24. Pop Song (ft. Martin Hale)
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This is a sarcastic response to everyone’s request for less miserable lyrics and more beat. Again, meant to be 3 chords at the outset but, as always, it got more complex.
The whole conceit for this track is the ”3 minute” rule for pop songs that dates from the 50’s and 60’s regarding the least mastering effort to fit the grooves on a 78/45rpm ‘single’ and also the general (still a thing?) requirement of the day for radio play.
So I structured the song to be not too much in excess of 3 minutes and then tweaked the tempo to get it almost bang on 3:00. The last line finishes by mentioning “2:59”, cut off for comedic effect (well, it made ME laugh)! The outro was then trimmed so the MP3 file itself displays an actual length of 2:59.
Martin Hale came to the rescue and supplied a ripping guitar break with the unusual remit of having to cover a complete verse AND chorus. It makes a great organic change from my other, MIDI-based, guitar breaks. I subsequently asked him to write a few words on his process and thoughts, to which he replied ... “I just jammed around the chords until it sounded OK!”. A man of many words (not!) who has often commented on my over-use of lyrics.
“There have, of course, been bands that wrote songs longer than four minutes even before the music industry switched to CDs. Rush and Jimi Hendrix have both recorded 20-minute-long songs. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan all have 10-minute songs. In no way are long songs unheard of in music, but the average song length is still — even as the industry has evolved almost entirely to digital media — under five minutes.
The length of a song on an album doesn't matter for anyone except for the artist and fans, but a song that hopes to make money and be played on the radio simply has to be a certain length. Either that, or radio stations will edit the song down to the standard, making it three to four minutes, just like the 45.” https://www.vox.com/2014/8/18/6003271/why-are-songs-3-minutes-long