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Various Artists: Fat Wreck Chords Presents Short Music For Short People

Album: Fat Wreck Chords Presents Short Music For Short People
Label: Fat Wreck Chords

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Since punk rock is the very embodiment of "loud fast rules," it makes sense that the genre's youthful energy and snotty attitude often results in some pretty short songs. With only rudimentary instrumentation and a generally simplistic us-against-them worldview, it's predictable that the average punk act won't take too long to spit out its little bit of hyper-charged vitriol. Heck, many of the current crop of pop-punk bands can barely muster a few seconds of creativity before falling back on the usual crutches: boring chords, weak lyrics, whiny/snarling vocals. That's why the new Short Music For Short People, a collection of 30-second songs performed by a whopping 101 bands, serves as both a nice punk sampler and a sad document of the current state of affairs. With only tiny slivers of time allotted to each band, very few of the participants—which include Less Than Jake, The Living End, The Mr. T Experience, Gwar, Samiam, NoMeansNo, Rancid, Avail, Lunachicks, Pennywise, and many, many more—make anything interesting of their tiny sound bite. Such big names as Bad Religion, The Offspring, and Green Day sound simply like shorter versions of their (not much) longer selves, while the vast majority melt into once big lump of expletives and amplification. Still, several tracks do stick out. The harmonies of ska fave Dance Hall Crashers' "Triple Track" enliven the song-about-a-30-second song, while Spazz virtually ejaculates a quick assault on its compilation mates with "A Prayer For The Complete & Utter Eradication Of All Generic Pop-Punk." There's some punk history here, too, thanks to the presence of several stalwarts: Descendents, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Misfits, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, The Queers, The Damned, Dwarves, ALL, and D.O.A. all have tracks included, though the absence of the perfectly suited Minutemen makes the lack of diversity that much more apparent. It's doubtful that anyone would want to wade through 50 bands to get to a nugget like Groovie Ghoulies' "Doin' Fine," so it's best to hold onto the track listing like it's Dante's map out of hell.