Jan 252012

It’s become commonplace for film and television critics to offset a key piece of plot twist information in a review with a SPOILER ALERT! warning. Imagine, if you can, a world in which more than a few thousand rock nerds like us really cared about the twists and turns of a song, those parts people like us find unexpected and exhilarating, like the—SPOILER ALERT!—buzz-heightening typewriter/Phil Manzanera guitar solo that pops up out of the blue in Brian Eno‘s “China My China” or the—SPOILER ALERT!—gravitas-deepening appearance of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, in Lou Reed‘s “Street Hassle.”

If rock critics found it helpful to add a SPOILER ALERT! to their review of records, what records might call for such a disclaimer?


  17 Responses to “SPOILER ALERT!

  1. Does the bagpipe solo in ACDC’s Long Way to the Top if you Wanna Rocka and Roll count? I never saw it coming the first time I heard it and it still cracks me up.

  2. There’s a moment near the end of Julee Cruise’s “Into the Night” that scares the crap out of anyone hearing the song for the first time.

  3. tonyola

    The very first time I listened to Dark Side of the Moon was on headphones while on a moderate psilocybin-mushroom buzz and everything was cruising along quite nicely. Then the alarm clocks and bells that opened “Time” crashed into my brain and nearly sent me out the window.

  4. Yes, you are all on the right track. Usually people like us, rather than keep our mouths shut, do the opposite: we spend the minute leading up to the big twist telling our friend, “OK, OK – check out what’s coming up!”

  5. Bowie’s Suffragette City — Pause — “Wham bam thank you ma’am” was big thrill as a teenybopper — loved it the first time and still do.

    The Beach Boys’ Help Me Rhonda –audio goes up and down at the end. Kind of a stupid trick, but I thought it was cool as a kid.

  6. diskojoe

    The “DEEP AND WIDE” part in the Beach Boys “Time To Get Alone” always gets me.

    Another moment is when the guitar goes wild after Lou sings “my mind blew open” on the VU’s “I Heard Her Call My Name”

  7. When the big fuzz tone guitar lead starts during Stockholm Syndrome by Yo La Tengo.

    Also, when Tom Waits starts yodeling in the middle of Telephone Call From Istanbul.

  8. Actually, prog is filled with jarring moments that could call for “Spoiler Alert!” I’m not sure even where to begin.

  9. alexmagic

    The spoiler-worthy song twist that most closely resembles its film equivalent is the transition from “I blew up your body…” to “but you blew my mind!” in Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home A Heartache”. It’s set up so amazingly that I have to assume Ferry was intentionally doing a horror movie twist kind of thing. Which I guess makes Ferry Marion Crane and Manzanera Norman Bates?

    Speaking of Psycho, it and Citizen Kane are two movies that have been around long enough that the reveals have become as well known as the titles of the movies themselves. I think the return of “You Never Give me Your Money” at the tail end of the Abbey Road Medley is kind of similar. Is “Her Majesty” the first “stay after the credits!” scene in music?

  10. You’re listening to a perfectly serviceable late-stage Police record and SPOILER ALERT! Andy Summers’ “Mother”

  11. cliff sovinsanity

    Ahh, I hated that so much on Today. I prefer the Summer Days version. I really never understood why they did that.

  12. cliff sovinsanity

    Hey you’re listening to that Whiskeytown song Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart and all of sudden in the third verse SPOILER ALERT Alejandro Escovedo shows up brings the “cool”.

    Just when you think Imelda May’s album Mayhem is all over, SPOILER ALERT Lou Reed phones in an unimpressive duet on Kentish Town Waltz.

  13. Your VU moment reminds me of a really disturbing part in the already-disturbing “Lady Godiva’s Operation,” when at the 2:52 mark – SPOILER ALERT! – Lou Reed jumps in on John Cale’s sinister, hazy lead vocal with a most-Reed hectoring “SWEETLY!”


    Man, when I used to listen to that song at certain times in my youth that part always took me by surprise and made my heart skip a few beats.

  14. jeangray

    Isn’t that a prerequisite of Prog???

  15. jeangray

    Har har. Izzat my Mother on the phone???

  16. pudman13

    The very end of the BAND ON THE RUN album. That blew me away when I first heard it as a kid.

  17. bostonhistorian

    Lola is a man!

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