Well it's parade season. Parades, long drown out attractions that inconvenient traffic and force on-lookers to stand in the cold for a minimal payoff. Especially this time of year. Theres something about them though that still brings the curiousity out in people. Got me thinking about songs that don't fit within the standard 3 and a half minute format convenient for radio stations and general mainstream. But they still deserve a listen. Here's 10 great Long Songs. (and no i'm not doing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida)
1. "Thin Blue Flame" - Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter never ceases to amaze me. Every song i've heard of his is different from the last. The advantage of writing a song without limits of time is to have the pacing and the ability to achieve the atmosphere you desire. A couple of the songs on this list build to a marvelous musical nadir. This one clocks in at 9:38.
2. "Dr. Phibes Rises Again" - Misfits
Coming in at 6:49 "Dr. Phibes Rises Again" is the longest Misfits song on record, and it's only found on an album of b-sides and demos, 2001's Cuts From The Crypt. It's a tale of murder and betrayal from beyond the grave, based on the movie it shares a title with. According to the liner notes the song was originally recorded by the Misfits side-group Kryst The Conquerer, and re-recorded with the new Misfits line up.
3. "Marquee Moon" - Television
In the 70's Television were harrowed as one of the forerunners of the punk movement. Then in 1977 they did the unexpected by releasing a near 11 minute, musically intricate track called "Marquee Moon". It blew critics away with it's craftsmenship and even required a few members of Television to be replaced due to their lack of skill for some of the guitar work. The whole second half of the song is pretty much a solo afterall.
4. "The Decline" - NOFX
Clocking in at over 18 minutes "The Decline" is this lists' champion of duration. NOFX had an idea to instead of making quick short punk songs, why not make one epic long one? They soon discovered that recording and mixing such a track was a nightmare. They vowed to never attempt it again. Apparently there is a rumour that "The Decline" syncs up with Pink Floyd's film "The Wall", i've never tried it.
5. "The Outlaw Torn" - Metallica
From Metallica's longest album is one of Metallica's longest songs. It's usually regarded as the best off of 96's Load. Back then CDs could handle 75 minutes of music on them, Load comes in at 74:59. The last 30 seconds had to be left off of this track just so it would fit. This song gets into my psyche so much it hardly feels like the 10 minutes it is....i find it difficult to pick a favourite Metallica track, I typically change my mind daily, but this one gets the nod in high rotation.
6. "Jesus Of Suburbia" - Green Day
Yeah I know this one is mainstream and has been played in it's entirety on radio, but goddamn it's a great fucking track. We all know the story of 2004's American Idiot, how their original album's worth of songs got deleted off their computer and lost forever. Thankfully. I feel this album was a return to form for Green Day and a very impressive step in a new direction. "Jesus Of Suburbia" is a flawless example of that. I mean flawless too.
7. "Bartender" - Dave Matthews Band
2002's Busted Stuff was compiled of songs originally recorded during the Lillywhite Sessions with producer Steve Lillywhite. The band opted not to release it as they felt the songs were too depressing, however after the positive reaction from fans at live shows and the leaked bootlegs got around the internet, DMB relented and released the songs on Busted Stuff. Dave Matthews Band are notorious for long songs and their extended jamming during concerts can make them even longer. Songs like "Bartender" however make it a welcome sin.
8. "When The Levee Breaks" - Led Zeppelin
I could've chosen from a multitude of Zeppelin tracks, i've always been rather fond of "When The Levee Breaks". Something about the intro and the way the music resonates throughout the song. I read it was actually a difficult track to lay down in the studio, which is also why they rarely played it live.
9. "The Mariner's Revenge Song" - The Decemberists
This one could've been included on a number of different themed lists....and i'm sure it will appear again at some point. Even if that is against my rules. It's just a great song that I can never get enough of. And at 8:47 that says quite a bit. It weaves a tale through the eyes of son seeking to avenge the death of his mother. The instruments used really capture the era the story takes place in as well. If you haven't been made aware of The Decemberists until now, you're very welcome.
10. "Konstantine" - Something Corporate
I was about to include this one on last week's list, but had the idea for Long Songs and saved it for here. The person who introduced me to it referred it as our generations "Stairway To Heaven". It's another one of those songs that builds and builds until the song's crescendo. Something Corporate were typically known for emo-esque love songs, and delivered a doozy with "Konstantine". It wasn't even included on an album until Songs For Silent Movies and even then only on Japanese import. It's an autobiographical song about singer Andrew McMahon's relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Most of the lines are about situations that actually happened to him. Enjoy it.