Getting Epic

Yesterday marked the release of "Bay of Pigs," the latest masterpiece from Destroyer. It's 13:39 of ambient disco awesomeness, and I am required by blog-law to use the word "epic" in describing it. I love a 90-second song as much as (OK, more than just about) anyone, but there's also something special about a song that goes on forever and maintains its momentum throughout. So here are ten 10+ minute favorites of mine.

"Desolation Row" - Bob Dylan
My pick for "Most Difficult Song To Get Work Done To" because it's impossible to focus on anything but the lyrics and there's no break and next thing you know 11-and-a-half minutes have passed and you've accomplished nothing. Except for listening to a masterpiece.

"Sister Ray" - Velvet Underground
The best example of horrible/wonderful guitar noise on the best album of horrible/wonderful guitar noise.

"The N.W.R.A." - The Fall
If there's such thing as a definitive Fall song, this one -- specifically the version from "A Part of America Therein" -- is it. Play one part repeatedly for four minutes, switch to another part for six minutes, all anchored by the mad ramblings of Mark E. Smith.

"Machine Gun" - Jimi Hendrix/Band of Gypsys
It's not just the guitar-as-gun sound that makes this one so memorable, but the serious funk backbone provided by Buddy Miles and Billy Cox.

"Marquee Moon" - Television
The Ramones could have played almost an entire set in the time it took Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd to trade off solos in this one.

"Maggot Brain" - Funkadelic
How is it that one of the most iconic songs by one of the great funk bands is basically a 10-minute, unaccompanied guitar solo? Well, if you've heard it, you know.

"Frankie Teardrop" - Suicide
If the list was 10 Most Terrifying Songs Ever, this one would absolutely be on there.

"Bros" - Panda Bear
The complete opposite of the song above; it's so cozy and lush and warm and inviting.

"Albatross" - Public Image Ltd.
This one is more creepy than terrifying. There's a sorta-disco beat, so it can't be too scary, but Johnny Lydon's moaning vocals will probably frighten young children and most pets.

"Spiders (Kidsmoke)" - Wilco
Cillizza doesn't like this one, but that's because he has issues with rocking, as you well know by his picks for Fix Song of the Day. This has reliably become the centerpiece of Wilco's live shows.

By David Malitz |  August 19, 2009; 4:07 PM ET Lists
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Not a prog rock fan, huh?

Posted by: Hemisphire | August 19, 2009 4:57 PM

My favorites include:

Outcry in the Barrio - The Summer Wardrobe
Sins of the Father - Tom Waits
Gravity/Falling Down Again/Street Hassle - Alejandro Escovedo
Grasshopper - Ride
Reach Down - Temple of the Dog
Fools Gold - The Stone Roses (9:53 is close enough for me)
This Corrosion - The Sisters of Mercy
Telegraph Road - Dire Straits
Street Hassle - Lou Reed
Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Pink Floyd
Listen to the Lion - Van Morrison
Cowgirl in the Sand - Neil Young (the Live at the Fillmore East version)

This list does not include several Springsteen live epics from various bootlegs.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | August 19, 2009 5:38 PM

mogwai fear satan & in memory of elizabeth reed

Posted by: Deceiver | August 19, 2009 5:48 PM

mogwai fear satan

Posted by: Deceiver | August 19, 2009 5:48 PM


This the correct answer.

The problem with Kidsmoke is that when Wilco play it live they're wasting time where they could have played three songs from Being There. Instead I'm supposed to stand there and say "wow, that Nels Cline, he is just such a talented guitarist, I will forgive how weak the last three albums were because now they have very talented musicans playing dull songs." But I ain't drinkin that kool-ade.

Posted by: M__N | August 20, 2009 8:59 AM

I would have voted for 'I Am The Resurrection' but it's only 8:12. I feel like there's a Stereolab song or two that is missing from this list but can't think of them off the top of my head.

Posted by: leafblower | August 20, 2009 9:38 AM

I would have voted for 'I Am The Resurrection' but it's only 8:12. I feel like there's a Stereolab song or two that is missing from this list but can't think of them off the top of my head.

Posted by: leafblower | August 20, 2009 9:38 AM


At least three -- Blue Milk, Refractions in the Plastic Pulse and the classic Jenny Ondioline. (And I had to check the iPod for song names, even the band doesn't know all of their own song titles).

Posted by: M__N | August 20, 2009 2:02 PM

The N.W.R.A.! For a while I would open my college radio show with that song while I ran back to my room to get the rest of my records.
Do "...Goodkind" and "Story of Yo La Tango" break the 10 min mark?

Posted by: gfriday | August 21, 2009 10:22 AM

Maggot Brain and Marquee Moon, pretty much the two greatest songs ever of any length.

Posted by: agl132 | August 25, 2009 12:20 PM

Neu! - Hallogallo
Kraftwerk - Stratovarius
Turing Machine - Bitte, Baby, Bitte

Posted by: universaltravaler | August 29, 2009 3:51 PM

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