Wednesday, April 18, 2007

20 Best Long Songs

My rule was over 6:30. One song per artist. Jazz, live, and instrumental tracks were off limits. Also excluded were songs pointlessly extended with silence or white noise (this means you, Wilco). Instrumental noodling was discouraged but not forbidden.

1. Bob Dylan, Visions of Johanna – 7:33 (Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands is beautiful but not quite gripping for all twelve minutes.)
2. Van Morrison, Madame George – 9:25
3. Velvet Underground, Heroin – 7:12 (Sister Ray is half an hour long, but I get pretty bored around the six minute mark.)
4. Bruce Springsteen, Backstreets – 6:30
5. Prince, Adore – 6:30
6. Tindersticks, Sweet Release – 8:55
7. Cat Power, Colors and the Kids – 6:35
8. Rolling Stones, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – 7:15
9. Tom Waits, Burma-Shave – 6:34
10. James Brown, It’s a New Day – 6:27 (I’m giving him the missing three seconds for exceptional funkiness.)
11. Neil Young, On the Beach – 6:59
12. Big Brother and the Holding Company, Ball and Chain – 9:37
13. Al Green, For the Good Times – 6:32
14. Curtis Mayfield, (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Gonna Go – 7:50
15. Built to Spill, Velvet Waltz – 8:33
16. Outkast, Liberation – 8:46
17. U2, All I Want is You – 6:32
18. Modest Mouse, Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine – 6:53
19. The Wrens, 13 Months in Six Minutes – 6:50
20. Marvin Gaye, Right On – 7:31

4 comments:

Matt K said...

Damn good list, although I would have gone with Astral Weeks for Van, Ambulance Blues for Neil, and Incident on 57th St. for Bruce, and L.A. Woman, Starship Trooper, Burn Down the Mission, The Rain Song and Dogs would have snuck on there. As I see it at least 15 of the top 20 long songs are from the '70s, and that's not a coincidence (though it maybe a prejudice)... in any case it's a very solid list. Visions of Joanna is definitely the choice over Sad-Eyed Lady.

John said...

Surely "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is the long Stones song to put.

I like "Can't You Hear Me Knocking," but I tend to get bored with it before the end.

Jeffrey said...

This is a terribly misguided list, subject to the critiques advanced above (no "Astral Weeks," "Incident On 57th Street," "Starship Trooper"?), as well as the disgraceful lack of superficially self-indulgent but ultimately awesome progressive rock music.

I shall be composing a riposte soon enough.

Akshay said...

If I remember High Fidelity correctly, "You Can't Always Get What You Want" is permanently banned from all lists because of its inclusion in the Big Chill soundtrack.

I was torn about the Springsteen and Morrison duos. My rationale: Backstreets has beautiful lyrics, whereas Incident has some rather embarrassing bits, especially in the beginning. The first 1:30 of Astral Weeks is the best thing on the album, but the song sort of flounders for several minutes after that until the first section just repeats again, whereas Madame George continuously develops. Who can say, though.