Joshua Allen at The Morning News (via BoingBoing) writes about his deductive process of identifying the perfect pop song length, at two minutes and 42 seconds:
The scientists then dug up this song by a group that pretty much defines one-hit wonder: the La’s. The song is “There She Goes,” and is so flawless that it instantly made everything else the band did pointless. This ditty is two minutes and 42 seconds, and is all about songwriting economy….
What else is at 2:42? “Don’t Do Me Like That” by Tom Petty. “Divine Hammer” by the Breeders. “Helplessly Hoping” by Crosby, Stills & Nash. “Get Up” by R.E.M. “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas & the Papas. “This Charming Man” by the Smiths.
You need more proof? Jerk. Let’s look at Sgt. Pepper. “Lovely Rita” is two minutes, 42 seconds. It delivers that psychedelic vibe and a coda but then gets the hell out of your life.
Allen then lays down the challenge with a mixtape of twelve songs that clock in at exactly 2:42. Which sounds like a meme waiting to happen. Unfortunately my iTunes library is at home so I can’t try the experiment, but I’ll put it out there for the usual suspects. Can you top his mix?