The Playlist To Rule Them All
January 15, 2009 9:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to make a playlist to end all playlists, and I'm stuck after two songs.

I have thousands of songs, but the entrance requirements are stringent: the song must be nothing short of epic.

The first song I have is Gideon by My Morning Jacket.

The second song is Illinois by Sufjan Stevens.

So those two should serve as a good baseline for what I'm looking for... If I had twelve that were of this same caliber I would be happy. I don't want to rule out older songs, but I would rather they be from the 90's to the present. A good metric for whether a song is epic or not is replay ability... I can listen to the above two on repeat about ten times in a row before wanting to puke.

Have any worthy suggestions? Bonus points if you come up with a clever name for the playlist. This is serious stuff people.
posted by pwally to Media & Arts (46 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
I'd think that songs by the Beautiful South and the Magnetic Fields belong on such a list, headed by the 2 bands you've listed.
posted by dreamphone at 9:41 AM on January 15, 2009

The Grudge - by Tool? Too hard?

How about throwing in some f'in soul and the best song of all time - Stand By Me as performed by Ben E King.
posted by Brettus at 9:49 AM on January 15, 2009

Broken Social Scene KC Accidental and/or Shoreline

Interpol Untitled
posted by otolith at 9:49 AM on January 15, 2009

Definitely Epic: Once by Nightwish... that may be a bit TOO epic, and it's not like the others, but epic yes. Also: Highlander (The One) by Lost Horizon. An epic metal (ish) track about the Highlander that the Highlander people had nothing to do with. They just loved it THAT MUCH. =) Plus I know you said one playlist to rule them all, but maybe there can be a little "There can be only one playlist"?
posted by indiebass at 9:50 AM on January 15, 2009

"Across the Wire" by Calexico
"svefn-g-englar" or "ny batteri" by Sigur Ros
"A song for our fathers" by Explosions in the Sky
posted by notsnot at 9:53 AM on January 15, 2009

Turbonegro - The Age of Pamparius

Might not be the style you're looking for... but epic nonetheless.
posted by nitsuj at 9:55 AM on January 15, 2009

Trying to stick with '90s and after...

Built to Spill's Cover of Cortez the Killer

The Flaming Lips: The Gash

My Morning Jacket (again): Lay Low

Weezer: Only in Dreams

*Older* Sonic Youth: Teenage Riot

*Older* Pink Floyd: Echoes

I'll see what else springs to mind when I get home this evening and can rummage through my music collection...
posted by Benjy at 9:55 AM on January 15, 2009

Seconding Mag Fields -- Strange Powers is, in my mind, one of the most perfect pop songs ever fashioned and I'm still listening to it regularly 14 years later. Epic! "...more stars than there are prostitutes in Thailand"? Pure poetry you can dance to.

Camera Obscura's Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken, and Common People by Pulp are also friggin genius and in high rotation in my mixmaking.
posted by *s at 9:57 AM on January 15, 2009

Oops! I meant Ghost Love Score by Nightwish. It's off the album Once. My bad.

The Highlander can be found here and here. (for some reason it's in two parts)
posted by indiebass at 10:05 AM on January 15, 2009

Randy Described Eternity- Built to Spill
Kicked it in the Sun- Built to Spill
Hey Joanie- Sonic Youth
October All Over- Unwound
Carry Me Ohio- Sun Kil Moon
Offline P.K.- Pinback
Tripoli- Pinback
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 10:06 AM on January 15, 2009

When I think of the word "epic", I think of a spawling song like Two Gallant's "Waves of Grain" but I'm not sure about replayability - it's over 9 minutes long.

For a song I could never ever tire of, I'd say "I Was Born (A Unicorn)" by the Unicorns does the trick.
posted by yeti at 10:14 AM on January 15, 2009

how about Jim James and Calexico's version of Dylan's 'Goin to Acapulco' or maybe Uncle Tupelo's 'Wherever'?
posted by mgerstenblatt at 10:18 AM on January 15, 2009

Paranoid Android (Radiohead) seems kind of an obvious one.
Sour Times (Portishead)?
Pretty much anything by Luna?
posted by chococat at 10:20 AM on January 15, 2009

Intervention - Arcade Fire
posted by thebergfather at 10:20 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'll Believe in Anything - Wolf Parade
posted by SputnikSweetheart at 10:23 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh man I actually have a playlist that starts contains those two songs and follows as such:
(no links, as I am lazy and this is a lot of typing)

"The Blind Leaving the Blind: First Movement" - The Punch Brothers
"The Island/Come and See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel the Drowning" - The Decemberists
"Will You Please Be There for Me" - The Reindeer Section
"I Sing, I Swim" - Seabear
"I Will Possess Your Heart" - Death Cab for Cutie
"We Know Where the Time Goes" - Daniel Martin Moore
"Omaha" - Tapes n' Tapes

It goes from super up-tempo to really low-fi. It is a really awesome playlist if I do say so myself and it is also over two hours long with only nine songs. Go go 19 minutes songs!
posted by banannafish at 10:28 AM on January 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh, added for suggested name: "Music From People You Don't Know"
posted by banannafish at 10:29 AM on January 15, 2009

One day like this by Elbow
Skinny Love by Bon Iver
White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes
The Great Salt Lake or Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses (actually, I dig the whole Cease to Begin album)
Us by Regina Spektor, or maybe her Lacrimosa
I Summon You by Spoon, though it doesn't have that ethereal sound of your two suggestions

I'm sure some Iron & Wine would fit the bill here, too.
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:30 AM on January 15, 2009

Iron and Wine's "He Lays in the Reins" is epic as hell. Please add that one. Oh, and Wilco's "Impossible Germany" and probably Neko Case's "Star Witness" as well. Please and thank you.
posted by GamblingBlues at 10:31 AM on January 15, 2009

"Planet" by the Sugarcubes is epic, though I think it's from the (late) 1980s. Bjork has some nice epic songs too, like "Bachelorette." I am assuming you mean epic in feeling and not in length...
posted by chowflap at 10:49 AM on January 15, 2009

Kings of Leon - Closer
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Skin of My Country Yellow Teeth
posted by clearly at 10:50 AM on January 15, 2009

Time to Pretend - MGMT
Landed (Strings Version) - Ben Folds
Hospital Beds - Cold War Kids
Eleanor Rigby - Beatles
The Seed (2.0) - The Roots featuring Cody Chestnutt
Bruised - The Bens
posted by LouMac at 10:54 AM on January 15, 2009

I am all about epic songs.

"The Tain" by the Decemberists. Sometimes it's in five parts, but when I got it off of eMusic, it was in one film. It's like 17 minutes long and EXCELLENT.
posted by fantine at 10:58 AM on January 15, 2009

Nothing is more epic than "The Final Countdown" by Europe. How can you listen to those opening keyboards and not feel as though you're about to conquer the world?
posted by DWRoelands at 11:01 AM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]

If you're going to go with a Fleet Foxes song, it should be Your Protector. It's pretty epic. I agree with runningwithscissors about Band of Horses though.
posted by thebergfather at 11:05 AM on January 15, 2009

Here's a couple epics, it's not all new, it's not all indie rock, but it is all EPIC. I think some songs are epic because of the journey they take you on others just happened to hit a pretty song and got it all right.

Ozma: Battle Scars
Weezer: Only in Dreams
The beatles: The medley section of Abbey road
Iron and wine and Calexico : He lay in the reins
Filter: Welcome to the fold
Queen: The prophet song
Gorillaz: Fire Coming out of a Monkey's head
Green Day: Jesus of Suburbia
Handsome boy modeling school : Rock and roll (could never hip hop like this)
Jeff Buckley: Grace
Jimi Hendrix: Red house
Led Zepplin: Stairway to heaven
David Bowie: Space Oddity
Drive-By Truckers: Sink Hole
Smashing pumpkins: The aeroplane flies high
Red hot chili peppers: Sir Psycho Sexy
Rufus Wainwright: Cigarettes and Chocolate milk
the white stripes: Death letter (live)
Pink Floyd: Comfortably NUmb
Death cab: I will posses your heart
posted by magikker at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2009

Regina Spektor - Apres Moi
Okkervil River - A King and A Queen
Pretty much anything by the Decemberists: California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade, O Valencia, and the previously mentioned The Island/Come and See/The Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel the Drowning are all good options
Seconding Arcade Fire - Intervention, I would also add Antichrist Television Blues as an option

I'm also a big Iron and Wine fan and the previously mentioned He Lays in the Reins is one of my favorites.

Sorry for the lack of links, but I'm at work and they block most of the fun stuff here.
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2009

Ugh....totally forgot to include Neutral Milk Hotel - Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone

So good I had to come back to post it!
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 11:15 AM on January 15, 2009

Peter and the Wolf - Better Days
Grey Reverend - The First Place
Constantines - Soon Enough
Stars - Calendar Girl
Eels - Beautiful Day -- This one may be too upbeat to play on repeat for long. ;)

I also used to listen to Orbital's "Halcyon & on & on" on repeat when writing programming assignments in university.
posted by stungeye at 11:22 AM on January 15, 2009

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Elvis Perkins - While You Were Sleeping (haunting)
Cocorosie - By Your Side
Antony and the Johnsons - Fistful of Love
Feist - The Park or Inside+Out (Apostle of Hustle Unmix Live at the BBC)
Andrew Bird - Dark Matter
Beirut - Carousels or Postcards from Italy
TV on the Radio - Ambulance
My Bloody Valentine - Sometimes
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away
The Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Jenny Lewis - You Are What You Love
Wolf Parade - You Are a Runner
Architecture in Helsinki - The Owls Go
Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
posted by scarykarrey at 11:58 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

So, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by epic. Most of the previous posters seem to think "grand ideas" or "really intense" or something like that, but I'm not really getting that from your two example songs. I'm just sort of taking "epic" to mean you really, really like them. So I'll make two suggestions that seem similar to the songs you posted.

That said, I had kind of a hard time determining what characteristics the songs had in common that you'd like, so I took them more or less separately.

Traits suggested by Gideon: haunting vocals over rapid and repeating guitar. Suggestion: Where the Streets have no Name by U2. Basically I listened to your clip and thought, "huh, that reminds me of that one U2 song".

Traits suggested by Illinois: Melodious singing with a unique voice over a smorgasbord of interesting instruments. Suggestion: anything by Beirut, really. Maybe Mount Wrocai? It has a trumpet, an accordion, a ukulele, and other stuff all going at the same time.
posted by losvedir at 12:02 PM on January 15, 2009

Also, when you complete your list, I'm sure we'd all appreciate a FavTape mix. ;)
posted by stungeye at 12:13 PM on January 15, 2009

Here's my daytime mix condensed to under 10 suggestions:

Highway to Hell AC/DC
Lose Yourself Eminem
Blinded By The Light (Album Version) Manfred Mann's Earth Band
When The Lights Go Out Oingo Boingo
Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers
Roll The Bones Rush
Come Sail Away Styx
Beautiful Day U2
Kumo Ga Chigireru Toki UA (video)
posted by troy at 12:32 PM on January 15, 2009

I don't think your definition of epic really matches mine, or else I'd recommend a lot of really long classic rock songs, so here are some songs that I could more or less leave on repeat ad infinitum.

A song I could leave on repeat forever is Architecture in Helsinki - Heart it Races (or the Dr. Dog cover of it).

Swans (Life After Death) by the Islands is great. It's about 9.5 minutes and would probably go well with Sufjan. Rough Gem by the Islands is a really bittersweet song that I couldn't stop listening to for some time. Their entire album, Return to the Sea, is amazing.
M83's Kim & Jessie might fit in there too.
Sigur Ros's Glosoli might also complement Sufjan. The entire song just builds and builds up until it explodes.
If you like Glosoli, Birth and Death of the Day by Explosions in the Sky might also fit. It's a really pretty song.

These are some other songs I have on repeat now that might fit with what you already have:
Yeasayer - Wait for the Summer
New Order - Age of Consent
The Mae Shi - Run to Your Grave
TV On the Radio - Wolf Like Me
Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing! (this one is actually fairly epic)
The Young Knives - Turn Tail

And for a really epic song: Rush - 2112, which, even at over 20min long, I could leave on repeat. But it's from before the 90's.
posted by god particle at 1:27 PM on January 15, 2009

Try "When the Lightning Strikes" off the new Snow Patrol album.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:32 PM on January 15, 2009

Animal Collective - Peacebone
Andrew Bird - Fake Pailindromes
Black Mountain - Don't run our hearts around
Wilco - Misunderstood (live version from Kicking Television)
Adem - These are your friends
Micah P Hinson/Gospel of Progress - The Day Texas Sank to the Bottom of the Sea
The Dears - Never Destroy Us
posted by robotot at 1:35 PM on January 15, 2009

I don't think I understand your use of "epic," or how others are interpreting it, anyway.

I would tentatively suggest Nick Lowe, The Beast in Me, and Nick Cave, The Ship Song. To diversify within the Ns, Neil Young, Helpless.

But will await approval of those choices before adding more.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 1:46 PM on January 15, 2009

Thin Blue Flame - Josh Ritter
Fripp - Catherine Wheel
posted by backwards guitar at 2:06 PM on January 15, 2009

Another vote for "I'll Believe in Anything" - Wolf Parade. There's a great line I read on their website where they asked the drummer if he could play like thunder, and he answered "I am thunder". Qualification for epic methinks.
posted by arcticseal at 4:57 PM on January 15, 2009

Pretty much anything off Cuckoo by Curve.
posted by arcticseal at 4:57 PM on January 15, 2009

If you like these kinds of songs, I think Sunny Day Real Estate Pillars might be the kind of song you'd like. (The recorded version is better, this is all I could find on the Youtubes).

Liars Plaster Casts of Everything (<3>
Alex Chilton!!

the Hold Steady.
posted by citron at 6:33 PM on January 15, 2009

This is Hardcore by Pulp
The Teachers are Afraid of the Pupils by Morrissey
Don't Change Your Plans by Ben Folds Five
My Body is a Cage by Arcade Fire
Karma Police by Radiohead

and seconding the earlier suggestion of Weezer's Only In Dreams.
posted by Locative at 9:32 PM on January 15, 2009

My Mathematical Mind - Spoon
Videotape - Radiohead
In Context - Field Music
Untitled #8 - Sigur Ros
Ways to Make it Through The Wall - Los Campesinos
Tender - Blur
posted by minifigs at 3:00 AM on January 16, 2009

An Epic song I just discovered a was "Captain Jack" by Billy Joel from his Piano Man album; also now that I think about it "Piano Man" is pretty awesome too. Its from the 70s too, thats the era of epic rock.
posted by Groovytimes at 9:22 AM on January 16, 2009

I put Starlings by Elbow as an epic end song to a mix recently. It's fantastic.
posted by saul wright at 11:55 PM on January 16, 2009

fitzcarraldo by the frames (youtube)
posted by shannonm at 7:19 AM on January 28, 2009

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