Back to Metroland's Home Page!
 Site Search
   Search Metroland.Net
   View Classified Ads
   Place a Classified Ad
   Online Personals
   Place A Print Ad
 Columns & Opinions
   The Simple Life
   Looking Up
   Myth America
   Rapp On This
 News & Features
   What a Week
   Loose Ends
   This Week's Review
   The Dining Guide
   Tech Life
 Cinema & Video
   Weekly Reviews
   The Movie Schedule
   Listen Here
   Art Murmur
   Night & Day
   Event Listings
 About Metroland
   Where We Are
   Who We Are
   What We Do
   Work For Us
   Place An Ad

Extended Play

Metroland writers take some time to recount their favorite long songs (10 minutes or more). Live recordings, as well as the entire jazz and classical idioms, were left out of the discussion for obvious reasons. Notice that nobody spoke up for “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” Just sayin’.

The Wildhearts, “Skybabies”

(Fishing for Luckies, 1996, 11:36)

The world’s seminal riff craftsmen blow their wad in this classic U.K. pubcrawler. Sucks you in with a pleasant, deceptive melody that one is led to believe will conclude at a radio-friendly 3:30. But this is exactly where things go gloriously awry for another eight minutes.

—Bill Ketzer

Ween, “Monique the Freak”

(Craters of the Sac, 1999, 10:12)

So it turns out Prince doesn’t actually have any album tracks that top the 10-minute mark, but the brothers Ween did a killer impression of the Purple One on this commercially unavailable track. (An abbreviated version appears on a later release.) A more direct Prince homage came on the GodWeenSatan track “L.M.L.Y.P.,” which cribbed entire chunks of “Shockadelica” and “Alphabet Street,” but clocked in at a mere 8:48.

—John Brodeur

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “Cowgirl in the Sand”

(Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, 1969, 10:30)

When Neil Young, in freewheeling Crazy Horse mode, goes off on one of his lengthy guitar freak-outs, it never seems like a gratuitous solo; he’s always going somewhere with it, and no matter how far he strays, he somehow manages to end up back where he started. Despite his propensity for these sprawling discursions on guitar, Young has only a few songs that surpass 10 minutes, “Cowgirl” being the first and the best.

—Kirsten Ferguson

Lou Reed, “Street Hassle”

(Street Hassle, 1978, 10:48)

You could pair this with VU’s “Sister Ray” and own everything that makes Lou Reed great, all in one EP-sized package. It’s a quintessential mix of beauty and menace: We get graphic sex and a drug overdose, a propulsive string arrangement giving way to churning but clean electric guitars, a stoned-sounding Bruce (yes, that Bruce) mumbling a deconstruction of “Born to Run” at the 9-minute mark. Freaking masterpiece.

—Mike Hotter

Sonic Youth, “The Diamond Sea”

(Washing Machine, 1995, 19:35)

One of the band’s best melodies is tucked into the folds of this elephantine dissertation on guitar noise.


Black Sabbath, “A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning”

(Black Sabbath, 1970, 14:17)

Almost 40 years later (!!!), upstarts still struggle to attain that guitar sound—and fall miserably short.


Yo La Tengo, “Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind”

(I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass, 2006, 10:46)

An incredible opening to a mammoth album, the first 20 seconds of this song bring to mind the title of the band’s 2000 album, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, as the bass and drums do indeed seem to turn themselves inside out. It’s relentless but loaded with subtleties; the band nicely distort the passage of time with a pace that finds the vocals not entering until a quarter of the way in.

—David Greenberger

Sleater-Kinney, “Let’s Call It Love”

(The Woods, 2005, 11:01)

Would have never thought the band responsible for Dig Me Out could produce a song that sounds so much like Blue Cheer. What a great way to end a great career.


Public Image Ltd., “Albatross”

(Metal Box, 1979, 10:34)

Most songs in excess of 10 minutes are buried at the end of albums; not so for Johnny Lydon and his post-Sex Pistols outfit PiL, who started their Metal Box (packaged in the United States as Second Edition) with the album’s longest song, “Albatross.” This song may be better in theory than in actuality, but listening to it now, it’s remarkable how much the current crop of indie dance-rockers has bit off its sound, from the funky dub beat to the clanging guitars and paranoid vocals.


EinstUrzende Neubauten, “Redukt”

(Silence Is Sexy, 2000, 10:17)

On Silence is Sexy, the noise terrorists who make up Neubauten tried something more shocking than bashing and breaking everything in sight and recording the process: They decided to keep things simple and quiet. On album highlight “Redukt,” Blixa Bargeld plays it cool, while his bandmates build beautiful tension, until finally the classic Neubauten stomp breaks the song’s back and Bargeld triumphantly proclaims over and over, “Reeeeeeeedukt!”

—David King

Overkill, “Skullcrusher”

(Years of Decay, 1989, 10:15)

Last album with drunken hessian Bobby Gustafson on guitar, and arguably the best from the band’s classic era. A brooding, tubercular sojourn to the bloody pit. Punch your landlord for the goat lord.


LCD Soundsystem, “45:33”

(2006, 45:58)

Considering the source, it’s no surprise that this plays like an excellent DJ set. But the fact that James Murphy could bang out so many classic-sounding hooks for a set commissioned by Nike? This guy craps awesome.


Van Morrison, “Listen to the Lion”

(St. Dominic’s Preview, 1972, 11:10)

Opening like he’s lounging by a quiet stream on a lovely spring day, Morrison sings “All my love comes tumbling down.” From there the song builds while never losing its core gentility, with Van eventually finding words insufficient as he ups the ante from scatting to growling.


Coil, “2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethyl-Amphetamine: (DOET/Hecate)”

(Time Machines, 1998, 13:28)

A collection of drones, the sounds on this wonder of an album seem to me to be some of the most sacred “music” I have ever heard. Yes, this album is really meant to facilitate time travel—I figure if all shit breaks loose and you need to get your chakras aligned or your third eye opened, well, popping this bad boy in should get you all set for whatever happens next.


Love, “Doggone”

(Out Here, 1969, 12:01)

love, “Love Is More Than Words or Better Late Than Never”

(Out Here, 1969, 11:21)

The two crazy-long tracks from this collection of leftovers from the Four Sail sessions are parallel displays of righteous rock excess. “Doggone” begins with the late, great Arthur Lee singing a simple folk melody about his personnel troubles (“Once I had a singing group/Singing group done gone”), then George Suranovich steps in with a wild eight-and-a-half-minute drum solo. “Love Is More Than Words” is, for 1:30, one of Lee’s finest numbers—and that’s followed by 10 minutes of full-band freakout. This could only have happened during the Summer of Love.


UFO, “Rock Bottom”

(Strangers in the Night, 1979, 11:15)

Probably the sole reason why most rockers still remember this band in a fond and rabid manner. Much in the same way most kids who grew up in the ’70s remember Magilla Gorilla or Dick Dastardly (“Muttley! Doooo something!”).


Soft Machine, “Moon in June”

(Third, 1970, 19:08)

Originally released on a double LP with one song per side, Robert Wyatt’s “Moon in June” is largely a solo recording. By turns confessional, inventive, emotional, and inviting, this also was the last vocal number to appear on any of the band’s albums, with Wyatt being unceremoniously ousted from the band he’d cofounded after one more release.


Television, “Marquee Moon”

(Marquee Moon, 1977, 10:47)

Worth every second. There’s a dramatic tension between the guitars of Richard Lloyd and Tom Verlaine that opens up all kinds of sonic terrain. And it’s really about the guitars: the uncannily off-center statements, the interplay, the cresting and lulling. As players, Lloyd and Verlaine were explorers seeking out a new language and tearing apart preconceptions. In a 2001 Mojo magazine article by Ira Robbins, a fan recalled leaving a Television concert “all wrung out, like a good night of sex with a stranger.” One can feel that in the guitar journey of “Marquee Moon.”

—Erik Hage

Between the Buried and Me, “Ants of the Sky”

(Colors, 2007, 13:10)

“My teeth taste funny today!” Tommy Rogers announces at the beginning of this Zappa-esque metal freak-out. Walls of Euro-metal guitar shredding give way to polka-inspired breakdowns and meld into classical picking, and then the song starts to grind and buck. I am captivated—if this were a TV show, I would watch it. At 8:10, the sky opens up; an angelic voice chimes “sleep on” over Rogers’ doom-filled growl, and everything feels like a dream. That’s when the hoedown starts, and when I feel like just maybe this song should not exist—and I like that feeling.


The Fiery Furnaces, “Quay Cur”

(Blueberry Boat, 2004, 10:25)

The first track on this brother-sister duo’s gleefully fractured second album opens with a wash of analog-synth noise atop a simple piano-and-drum-machine pattern. Eleanor Friedberger waits more than two minutes to begin her vocal, then rushes like an impatient schoolchild. Her brother Matthew pops in for a New Pornographers-meets-White Stripes bit around the four-minute mark, and the song darts back and forth between tempos and singers from there. It’s what “Supper’s Ready” might have sounded like had it been co-written by a freshman English major and a primary-school dropout.


The Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today”

(The Time Has Come, 1967, 11:06)

This stoned-soul classic has a freak-out middle section that reportedly was meant to evoke the horrors of Vietnam, alluding to “The Little Drummer Boy” amid screams and maniacal laughter. Or it could just be one hell of a bad trip—when the lead singer gives out his final grunt, it sounds like he’s either giving up his ghost or his bowels. This song also has the most cowbell I’ve ever heard. Iron Butterfly, Funkadelic and Blue Öyster Cult: Bow down to the original masters of the freak-out jam.


Neutral Milk Hotel, “Pree Sisters Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye”

(On Avery Island, 1995, 13:49)

Try this: Get a rowboat; head down to Lock 7; drink 14 cans of Milkwaukee’s Best Ice (it must be Ice, in 12-ounce cans); put this song on infinite repeat on your iPod; place boat in water; nestle in bottom, oars in; and see what happens.



Send A Letter to Our Editor
Back Home
Copyright © 2002 Lou Communications, Inc., 4 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210. All rights reserved.