7
Apr 04

The Results Are In!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 259 views

The Results Are In!: 00s worst pop decade ever. Obviously I don’t remotely agree but that’s not really here or there. It’s just an opportunity to share a nugget of data I discerned when spending most of this week putting all 975 or so UK No.1s onto CD in preparation for Club Popular. Which is this: hits are getting shorter again. The fifties and sixties No.1s are generally pretty sort, with the early 60s particularly economical – a song longer than three minutes is a rarity. The advent of Rock introduces inflation into pop songwriting and lumbering monsters like “Hey Jude” formulate a length=depth equation which, though entirely bogus, has lasted pretty much to this day (almost all of Robbie’s hits seem to last FOREVER, and don’t get me started on Oasis). The 90s were particularly bad for songs outstaying their welcome, five minute tunes at No.1 were common, but with the Spice Girls and the late-90s pop renaissance hit lengths have started to drop again and the standard pop song duration now seems to be, yes, the canonical three-to-three-and-a-half minutes. SO THERE!

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