In music, as in all forms of art, timing is essential. We can all appreciate the mammoth, operatic, experimental rock classics like the title track of David Bowies obscure showpiece Station to Station as much as the guilty pleasure of MOR cheese like Lynyrd Skynyrds shamelessly self-indulgent Free Bird. Though theres no place for many of them on radio, although Like a Rolling Stone is famously cited as breaking that particular barrier, clocking in at 6:13, for those who lean towards genres like prog-rock and heavy metal, its almost standard procedure. When it works, the extra time can flesh out a song immeasurably and warrant more attention and focus than shorter numbers, leaning toward an experience rather than a mere soundtrack. That said, there can be occasions particularly for the casual listener or for those in the company of others seeking a more instantaneous musical hit (as this modern world of immediate gratification is becoming so accustomed to, demonstrated by the decline in album sales over individual tracks) than a laborious audio journey when the tighter, fat-free tracks are more rewarding. We dont always have eleven minutes to listen to This Corrosion, even if we quite like the chorus. In the other court, then, we have the tracks that are so stripped and so brief that they are gone before we can fully process them. Does that make the song less credible? Is 'quality not quantity' an essential application to these situations? Is a short, snappy, straight-to-the-point tune worth less than a grandiose, theatrical arrangement? I think not. If the purpose of music is to entertain, to involve, to evoke some sort of emotional or psychological reaction from the listener - then length means nothing. A fleeting moment of genuine engagement with a song is infinitely superior to a ten minute exercise in repetitiveness and tedium (Daft Punks aptly titled Too Long, anyone? But then again, perhaps that was the whole point.) So, in no particular order, this is for those guys; those invaluable little trinkets that were lost in the valves of the expansive history of music. A selection of ten unmissable sub-two minute tracks which, though lodged like a passive interlude on arguably more languid, layered albums, manage something very special. In all forms of art, be it short films or novellas, to be concise yet still connect is a commendable feat.
A mythical hedonist, a chronic solipsist, a poet armed with a mouth full of adjectives, a brain full of adverbs and a box full of laxatives. Writing words in a language that isn't real to impress people that I invented since The Big Bang.