"American Pie" is eight and a half minutes, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is seventeen. It is not uncommon for a prog track to reach twenty minutes, but it takes a certain breed to break the half-hour barrier. Below is a list of the six best songs over thirty minutes long. Feel free to interject your favorite long songs in the comments, but please keep it brief.
6. The Vindictives - "In Pursuit Part II (Featuring Hypno-Punko Sound)"
Punk band the Vindictives made an ambitious record called Hypno-Punko in 1999, full of bizarre acapella tracks and songs that disappear before hitting the one minute mark. The highlight was "In Pursuit," a speedy pop punk number borrowing chords from Pachabel's "Canon in D" (or, if you prefer, "Basketcase" by Green Day). The tune ends with layers of vocal lines, each of which would make its own great hook individually. After the song tapers off, "In Pursuit Part II" enters, essentially a loop of the previous track's great ending that plays for 44 minutes. It can be jarring, but it's fascinating how hypnotic this actually is, the perfect score for zoning out while keeping your energy level at its max.
5. LCD Soundsystem - "45:33"
James Murphy's "work-out album" was commissioned by Nike to flow like an exercise routine. Warm ups, slow downs, jogging tempos, et cetera. Turns out that same pattern of intensity lends itself well to listening while not moving, perhaps while driving or staring at a computer. Most notably, a chunk towards the beginning of the track was rearranged and given lyrics for "Someone Great," a standout of LCD Soundsystem's Sound Of Silver. The corporate sponsorship could have added a level of discomfort (I've read horror stories of Lil Wayne's recent on-stage Mountain Dew commercials at this year's SXSW), but Murphy used the challenge as a stepping off point for awesomeness. Bravo.
4. Orthrelm - "OV"
Orthrelm guitarist Mick Barr shreds so quickly on "OV," you worry he's going to hurt himself. And actually, he did. The duo had to cancel dates on its tour performing the 33 minute composition due to flare-ups of Barr's carpal tunnel. "OV" is brutally repetitious, an artsy track that loops 2 second segments of grind metal for minutes on end, and each riff change emerges like a new demon escaping the gates of hell. It's not as much of a headache as it may sound. Each melody hangs out long enough for the listener to get comfortable in its shape, and the overall structure moves forward with subtle changes - drummer Josh Blair (also of dance band Supersystem) spends a good twenty minutes not touching a single cymbal. "OV" is easier on the ears than an album half its length by the Number 12 Looks Like You or Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza or whatever other grind metal band that fifteen year old girls inexplicably like. Just enter at your own risk.
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