The 10 best false endings in music, as chosen by Haggard Cat

Some bands choose genres when it comes to compiling these lists; some choose other bands. Not Haggard Cat. "We’ve made it no secret on our new album, Challenger, that we are in awe of the craft involved in a good stop and start in a tune," frontman Matt Reynolds tells Louder when we approach them with the idea of hand-selecting a list for us. "So, we're going to make a list of our favourite tracks that catch us off-guard – or give you just that little bit of extra genius just when you weren’t expecting it."

So, here it is: the 10 finest false endings to exist in song, according to Haggard Cat's Matt Reynolds.

You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire – Queens Of The Stone Age (Songs For The Deaf, 2002)

"We start with a song from an album and band that are a constant inspiration. This song is an absolute flash of energy, and an example of the perfect way to start the perfect album. It thrashes in and is gone as quickly as it arrived, but then screams back in to kick your head in for another few seconds. Glorious."

Sabotage – Beastie Boys (Ill Communication, 1994)

"Trying to get the air bass right when this bad boy goes in for second innings is a favourite pastime of mine. I always forget, and it always fills me with joy when the song isn’t over yet."

No Surprise – Fugazi (End Hits, 1998)

"What a track! It’s hard to pick a favourite where Fugazi are involved, but this is certainly up there. I like to think that the false ending was a conscious, ironic decision because of the title – which knowing Fugazi, it almost certainly was. The way they bring you back in with this is absolute genius and classic Fugazi: a dead stop and a good five seconds of silence, before following up with some awesome tight as fuck full band stabs, before dreamily flowing back into the song. It’s just great."

Sad But True – Metallica (Metallica, 1991)

"This is a super cunning one on Papa Het and crew’s part. They manage to not only make a radio friendly song that’s heavy as balls, but by hinting at the false ending right at the beginning of the song, they get away with a good couple of seconds of silence at the end that won’t make your average disk jockey even break sweat. And when it does kick in? Oh my! Kirk Hammett, take a bow."

Aren’t We All Running? - 65daysofstatic (The Fall Of Math, 2004)

"This is a typically beautiful and cacophonic piece from 65dos. It builds and builds and builds to seemingly nothing, then a single hi-hat hit brings the whole band back in from silence to reach the song's glorious crescendo. What a way to close an album."

Come Back – Foo Fighters (One By One, 2002)

"This is one of my favourite Foos tracks, and it comes from an album that was panned by both critics and the band themselves. Probably about as prog as they ever went (which is a little bit of a stretch), but this song had it all. A big riff, a memorable one-liner chorus, dreamy yet powerful vocals and it clocks in at just under eight minutes, which is a bit of a novelty for a Foos song. The whole thing meets a wicked quiet interlude build (featuring one sole hit of a piano, just to give a little dynamic zing) which ends beautifully... then kicks in again for yet another round of that chorus. So much power."

Bold As Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Axis: Bold As Love, 1967)

"Blaze up and listen, that’s all I have to say… The first ending to this song just sounds so conclusive, so when Jimi does start up again it’s like he’s forgotten that the band had finished playing a split second ago. It’s jarring but also serves the song by providing that extra bit more you’re always left wanting from Hendrix."

Supa Scoopa And Mighty Scoop – Kyuss (Welcome To Sky Valley, 1994)

"The second entry in this list to feature the prince of the false ending himself, Josh Homme. This whole song is drenched in fuzz and swagger and seemingly plucked straight from the heart of the desert. The main riff could just go on and on for hours – Kyuss are one of those bands that you could simply watch jam on just one riff forever and it would never get old. This song really delivers when it comes to false endings; it has about eight (but who’s counting). The band take a longer pause between each one so when it does finally come to that concluding hit you’re simply breathless and untrusting as to whether they’re just fucking with you. It’s impossible to predict where the next band hit will come."

November Rain – Guns N' Roses (Use Your Illusion I, 1991)

“'Well, that was an epic song we just played you, wasn’t it? Wouldn’t it be a shame if we weren’t actually finished and blew it to pieces with an even more epic two minutes of music? No? Hold my beer…'”

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams (Waking Up The Neighbours, 1991)

"We’ll leave you with a wall-to-wall power banger. It’s none other than the husky-voiced balladeer, darling of the over 40s, Mr Bryan Adams. Everything he does, he does it for us… stop it, Bryan, you’re melting us!"

Haggard Cat's new album, Challenger, will be available April 20 via Earache Records, but is available for pre-order now. Check out the video to single Bone Shaker below:

Briony Edwards

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.