10 of Rock's Greatest Final Albums

By Alison Nastasi

A selection of the most wonderful swan songs, farewells, and eulogies put to tape

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With the news that REM have gone their own separate ways, we can look at their discography in its entirety -- and, in particular, at how their final album Collapse into Now (with its retrospectively portentous cover shot of Michael Stipe waving goodbye) fits into their body of work, the highlights of which have been collected in the box set Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982 - 2011, out today. We really rather like Collapse into Now -- it's definitely better than Around the Sun and Accelerate, and makes for a worthy conclusion to a fine career.

But it also got us thinking about bands that really went out with a bang, and so we've pulled together a selection of our very favorite final albums. Suggestions are, as ever, welcome. (Just a caveat, though: since the idea is to look at albums that ended relatively lengthy careers, we're not counting artists who only made one or two albums -- so no Closer, Spiderland, Loveless, etc.)

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/11/10-of-rocks-greatest-final-albums/248540/