Playlist: The Short List

Short songs for a quick diversion

Sometimes, you want to listen to some music, but four to five minutes just seems like too much of a commitment. Right? I’m the only one? Okay, then; humor me. The songs in this list all clock in under three minutes.

Go really fast

If you’re trying to make a song fit in less then three minutes, one strategy would be to go really fast. Like The White Stripes do on one of their best songs Fell In Love With A Girl. They’re playing so fast, the song comes in at just 1 minute and 47 seconds. The Hives’ Main Offender, also quite speedy, is much longer at 2 minutes and 33 seconds, but consider this: At that length, it is one of their longer songs. On the 5 studio albums released by The Hives, only 18 of a total of 67 songs are over three minutes long. Their first album even contains no songs over three minutes.

Hip Hop music is not generally known for it’s high speed. But some rappers can go quite fast, though. If you remember Busta Rhymes’ 90s hit song Fire It Up, you might remember that the music video started with an intro that was completely different from the rest of the song. That intro was part of a different Busta Rhymes song called Rhymes Galore. The song is so hyperactive, you’re going to be glad that it is only 2 minutes and 33 seconds longs.

Just get to the point

Not every short song is fast though. Some songs manage to both be calm and slow, while still staying under three minutes. Like Kiteman’s live recording of the song Sorry. Perhaps the best two and a half minutes of music. Seriously. (There is also a second live recording of this same song, by the way, that just topples over the three-minute mark and guess what? Not as good)

So rather than going really fast, some songs just get to the point. Kiteman’s Sorry goes from intro straight into a buildup that leads to the song’s climax. That is it, that is all there is to the song. Nothing stays longer than it needs to and once a segment is done, it isn’t brought back a second time.

Best of both worlds

Inbetween Days by The Cure is a song that is typically “The Cure”. The song has a long intro (taking up the first third of the song) and between vocal sections, there are long instrumental stretches. Yet it still (just) fits in three minutes. In this case, because it has both a fast tempo and gets to the point (the lyrics are made up of two short verses and one even shorter chorus).

Published on: 2017, June 18
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