Mixed Tape: Long Nights, Long Songs

Autumn does not last long, but it leaves its residue all over the place. Although sweater weather might not last more than a month or two, we still wear sweaters under our winter coats. Autumn dies quickly and we love it for that; Winter, on the other hand, descends slowly. In the interim, we’re not really anywhere. Nights get longer and things get uncertain. Autumn doesn’t last forever, but neither does winter. Below are some songs all more than six minutes in length. Listen to them when the lights get low and slow but you’re not quite ready to come inside.

“Montgomery Street”—Jesse DeNatale 

(Soul Parade)

This song is all about the way things progress and move forward. At least, the music is; the lyrics, however, are about the way things get dizzy and fall over sideways. This one clocks in at 6:18.

“Lunar H”—Califone 

(All My Friends Are Funeral Singers)

This track is a bonus track from the LP. Consider the lyrics: “call your shadow home.” It is a track that has movements and those movements make you feel a little bit uncomfortable. 14:59, this one’s a long one.

“The Battle of Hampton Roads”—Titus Andronicus 

(The Monitor)

Autumn is not all about people crying into the sound holes of their acoustic guitars. Sometimes it’s about pretending you’re Bruce Springsteen. Fourteen minutes of anthemic punk.

“Last Call”—Kanye West (College Dropout)

I’m not sure if people gather around the fire and tell each other stories after the crops have all been harvested, but this might be the modern equivalent. A couple of excellent verses followed by an intriguing spoken word section. Some of Kanye’s signature lines are on this song: “Oh my god, is that a black card? I prefer the term African American Express.” 12:41. 

“Ithaca”—Tyler Lyle (Expatriates)

Lyle confronts the kind of mythology we make of folk music and make folk music of. He refuses to deviate from the three chords he uses. He spits into his hand, runs it through his hair, and sticks his arm, elbows deep, into Greek mythology. He comes out with 12:02 of dying light, a sunset that lasts unsettlingly long.

“Marquee Moon”—Television (Marquee Moon)

Dylan Thomas was thought to have said “rage against the dying of the light,” but this is a classic misattribution. Tom Verlaine said, “shake your goddamn shoulders into the dying of the light,” and all he said it with was six strings.

“Wakin on a Pretty Day”—Kurt Vile 

(Wakin on a Pretty Daze)

This song does not have any movements. It rolls off the tongue and it rolls right along and then, before you know it, it is finished. 9:31—”Don’t worry about a thing, it’s only dying.”

“The Kids”—Lou Reed (Berlin)

Lou Reed died the other day. Some things can’t be shook off like seasons. It doesn’t matter how long this song is. 

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