I haven't blogged lately, due to many, many distractions that I wish wouldn't distract me, so I decided to make my glorious comeback with something just a little bit different. This is a list I compiled of my Top 10 Songs that are over nine minutes in duration. Yes, Top 10 Songs Over 9 Minutes Long. Quite enticing, yes? Let the games begin.
We are all somewhat entranced by the "long song." It makes us ask ourselves questions like, "How could someone write this?" And other questions such as, "Where does their inspiration come from?" We mostly associate the long song with a drawn out live version of a song, but the following songs were all released on studio albums, adding to their mystique. They are all songs I get lost in. I start listening and then I see how far I'm in and I'll realize I'm only at the seven minute mark. It is such an amazing honor to listen to these songs, much less write one or perform one.
Without further adieu, my Top 10 Songs Over 9 Minutes Long:
10. The Meters – "It Ain't No Use"
What no other way to start off a list like this with a little funk? The wah-heavy rhythm guitar just makes you tap your foot and bob your head. The lead guitar cuts through with little blues fills while the bass is showcased on the chorus. The first guitar solo has a Clapton-like feel, melting in with the backing instruments. "It Ain't No Use" is the third longest song at 11:51 on the list. The hi-hats are barely brushed by the drummer, providing a very ambient sound interrupted by the snare and the requisite drum fill. Around the four minute mark, a keyboard solo breaks the rhythm, taking over the lead guitar which chimes in when it feels the need. This keyboard solo is the best addicting part of the song, in my opinion, as everything sounds like improv. The keyboard, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and drums all break their norm, while the bass hangs back before coming forward near the end of the whole break. Overall a really funky song making use of female backing vocalists. A smash from The Meters. If anyone has not checked this out, they are missing out on their necessary 1970s funk. Just give it a listen. You won't be disappointed.
9. The Doors – "When the Music's Over"
Ah, The Doors make their first appearance on the list. The beginning of the song has the signature addicting organ before a loud yell from Morrison and a mess of noise from the guitars. The song settles down a bit for Morrison to really work his lyrics. His voice on the first two lines (not to mention the entire song) is intensely amazing. The Doors are probably one of the best bands I have ever heard. They make it all work. I have yet to hear another band mix the guitar in with the keyboard, as evidenced by the solo at 2:55 where it appears to be keyboard and guitar in similar tones mixing together to make solo. "When the Music's Over" is regarded as an "up-and-down" song by myself, as the overall volume of music becomes very loud and intense before settling back down for Morrison's vocals. "When the Music's Over" weighs in as the sixth longest song out of the Top 10. In the middle of the song, probably my favorite part, the guitar and keyboard disappears all together as it is just Morrison, the bass, and the drums, providing an eerie sounds. A little ramble: Morrison's voice has to rank in the top three of the best I have ever heard, along with Ian Curtis of Joy Division and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Every note comes through clean, as Morrison can either sing soft or out, low or high, anyway you want him to. The drums at the eight minute mark signal the start of an intense musical solo period where the keyboard and guitar are both going free with Morrison screaming vocals about the Earth out. Masterful. And this is only the first song of The Doors on the list.
8. Bauhaus – "Bela Lugosi's Dead"
A little background: for those of you who don't know, Bela Lugosi was the man who played Dracula in the early movies. Bauhaus captures the eeriness associated with Dracula perfectly in the first few minutes of the song. The song starts just with the drums before introducing a little bass. Finally, the guitar makes its entry at the 1:45 mark. With the season being around Halloween, I can totally associated the sporadic guitar sounds with vampires. Eventually, at the 2:20 mark, the guitar takes the shape of its riff and the echoing vocals enter at 2:50. This Bauhaus classic tips the scales at 9:34, tied for eighth out of ten. This song is perfect to listen to with the lights out, as even though it is rather creepy and goosebump-inducing, it provides an extremely peaceful feeling and the pick scrapes and harmonics provide an ambience for the lead guitar arpeggios to come in over. What a genius song.
7. The Stooges – "We Will Fall"
Compared to other songs by The Stooges, this 10:18 piece can be regarded as almost a slow burn and provides a break on their 1969 release, The Stooges. The signature Stooges wah is present in the guitar, but in a lower frequency. A single note of feedback that wavers occasionally is present in the background while Iggy Pop's short vocal lines cut through in a voice that almost resembles weeping. The backing vocals are almost systematic chants. The thing that really gets me about this song is that it remains basically the same until two minutes from the end of the song when the guitar and bass start to change in mini-solos. Around the 9:50 mark, a violin is added, creating a new dimension of the music that is powerful, no matter how short (about 30 seconds) it lasts. A masterpiece (I will have used this word a lot by the end of this) by The Stooges.
6. LCD Soundsystem – "Yr City's a Sucker"
Most musical experts would probably not put this song in the spot I am putting it in. Let's just say they would put it much, much lower on the list. For those of you who have not listened to LCD Soundsystem, this song is vintage. LCD Soundsystem consists of one man who has turned into a musical superstar. He still has a day job and the people he works with don't even know he is an international superstar. Singing about the wants of a normal person in society, "Yr City's a Sucker" incorporates an infinite amount of percussion in with bass and synth. The highlight of this song is the repeated line of "Yr city's a sucker/My city's a freak" mixed in with many "Hahas." LCD Soundsystem is probably looked over by most people looking for classic rock, but give this a listen. It's a genius at work. "Yr City's a Sucker" times in at 9:22, making it the shortest song on the list.
5. Sonic Youth – "Washing Machine"
You knew I would get some Sonic Youth on where eventually. Kim Gordon's vocals feel rather lackadaisical in the in the verse, but once she reaches the chorus chant of "Oh right now," the song is taken to a whole new level of intensity not yet seen on the list. Two and a half minutes into the song, the intensity melts away, as an extended musical interlude with occasional conversational vocals by Kim. The musical interlude is typical Sonic Youth with contrasting guitars and steady drums. Much to the chagrin of classic rock fans, however, the musical interlude turns into white noise near the end of the song before melting away on a high tremolo picking. The first of two Sonic Youth songs, "Washing Machine," from the album with the same name, ties with "Bela Lugosi's Dead" for eighth with a time of 9:34.
4. Thurston Moore – "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars"
"Elegy" is the longest song on the list at 19:49. I know people that can run 5Ks before this song would be over. From Thurston Moore's 1995 solo debut, Psychic Hearts, "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars" is an instrumental. Regarded by many as boring, I find this song to be very relaxing, as different riffs come in and out, and a certain ambience is created. The intensity of the song changes throughout, but around the six or seven minute mark, the drums, played by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, become more and more active in their fills before the song disintegrates after ten minutes into Moore's patented noise. The noise lasts for three or four minutes before the original riffs of the beginning of the song return and signal the end of the song. I applaud all who go out and listen to this. It is the perfect song to have going in the background while completing household chores. If you have a chore that you think will take an interminable amount of time, put this song on and try to finish the chore before the song ends.
3. The Doors – "The End"
Part of me just keeps coming back to this song. Morrison's vocals are just amazing, while tambourine totally enhances the experience. The first line by Morrison, "This is the end," is spoken so matter-of-factly that it is extremely powerful. After the first three or four lines, the song takes on a somber characteristic through the guitar and drums. This song makes me speechless that I feel like there is nothing to really write about it. If you want to compound the impact of the song, watch the intro to Apocalypse Now. The combination of this song and the videography (is that a word?) provide an intense feeling that I struggle to find anywhere else. The end of "The End" with seemingly random guitar and unintelligible lyrics before settling down to almost how it was at the beginning provides an eerie sense of closure. The final line of "This is the end" provides me with chills I almost never feel. Amazing song. Times in at 11:44. Fourth longest.
2. The Cure – "Watching Me Fall"
This pick won't exactly make me the coolest kid on the block, but after hearing the song, it is totally worth it. When you listen to this song, you don't realize that it's 11:14 (fifth longest). Robert Smith (not the former Vikings running back) is a musical genius. The passionate vocals combine with the ever changing background to provide an amazing song. The more I like a song, the less I have to say about it. When the song hits the chorus, the high notes on the guitar stand out against the low notes in the background. Smith's vocals are ripe with imagery while the guitar changes with the mood. The chorus has to be one of the climaxes of the song with the beating drums. "Watching Me Fall" comes off of The Cure's 2000 release, Bloodflowers, which is widely viewed by many Cure fans as a disappointment. I, however, disagree with them by saying this is one of the best songs I have ever heard. Give it a listen and agree with me. The guitar solo at the eight-minute mark provides a not yet seen intensity before calming back down to how the song was before. The song collapses into a mess of noise and guitar solos, ending on Smith's descending note on the word "fall." Purely an amazing song. Another that many classic fans will most likely not like, but hey, give it a listen and see what you think.
Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLfwOtcGkNM
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfsiMLGiXEs
1. Sonic Youth – "The Diamond Sea"
Sonic Youth makes its second appearance with another amazing song. "The Diamond Sea" comes off of Washing Machine, where, you guessed it, "Washing Machine" also comes from. Thurston Moore's vocals are passionate and low key while Steve Shelley's drumming shifts between the hi-hats and the ride cymbal. After the first few minutes of the song it disintegrates into noise before reverting back to the original theme at about the seven minute mark. "The Diamond Sea" times out at 19:35, second longest behind "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars." Overall, the song does not disintegrate as quickly other Sonic Youth songs, as it loses almost all its traditional music value at the fifteen minute mark. The end just sort of fades out. This song is a must listen for anyone who has even remotely listened to any Sonic Youth. I guarantee anyone that they will not be disappointed by the musical prowess the band has to offer. "The Diamond Sea." Number one song over nine minutes long. Give it, and all of the above a listen.
Five Minute Radio Edit - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGd8IWzCfbg
Live at Rockpalast 04-07-96 Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKBnSPm3VMo
Live at Rockpalast 04-07-96 Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnbtA-36mMM
Live at Rockpalast 04-07-96 Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNOkEXoZLSQ
Thanks for reading.