I've been singing this song now for twenty-five minutes. I could sing it for another twenty-five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired.
March 29, 2011 11:10 PM   Subscribe

I want songs that take me on a journey.

I really like songs that start some place and end somewhere else, with movements, key changes, a point A, a Point B, and so on. Some examples:

The Decline - NOFX
The Liberty of Norton Folgate - Madness
Jesus of Suburbia and Homecoming - Green Day
and I suppose you could include Alice's Restaurant

My tastes lean towards rock, ska, punk, but I'm willing to entertain any suggestion you have. Take me on a journey.
posted by gc to Media & Arts (45 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
In the Alice's Restaurant vein, how about Louie Austen's "One Night in Rio"?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:17 PM on March 29, 2011

The Mountain Goats have dozens of 'Going To' songs. Going To Georgia is probably the most well known but there are heaps.

obvious, but if you include Jesus of Suburbia you need some Springsteen. Meeting Across The River, Jungleland, Born To run

The Backseat - Gaslight Anthem ("And in the wild desert sun, we drove straight on through the night. We rode a fever out of Boston. Dreamed of California nights.")

The Hold Steady have a few. Multitude of Casualties and Killer Parties are the most expansive

The Decemberists - California One/Youth And Beauty Brigade

and i was just listening to Iron Maiden - Ghost of the Navigator. metal probably has many other similar songs
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:25 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Kraftwerk song Autobahn completely fits your description.
posted by ROTFL at 11:30 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go slightly away from your question, because of your suggestion of Jesus of Suburbia. The song is long and changing, but it fits into the "story" of American Idiot.

The entire album A Night at the Opera by Queen (includes Bohemian Rhapsody).

Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd (all nine movements, and hell the whole album of Wish You Were Here)

Fire Coming Out Of a Monkey's Head/Don't Get Lost in Heaven/Demon Days - Gorillaz

Also: The entire album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - Flaming Lips
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:39 PM on March 29, 2011

Sure, I realize that American Idiot is something of a concept album (and the foundation of a musical). I think it can stand alone as is.

I forgot about Yoshimi. I love Yoshimi. That being said, whole albums are great, but longer songs are better.
posted by gc at 11:43 PM on March 29, 2011

Jesus of Suburbia can stand alone, that is.
posted by gc at 11:44 PM on March 29, 2011

i remember listening to lots of My Chemical Romance at the same time i was listening to that Green Day album. mostly just Black Parade. the title track works
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:46 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

David Bowie, Station to Station
posted by scody at 11:48 PM on March 29, 2011

Paranoid Android
posted by bodaciousllama at 11:49 PM on March 29, 2011

And Tool - Schism
posted by bodaciousllama at 11:59 PM on March 29, 2011

I like Against the Wind by Bob Seger. Not sure it fits into your preferred genres, though.
posted by ambulatorybird at 12:08 AM on March 30, 2011

I like Against the Wind by Bob Seger. Not sure it fits into your preferred genres, though.
posted by ambulatorybird at 4:08 PM on March 30 [mark as best answer] [+]

I'll take whatever you got.
posted by gc at 12:11 AM on March 30, 2011

Starless - King Crimson
posted by FreedomTickler at 12:32 AM on March 30, 2011

If you are a person who can stand mashups, then perhaps you will enjoy The Kleptone's A Night at the Hip-Hopera. (If you are a person who loves Yoshimi, however, you may hate this one.)

Camper Van Beethoven's earlier albums have a lot of ska in them, and while the individual tracks tend to be brief, they sure pack a lot of 'em in. And they're very much about travel... place names and descriptions crop up a lot, from Goleta to the moon to Southern China to unnamed semi-tropical colonies to Club Med, Utah, Egypt, the Borderline, and beyond. I would just warn you that this random smattering probably sounds crappy back-to-back... they are best enjoyed — or at least first encountered — by album.

ROTFL is right-on with Autobahn but that's just the beginning. I'm not sure if Kraftwerk starts one place and ends in another but the entire Computer World album is one long, rainy afternoon drive down an infinite highway. Trans Europe Express similarly, but not quite so highway, obviously.

I'm willing to entertain any suggestion you have.

So, perhaps in a quieter moment you'd enjoy some tone poemy classical stuff. Like, say, Respighi's Pines of Rome (sorry about the magic whales and stuff) or Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition or some folk dances via Bartók.
posted by mumkin at 12:35 AM on March 30, 2011

Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Centre of the Mind. Later covered by the Ramones

Some of Dylan's more surreal songs, like Desolation Row (tho they don't have Jesus Of Suburbia's Springsteen style sweep)

Arcade Fire - Laika
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:38 AM on March 30, 2011

A Quick One, While He's Away - The Who
posted by illenion at 1:05 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

In a more classic rock vein, many early Yes compositions (from Fragile or Close to the Edge) and Rush (the first half of 2112 specifically) may fit the bill.

And early Pink Floyd, say, Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast from Atom Heart Mother or Echoes from Meddle.
posted by elendil71 at 1:17 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Northwest Passage," Stan Rogers.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:10 AM on March 30, 2011

The entire Coheed & Cambria collections. Notably the first two...

Second Stage Turbine Blade (Best)
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth:3 (Close close second)

posted by TeachTheDead at 5:42 AM on March 30, 2011

Church of Logic, Sin and Love by The Men fits your wishes exactly (And they came upon the THING!)
posted by Ostara at 6:08 AM on March 30, 2011

A little off the beaten path, but have you tried listening to progressive house or trance DJ mixes? The best are one or two hours long and are basically one long piece of music.

Some of my all time favorites:

Paul Oakenfold - The Goa Mix (A BBC Essential Mix from 1994)

From the Global Underground Series:

Sasha - Ibiza or San Francisco
Oakenfold - New York or Oslo
Nick Warren - Brazil

Paul Van Dyk - Out There and Back

Sasha and Digweed - Northern Exposure (any in the series, but North/South is spectacular)

Or if you just want a journey in one song:

Space Manouvres - Stage One
Sasha - Xpander
Astral Projection - Mahdeva

I could list a 100, but progressive house and trance music at its best is always about going on a journey.
posted by empath at 6:20 AM on March 30, 2011

"America" I like the version by YES
"Suppers Ready" by Genesis.
"One Night in Paris" by 10CC
posted by Gungho at 6:27 AM on March 30, 2011

Blueberry Boat, Quay Cur and Chris Michaels by the Fiery Furnaces specifically, but the entire Blueberry Boat album is full of songs like this.
posted by hobgadling at 6:33 AM on March 30, 2011

"Three Days" by Jane's Addiction
posted by glenngulia at 6:57 AM on March 30, 2011

Pink Floyd's "Echoes." And dubbed to the finale of 2001, it becomes a literal journey.
posted by yeti at 7:03 AM on March 30, 2011

Paradise by the Dashboard Light
posted by nitsuj at 7:38 AM on March 30, 2011

This may not be quite what you mean by journey, but try listening to Haunted by Poe while reading House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. If you get the right songs in the right parts of the book, it adds a lot I thought.
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 7:45 AM on March 30, 2011

Porcupine Tree - Anesthetize
posted by teraflop at 7:54 AM on March 30, 2011

Canadian Railroad Trilogy by Gordon Lightfoot.


Also, Vincent Black Lightning (covered by Del McCoury here)

posted by bonobothegreat at 8:03 AM on March 30, 2011

Telegraph Road by Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits). His best work, I think.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:44 AM on March 30, 2011

God Bless Our Dead Marines by Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. It goes everywhere. Everywhere amazing.

And anything from Joanna Newsom's Ys, maybe most notably Only Skin* (Part One, Part Two).

*This has the benefit of being maybe the best song ever.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:00 AM on March 30, 2011

Agreeing with above that you should not miss Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

More Pink Floyd: The live versions of Sorrow and Comfortably Numb from the PULSE CD/DVD. I maintain that the closing guitar solo in the PULSE version of Comfortably Numb is the greatest guitar solo in all of history; it's a sonic journey in itself. Hey You from PULSE is also a good possibility. (You can find them on YouTube, but I can't link from work.)

Also, Dogs from the Pink Floyd album Animals.

Bad by U2 (from The Unforgettable Fire album) always gives me that "journey" feeling; starts pretty mellow and introspective, and builds to full-throated bellowing ("I'm wide awake!") and back to quiet sparseness ("I'm not sleeping...")

Some mellower selections, relying more on story arc or emotion than sonic range:

From Ellis Paul: She Was; Clarity; Home; Goodbye Hollywood; and Take All the Sky You Need (from American Jukebox Fables)

From Bright Eyes: Lime Tree; No One Would Riot for Less; Poison Oak

And an oldie for good measure, from David Bowie's Diamond Dogs: Sweet Thing / Candidate / Sweet Thing (Reprise) I have no clue what it all means, but it definitely takes me away!
posted by The Deej at 9:18 AM on March 30, 2011

Can't do links at work (sorry) but look up Dream Theater. Practically every song goes many places before it's over.

Seconding "Thousands Are Sailing" by the Pogues, btw.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:25 AM on March 30, 2011

Urge Overkill (the most underrated band in the history of Rock & Roll) has a ton of these types of songs. Pretty much everything on The Supersonic Storybook album qualifies, but particularly Emmaline (which is actually a cover of a song by Hot Chocolate, but UO make it 100% more epic) and Henhough: The Greatest Story Ever Told. Also check out Last Night/Tomorrow and Bottle of Fur.


Three Days by Jane's Addiction
Swamp Thing by The Chameleons
Tears by The Chameleons
Bel Air by The Church
posted by The World Famous at 10:28 AM on March 30, 2011

These are all awesome suggestions! It's going to take me a while to sort through these, but I'll try to get a best answer out (or several best answers) eventually.

I can't believe I forgot about Paranoid Android...
posted by gc at 11:38 AM on March 30, 2011

Pushit - Tool
My Life in the Knife Trade - boysetsfire
Requiem - Cave In
The Beginning and the End (growly vocals) and/or Weight (non-growly vocals) - ISIS
posted by Errant at 12:42 PM on March 30, 2011

Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell and Rock and Roll Dreams Come True

not even kidding
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2011

Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell and Rock and Roll Dreams Come True

not even kidding
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:49 AM on March 31 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]

Totally with you.
posted by gc at 8:12 PM on March 30, 2011

"Ordinary Weekend" from Why We Fight by John Wesley Harding/Wesley Stace has a bit of that. The record also includes the great songs "Hitler's Tears" and "The Original Miss Jesus". Be forewarned, it's more alterna-folk-rockish than punkish....
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 11:51 PM on March 30, 2011

Dead Kennedys' Holiday in Cambodia at least has a fairly long buildup both in the beginning and towards the end of the song. Sadly this clip ends abruptly just before the very end of the song.
posted by Anything at 10:20 AM on March 31, 2011

The Beatles - A Day in the Life

And some even more obvious classics:

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
posted by Anything at 10:56 AM on March 31, 2011

Fitzcarraldo and Santa Maria, both by The Frames.
posted by shannonm at 10:27 AM on April 5, 2011

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