I was at a barbecue yesterday, enjoying the reckless blend of sunburn, scorched meat and extreme alcohol abuse that defines the great British summer. As so often seems to happen at parties lately, someone put Paul Simon's 'Graceland' on the stereo.
Nothing wrong with that. It's one of my favourite albums, and a perfect soundtrack to a sozzled afternoon in the sunshine. Apart, that is, from one song: 'Homeless'. Based on a traditional Zulu wedding song, it's pleasant enough, and features the gorgeous image, "Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake".
But it's basically a lullaby - a song to send you to sleep rather than energise you. Coming after the shimmering guitar riff and joyous gloopy bass line of 'Graceland', and the brash trumpets of 'You Can Call Me All', 'Homeless' is obviously a bit of a comedown.
It got me thinking about other 'buzzkill' moments on otherwise magical albums. 'Fitter Happier' on Radiohead's 'OK Computer' is the obvious one, though I'd argue 'Climbing Up The Walls' is the real 'reach for the skip button' moment on that album.
I've always hated 'So Real' off Jeff Buckley's otherwise flawless 'Grace' - it sounds like Sting, and it bugs me that Buckley ditched the miraculously soulful 'Forget Her' to make room for it.
Then of course there's 'Something In The Way' off 'Nevermind' - "How should we round off this incredible album of exhilarating tunes? I know, how about a boring depressing dirge?". Even The Strokes' 'Is This It' - the 10th anniversary of which we've been celebrating - kicks off with that relatively sucky title track.
It seems even the greatest albums contain at least one moment that you endure rather than enjoy. Which other buzzkill tracks would you suggest?