Music For The Long Haul

I’ve been listening to my iTunes DJ today (what used to be known as the random setting) and there were a few tracks that came up that were pretty long songs. Usually if a band, indie or popular, has a song that’s longer than 5 minutes and the label or artist isn’t pushing it hard for airplay, it gets missed by the greater music audience. But this can be a missed opportunity to hear some really solid tunes. Aside from being a music connoisseur, there’s other opportunities for people to indulge or have a reason to invest in a 8 minute (or longer) song, such as a road trip or long drive time to and from work. I know some people who are having to drive a lot more these days for work. They’ve told me they want some great music to listen to. So if that’s you, here’s some suggestions for longer tracks that aren’t boring and will certainly entertain for the long haul:

Led Zeppelin-In My Time Of Dying
I’d have to check but this is a perfect track for a modern western, or something they could have used somewhere in Young Guns or Tombstone. There’s a lot of slide electric guitar, with the drums coming in and out in a style and way only John Bonham could pull off. Like a lot of Zeppelin, the song itself changes its pacing, tempo and feel in a few different places. Jimmy Page is brilliant as always with varied riffs and solos, as well as a jamming melody all the way through. All in all, a great track that runs over 10 minutes and can be found on Physical Graffiti (remastered).

Weird Al Yankovic- Trapped In The Drive Thru
Let’s face it, there’s really no parody artist in the world or in the history of parody/satirical music that can compare to Weird Al. He in many ways created the parody music genre. There’s several others now in that line of entertainment. But there’s little comparison. He’s been doing this stuff since the late ’70s. One of my favorite albums of his (aside from the compilation discs like The Food Album) has to be Straight Outta Lynwood, where he mocks everything from Green Day, Usher, and Rage Against the Machine. One of my favorite tracks has to be this one, a parody of R Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet.” Running nearly 11 minutes, the song tells a hilarious tale of a couple trying to figure out what they’re going to do for dinner. The best thing about the song is that the story told is probably something Al’s lived through, and you and I have as well. The video is pretty dang funny too.

Santa Esmeralda-Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
This was a great track from the film Kill Bill. Running time is around 10 and a half minutes and much of it instrumental. This is a high tempo Latin-styled tune with classical guitar and some great Santana-esque electric guitar layered in as well as some smooth horn work. The song rises and falls through a few different places but is engaging throughout the whole thing.

Guns N' Roses (From left) Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin, Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan
Guns N Roses-Estranged
If you’re a fan of 80s rock or what some may call hair-band music, you’re already into GNR. If not, and you still like cool rhythm guitar work and amazing solos, you’re probably already into some GNR. Everybody knows the stellar work of lead guitarist Slash in tracks like November Rain and Sweet Child Of Mine. Estranged has some similar characteristics in dynamic, tempo and even the laying in of guitar solos. What is also has is a freshness that a lot of other GNR tracks lack. One thing I admit to not liking about a lot of Axel Rose writing is the inability or unwillingness to end a song. “Aye-ee-eye” is a line or gibberish sung waaaaay too much by Rose in his GNR days. But I don’t feel that with this song. And especially for a road trip, you’ll find yourself enjoying this song for the drive.

There’s a lot more to this, but it will have to wait until a later time. Enjoy, and post your comments.

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

6 thoughts on “Music For The Long Haul

  • March 23, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    I’m so glad you did a post on this. I do sometimes get impatient with “ambient” albums that are solid walls of 10-minute songs, but I love when there’s a longer song or two on a solid album. It really lets a band open things up and show what they’re really about when they can get going.

    I thought I might mention a couple other 8-minute-plus Weird Al tunes as well, since that’s kind of “my bag.” The song “Albuquerque” from his Running with Scissors album is a long, strange, hilarious trip. “Genius in France” from Poodle Hat is a very, very good tribute to Frank Zappa. “Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” is not quite as long, (I think it’s less than 7 minutes), on the UHF soundtrack album. None of these three are a parody of any particular song, but I think they’re all examples of using a solid long-form format for comedic effect.

    • March 23, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Right on Daniel. Yeah, I love those tracks too from Weird Al, but Trapped In The Drive Thru is my favorite. I’m listening to more long tunes now and will post those shortly.

  • March 23, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Try Porcupine Tree’s Arriving Somewhere But Not Here. Also Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd.

  • March 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    LOVE In My Time of Dying. That whole album is relaxing.

  • March 23, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    HATE “In My Time of Dying.” heehee
    But there are some great tracks. Hurrah for “Night Flight.”


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