10 Classic Albums That Are Shorter Than “Tahoe Tweezer”
Phish blew a lot of minds at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Arena on July 31 when they kicked off their second set with a seriously extended “Tweezer.” The band went full on Type II for a good bit of the 36 minute and 48 second masterpiece, which saw the emergence of the now (in)famous “woos.” We’ve been listening to the “Tahoe Tweezer” pretty regularly here at Relix HQ and I still haven’t gotten tired of it. While I disagree with the critics who say that the song is too long, I do recognize that 36 minutes and 48 seconds is more than enough time for a piece of musical genius. That’s why I’ve compiled this list—in no particular order—of ten classic albums that are shorter than “Tahoe Tweezer.”
The Beatles – Revolver – (35:01)
The Beatles’ 1966 masterwork is one of those records that you’re bound to see on any list of rock’s all-time greatest albums. Revolver saw the iconic band venturing deeper into the experimental-pop waters that they had begun to explore on their previous release, Rubber Soul. While The Beatles certainly manage to cover a lot of musical territory on the album, its 14 songs still have a combined running time that is shorter than “Tahoe Tweezer.”
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme – (33:02)
John Coltrane and his quartet brought avant-garde jazz to the masses with this record in 1964. Much like Phish, the jazz legend was a fan of extended jams. The last track on the original A Love Supreme release goes on for 17+ minutes but, alas, the album is still shorter than “Tahoe Tweezer.”
Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle – (35:18)
The Zombies’ psychedelic-pop opus didn’t get the critical acclaim it deserved back in 1968, but the record has found a lot of love amongst modern audiences. Despite the lackluster reception, the album did spawn one hit single in “Time of the Season,” which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nevertheless, if you were to give all of Odyssey and Oracle your full attention, it would still take you less time than a listen through “Tahoe Tweezer.”
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On – (35:28)
When Marvin Gaye gave the world What’s Going On in 1971, the United States had just gone through a few years of social turmoil. The ambitious concept album–told through the point of view of a returning Vietnam War veteran–grappled with a range of complex issues, including drug abuse, civil rights, environmentalism, war and a plethora of other injustices. “Tahoe Tweezer” deals with none of these things but still manages to go on for an extra minute and 10 seconds.
Ramones – Ramones – (29:04)
The Ramones came out the gate strong with their self-titled, debut album. The1976 releaseput punk rock on the map and helped spawn a movement away from the peace and love attitude that had dominated popular music since the hippie era. Thousands of jaded youngsters were hooked on this new genre after one (under half hour) sitting with Ramones, but your skeptical friends probably won’t be ready to join you on fall tour after stepping into the freezer for nearly 37 minutes.
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – (35:57)
Pet Sounds is another one of those albums that you’re pretty much obligated to include on any “greatest ever” list–and there’s a damn good reason for that. The record showed that pop could be both musically and lyrically complex, while arguably introducing the concept of, well, the concept album. The Beach Boys redefined the way we think about music in the same amount of time that it took Phish to redefine whether or not it was cool to shout “woo” at a Phish concert.
Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow – (34:48)
For countless hippies-to-be, “Somebody to Love” was one hell of an introduction to the full throttle psychedelia of the San Francisco sound. Surrealistic Pillow was filled with similarly chaotic fare like the unabashedly tripped out “White Rabbit,” as well as more subtle tunes like Jorma Kaukonen’s acoustic instrumental masterpiece, “Embryonic Journey.” These guys were dropping acid before it was cool, and then they made it cool. If only the same could be said for seemingly endless Type II jams.
Cream – Disraeli Gears – (33:37)
Now that we’re on the topic of psychedelia, Disraeli Gears seems like a logical next step. (I mean, holy shit, look at that cover art). The 1967 album’s fusion of traditional blues and LSD-inspired madness helped solidify Eric Clapton’s status as a virtuoso, while also convincing plenty of adventurous youngsters to “turn on.” “Tales of Brave Ulysses” will melt your face right off your head in two minutes and 46 seconds, which is approximately 15x shorter than it would take for “Tahoe Tweezer” to do the same thing.
Beatles – Rubber Soul – (35:50)
The Beatles’ storied career can more or less be split into the pre and post-Rubber Soul eras. That is to say, this album was the group’s first big statement–it proved that these guys were destined for something greater than just their unparalleled commercial success. The Beatles never looked back after Rubber Soul, and the album even famously inspired Brian Wilson to begin working on Pet Sounds. While the record may have silenced that band’s critics, the near 37 minute “Tahoe Tweezer” is just one more reason for most god-fearing Americans to hate Phish.
Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead – (35:33)
If you’re the kind of person that likes listening to an extended, exploratory Phish jam, then chances are you’re the kind of person that likes listening to an extended, exploratory Grateful Dead jam (I could be wrong about that, some people are more complex than I give them credit for). We could spend the next year or two debating which band was/is better on stage, but most would at least agree that The Dead have Phish beat on the studio album front. Workingman’s Dead showcases the band’s songwriting at its finest and the album includes a number of tracks that would become staples of their live rotation. When Furthur performed the album in its entirety at the inaugural Lockn’ Festival earlier this month, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio even showed up to help the band cap it off with “Casey Jones.” I’m not sure who will be around to help Phish close out their full length A Picture of Nectar performance in 20 years, but I sincerely hope that they’re worthy of the task.
Honorable Mentions: Pixies – Surfer Rosa, Miles Davis – Birth of the Cool, Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Steely Dan – Preztel Logic, Neil Young – After The Gold Rush, The Byrds – Fifth Dimension