As a fan, over the years I came to expect a few basic things from a new Delirious? album:
1.) a song or two for my church to sing during worship (which didn't happen much towards the end, to be honest).
2.) some killer guitar work from Stu G.
3.) incredible pop/rock anthems
4.) stellar vocal work from Martin Smith, and
5.) at least one epically long song
As a band they built this expectation into each album. I suppose you could say it all started with "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?" and "Obsession", from Cutting Edge 3 and Fore, but really 1 & 2 had "Thank You For Saving Me" and "Prophet Song". These were expansive songs, often intense songs, songs that gave us extended time to worship God.
Delirious?'s foundational motto was "taking it wherever it goes" (I used to have a t-shirt that said that) and often (especially in the early days) it really felt that way. A song would be as long as it needed to be and could evolve into whatever it needed to be. The point was to dwell in God's presence and allow God to inspire us. While certainly nowhere near as experimental as The Grateful Dead or Phish, Delirous? were certainly something of a Christian jam band.
In many ways "Obsession" is the quintessential Delirious epic long song. It has an incredibly long buildup, undergirded by Jon Thatchers droning base and progressed by Martin and Stu's vocal/guitar combo as well as Stew's crashing drums. But we can't forget the earlier "Did You Feel?" Both of these songs created an aural atmosphere wholly their own. Truly these songs represent the "Delirious sound", the songs people think of when they remember the band.
A strangely overlooked song in the Delirious? canon, "White Ribbon Day" is more of a pop single (and indeed it was) but it was also the longest song off of King of Fools. As before, this song builds to an epic chorus... With these epic songs Delirious built a template for creating works of great longing. They are desperate. They look for change to come to our world and for God to break in.
From the same time period, "Summer of Love" is a rare gem that only appeared on the Deeper EP. It is actually a darker song than is immediately apparent, sharing the same subject matter as "Blindfold" off of Mezzamorphis, namely the miscarriage of one of the band members' wives. In "Blindfold" the band truly blended darkness and light, creating a numb and distraught atmosphere in the first half of the song that opens into a canvas of praise to God in the culmination. Delrious? certainly made radio ready pop/rock music, but this was not a shallow band or a band afraid to tackle difficult issues.
"Investigate", which became a live staple, is another quintessential "epically long" Delrious? song. I would love to know the story behind why they loved this song so much, but they seemed to always play it live, relishing in the extended instrumental at the end. Certainly one of the strangest songs in the Delirious? catalogue is "Stealing Time". From Audio Lesson Over/Touch (i.e. their "Radiohead" phase) it's an extended lament/meditation on the struggle to find time to be with their their loved ones/spouses in the midst of the busyness of life and features a theremin and brass ensemble.
"Inside Outside" isn't the longest song off of World Service but in my opinion it's one of the bests songs they ever wrote and so I needed to include it somewhere on my lists! It's a great mellow to anthemic rock song, Stu G melts our face a bit in the middle, and it's also a decently long. From the last two albums "Take Off My Shoes" is a slow-burner that builds and builds to the inevitable climax and "My Soul Sings" to me is something of an homage to Hillsong United's songwriting style.
We'll start with one of the band's most enduring songs, "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble."