Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Slow Death of Prog

[Music] The reason people hate 24-minute prog rock masterpieces isn't just because people suck, have no attention span, and deserve lives filled with empty, meaningless, brain-dead pop noise.

No. The reason people hate 24-minute prog-rock masterpieces is because of Science.

In a recent Morning News piece, Joshua Allen reveals scientists have discovered the perfect length for a pop song. It's two minutes, 42 seconds.

A difference of even one or two seconds may turn your perfectly catchy "Lovely Rita" (2:42) into a drag-ass "With a Little Help From My Friends" (2:44) or a hurried and underdeveloped "Good Morning Good Morning" (2:41).

Don't let this happen to your song! It's verse, verse, bridge, verse and fade out. None of this fancy leitmotif bullshit; no subtle shading or complex development and variation of thematic materials. Your listeners are busy people on the go, and if you can't give them their payoff in less than three minutes, they will go ... to some other band's CD release party. (Brandon Burt)


  1. Don't worry, Brandon. perhaps there are more "prog" fans out there than you think? We're not all blathering popette's. Get yourself a beer, sit back, put on some Mars Volta (or maybe a nice, slow-rising ball of Melvins dough), turn the volume up and enjoy.

  2. Brandon, I think 10 years ago the perfect pop song was 3:26, in another 10 years we might be under 2 minutes or less with peoples attention spans shrinking. I know I can't just sit back and listen to music, I need to be watching TV, playing brickbreaker on my blackberry, glazing at my fish tanks all while I'm surfing the web.


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