Back in February, I said that I would be keeping an eye out for the “best” song length. To me, that was basically looking for the time that had the best collection of songs. I’m not sure how many nominees I ought to put forward, but so far, nothing has beaten 3:52 and I’m not sure any time has been particularly close.
Take a look at what 3:52 has to offer and you’ll see that there’s something for everyone. It has career highlights from legendary bands (The Beatles’ “Let It Be”, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”). It has classic soul and funk (Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish”, Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly”). Modern rock classics? Represented! (The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”, Radiohead’s “Just (You Do It To Yourself)” and “Nice Dream”) Signposts of 80’s rock are well represented (R.E.M.’s “Orange Crush”, the Pretenders’ “Back on the Chain Gang”, Elvis Costello’s “Everyday I Write the Book”) as are some of my personal favorite bands (Belle and Sebastian’s “Me and the Major”, Gogol Bordello’s “Illumination”). Two of my top 20 tracks from 2011 come in at 3:52 (Destroyer’s “Downtown” and my song of the year, Wild Flag’s “Romance”). All this and a whole lot more… I’ve listed 40 pretty good 3:52 songs after the jump.
So for what looks to me like the time with the best collection of songs – a time with legendary songs across a variety of eras and genres, not to mention an enviable amount of depth – I’m going to go with… Skid Row? Yeah, that’s right. Sebastian Bach and company. You see, this song reminds me of the day I graduated from college. No, not because I breezed through college by age 18. I was a child prodigy, but let’s not get carried away here.
My senior year, three friends and I had an apartment on the top floor of a three story house. On the ground floor lived our friend, Rickey Yeung. After graduation, my roommates and I were spending a few moments enjoying the perfect late spring afternoon out on our front porch for a bit before we went out to stock up for that night’s epic graduation party. Rickey’s apartment overlooked the porch and for whatever reason (maybe because I’m a jerk!) I felt compelled to sing the opening line from “18 And Life” over and over and over again. See what I did there? That actually still amuses me to this day. Ha!
I might have had the song in my head beforehand, I might have just been singing it as an ode to our neighbor. I really don’t remember, but it does remind me of the good times when it was all over but the celebrating.
Many are great, all are good, all are 3:52:
1. Let It Be – The Beatles
2. Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
3. I Wish – Stevie Wonder
4. Superfly – Curtis Mayfield
5. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
6. Just (You Do It To Yourself) – Radiohead
7. Nice Dream – Radiohead
8. Orange Crush – R.E.M.
9. Back on the Chain Gang – The Pretenders
10. Everyday I Write the Book – Elvis Costello
11. Me and the Major – Belle and Sebastian
12. Illumination – Gogol Bordello
13. Downtown – Destroyer
14. Romance – Wild Flag
15. 18 And Life – Skid Row
16. September Morn – Neil Diamond
17. Paper in Fire – John Cougar Mellencamp
18. Hurly/Burly – Man Man
19. Flight of the Passing Fancy – Squirrel Nut Zippers
20. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) – Florence + the Machine
21. Venus – Bananarama
22. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces – Ben Folds Five
23. Underwater Love – Faith No More
24. Number Ones – The Push Kings
25. Once – Pearl Jam
26. Problem With the Sun – Nicolas Jaar
27. Who Stole the Soul? – Public Enemy
28. The Gas Face – 3rd Bass
29. Jerk Out – Morris Day and the Time
30. Transport is Arranged – Pavement
31. Passat Dream – Pavement
32. The High Road – Broken Bells
33. Marathon Runner – Yellow Ostrich
34. Think About You – Guns N’ Roses
35. Dying is Fine – Ra Ra Riot
36. Strange Kind of Woman – Deep Purple
37. Pushover – Vibro Kings
38. Easy – Real Estate
39. All of my Days and All of my Days Off – A.C. Newman
40. Scorpion – The Budos Band