Sometimes you want to rock out but you don’t have a lot of time. Here are a bunch of tracks that kick out the jams in two minutes or less. Automatic disqualifications: any non-music track such as a skit or stand-up material, anything labeled an “intro” or “outro,” and any track that is actually a small part of a larger track (i.e. all of Tommy). Also, nothing by the Minutemen, because that’s just too easy.
“!!!!!!!,” The Roots (Phrenology)
The Philly rappers go so punk rock on this quick interlude on Phrenology that they can’t even be bothered to name the track. It’s impossible to determine who is singing (and what they’re singing) during the frantic 24 seconds, but holy shit, is it intense.
“Clocks Are Big,” Athletico Spizz 80 (Do a Runner)
AKA Spizzenergi, AKA Spizzoil, these British new wavers never broke through on either side of the Atlantic, but their 32-second dedication to the size of time-telling devices and the weight of other mechanisms (the song’s only lyrics are “Clocks are big / Machines are heavy!”) crams in a lot of weird in a remarkably short period of time.
“Won’t Fall In Love To Today,” Suicidal Tendencies (Suicidal Tendencies)
Good old Cyco Miko sulking about not getting a girlfriend the only way he can – by screaming into a microphone at breakneck speed. At just under a minute long, the fact that he was able to cram in two choruses and verses is pretty damn impressive.
“Lukin,” Pearl Jam (No Code)
A longtime live staple, and tracking in at just two seconds over a minute, this frantic punk throwback actually features some pretty disturbing imagery in its mosh-heavy melodies. It tells the story of Eddie Vedder’s real-life stalker, ending with the immensely creepy line “Last I heard she bought a gun!” Eek.
“Judy Is a Punk,” the Ramones (The Ramones)
At a minute and half long, this is the shortest song on the Ramones’ self-titled debut (and that’s really saying something, considering only one of the album’s 14 tracks clocks in over 2:30). A punk anthem best remembered for the fact that the “second verse is same as the first.”
“Live Fast Diarrhea,” The Vandals (Live Fast Diarrhea)
An insane highlight to an otherwise spotty album. In just a little under one minute and forty seconds, lead singer Quackenbush rails on overdrinking, the hypocrisy of the punk lifestyle, and Blockbuster late fees. The only thing stranger than this song is that it was featured in an episode of “The X-Files” (with Giovanni Ribissi!) later that year.
“Quick and to the Pointless,” Queens of the Stone Age (Rated R)
An accurate name for a song that begins with the spoken line “I don’t even know what I’m doing here” before a gaggle of hyperactive cheerleaders chime in with a gleeful refrain of “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” The girls occasionally pop up throughout the track’s one minute and 42 seconds, and give the whole thing the feel of a pep rally in Hell.
“Oh My Golly!” Pixies (Surfer Rosa)
Picking just one Pixies song for this mixtape wasn’t easy, as the Pixies have a ton of songs that go under the two-minute mark, but the nonsensical bilingual lyrics by both Frank Black and Kim Deal sealed the deal. A close runner-up was “Broken Face.”
“Tick,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Karen O and her art-rock comrades prove that the NYC punk ethos established by the Ramones is far from dead with this 1:49 maelstrom of squealing vocals, obtuse lyrics and grinding guitars.
“Fell in Love with a Girl,” The White Stripes (White Blood Cells)
Between the fact that this song served as the White Stripes’ breakthrough hit and its awe-inspiring Lego-made video, most people forget how short it is, coming in ten seconds under our two-minute cutoff point. Jack and Meg at their most gleefully frantic.
“Effervescing Elephant,” Syd Barrett (Barrett)
The product of one of Syd Barrett’s final recording sessions, “Effervescing Elephant” is a simultaneously disturbing and hilarious look into Barrett’s rapidly deteriorating mind, which was undoubtedly past the point of no return. It’s hard to tell what’s weirder, the nursery-rhyme-from-hell lyrics or the tuba accompaniment.
“Diamond Meadows,” T. Rex (T. Rex)
By 1970, T. Rex was beginning to abandon their folk rock roots for more of a glam sound, and this track demonstrates that perfectly by being a perfect hybrid of the two. Comprised of layers upon layers of symphonic noises (similar to many Bowie tracks of the time), the song’s loving tone is conflicted by the utterly bizarre chorus of “Hey, let’s do it like we’re friends.”
“Particle Man,” They Might Be Giants (Flood)
For many under the age of 30, this track will forever be linked to the “Tiny Toons” episode that features Plucky Duck as the title character, getting his ass handed to him by many of the song’s other men, including Triangle Man and Universe Man. One second under two minutes in length, but trying to figure out what the hell it’s about could take you a lifetime.