Seven minutes and counting

I have liked some embarrassingly horrible music throughout my life. I went through several awkward stages, where I would latch onto a genre and run, much to the chagrin of my future musical tastes. I was a fan of the Monkees and loved “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys during my very early grade school years. I ran through a regretful time when I loved the MTV Buzz Bin, leading me to some very good artists, like Radiohead and the Beastie Boys, and some very bad ones, like Bush, Candlebox and Live.

One of the most embarrassing stages was a fascination with Rush. Yeah, Rush – the Canadian power trio with the annoying voice. Geddy Lee and his ilk. I learned a lot about progressive rock during those days, none of it good, but I also managed to gain an appreciation for a lengthy extended jam session.

My tastes began to move from short and sweet to long and involved. This move from pop radio to full out rock and roll epics was strengthened by an obsessive love for Metallica. An equally obsessive for Pink Floyd followed. Both artists were masters at the long song, and both helped cure any last remnants of Short Song Attention Deficit Disorder. SSADD for short.

To this day I still enjoy the longer song. I feel there’s so much more that can be done – a natural musical storytelling that can’t be accomplished with a shorter, more concise musical number. Two to three minutes is too short – I just begin enjoying the song and feeling the mood and – BOOM! – it’s over. Five minutes is perfect. Seven is icing on the cake.

I was reminded of all of this thanks to Rolling Stone’s list of the “best rock songs over seven minutes,” which is a pretty sweet idea that I have to give Rolling Stone some serious credit for coming up with. Seven minutes is the perfect cut off – when a song hits seven minutes, you can tell. You can feel its length at this point. You realize that it’s not fucking around anymore – it’s going for the gold. Radio be damned!

Naturally, the list has some serious flaws. There is only one song from each artist. Sometimes two songs are counted as one. And in true Rolling Stone fashion they go for the more obscure songs, if possible: “When the Levee Breaks” over “Kashmir” or “Stairway to Heaven” and “Sheep” over “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” or “Time?” No “November Rain?” And my version of Hey Jude is shorter than seven minutes, for the record.

As always, I think I can do this better. I can’t, but I’ll try – here’s my top 45 songs over seven minutes, arranged alphabetically by artist. A list just as random and unjustifiable as Rolling Stone’s. Except this one is by me, so it’s okay.

!!! – “Hello? Is This Thing On?”
!!! – “Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story)”
Atmosphere – “Always Coming Back Home to You”
The Beatles – “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Black Sabbath – “War Pigs”
Built to Spill – “Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)”
Built to Spill – “Goin’ Against Your Mind”
Derek and the Dominoes – “Layla”
Ani Difranco – “To the Teeth”
The Doors – “The End”
The Doors – “Riders on the Storm”
Bob Dylan – “The Hurricane” (Also by Ani Difranco)
Faith No More – “The Real Thing”
Grandaddy – “He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot”
Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”
Guns N’ Roses – “Civil War”
Jane’s Addiction – “Three Days”
Jets to Brazil – “Rocketboy”
Jimmy Eat World – “Digits”
Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”
Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”
Metallica – “One”
Metallica – “Master of Puppets”
Metallica – “Am I Evil?”
Modest Mouse – “Trucker’s Atlas”
Modest Mouse – “Spitting Venom”
Modest Mouse – “Night on the Sun”
Modest Mouse – “Other People’s Lives”
NOFX – “The Decline”
Pink Floyd – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
Pink Floyd – “Time”
Pink Floyd – “Us &Them”
Pink Floyd – “Welcome to the Machine”
Rodrigo y Gabriella – “Orion”
The Rolling Stones – “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’?”
The Roots – “Break You Off”
Sigur Ros – “Svefn-g-englar”
Bruce Springsteen – “Jungleland”
Bruce Springsteen – “(Rosalita) Come Out Tonight”
Threadbare – “Penicillin”
Tool – “The Grudge”
Tool – “Effigy”
Ween – “Buenos Tardes Amigo”
Weezer – “Only in Dreams”
Neil Young – “Cortez the Killer” (Also by Built To Spill)

And, to make it an even 50, here are five more songs that are just a shade under seven minutes (6:50-6:59)

Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”
The Doves – “There Goes the Fear”
Metallica – “Fade to Black”
Modest Mouse – “Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine”
Wilco – “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”

This was lovingly handwritten on December 8th, 2007