Long journey coming up? Need to repaint the house, or count the pebbles in your driveway? This my friend is the list for you! These songs have all been chosen because they have one thing in common… they are, at least in the pop/rock world, very long.
Some of these tracks keep your interest by switching up the styles a few times while others lock onto a solid hypnotic groove and merely adjust a fragment of the music every 8 bars or so. Whichever way they go though, the chosen tracks are all quite deep in both their tone and lyrical content (if any). I suppose it’s inevitable – when a song goes on for ages there’s time for reflection and exploring the subconscious. You can’t do that in 3 minutes of pop bliss. This list shouldn’t be hard work to listen to though – at least I hope not! ‘Time flies…’ and all that.
Got some suggestions? I’d love to hear them.
1. Burial – Come Down to Us
This entire list was inspired by this track. It’s the longest record I’ve bought in quite some time (although a lightweight compared to most on the list), and it’s amazing. It looked, for a time, that Burial was content to keep going in the same rain-sample-drenched direction that had made his first and second albums such seminal works. That was fine with me – it sounded amazing. This time around though he’s managed to cram a bit of euphoria into the mix, without getting all EDM and trancey.
2. Joanna Newsom – Only Skin
This is a track from Joanna Newsom’s critically acclaimed second album Ys, which is full of very lengthy ballads. As she has so often done before, she takes us on a long-form orchestral journey into the her strange world. “What is this craziness, this crazy talking” sings the weird and wonderful harpist. I don’t really have an answer for that.
3. Fela Kuti – It’s No Possible
Not sure I could manage a list about long songs without mentioning Fela Kuti. As far as my limited collection goes – it seems that very rarely does a Fela Kuti track dip below the ten minute mark. At nearly twice that length, this is an epic piece, even by his standards. It’s underpinned by a fairly static rolling beat, but the horns and guitar licks manage to keep it fresh throughout the full 17 minutes.
4. Shackleton – Blood On My Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Apocalypso Now Mix)
Another long-form wonder here which came out a few years ago on Shackleton’s classic Skull Disco label. Villalobos was apparently a big fan of the original and asked about creating a remix. It’s mesmerising, almost hypnotic and best listened to on a long night-time train journey.
5. Can – Halleluhwah
I’ve only really discovered Can in recent years. It’s an acquired taste, for sure, but one that definitely grows on you. This particular track from their influential album Tago Mago is one of my favourites. It sounds like a group of guys just jamming around a groove for 20 minutes and maybe losing their minds along the way. Fantastic… If you like that sort of thing.
6. Spiritualized – Cop Shoot Cop
And talking of losing your mind, here’s Spiritualized. The CD edition of this album came in a giant blister-pack style packet – like a pharmaceutical. May cause dizziness.
7. Goldie – Timeless
I remember reading a review when Goldie’s Timeless LP came out, claiming that it had an inappropriate title. The argument put forth was that it sounded completely ‘of its time’. I think now, nearly 20 years later, we can look back and say that the title was perhaps appropriate after all. It doesn’t, in truth, really belong to the 90s… no one has managed to record anything like it before or since. It’s not Goldie’s longest record, but is probably his best.
If you’d like to listen to all the tunes consecutively – you know, like an old (really long) mixtape – you can click the video below: