Apr 16th, 2008 // 17 Comments

loveamixtape.jpgOne of the best writers on the Internet ever, Joshua Allen, proves (by science) the perfect length for a pop song: “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.” The ideal length? 2:42. The proof? Here’s exhibit A, but you really should read the whole thing. [The Morning News]

idolator

  1. NickEddy

    I always have been partial to 2:50. “Flags for Everything” by Let’s Active, “Refugees” by the Tears…”Almost Blue”…

    America, remember 2:50 this 4/20!!

    etc

  2. Royfromage

    Pete Townshend told us this years ago, in “The Kids Are Alright” movie.

  3. tigerpop

    He may be on to something. Other songs at 2:42, according to my iTunes: “Galveston”; “Okie from Muskogee”; “The Way You Do the Things You Do”; “A World Without Love”; “Up Around the Bend”; “Come See About Me”; the Sex Pistols’ “Liar”; “Thinking About You” by Radiohead; MCR’s “Teenagers”; several Candy Butchers tracks; Ween’s “Mushroom Festival in Hell” and “Mister Richard Smoker” (as well as Mary Lou Lord’s cover of their “Birthday Boy”).

  4. natepatrin

    My perfect song is Isaac Hayes’ LP version of “Walk on By,” so to hell with science — gimme 12 minutes of orchestral fuzz-guitar soul vamping.

  5. How do I say this ... THROWDINI!

    I was half-expecting to get rickrolled by that link.

  6. pickmeohnevermind

    Any theory that appears to connect Be My Baby; California Dreamin’; Twistin’ the Night Away; Divine Hammer; The Magnetic Fields’s Strange Powers; and GBV’s The Best of Jill Hives warrants further inquiry and funding.

  7. SuperUnison

    I’m confident that we have the technology to push this length down to 2:10 by the end of the decade. It’s like how “Transatlanticism” required advances in ‘whiteness’ technology that didn’t exist in 1998, or how TV shows are starting to run 20 instead of 22 minutes to leave more ad space. Join me in my chant: “2:10 by 2010!”

  8. Dick Laurent is dead.

    @Maura
    I was just listening to that album last night- could not agree more.

  9. SpeedingUptoStop

    This guy is pretty hilarious. Shame I can’t seem to find much online ala a consistent blog.

  10. Maura Johnston

    @Iamthegamer: just keep a vigil at fireland.com. (and read the archives!! there are lots of them!!)

  11. SpeedingUptoStop

    @Maura Johnston: Sweeeeeeet.

  12. bcapirigi

    Also Legal Man, Teenagers, Dindi, Candi Staton’s version of Stand By Your Man, and He’s Got A Secret by the Bangles. And Sheila Take A Bow…

  13. Anonymous

    Also 2:42
    Liz Phair’s “May Queen”
    Superchunk’s “Nu Bruises”

  14. walkmasterflex

    From the rap world of 2:42, Outkast’s “Two Dope Boyz in a Cadillac”, a song that always surprises me with how soon it ends no matter how many times I listen to it.

  15. sparkletone

    Few Pixies songs are longer than 3 minutes, but I don’t think any hit the magic 2:42.

  16. Anonymous

    Old news – In the 60s, the length of many singles was listed as 2:55 or so, since many DJs wouldn’t play longer songs. Kind of an insider joke for years

  17. doctaj

    i remember reading somewhere that Bernie Rhodes, the manager of the Clash, thought songs should clock in at 2:56.

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