Ten Brilliant Songs Under Two Minutes Long

Remember 'Hocus Pocus' by Focus? None of that shit here...
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Remember 'Hocus Pocus' by Focus? None of that shit here...


Loadsa fun stuff can happen under two minutes- you can fry an egg, have an arm wrestle, or, if you're Boris Becker, spawn new life in the broom cupboard of your favourite eatery.

There's a time and place for outrageous running times and extended noodling; that is called Planet Free Jazz and your average mortal will never voyage there. For those of us taking part in this earthly thing called a rat race, sub-two-minutes tunes give us more time to focus on the more important things in life. Like emojis.

Here's two handfuls of the best coming in under 120.

Hood- Perfume Genius

Perfume Genius isn't generally one to hang about, but by his standards this bang-on two minutes number from 2012's Put Your Back N 2 It is an exercise in restraint. Mostly consisting of Mike Hadreas' quaking voice and a piano, it's not until 1.20 that some drums join the party.

It only really feels like we get half a pay-off, but it's a perfect example of always leaving them (us) wanting more. For more examples of this by Mr Genius, check out 'You Won't B Here' and 'Mr Peterson'.

Shivaree - Arriverderci

A song as short as the title of the album it concludes is long: I Oughta Give You A Shot In The Head For Making Me Live In This Dump, released back in 1999 to a flurry of critical fawning. Like the rest of the record, it showcases Ambrosia Parsley's sad, smokey, horn-making drawl, and is a dreadfully sweet end to an album that defines the phrase 'shoulda been huge.'

Sex Beet - I'm In Love WIth You (So Shut The F*ck Up)

This is built around one of them surf licks that sounds like nothing other than the grand scrag of rum-soaked youth. Unlike 'Hood', it's a God-given mercy 'I'm In Love With You' is so short: any longer and you'd spill all your drink with the dancing.

There's been a Sex Beet album in the works for the best part of forever, though Stockholm-based lead singer Luke Reilly says it will have its day eventually, Until then, you can check out his Lucern Raze solo project, the album of which was recorded in a snappy ten days and is out in February.

Tom Rosenthal - Red Red Red

London singer-songwriter Rosenthal's got a virtual library of sub 120 second ditties, but this gets the nod through virtually of being so innocently bonkers. With lyrics consisting purely of the title and a final flourish that sounds like a bunch of drunk adults playing toy instruments, it's probably not one for the dancefloor.

(It's not on Spotify so it's been replaced on there with 'Take Care', which is a far less maniacal beast than 'Red', and was once the closing song on Skins. FACT. )

The Beatles - Golden Slumbers

It's been said around some parts (this one) that 'Golden Slumbers' is the best Beatles song. Even if you don't agree, it's place as the emotional crux of the suite that closes Abbey Road ensures it's deserving of a place in the conversation.

As an aside. If you are ever feeling particularly good about life and your achievements within it, try clicking onto WIkipedia and reminding yourself that every member of The Beatles was under 30 when they released this.

Pub in ten, guys.

Beastie Boys - Tough Guy

Second up on Ill Communication and the polar opposite of of opener 'Sure Shot', that latter of which was built around a flute sample from Jeremy Stieg's 'Howlin' For Judy'.

'Tough Guy' is 58 seconds of hip-hop punk so raw it needs a bandage, and when taken with 'Sure Shot', surely represents everything Yauch, MIke D and Ad-Rock were about.

Tom Waits - Frank's Wild Years

'Frank's Wild Years' gets the nod over 'Johnsburg, Illinois, also from Swordfishtrombones, by virtue of the character Frank being later reinvented for a play of the same name. The songs used in this would later make up the Frank's Wild Years album; the last instalment of Waits' so-called Island Trilogy.

Although the story of Frank burning his house and blind, disease-ridden dog Carlos is full of classic lines, the real joy is in Waits' intonation throughout his spoken monologue. The coughs, small intakes of breath, incremental delays in delivery...it's all hokum of course but the offhand nature of it an intrinsic part of that Waits, 3am on Sunset vintage.

Jerry Lee-Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire

In some ways it's sad that the peaks and roughs of The Killer's personal life now tend to dominate our impressions of him. But then his slapdash attitude to booze, drugs, guns and marrying his 13 year old cousin (once removed, but still) surely mean he has lost any right to complain about this. Down, Jerry.

The ubiquitous 'Great Balls' (NO SNIGGERING) was originally released on Sun Records in 1957, and though it never made it to number one in the U.S it's status as one of the greatest rock and roll songs is undisputed and immortal.

Charles Manson - Invisible Tears

I listened to Manson in preparation for interviewing California-psych band The Growlers about their favourite artists. Only being really aware of Manson by reputation, I half-expected the strumming of murder-odes on banjos nicked from the set of Deliverance. Instead there was an album stocked full of cute, lo-fi ditties extolling the virtues of love's arrow. What was most surprising (though with some research a little less so) was I found myself liking Manson. Fortunately Brooke, the lead singer of The Growlers, said exactly the same thing and that I could put my Gideons down.

This song closes Lie; The Love and The Terror Cult, released in 1970 (the year before Manson's lifetime imprisonment for conspiracy to murder), and even though the production is demo-like and Manson's guitar-work hardly technical, it works. In its blue, scratchy, 5am atmosphere it's reminiscent of Dennis Wilson's solo stuff; less of a coincidence when you discover that Wilson re-worked this album's 'Cease To Exist' into The Beach Boys' B-side, 'Never Learn Not To Love.

Marmaduke Duke - Rubber Lover

Sneaking it at 1.59 is this hulking slice of indie-disco from 2009. Don't let the dodgy sub-genre put you off- it's an absolute monster of a tune. Marmaduke Duke of course feature Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro, and as such it might surprise the uninitiated to discover "Rubber Lover' contains neither hide nor hair of mountains, bubbles or any fucking captains.

Via Twitter I also had songs below sent in, that I've included on the playlist, where possible. Thanks to @CmonHarris, @rocknroller_ste, @crypomaniac, @BenMcAleer1, @fieryflynn and @tomdisco for the suggestions.

Joe Innes & The Calvacade- Laughing Gas
The Rakes - 22 Grand job
Be Your Own Pet- Damn Damn Leash
Johnny Cash- Wreck Of The Ol' 97
Goldfinger- Spank Bank
O verona - Romeo and Juliet OST (different version on the playlist)
The Beatles - Her Majesty

Follow David on Twitter-@Gobshout