“It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, mathematics, and physics.” – Ernest Hemingway, 1945
Sam Cooke knew it. Chuck Berry knew it. Elvis and the Beatles and Britney Spears know it well. Pop songs should be 3 minutes long. TOPS. If you start flirting with 4 minutes then you’re doing something wrong. Check out this post to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
Blame it on human attention span, nature, or convenience… the fact remains that there’s something magical in the concise. You’re able to devote so much time and energy into appreciating it because you know you don’t have to sustain that type of attention for very long. This leads to an appreciation unlike any other. Your attention isn’t simply sustained, it’s condensed. It’s more potent. Some people dismiss this as a sign of sub-par work, the same way short novels are derided. Those people are wrong.
Symphonies? bah, they’re more like movies anyway. Their characters are human emotions and their setting is the human mind. Sound tells an elaborate tale, however abstract it may be. Jazz? It’s appeal comes from improvisation–the moment-to-moment creative spontenaity, but moments themselves are even concise! Besides, pop music occupies a niche in everyone’s heart that is as illogical as it is undeniable, and this notion is based on pop songs.
My favorite writer is Ernest Hemingway, my favorite singer is Sam Cooke, and my favorite president was Lincoln. I think I’m beginning to know why.