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All the DJ's keep complaining

The tunes run much too long

So I went and wrote myself

a 26-second song.
Shel Silverstein, 26 Second Song

A Single-Stanza Song sounds like a case of Second Verse Curse or a Chorus-Only Song, but there is one big difference: There really is only one stanza.

If there were ever other lyrics, they are lost to history. If these lyrics are repeated, it becomes Looped Lyrics (and if it repeats too much, Broken Record).

Contrast Second Verse Curse, Chorus-Only Song and Something Something Leonard Bernstein.

Examples of Single-Stanza Song include:


Alternative Rock

  • The title track of Coldplay's Parachutes, which only runs 46 seconds.
    • The full song: "In a haze, a stormy haze, / I'll be 'round, I'll be loving you always. / Always. / Here I am and I'll take my time, / here I am and I'll wait in line always. / Always."
  • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants did a few of these with his side project band Mono Puff: "Nixon's The One" has just 2 lines, "Dr. Kildare" has 4 lines of lyrics in the middle of an otherwise instrumental song, "Distant Antenna" has a single prose paragraph of text spoken over the music.
    • "MINIMUM WAAAAAAAAGE! HYAAAH! [whipcrack]"
  • "Elizabeth My Dear" by the Stone Roses. 30 words, less than a minute long, and extremely creepy.
  • Phish's "The Divided Sky" has multiple composed sections and goes on for over ten minutes but the sole lyrics are, "Ah, divided sky, the wind blows high."
    • This seems to be a trend with them, as several of their most famous songs - "You Enjoy Myself", "Run Like An Antelope" and "Weekapaug Groove" especially - are around 10 minutes long but have only one or two lines.
  • Harry and the Potters' "This Book Is So Awesome" is something like 28 seconds long.
  • "Tautou", the first track on Brand New's album Deja Entendu. The lyrics are "I'm sinking like a stone in the sea/I'm burning like a bridge for your body"
  • The Pixies' "Stormy Weather" from Bossanova. "It is time, oh oh, it is time for stormy weather." Over and over. Not even a stanza, just a line.
    • From the same album there's "Ana", which does have a whole stanza - it's one six line verse repeated a few times:

 She's my fave

Undressing in the sun

Return to sea - bye

Forgetting everyone

Eleven high

Ride a wave

    • The reason for this is that it's an acrostic - If you put the first letter of every line together, it spells "surfer".
  • "Little Tiny Song" by Barenaked Ladies/The Brothers Creeggan:

 Hey, I'm a cow, I'm curious

Hey watch me now, I'm furious

Hey, I'm a cow, I'm full of hate

Hey watch me now, I'm on your plate

  • "New Day Rising" by Hüsker Dü repeats its title all throughout the song, in various styles, shouting being the most prominent
  • "Cigarette" by Ben Folds Five
  • "Skeleton's Lullaby", a bonus track on Ludo's album Prepare The Preparations.
  • "Nature Anthem" by Grandaddy
  • There She Goes by The La's.

Avant-garde

  • Buckethead's three/four-line, 26-second song, "Taxidermy Tots". The lyrics go "Mom says I'm the best at playin' with taxidermy / That's why I'm gonna taxidermy you / Shouldn't have said those mean things to me last night / (cough cough) WHHHHAAAUUGGGHHHH"
  • The Residents did a whole album of songs (about three dozen of them) that were one verse and one chorus long, all of which came in at one minute or less. They promoted it by buying time on a local Top 40 station and having the entire album played as advertisements.

Blues-Rock

  • Both of Blind Faith's hits, "Can't Find My Way Home" and "In The Presence of the Lord", consist of a single verse repeated three times with a solo between the second and third iteration.
  • "People Are Strange" by The Doors is the same verse and chorus repeated three times.

Christian Rock

  • Relient K's "Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care". The full lyrics are: "I just wasted ten seconds of your life."

Comedy / Parody

  • "Harvey The Wonder Hamster" by "Weird Al" Yankovic.
    • Subverted in Weird Al's "This Song's Just Six Words Long," a parody of George Harrison's "Got My Mind Set On You." Harrison's song nearly fits this trope itself; Weird Al's version is not only longer than six words, but none of the stanzas repeat.

Country

  • The title and lyrics of "This Is the Shortest Country Song in the World" are identical, nor are the lyrics repeated.
  • Roger Miller's "Husbands and Wives," almost. The first time around, he adds "A woman and a man, a man and a woman / Some can, some can't, and some can." Brooks & Dunn's version uses that pseudo-chorus on both repeats.

Dance

 ...and the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"...

    • The line is said twenty times in roughly four minutes.
    • And pretty much any other lyrical song by him. "Right about know, the funk soul brother / Check it out now, the funk soul brother"

Dance-Punk

Dark Cabaret

  • "672" by the Dresden Dolls: "Six-hundred-seventy-two (repeat 3 times) OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH / Some day they'll find about you too..." And no, Amanda Palmer never explains what the hell that's supposed to mean.

Electronic / Techno

  • "Smack My Bitch Up" consists of the eponymous lyrics over the same short techno loop about a zillion times.
  • "Poor Leno" eno by Röyksopp contains only a few repeated lines sung by Erlend Øye, one of the members of Kings Of Convenience.
  • The Daft Punk song "Around the World", as recited in this Diesel Sweeties strip.
    • "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" is pretty much just various permutations of:

 Work it harder, make it better

Do it faster, makes us stronger

more than ever, Hour after

Our work is never over

 What's that you're saying there? Oh well,

Rain rushing windowpane, oh well,

Not sure what space I'm in, oh well,

But I'm safe inside me here, oh well... oh well... oh well...

 You can watch in silence, the world go by

You can feel the sadness that makes you cry

You can take action for what is right

You can inspire

  • The lyrics of Eric Prydz's "Call on Me" consist entirely of a looped lyric Sampled Up from Steve Winwood's "Valerie".
  • Covenant - "Shelter": "If this was a cavern of concrete in a forest of trees like towers, I would have a place to seek retreat from the poisoned plastic flowers. If this was the shelter I would endure in a world of faceless strangers, I would have a place to feel secure from the ever-present danger".

Experimental Rock

  • "European Son" by The Velvet Underground has two very short stanzas before launching into a ten minute jam.

Folk

Folk Rock

Grindcore

Grunge

 Well he never bleeds and he never fucks

And he never leaves 'cause he's got bad luck.

Well he never reads and he never draws.

And he never sleeps 'cause he's got bad luck, yeah

I'm a stain, I'm a stain, I'm a stain, I'm a stain

Hard Rock

Hardcore Punk

  • "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys. One verse and one chorus repeated.

Heavy Metal

  • "Power Of The Power Of The Power (Of The Great Sword)" by NanowaR.

Hymns

  • The Christian Doxology (Only four lines long)
  • Several modern worship songs fit this bill.
    • "Shout to the Lord." One verse plus one chorus. Repeat as desired.
    • "Shout to the Lord" is practically a novel compared to some of the songs of the Taizé Community. Check out "Jesus Remember Me" on this page, for example. As meditation music, they're supposed to be repetitive and somewhat hypnotic to focus the worshipper on prayer.
  • "Down to the River to Pray" is a weird example of this, it's almost like a single multiple choice stanza song. The words are

 As I went down in the river to pray

Studying about that good ol' way

And who shall wear the starry crown/robe and crown?

Good Lord show me the way!

O sisters/brothers/fathers/mothers/sinners let's go down

Let's go down, come on down

O sisters/brothers/fathers/mothers/sinners let's go down

Down in the river to pray

National Anthems

  • The anthems of Japan, San Marino and Jordan each have four lines. They are the world's shortest.
  • The national anthem of Germany is the third/last stanza of the 1841 poem "Das Lied der Deutschen" (also known as "Deutschlandlied"), whose three stanzas have been used in various constellations as national anthem since 1922.

New Wave

  • Ladytron's "Seventeen". They only want you when you're seventeen, when you're twenty-one, you're no fun. They take a Polaroid and let you go, say they'll let you know, so come on.
    • Ladytron tends to repeat lyrics in nearly all of their songs, but it's most noticeable in "Seventeen".

Pop

  • Herman's Hermits' "I'm Henry the Eighth I Am" - also a Looped Lyrics song.

Post-Metal

  • Most songs by the post-metal band Isis, despite being upwards of 8 minutes long in some cases, often have one verse, sang one time somewhere in the middle of the song.

Power Metal

  • Several of the songs on Blind Guardian's Nightfall in Middle-Earth. One of them, "Nom the Wise" consists of just the spoken lines: "Thus he died, Nom the Wise. Lord of the Caves and Friend of Man. Fair and noble, most beloved of the Noldor race. He paid the price, he redeemed the Oath. Farewell, my friend, farewell." Another one consists of the single sung line: "A dark seed of evil is grown."

Power Pop

  • Fountains of Wayne's "Yours and Mine"

Progressive Rock

  • The lyrics to the 2nd movement of "I've Seen All Good People" by Yes are simply one line repeated several times.
    • "White Car" from Drama has just four lines in it.
  • Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy" consists of one verse repeated three times.

Punk Rock

  • The Living End's 34-second song "Ready" features the lyrics:

 Well if she's not that kind to you,

Don't ya think we're through buddy?

But is she the kind that you would buy the spirits

Before you're ready, ready, ready

 I don't wanna walk around with you

I don't wanna walk around with you

I don't wanna walk around with you

So why you wanna walk around with me?

I don't wanna walk around with you!

I don't wanna walk around with you!

    • They've got a few more:
      • "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"

 Now I wanna sniff some glue

Now I wanna have somethin' to do

All the kids wanna sniff some glue

All the kids want somethin' to do

      • "It's A Long Way Back"

 You all alone

You by the phone

It's a long way back to Germany

It's a long way back to Germany

  • The Ramones were kings of this trope. The best thing is that the songs are so good that you don't notice the lack of lyrics.
  • Flipper's "Sex Bomb" - the only lyric printed in their album liner notes is "She's a sex bomb, my baby, yeah", and the vocals consist of variations on this one line, along with a few shouts of "Whoa!" or "yeah!" and a lot of horrifying screaming. For about eight minutes.

Rock

  • "Summer's Day Song" from McCartney II.
  • "Her Majesty" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" by The Beatles.
    • "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"
      • No one will be watching us.
    • "Can You Take Me Back", the hidden song that immediately proceeds "Revolution 9" on the White Album.
  • Sparks' "There's No Such Thing as Aliens". The lyrics consist mostly of the title, with two nearly identical stanzas in between.
  • David Bowie's "Eight Line Poem" is... well, an eight line poem.
  • "Guide Vocal" by Genesis, off their somewhat lackluster "Duke" album, is just over a minute long, and is one of the nastiest breakup songs ever (with the exception of the outright Ax Crazy "Vow" by Garbage).
  • "Fourteen Black Paintings" is a track from the album Us by Peter Gabriel. The entirety of the lyrics are as follows:

 from the pain comes the dream

from the dream comes the vision

from the vision come the people

from the people come the power

from this power comes the change.

  • The only lyrics of Roky Erickson's "I walked with a zombie" are "I walked with a zombie last night" - that's verse, chorus, everything. Unless you count the backing vocals ("He walked with a zombie").
  • "Passive Manipulation" by The White Stripes is Meg singing:

 Women, listen to your mothers

Don't just succumb to the wishes of your brothers

Take a step back, take a look at one another

You need to know the difference between a father and a lover

    • Looped for thirty seconds.
  • Bob Dylan's "All The Tired Horses" consists of the chorus girls singing the lines "All the tired horses in the sun/How'm I supposed to get any ridin' done?/Hmmm." This hasn't stopped dylanologists from examining and interpreting them at length.
  • "Colour My World" by Chicago starts with a piano solo and ends with a flute solo, and has this verse in the middle:

 As time goes on, I realize

Just what you mean to me

And now, now that you're near

Promise your love that I've waited to share

And dreams of our moments together

Colour my world with hope of loving you

  • "T-Bone" by Neil Young has 2 lines and various permutations of it

 Got Mashed Potato

Ain't Got No T-Bone

    • Even the lyric book itself tells you to repeat the line in order to save space.
  • Steely Dan's ""The Fez"" has one stanza repeated three times:

 No, I ain't gonna do it without my fez on, oh no

Don't make me do it without my fez on, oh no

That's what I am

Please understand

I wanna be your holy man

  • Frank Zappa's "Willie The Pimp" consists of one stanza, followed by a nine-minute jam.

Rock and Roll

  • "Naked, If I Want To" by Moby Grape. 4 lines (in an ABCB rhyme scheme), 51 seconds long.
  • "Hey" by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band ("I knew we had/to say goodbye/when I felt that warmth/against my thigh.... HEY! is that you pissing on my leg?")
  • "Runaway" by Del Shannon is one of the most awesome old time rock'n'roll songs ever, being the obvious genesis of hard rock (particularly punk). It also has a second verse consisting entirely of an organ solo with no words whatsoever.

Stoner Metal

  • "Lick Doo", the hidden track on Kyuss's Welcome to Sky Valley.

Thrash

  • S.O.D. has "The Ballad of Jimi Hendrix", consisting of a few seconds of the intro to Purple Haze followed by the words "You're dead".

Traditional

  • "Happy Birthday to You" might be an example.
    • The Portuguese version averts this, hard. It's a full-fledged poem with four quatrains, although people usually only sing the first two - yet it's not uncommon in Portugal to sing the third one after the clapping.
  • This is the song that doesn't end/ Yes, it goes on and on, my friend
  • An old perverted Brazilian song: "coelhinho, se eu fosse como tu, tirava a mão do bolso e enfiava a mão no... coelhinho, se eu fosse como tu..." (translation with an added word to make sense: "bunny rabbit, if I were you sass, I'd take the hand off the pocket and into the...")
  • Parodied by Neil Innes's "Short Blues," which abruptly ends after one line of lyrics.

Examples from other media:

Opera / Theatre

  • The musical Wicked has one when the students sing about Dear Old Shiz.
  • The musical She Loves Me has the very brief recurring chorus "Thank You, Madam".
    • A similar recurring chorus was "Poor Joe" from Allegro: only 8 bars long.
  • "Day By Day" from Godspell has only about six lines of lyrics. "Prepare Ye" has only a single line.
    • Much of Godspell is like this. The finale consists of 9 lines of lyrics, and "All for the Best" is two characters singing one stanza each on top of each other repeatedly.
  • "Our State Fair" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair has a four-line refrain and no verse, not even an unused one.
  • "I'm Like The Bluebird" from Anyone Can Whistle is a Two Stanza Song. The stanzas are four lines long and nearly identical.
  • The title song of The Pajama Game.
  • "Wintergreen for President" from Of Thee I Sing has two lines of lyrics, not counting repetitions of the title or wordless snatches of other campaign songs:

 He's the man the people choose;

Loves the Irish and the Jews.

Video Games

  • The lyrics to the Beatmania IIDX song "thunder" are composed of two whole sentences (albeit stretched out over eight measures each), both of which are identical save for two words, and are repeated twice in the 2 1/4-minute game version and even more in the extended 5:43 version:

 I'm drifting through the mists of love to find out where my heart belongs

I'm drifting through the mists of love to find the place my heart belongs

 Here's to you, Nicola and Bart

Rest forever here in our hearts

The last and final moment is yours

That agony is your triumph

Web Original

  • "A Bug Fell In Love With A Cat" by Songs to Wear Pants To. In fact the title is the lyrics in their entirety. There's also "Don't Feel Bad", where the lyrics consist of the single line "Don't feel bad, it's better than being shot in the face".

Western Animation

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