Bringing The World Home To You

© 2024 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

When a Verse and a Chorus Are Just Right

Most pop-rock songs adhere to a basic structure — something along the lines of verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus — but a lot of that is just window-dressing and throat-clearing and whatever else it takes to milk a hook for three full minutes. Lord knows it's not a bad formula, and plenty of repetitive pop songs deserve to be longer, not shorter. But there's also a lot to be said for a track that gets in and gets out with no repetition at all.

The Faintest Ideas' charming "You're Beautiful" (not to be confused with the James Blunt song of the same name) barely bothers to exceed a full minute: Its 67 seconds barely dent the listener's psyche before they're over. But they're 67 glorious seconds, complete with 45 seconds of shambling and scene-setting — "I talked to your mother at the grocery store the other day / She seemed okay but didn't have much to say" — that give way to a simple chorus, which in turn dispenses a bit of affirmation before disappearing.

The Swedish band — until recently known as The Javelins, not that that rings a bell, either — isn't one for wasting a lot of time: Last year's What Goes Up Must Calm Down stuffs 15 songs into roughly 28 minutes. But the group's speedball sweetness makes The Faintest Ideas virtually irresistible, as it expends every bit of energy it has on being worth every second.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
More Stories