It's the 21st century. The one thing we all seem to lack these days is time. Luckily for us with our busy lives, several bands have taken it upon themselves to record music that barely tickles the half-minute mark. We at SPB have assembled a list of half a dozen or so of these short-but-sweet songs, along with a playable listen-along feature at the top. Hit play, and read on.
Ceremony - It's Going To Be A Cold Winter
Does what most hardcore bands struggle to do in three minutes: a blistering run through a couple of verses (probably?) and then a breakdown that even has a psuedo-mosh part. The musical equivalent of accidentally turning on an electric drill on while resting it on your leg, followed by ten seconds of maddening pain as you stomp around your living room dripping blood all over your unassembled Ikea bookcase. (Matt)
AFI – Hearts Frozen Solid, Thawed Once More by the Spring of Rage, Despair, and Hopelessness
AFI managed to embody everything a great melodic-punk song needs in 30 seconds with this one. It has a blistering drum intro that follows through to the end of the track. There’s an abundance of catchy “whoas” to sing along to while a swooping bass line takes you along for the ride. Lastly, it’s packed with more energy than some bands fit into an entire album. There’s no doubt that it has an unforgettable melody as well as an unforgettable title. By the time you finish reading the name of the song, it’s over already. (Aaron)
Gas - "Timestretch" and "Miniscule"
Electronic artist Mat Jarvis released the highly under-appreciated album Gas 0095 over a decade and a half ago. While it consists mostly of ambient excursions that run the gamut from brief to epic, there are two somewhat easy-to-miss tracks hidden on the album. "Timestretch" is one second long, and "Miniscule" clocks in at twelve milliseconds. At first they may seem like pointless inclusions. What could possibly be said that's worth hearing in less than a second? The trick is that each track was originally a four minute piece before being shrunk down drastically in length. They actually compliment the album well, acting as the extreme counterparts to the longer pieces like "Experiments on Live Electricity." Though the casual listener will pass these songs without notice, the thoughtful listener will find them extremely thought-provoking. (Matthew S)
Descendents - Weinerschnitzel
In 1981 The Decendents steamrolled punk rock angst and childish humor into a SoCal pinner doobie and hot-boxed it with disenfranchised teenagers everywhere. Perhaps no song in history quickly, yet accurately sums up youthful suburban boredom as well as “Weinershchnitzel” does. The Fat EP—which clocks in roughly as long as it takes to hot-box an actual pinner doobie (four and half minutes...so I'm told) features other short but awesome songs like “My Dad Sucks”’ and “I like Food.” But “Weinerschnitzel” is not only the quickest; it’s the greatest—glorious in its simplicity. “Welcome to Der Weiner Schnitzel. May I take your order please? Yeah, I want two large Cokes, two large fries, large Dr. Pepper, Chili Cheese Super Deluxe with cheese and tomato! You want Bill sperm with that? NO!" Ten seconds later you’re asking yourself three questions: A) Why is everyone yelling? B) Is it over? And C) Wait, did he really just say “Bill sperm?” (NO'B)
Johann Sebastian Bach - "Adagio" (Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 in G Major, second movement)
Bach is the quintessential Baroque composer, and he's generally considered to be a genius. That's probably why the second movement of his third Brandenburg Concerto, "Adagio", is so fascinating. It's merely a measure long, and it consists solely of the Phrygian imperfect cadence (iv6 to V). In Baroque music, this cadence typically used to mark a segue from a slow movement into a faster one. Of course, this definition requires the former, slower movement to actually exist. It seems as though Bach completely ignored this inconvenient little technicality and made this cadence the entire movement. Today, there is still no satisfactory explanation for its presence; the current leading theory, that the chords were used as a framework for a harpsichord or violin cadenza, has virtually no evidence to support it. Modern performers will usually insert a cadenza into the piece, but some play the brief cadence as written, and others will insert another one of Bach's pieces in its stead. It's surprising that such a large mystery remains for a composer whose works have been pored over by virtually every musical scholar in existence. (Matthew S)
Bonus item: Napalm Death- You Suffer
1.316 Seconds, it takes Napalm Death just over one second to totally obliterate your ear drums with "You Suffer". Think about this, some songs on this list hover at around the 30 or so second mark; and you could listen to this song literally 30 times in the same time span. In the DVD accompanying the 20th anniversary release of Scum (the album on which "You Suffer" is located) the members of Napalm Death reminisce how the audience used to yell for them to play that song over and over again when they played live... which they of course obliged. At one point, this song was listed as the world's shortest song in the Guinness Book Of World Records; none of these other songs can lay claim to that little factoid. Seriously, though, by the third time listening to the song, you will be growling along, "You Suffer But Why?" (Bob)