It's possible you've never even noticed it. It's subtle, but once you're aware of it, there's no way to hear a song the same way again. The fade out-- that little bit at the end of the song where the music slowly fades into oblivion and you're left listening to the same silence as you were before the song. I do not call it "the ending" of a song. It is near the end - it is where the end should be. But by all means, it is not the end of a song.

Endings are defined. Think of your favorite book or movie; it probably had a good ending, didn't it? Without a good ending, a great movie is reduced to an average movie. Without the proper conclusion, a persuasive essay is unfinished. The punchline is the most important part of the joke, and the same rule follows with a song.

Artists spend so much time creating their musical masterpieces. Hours upon hours are poured into a three to four-minute song, and they're all but in vain when its conclusion is the epitome of laziness. Anyone can twist the volume knob until its muted. Where's the artistry in that? Where's the effort at all?

The problem lies in the conception of an ending. How does a fade-out come into existence? The answer is, well, it doesn't really. It's a manipulation of what already exists. It makes a change to the song that has already been created, and because the listener can't hear it anymore, it receives the "ending" label. A true ending is created just like the rest of the song: from artistic genius. Creativity.

If you really think about it, by the fade-out technique, any part of the song can be the ending. There's nothing special about the 3:34 mark that authorizes it to be an ending, or whatever the duration of a song is. It's generic, both within the song and between songs. What's the point of creating a song if it's ended like every other song? It goes against all that music is.

Ultimately, fade-outs leave me wanting more. Expecting more, even. I don't want to hear a cop out. I don't want to hear the same song ending over and over, across all genres. There shouldn't be a universal ending to any kind of song, a one-size-fits-all. If it were that easy, anybody could make music, and I don't think it works like that.

I want to hear a confident ending; a defiance that says, "This is the end of my song. It's over." Without that key point, it feels as though the song is unfinished and needed to be pushed out prematurely because the musician didn't know what to do. As if the artist doesn't understand the song they've created and can't control the ending, and so they allow it to manifest into infinity, metaphorically telling me, "There is no ending because the song plays forever and you just can't hear it because it faded out." Show some understanding in music and make a proper ending.

It should be clear from the structure of the song that it's the end. I shouldn't have to glance at the elapsed time to see if the song is getting quieter or I'm going deaf. It takes a lot of skill to make a song, and it takes just as much to end one.