Limited Lyrics Song
A subtrope of Epic Rocking and routinely paired with Epic Instrumental Opener. These songs have a short list of lyrics. Maybe there's only a few lines in a much longer song. Maybe the vocalist sings the lyrics repeatedly. Often overlaps with Title Only Chorus. Has been known to overlap with Broken Record. Can result in Chorus-Only Song as these wind up feeling like a Limited Lyrics Song. Especially long songs can fall into this if the lyrics are sufficiently limited. The lyrics don't even need to be bunched up in a small space in the song. To qualify for this trope, the song must be more that 2 minutes long. Exceptionally short songs (under 2 minutes long) rarely qualify since there isn't enough time for a great many lyrics to begin with.
- Daft Punk seems to like this trope quite a bit.
Work it harder, Make it betterDo it faster, Makes us strongerMore than ever, Hour after hourWork is never over
- Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger from Discovery (Not all of the lyrics are sung in each verse.)
I know you don't get a chance to take a break this often.I know your life is speeding, and it isn't stopping.Here, take my shirt and just go ahead and wipe off all the sweat. Sweat. SWEAT.LOSE YOURSELF TO DANCE!LOSE YOURSELF TO DANCE!LOSE YOURSELF TO DANCE!LOSE YOURSELF TO DANCE!
- Lose Yourself to Dance repeats the same verse about 4 times over the course of the 6 minute song. Pharrell Williams is singing the lyrics, but Daft Punk does add some extra lines later into the song.
- The Beatles also seem to love this trope.
I want you, I want you so bad, it's driving me mad, it's driving me mad
- "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" from Abbey Road clocks in at 7:47, but just repeats the two lines:
She's so heavy
Why don't we do it in the road? (4x)No one will be watching usWhy don't we do it in the road?
- Also from The White Album, "Why Don't We Do It In the Road":
- "Wild Honey Pie" repeats the line "honey pie" over and over, with the line "I love you" at the end. (Not to be confused with a separate song on another side of the double album called "Honey Pie", which is done in a totally different style, with the "normal" amount of lyrics.)
- "Tusk" by Fleetwood Mac is also fairly minimalist lyrics-wise:
Why don't you ask him if he's going to stayWhy don't you ask him if he's going awayWhy don't you tell me what's going onWhy don't you tell me who's on the phoneWhy don't you ask him what's going onWhy don't you ask him who's the latest on his throneDon't say that you love meJust tell me that you want me''Tusk
- "Magnum Opus" from Kansas is over 8 minutes, with just this one verse surrounded by instrumental work:
This foolish game, is still the sameThe notes go flying off in the airAnd don't you believe it's true,The music is all for youIt's really all we've got to shareCause rocking and rolling,''It's only howling at the Moon.''It's only howling at the Moon.
- The Prodigy: Poison
I got the poisonI got the remedyI got the pulsating rhythmical remedy
- Repeat over and over and over and over and over and over again throughout the pulsating rhythmical melody.
- "The Fez" by Steely Dan repeats these four lines three times, with only minor syntax variations in the first two lines each time:
No I'm never gonna do it without the fez on, oh noAin't never gonna do it without the fez on, oh noThat's what I am, please understandI wanna be your holy man
- This is the song that never ends
It just goes on and on my friendsSome people started singing it, not knowing what it wasAnd they'll continue singing it forever just because(repeat)
- "The National Anthem" by Radiohead from Kid A is a fairly epic and vocally intense song. However, its only lyrics used are:
Everyone, everyone around hereEveryone is so near/has got the fearIt's holding onIt's holding on
- Radiohead used this trope a lot during their early 2000s electronica period. "Everything in Its Right Place" from Kid A has only a few lines of lyrics despite being about five minutes long, and one verse is nothing but the same line repeated four times. Also, "Pyramid Song" from Amnesiac has only one verse, which is repeated twice to stretch it out.
- "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)" by Peter Gabriel:
''We do what we're told (3x)Told to doOne doubtOne voiceOne warOne truthOne dream
- "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" from Three Little Pigs:
Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?Big Bad WolfBig Bad WolfWho's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?[flute solo]
- Cry (Just A Little) by Bingo Players
I knowCaught up in the middleI cry, just a littleWhen I think of letting goOh noGave up on the riddleI cry, just a littleWhen I think of letting goI knowI
- This is Mr.Weebl's schtick for the vast majority of his songs.
Badger Badger Badger (repeat)Mushroom MushroomAaaah a snake! Snake a snake! Ooooh it's a snake!
- "Badgers" is a pretty famous example:
- The theme "song" for the original Batman TV series consisted of nothing but the word "Batman", repeated ad nauseum, with a few nonsense words just before the last "Batman".
na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, Batman
- The Iron Butterfly song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is upwards of 17 minutes long, yet only has a few lyrics, most of which being the Refrain.
- British children's nursery rhymes are generally Ironic Nursery Rhymes, including "London's Burning" which is, on repeat:
London's Burning, London's Burning,Fetch the engines, Fetch the engines!FIRE, FIRE! FIRE, FIRE!Pour on water, pour on water,London's burning, London's burning...
- With "London's burning" becoming sung more solemn each time until you fade out dramatically.
- The song that'll get on your nerves:
I know a song that'll get on your nerves, get on your nerves, get on your nerves,I know a song that'll get on your nerves, and this is how it goes
- (repeat relentlessly until someone loses it)
- The Solids' How I Met Your Mother theme is a full song of "ba-ba-ba-ba-baa-duu-da-du-du-duu-da-duu-da-duudaduudaduuda-da-da-da".
- The 90s Spider-Man: The Animated Series remixed the classic Spider-Man theme. The end result was a song with a guitar solo and the words "Spider-Man", "Radio Active Spider-Man" and "Radio Active Blood" randomly spliced in at different intervals.
- Thunderhorse from Dethklok. The only words to appear in it, besides thunder, horse, and the two together, are ride and revenge.
- Van McCoy's disco song "The Hustle", the only line being "Do the hustle!"
- The Champs' song "Tequila", with the only lyric being the title.
- The Average White Band's "Pick Up the Pieces", with the only lyrics being the title.
- Kraftwerk is also known for limited lyrics. "I am the operator / Of my pocket calculator."
- No dictionary words at all in the ditty "Mah NÃ Mah NÃ " from the Italian film ''Sweden: Hell And Heaven."
- Pink Floyd has given us several.
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.Shine on you crazy diamond.Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.Shine on you crazy diamond.You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,blown on the steel breeze.Come on you target for faraway laughter,come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.Shine on you crazy diamond.Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.Shine on you crazy diamond.Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,rode on the steel breeze.Come on you raver, you seer of visions,come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!
- Shine on You Crazy Diamond Part 1-5 from Wish You Were Here has less than 3 minutes containing lyrics in a song over 13 minutes long.
Nobody knows where you are,How near or how far.Shine on you crazy diamond.Pile on many more layersAnd I'll be joining you there.Shine on you crazy diamond.And we'll bask in the shadowOf yesterday's triumph,And sail on the steel breeze.Come on you boy child,You winner and loser,Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine!
- Shine on You Crazy Diamond Part 6-9 clocks in at nearly 12:30 and only has just over a minute of lyrics.
One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces.
- For certain definitions of the word "Lyrics", we have One Of These Days.
- Iron Maiden's "Another Life"
As I lay here lying on my bed,sweet voices come into my head.Oh what it is, I wanna know,please won't you tell me it's got to go.There's a feeling that's inside me,telling me to get away.But I'm so tired of living,I might as well end today.
- "Colour My World" by Chicago:
As time goes on, I realizeJust what you mean to meAnd now, now that you're nearPromise your loveThat I've waited to shareAnd dreams of our moments togetherColour my world with hope of loving you
- Yes has a few:
Tell the moon dog, tell the March hareWe have heaven
- "We Have Heaven"—two lines repeated over and over in a sort of round:
He is clearNow look around
- ...Joined by these lines about halfway through:
I see a man in a white carMove like a ghost on the skylineTake all your dreamsAnd you drive them awayMan in a white car.
- "The Fish" (if taken separate, although it is often twinned with "Long Distance Runaround"), repeats the line "Schindleria Praematurus".
- "White Car":
- Parliament has plenty. For starters, the song "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication" from Mothership Connection only has the lyrics:
Give the people what they want when they want and they wants it all the timeGive the people what they need when they need and they need it, yours and mine note
Throwdown, make me do the throwdown
- The only other words besides that are Star Child saying "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication. In other words, I can do the bump." throughout the song.
- "Light & Dark" in mind.in.a.box's debut album has two lines of repeating lyrics, unlike most of their later songs.
I feel sad, so left alone. words are not enough, for me to live on.
- Madness did this several times in the early career. In particular on One Step Beyond
- "One Step Beyond" has only a lengthy spoken-word speech with no music at the beginning, and then intermittent shouts of the title.
- "Night Boat To Cairo" from has one verse in the middle of the song; the rest is basically instrumental apart from random interjections of the the title and "all aboard!".
- Parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic with "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long", even though it actually isn't an example. The chorus is "This song's just six words long.", while the verses are Al singing about how writing more words is hard.
I got my mind set on you (x4)But it's gonna take moneyA whole lotta spending moneyIt's gonna take plenty of moneyTo do it right, childIt's gonna take timeA whole lotta precious timeIt's gonna take patience and timeTo do it, To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it right, childBridge:And this time I know it's for realThe feelings that I feelI know if I put my mind to itI know that I really could do it
- The song it parodies, "Got My Mind Set On You" (an old 1950s rockabilly song written by Rudy Clark and originally sung by James Ray; Covered Up by George Harrison in 1987) is something of an example, too.
- Nirvana's "School" from Bleach consists only of the repeated lines:
Won't you believe it? It's just my luckNo recessYou're in high school again
- Primal Scream's "Kill All Hippies" has only sampled film dialogue, and towards the end a repeated chant of:
You got the moneyI got the soulCan't be boughtCan't be owned
- John McLaughlin's "Abbaji", featured on Floating Point and The Boston Record, only features the phrases "Love and understanding" and "Love is understanding".
- Shined On Me by The Praisecats consists of just these lines:
I've got peace deep in my soulI've got love making me wholeSince you opened up your heartAnd shined on me.
- "Autocrat" by For Against consists only of the repeated line "Yeah, that's right, that's the way it is."
- Agalloch's 19-minute "Our Fortress is Burning" suite consists of one vocal passage in the middle that lasts less than 2 minutes.
The god of man is a failure.Our fortress is burning against the grain of the shattered sky.Charred birds escape from the ruinsand return as cascading blood.Dying bloodbirds pooling, feeding the flood.The god of man is a failure.And all of our shadows ,all of our shadowsAll of our shadows are ashes against the grain.
- Black Sabbath has "Sleeping Village" which consists of a short verse, followed by a lengthy instrumental section.
Red sun rising in the skySleeping village, cockerels crySoft breeze blowing in the treesPeace of mind, feel at ease
- Porcupine Tree has had quite a few of these, but special note should be taken to ".3" which consists of two lines repeated four times.
Black the sky, weapons flyLay them waste for your race
- "Rose Rouge" from Tourist by St Germain.
I want you to get togetherPut your hààààààààààààààànds together one timeI want you to get together
- "A Foggy Day" by George Gershwin, covered by Frank Sinatra on Songs For Young Lovers.
A foggy day, in London town, it had me low, and it had me downI viewed the morning, with much alarm, the British Museum, had lost its charmHow long I wondered, could this thing last, but the age of miracles, it hadn't pastAnd suddenly, I saw you standing right thereAnd in foggy London town, the sun was shining everywhere
- "Like Someone In Love", covered by Frank Sinatra on Songs For Young Lovers.
Lately, I find myself gazing at stars, hearing guitars like someone in loveSometimes the things I do astound me, mostly whenever you're around me.Lately I seem to walk as though I had wings, bump into things like someone in love.Each time I look at you, I'm limp as a glove, and feeling like someone in love
- Nearly every song by Isis. They're an unusual example of this trope in that most of their songs are also Epic Rocking, meaning that their songs are mostly instrumental.
- Sigur Ros took this Up to Eleven with their album ( ), where every single song has the same Singing Simlish lyrics, repeated in several different ways: You xylo. You xylo no fi lo. You So.