Once a song goes over the 4 minute mark, it'd better be worth it in my opinion. This is a list of songs go on for over 7 minutes and deserve their length without becoming boring and stale. We could spent all day talking about the lengthy works of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the ambient works of Brian Eno but that in itself would get boring and stale. Instead we'll focus on songs by bands who usually don't have particularly long songs but for some reason or another decided that a certain song deserved the legnth. Maybe on another a list we'll do songs over 7 minutes that really didn't deserve the length, but here are long songs that I think deserve to be long.
In no particular order.
1. NOFX - The Decline
NOFX are a punk band that usually keep their songs very short, this video only shows part 1 of their incredible 18 minute epic "The Decline". This song encapsulates everything NOFX is known for, commenting on the state of the USA in a political and religious sense. Even if you're not a punk fan you have to appriciate the sheer sweat and blood that was put into this song. They usually only play with once per tour as a special treat for smaller venues, I was lucky enough to catch a redendation of this song live when I went to a NOFX show in dublin about a year ago.
2. The Velvet Underground - Sister Ray
This song by The Velvet Underground is what experimental music is all about. This is rock n' roll at it's best, great musicians jamming away and having a good time for 17 glorious minutes. The studio recording of the song was recorded in one single take while live versions could go on for over 40 minutes.The song concerns drug use, violence, homosexuality and transvestism, what more do you want?
3. Immortal Technique - Dance With The Devil
This is one of the most brutal fucked up songs I've ever heard in my life. It's written beautifully and it gives me shivers ever time I listen to it, the story of this song shouldn't be given away here. Listen to it for the full impact.
4. The Who - A Quick One While He's Away
This is a mini opera written by Pete Townshend, it predates Tommy and some of the ideas from it were reused there.This song tells the story of an unnamed girl whose lover has been gone "for nigh on a year." Her friends inform her that they "have a remedy"; the remedy comes in the form of Ivor the Engine Driver. When the lover returns, the girl confesses her infidelity, and she is ultimately forgiven. Sounds ridiculous right? Well you're right, it is. But it is made up for in the fact that it is a great song.
5. Bob Dylan - Hurricane
Everytime I listen to this song I can't get over how powerful it is. If you pay attention to the lyrics it draws you in and leads you to spend you're day researching the case of Rubin Carter. It compiles alleged acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trial and conviction. An amazing song that sometimes you forget about, here's a reminder.
6. Stevie Wonder - Living In The City
The studio version is over 7 minutes I swear! Here's a great version with Ray Charles of this classic soul song by Stevie Wonder that describes a man who's family is poor, but his parents work hard and encourage him, in spite of the dreadful conditions they live in, which include lack of food and money, and racism.This is a great piece of social commentary and at the same time is very danceable, it's got it all.
Hope you've enjoyed the list, and if you didn't I hope it's outraged you to the point where you're developed a small tumor.