Posted by: Miles | April 9, 2009

Epic Pop Mixtape

Elbow, 1-4-09 Metro TheatreMusic is almost completely self referential these days-but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sure we get a lot of crap but we also get a good amount of fun. Take what i call ‘epic pop’ as an example, what i find interesting about songs like this is how they leverage some pretty standard forms of music to make an awesome guilty pleasure. Though i guess it’s all a matter of perspective really, i’ve put together some epic songs i’ve been enjoying recently to make my point- or just to listen to for fun of you like 🙂

Listen to this mixtape on Favtape

1 – Elbow Station Approach
A Classic ‘start quiet end loud’ build up song. It’s all about coming home at last. However, Elbow use some clever lyrics, it’s all about needing to be in your home town but it also seems to reference a particular person, maybe a mate or a lover. Best bit i like is the “I haven’t seen my mum in weeks” line, definitely not something you expect to hear in most songs like this!

2 – Okkervil RiverOur Life Is Not A Movie or Maybe
This is great, an epic song about how life is not like an epic movie. Lines like

No fade in: film begins on a kid in the big city.


It’s just a house burning, but it’s not haunted.
It was your heart hurting, but not for long, kid.

Give you the message while the song relies on a familiar tune, quiet/loud dynamic and a suitably dramatic lyrical delivery to bring the epic. Though it does veer into some odd noise/discordant piano bits at times, it’s still follows the classic epic pop template.

3 – Phoenix1901

This seems a bit different to the others, it mixes in some dirty synth to try and disguise it as electro or something else but at it’s heart it’s pure epic pop. The drums drive the song forward as it starts with some quiet guitar chords, singing comes at you with a normal tone- then BAM! Chord change,  ‘Heyheyheyheyhey‘ chorus, increased percussion and a synth which performs all the functions that backing vocals or a string section might, breakdown, do it all over again, end with quick cut following a short instrumental. Phoenix show us how it’s done.

4 – The Temper TrapSweet Disposition
This is meant to be the next oz act that will hit the big time, and this song indicates it’s possible. They’ve got the marching beat and the driving stadium guitar riffs going- put it together with the soaring vocals and it’s pure bliss! It’s not that original but it’s a good iteration of some classic epic pop- much like the rest of this list.

Listen to this mixtape on Favtape

Other examples of music like this would be The Killers ‘When You Were Young’, Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ or Youth Group’s ‘Daisychains’



  1. I have to say I like the ‘Mix tape’ option of this blog. I would like to say however that it is a travesty that you couldn’t find at least 1 Stan Bush track to add to your post on ‘Epic Pop’. This will not stand!

  2. Well this was more new finds than old ones- but Dare deserves it’s own post anyway! That’ll happen soon…

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