Limited Lyrics Song

A song with 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. Can overlap with Epic Rocking, since really 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.


Examples:

  • Daft Punk seems to like this trope quite a bit.
    • Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger from Discovery (Not all of the lyrics are sung in each verse.)
    Work it harder, Make it better
    Do it faster, Makes us stronger
    More than ever, Hour after hour
    Work is never over
    • 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.
    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!
  • The Beatles also seem to love this trope.
    • "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" from Abbey Road clocks in at 7:47, but just repeats the two lines:
    I want you, I want you so bad, it's driving me mad, it's driving me mad
    • and
    She's so heavy
    Why don't we do it in the road? (4x)
    No one will be watching us
    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 stay
    Why don't you ask him if he's going away
    Why don't you tell me what's going on
    Why don't you tell me who's on the phone
    Why don't you ask him what's going on
    Why don't you ask him who's the latest on his throne
    Don't say that you love me
    Just 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 same
    The notes go flying off in the air
    And don't you believe it's true,
    The music is all for you
    It's really all we've got to share
    Cause rocking and rolling,
    ''It's only howling at the Moon.
    ''It's only howling at the Moon.
  • The Prodigy: Poison
    I got the poison
    I got the remedy
    I 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 no
    Ain't never gonna do it without the fez on, oh no
    That's what I am, please understand
    I wanna be your holy man
  • This is the song that never ends
    It just goes on and on my friends
    Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was
    And 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 here
    Everyone is so near/has got the fear
    It's holding on
    It'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 do
    One doubt
    One voice
    One war
    One truth
    One dream
  • "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" from Three Little Pigs:
    Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
    Big Bad Wolf
    Big Bad Wolf
    Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
    [flute solo]
  • Cry (Just A Little) by Bingo Players
    I know
    Caught up in the middle
    I cry, just a little
    When I think of letting go
    Oh no
    Gave up on the riddle
    I cry, just a little
    When I think of letting go
    I know
    I
  • This is Mr.Weebl's schtick for the vast majority of his songs.
    • "Badgers" is a pretty famous example:
    Badger Badger Badger (repeat)
    Mushroom Mushroom
    Aaaah a snake! Snake a snake! Ooooh it's a snake!
  • 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.
  • Technotronic gave us "Pump Up The Jam," comprised solely of "Pump it up / Pump up the jam."
  • 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 N Mah N " from the Italian film ''Sweden: Hell And Heaven."
  • Pink Floyd has given us several.
    • 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.
    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 6-9 clocks in at nearly 12:30 and only has just over a minute of lyrics.
    Nobody knows where you are,
    How near or how far.
    Shine on you crazy diamond.
    Pile on many more layers
    And I'll be joining you there.
    Shine on you crazy diamond.
    And we'll bask in the shadow
    Of 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!
    • For certain definitions of the word "Lyrics", we have One Of These Days.
    One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces.
  • 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 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
  • Yes has a few:
    • "We Have Heaven"—two lines repeated over and over in a sort of round:
    Tell the moon dog, tell the March hare
    We have heaven
    • ...Joined by these lines about halfway through:
    He is clear
    Now look around
    • "The Fish" (if taken separate, although it is often twinned with "Long Distance Runaround"), repeats the line "Schindleria Praematurus".
    • "White Car":
    I see a man in a white car
    Move like a ghost on the skyline
    Take all your dreams
    And you drive them away
    Man in a 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 time
    Give the people what they need when they need and they need it, yours and mine note 
    • And:
    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.
    • 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.
    I got my mind set on you (x4)
    But it's gonna take money
    A whole lotta spending money
    It's gonna take plenty of money
    To do it right, child
    It's gonna take time
    A whole lotta precious time
    It's gonna take patience and time
    To do it, To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it right, child
    Bridge:
    And this time I know it's for real
    The feelings that I feel
    I know if I put my mind to it
    I know that I really could do it

  • Nirvana's "School" from Bleach consists only of the repeated lines:
    Won't you believe it? It's just my luck
    No recess
    You'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 money
    I got the soul
    Can't be bought
    Can'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 soul
    I've got love making me whole
    Since you opened up your heart
    And 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 ruins
    and 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 shadows
    All 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 sky
    Sleeping village, cockerels cry
    Soft breeze blowing in the trees
    Peace 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 fly
    Lay them waste for your race
  • "Rose Rouge" from Tourist by St Germain.
    I want you to get together
    Put your hnds together one time
    I 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 down
    I viewed the morning, with much alarm, the British Museum, had lost its charm
    How long I wondered, could this thing last, but the age of miracles, it hadn't past
    And suddenly, I saw you standing right there
    And 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 love
    Sometimes 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.