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Single Stanza Song
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:

Alternative Rock
  • Aside from the rap break in the middle, Dirty Harry by Gorillaz has only a single, six-line verse.
    I need a gun to keep myself from harm
    The poor people are burning in the sun
    They ain't got a chance
    They ain't got a chance
    I need a gun 'cause all I do is dance
    'Cause all I do is dance
  • 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.
  • Nine Inch Nails has two on The Downward Spiral: "Big Man With A Gun" and the Title Track.
  • 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 Hsker D 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.
  • "Tender Lumplings" on Oingo Boingo's final studio album:
    O listen, tender lumplings, let me take your little hands
    I'll lead you from this hell-hole to the promised land
    But don't blame me, O children, if those promises don't keep
    'Cuz promises, like lives, can be bought so very cheap
  • Feeder have two: "20th Century Trip" from Polythene (1997) and the inter-track "Space" from Silent Cry (2008):
    Fading like someone who's given up on life
    You've gotta know, know how that feels
    People will always change, never stay the same
    We've got to believe, we've got to believe
  • "Woods" by Bon Iver is the same four lines repeated with increasing levels of orchestration.
    I'm lost in the woods
    I'm down on my mind
    I'm building a still
    To slow down time

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.
  • Yoko Ono's "Don't Worry, Yoko (Mummy's Only Looking For A Hand In The Snow)" is just "Don't worry" repeated over and over.

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."

Classical
  • Every movement of J.S. Bach's Mass in B Minor is a Single Stanza Song because each movement is taken from a section of the Lutheran Mass. Such sections are made up of short phrases, such as "Kyrie eleison" (Lord have mercy).

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.
  • Sandra Boynton, children's writer, created "The Shortest Song in the Universe".
    The shortest song in the universe
    Really isn't much fun

    It only has one puny verse
    ... and then it's done!
  • "This Song Is Boring" by Darryl Rhoades and the Hahavishnu Orchestra.

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" is almost an example, as it consists of the same verse twice, but 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 cover plays it straight, since it adds that line both times.

Dance
  • "Don't Let the Man" by Fatboy Slim:
    ...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 now, 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.

Disco
  • The Silver Convention had songs that had only six different words:
    • "Fly Robin Fly":
      Fly, robin, fly
      Fly, robin, fly
      Fly, robin, fly
      Up, up to the sky!
    • "Get Up And Boogie":
      That's right!
      Get up and boogie!
      Get up and boogie!
      (instrumental line)
      (more instrumental, then) That's right!

      (instrumental, then) Boogie!
      (instrumental, then) Boogie!
      (two more instrumental lines and then) That's right!
      (etc. etc. etc.)

Electronic / Techno
  • "Smack My Bitch Up" consists of the eponymous lyrics over the same short techno loop about a zillion times.
    • "Breathe" just has the one verse as well.
  • "Poor Leno" eno by Ryksopp contains only a few repeated lines sung by Erlend ye, 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
  • "Old Piano" by Frou Frou:
    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...
  • "Five Ways To Run" by The Crystalline Effect:
    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

Funk
  • Parliament had some songs like this. For example, "Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication" only has two lines:
    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 the need is yours and mine

    Throwdown
    Make me do the throwdown
    • Sometimes this would overlap with Spoken Word In Music; songs would only have a chorus, but someone would be speaking between each chorus.

Grindcore

Grunge
  • "Stain" by Nirvana:
    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
    • As well as "School."
      Verse: Won't you believe it, It's just my luck
      Chorus: No recess
      Bridge: You're in high school again
      Repeat as necessary

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.

Hip Hop
  • On Eric B. and Rakim's breakthrough hit "Paid in Full" Rak's rap is a single 24-line stanza with no chorus or break.
  • Lindsey Stirling's "Stars Align" is mostly instrumental, but has some vocals in the form of da-ing followed by "when the stars align". This is repeated a couple times without changes.
  • "You A Stupid Hoe" by Nicki Minaj. This is all she says, ad nauseum.

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 Taiz 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.
  • The Israeli national anthem is actually just a single sentence, even though it runs about the typical length for an anthem.

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".
  • The title of The Police song "Voices Inside my Head" already forms half of the entire lyrics, the other half being "...echo things that you said."

Pop
  • Herman's Hermits' "I'm Henry the Eighth I Am" - also a Looped Lyrics song.
    Second verse, same as the first!

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
  • The Ramones:
    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!
    • "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
    • "I Wanna Be Sedated":
      Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go I wanna be sedated
      Nothin' to do and no where to go-o-oh I wanna be sedated
      Just get me to the airport put me on a plane
      Hurry hurry hurry before I go insane
      I can't control my fingers I can't control my brain
      Oh no no no no no
  • 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.
  • Rocket From The Tombs' "Frustration" takes this to the extreme - the only lyric in the song is David Thomas yowling the title a few times.

Rock
  • "Summer's Day Song" from McCartney II.
  • The Beatles:
    • "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" consists of the same six-line verse sung three times. All six lines are simply the song's title except for the fifth line, which is "No one will be watching us."
    • "Can You Take Me Back", the hidden song that immediately proceeds "Revolution 9" on the White Album.
    • "Wild Honey Pie" from the White Album:
      Honey Pie!
      Honey Pie!

      Honey Pie!
      Honey Pie!

      Honey Pie!
      Honey Pie!
      Honey Pie!
      Honey Pie!
      I love you!
      Honey Pie!
    • "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" uses three different arrangements using the vocals then follows with a jazzy piano arrangement with the sounds of harmuphing and coughing.
    • "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" from Abbey Road has a single verse ("I want you / I want you so bad / I want you so bad it's driving me mad, it's driving me mad", repeat) played three times (the second time as an instrumental) alternating with the chorus, which consists solely of the words "She's so heavy".
    • The Abbey Road closer "Her Majesty" consists of a single verse and only lasts 23 seconds.
      Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl but she doesn't have a lot to say
      Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl but she changes from day to day
      I wanna tell her that I love her a lot, but I gotta get a belly full of wine
      Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl, some day I'm gonna make her mine, oh yeah
      Some day I'm gonna make her mine
  • 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.
    • "Lightning Frightening", an outtake from 1971, is another example. One line repeated twice, chorus, lengthy instrumental part, repeat.
  • "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).
  • Peter Gabriel recorded several single stanza songs over his solo career.
    • The entirety of the lyrics of "Fourteen Black Paintings" from Us 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.
    • "Lead A Normal Life", from his third Self-Titled Album, is a single verse's worth of lyrics sandwiched between a lengthy instrumental intro and outro:
      It's nice here with a view of the trees
      Eating with a spoon?
      They don't give you knives?
      'Spect you watch those trees
      Blowing in the breeze
      We want to see you lead a normal life
    • "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)", from So:
      We do what we're told
      We do what we're told
      We do what we're told,
      Told to do.
      We do what we're told
      We do what we're told
      We do what we're told,
      Told to do.
      One doubt
      One voice
      One war
      One truth
      One dream
  • 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 the following verse, looped for thirty seconds:
    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
  • 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.
  • Billy Joel's "Souvenir" is one stanza with a short piano motif on either end.

Rock and Roll
  • "Naked, If I Want To" by Moby Grape. Four 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.
  • The Rock-a-Teens "Woo Hoo", famously covered by Japanese all-girl band The 5.6.7.8's in Kill Bill Volume 1. It goes only "woo-hoo, woo-hoo-hoo" over and over and over.

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. 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 mo do bolso e enfiava a mo 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:

Film
  • The song "I Am Sad, So Very, Very Sad" by Crash and the Boys in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World consists of only the words "Soooooo sad!". The song only lasts about five seconds. In the graphic novels, it's said to last less than one.

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
  • The credits song for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has only one verse and one chorus.
  • "Here's To You" from Sacco e Vanzetti and Metal Gear Solid 4.
    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".
  • "Red Like Roses", the Red theme from RWBY has just one verse; the rest is instrumental.
    Red like roses fills my dreams and brings me to the place you rest
    White is cold and always yearning, burdened by a royal test
    Black the beast descends from shadows
    Yellow beauty burns gold

Western Animation
  • The credits theme to The Raccoons, "Run with Us", was this at first, but was later turned into a full-length song.
  • Many, if not all of Jem and the Holograms' songs (and the ones by The Misfits, and The Stingers for that matter).
  • The first song at the beginning of The Rescuers, "The Journey", is mostly instrumental but with one stanza.
    Who will rescue me?
    I'm lost at sea without a friend.
    This journey, will it ever end?
    Who will rescue me?


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