One of my favorite things about music is when it can actually place pictures in my head. Sometimes I’m in the pictures, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes it’s in first person, sometimes third person. But regardless, when songs can paint a vivid picture in my head that I can not only see, but also feel, I’m almost always sold. Regardless of the genre of music, I will almost certainly love it. Now, within that there is something that I call “epic” music. That doesn’t necessarily mean music for huge battle scenes in movies, although sometimes maybe, rather they’re songs that tell you that you’re listening to or experiencing something really important. Now, more often than not, neither of the two is happening, but when a song makes it seem that way, I call that song “epic.” These are my top ten favorites. Although modified slightly for variation.
10.) Sit in the Middle of Three Galloping Dogs – Silver Mt. Zion
Album: He Has Left Us Alone
Silver Mt. Zion: a conglomeration of musicians from various other projects, probably most notably Godspeed You Black Emperor. Sit in the Middle has a heavy emphasis on violins, so in terms of sounding important, they’ve already got a leg up. With the exception of a recitation of scripture from 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7 in the beginning, there are no words at all. The combination of a persistent drum roll sound and mounting tension in the violins, this song easily tops its competitors who didn’t make the list.
9.) Window Seats and Last Wishes – Cool Hand Luke
Album: So Far EP
Cool Hand Luke wont even play this song live—let alone any songs from this CD. The CD’s just really old, and they’d probably say it isn’t any good. But this song, the closing song, is quite a jewel. It follows a formula not unlike other bands it its genre, but finds itself at such a wonderful crescendo. “One more day, lord” says the singer over and over again, as he tells the story of a man who squandered his life away.
8.) The Adventure – Angels & Airwaves
Album: We Don’t Need to Whisper
This song always gets me. There’s such anticipation in it, and although I’m almost certain they’re not really there, I can’t help but hear some serious Christian undertones. There’s a great feeling of new beginning in this song, like arising from a bunker after a major battle has ended and seeing that although everything is destroyed, there is hope.
7.) You Always Say Goodnight, Goodnight – Juliana Theory
Album: Emotion is Dead
When I was in high school, I loved the Juliana Theory. This CD was one of my favorites in fact. This song, it’s long with a melodic build up and eventual chorus of what seems to be angry people shouting something I’m still unsure of. But the point is, listening to this, it seems at any minute something life changing could happen.
6.) In The End – Linkin Park
Album: Hybrid Theory
Linkin Park is one of those bands that I think is really underrated. My best guess is that it’s because they came out somewhere around the same time as Limp Bizkit, which was a huge joke, and so kind of by proxy they were also a big joke. Plus, it didn’t help that they were doing the whole rap-rock thing too. But this song, as poppy and delicious as it is, also has this really profound feel to it. It’s easy for me to picture a scene something akin to that last scene in Armageddon where Bruce Willis is about to die.
5.) The Latter Rain – Zao
Album: Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest
Ah, Zao, nearly the only metal band I still enjoy. This album was released before the onslaught of pop metal and hardcore that in many ways it bears great resemblance to. The difference is it came before most of it. Laid under a swelling instrumental chorus, words are spoken, “a sword is drawn, unsheathed bringing legions of demons to their knees by the knowledge of a covenant prepared before the earth itself still so many choose to warm themselves beneath the blankets of deception… I pray that the winds and the rain of that which is latter will bring clarity and understanding to Your infallible Word let the lack of knowledge that destroys us be lifted in Your name.” Then, with wonderful drama the singer screams, “rain,” repeatedly.
4.) I Will Always Love You – Whitney Huston
Album: The Bodyguard Soundtrack
It’s the last weekend of the senior year at high school. The couple has been dating all four years and now they’re going to different schools. If this song comes on, they’re almost definitely going to have sex. Not because it’s especially sexual, but because it says something we love is coming to an end and makes us mourn it. Delightful.
3.) Ecstasy of Gold – Yo-Yo Ma
Album: Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone
I know, this is a soundtrack is was made to sound epic. But this one as rendered by Yo-Yo Ma, sends chills down your back. Just try not to drive too fast in your car and imagine that your on horseback racing to stop tragic event from unfolding.
2.) Knights of Cydonia – Muse
Album: Black Holes and Revelations
I think this band got it right. Practically any song on this CD could have made this list, but this song stands out; mostly for its length. But also, an almost tribal beat on the drums and a weird fuse of eighties metal guitar “chugs,” and words like, “don’t waste time, or time will waste you” keeps my mind making weird assumptions about what strange and sister plot I’ve fallen into.
1.) I Want to Love You Forever – Jessica Simpson
Album: I don’t know
Every note in this song, ever melody, every ridiculously cheesy lyric all cumulate to scream in your face that this is the last song you’re ever going to need to hear. You won’t even need to press repeat, or play it again. This song tells us that everything that we could ever want in music has just been fulfilled and we can go about our lives never hearing another thing again if only we’ve heard this song. You have to hear to believe it. But you’re warned, all music thereafter may gravely disappoint you.