Five Great Rock Songs under Two Minutes Long

davidbowielowbanerLook, we’ve all got places to be, right? Maybe in the 80’s people could stick around for the entire three minutes of your average piece of popular music, but we’re a lot busier now. There are hashtags to be co-opted and Pokemon that need strangling. As a result, we have to cut the average song down to two minutes or less. It’s a difficult process, but luckily we have these next songs for guidance.

5. Wire – “Three Girl Rhumba”

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Operating directly after the first wave of punk music, Wire distilled everything down to the basic elements of this movement, and threw away all the excess. Most of their songs are about this length, simply because there is no need for them to be any longer. Early Wire is snotty and brief, but packs the entire punch of a musical revolution.

4. Guided by Voices -“The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory”

Short songs with confusing titles are kind of Bob Pollard’s bread and butter. Really, there are many GBV songs that are both good and short, but this one’s my favorite.

3. Cat Stevens – “The Wind”

How can you listen to this song without getting a warm feeling? Maybe you can, but you might want to look into the possibility that you’re secretly a robot. The song is also featured prominently in the film Rushmore, which may explain at least some of (but not all of) my love for it. The former (and possibly current again) Cat Stevens certainly had a way with a gentle tune, and this one clocks out as soon as its job is done, maximizing its effectiveness.

2. Jawbreaker – “Boxcar”

California punk band Jawbreaker managed to cram an epic take-down of the 90’s punk scene and the scenesters that inhabit it into a really short song. I call that efficiency. Because there’s nothing more “punk” that being efficient, right? I can’t be sure of the protocol. “I was passing out when you were passing out your rules.”

1. David Bowie – Breaking Glass

This is from Low, the David Bowie album that invented industrial rock. It is not to be confused with the David Bowie albums that invented glam-rock and space rock. The man had a lot of very important contributions to popular music, but there is perhaps no song that leaves the listener wanting more quite like “Breaking Glass.” It’s one of the highlights of the vocal first side of the record (the second leans more toward ambient instrumental music). Low as an album is quite fascinating as well, if a little maddening at times.

I’m sure there are many other examples. Let me hear about them!


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