The Wednesday Countdown: Short Songs


Here come list number two of my Wednesday Countdown series, concentrating this time on the songs that may be short in girth, but are large in impact. The criteria for this particular list is the following, tracks must be shorter than two minutes (it’s worth noting that Blur’s slight classic “Song 2” comes in at 2 minutes 1 second), maximum one per artist, and the selection is based around both the quality of the song as well as how it fits onto the album it occupies. That last point is there because short songs are often interludes, designed as a transition between tracks. Thus the movement into the next track is taken into account, as you can probably tell looking at the top few songs, if you are aware of the albums involved.

Anyway, here it is.

Top 10 Short Songs

1. Laura Marling – Crawled Out Of The Sea (Interlude) (1:16)

2. Pink Floyd – The Happiest Days of Our Lives (1:50)

3. Portishead – Deep Water (1:39)

4. The White Stripes – Hypnotize (1:48)

5. Modest Mouse – Wild Packs of Family Dogs (1:49)

6. Foo Fighters – Doll (1:23)

7. The Decemberists – The Wanting Comes In Waves (Reprise) (1:31)

8. Radiohead – You Never Wash Up After Yourself (1:44)

9. Iron & Wine – Die (1:07)

10. Elbow – Puncture Repair (1:48)

Laura Marling perfectly anticipated the question “can a 76 second song be anthemic?” with “Crawled Out Of The Sea”, an elegantly simple love ode that does both jobs, leading smartly into “My Manic & I” on the album, but sounding very well-rounded in its own right. I confess that its position at number one was finalized not by the track itself, but by quite how amazing it sounds live. The sound of a number of hip London folk artists coming together and crying the main refrain together is one that will not soon leave me.

As ever, let me know what songs are missing, I don’t mind being reminded how wrong I am sometimes!

(Side Note: Does this compensate for me missing out “Mexico” on the last list? Because on further listening, it really is good…)

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About Alex Pavitt
I work in the field of emotion. My tools are instinctual feelings and my laptop is the medium between my brain and the outside world. I deconstruct and rebuild. I imagine. I steal other people's lyrics because somtimes, my own words aren't enough. I spend all of my time somewhere inside my head. I worship Douglas Adams, and in the back of my mind I am always painfully aware that I will never be as good as him or, for that matter, anybody else.

8 Responses to The Wednesday Countdown: Short Songs

  1. Tom says:

    you definetely need some tom waits on there.

    maybe some midtown,
    or maybe some johnsburg, illinois,
    perhaps some frank’s wild years.
    possibly even some 9th and hennepin,

    but possibly not.

    maaan, tom waits has some short songs. Perhaps i shall make a list of some kind.
    perhaps not.

    that’s mr capu’s thing.

    • Alex Pavitt says:

      hey, you’re still making your top 25 albums of the decade list. i’m not gonna let you get away with not making that.
      also, yeah i could do with hearing some more tom waits. you see he has a live album out? saw it in hmv, might get that when the price comes down a bit. good things are often spoken about his live shows.

      • tom says:

        i’m not really a list man,
        but i will be giving it a go… eventually.

        and yes, slap on some rain dogs.
        you wanna get some studio before you get some live.

        maybe some swordfishtrombones,

        two amazing albums…

        give em a listen.

  2. Melissa says:

    this list makes me happy…
    maybe lacking some mumford and sons…
    i dont care if they dont have a song under 2 minutes….

    it does make up for the discrepancy in your last list a bit…
    more of the same, is what i think is needed…
    more of mumford and sons on lists!….

    • Alex Pavitt says:

      would you like me to fix my list next week so that it will include a mumford and sons song? perhaps the list could be “top 10 best songs called thistle & weeds”. they would feature in that list i assure you

      • Melissa says:

        na… thats a bit obvious….
        how about top ten songs sung by someone called marcus?
        or top ten orgasm vocal songs?

        yeah… that one…..

        *sigh* oh marcus…
        you make me feel funny inside

        • Alex Pavitt says:

          if it were orgasm vocals, every song would be sung by beth gibbons. because her voice is better than marcus mumford
          maybe… best colour songs. like, many songs have a colour or the word colour in the title. maybe….

          • melissa says:

            no….
            cause then there will only be white blank page on that list…
            and well…
            wheres the rest of the brilliant?

            how about…….
            top songs with banjo?
            hmmm?

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