinks vibe.
Tokyo Police Club – First Aid Kit with Born Ruffians
This song first showed up as a bonus song on Tokyo Police Club’s 2010 record Champ. Born Ruffians also put it on their EP Plinky Plonk from the same year.
The Shins – Nothing at All
“Nothing at All” was the b-side for “Phantom Limb” when it was released as a single. The song didn’t make it onto the album but the band added it as a bonus track online.
The Clash – Train in Vain
This song’s rich history is bizarre. The Clash recorded it so last minute that the album sleeves were already in production. So depending on when you bought the album, this is either a completely hidden track you didn’t know was there, or it’s listed as song 19.
Wilco – Candyfloss
If you left Wilco’s Summerteeth album on after it finished for 23 seconds, this song would come on.
Arcade Fire – Speaking in Tongues
The deluxe version of The Suburbs had a couple of additional songs, one featuring David Byrne of Talking Heads. It’s probably not a coincidence that Talking Heads’ famous album from 1983 is also called Speaking in Tongues.
Nirvana – Endless, Nameless
This song wasn’t on the original version of Nevermind, but on later pressings hidden as part of the final song. It’s extremely heavy!