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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Perfect Length for a Pop Song

posted by on April 16 at 20:14 PM

According to Joshua Allen and science, it’s 2:42.

From the Morning News:

My scientists told me that the perfect song length had to be closer to three minutes than two, but definitely shorter than three minutes. Three minutes is where bloat starts to set in. Where the band thinks: Hey, let’s do the chorus seven times. Hey, let’s give the saxophone guy a real moment to shine on this one. Hey, let’s add another bridge.

Just look at what clocks in between two and a half and three minutes: “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “We Got the Beat,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Good Times Bad Times,” “I Would Die 4 U,” “Paranoid,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Debaser,” “God Only Knows,” and “Fall on Me.” These are not only stone-cold classics but they also encapsulate all that is great about the band without wasting your goddamn time.

You can’t argue with science. Read the whole piece here.

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hmmm. their first example, "Mr. Tamborine Man," clocks in at five minutes thirty seconds according to my iTunes. "Another Theory Shot to Shit" by fIREHOSE clocks in at 2:34

Posted by brian cook | April 16, 2008 9:53 PM

Offhand, without the CD to check right now, my gut feeling is that "Blowing In The Wind" is also longer than he purports, given Dylan's tendency towards ten verses in those days. Perhaps he's looking only at "radio edits" which is a self-fulfilling observation.

On the other hand, I wish that everyone would realise that "albums" should be really close to 45 minutes in length. All this "fill the CD up to show people that they're getting their money worth" shit produces bloat that no-one cares to listen to in a single sitting.

Posted by Tiktok | April 17, 2008 7:25 AM

The Byrds' version is two and a half minutes long -- they cut out several verses. That was the version that charted.

I agree fully on the trend of 73 minute long CDs. That's like making every single CD a double album. Very few people have that much to say, musically speaking.

There's a lot to be said for short and sweet.

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 17, 2008 7:58 AM

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