We reviewed all 101 songs on ‘Short Music For Short People’ for its 21st birthday
Lots of eras and genres have their own memorable record label compilations, but ’90s/early ’00s punk is an era/genre that feels especially inseparable from label comps. It was the 80-minute CD era, and punk songs were usually short, so for like three or four bucks, you could get exposed to about 20 new bands (or new songs by bands you already loved) at once, which was kind of a big deal in the era where music downloading was still in its early stages. And there were so many good ones: Epitaph's Punk-O-Rama series, Fat Wreck Chords' Fat Music series, Hopeless Records' Hopelessly Devoted To You and Cinema Beer series, Kung Fu Records’ Punk Rock is Your Friend series, SideOneDummy's Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge-curated Atticus: ...Dragging the Lake series, the little samplers that came with Victory Records albums, and countless others. And, playing off the title of their inaugural Fat Music for Fat People comp (itself a reference to Go! Records' 1982 comp Rat Music for Rat People), Fat Wreck Chords released Short Music for Short People on June 1, 1999. Punk songs may have been short to begin with, but as the title implied, these were even shorter than usual. Each song clocked in around 30 seconds (some were even shorter than that), and it featured music by one hundred and one bands. Some of the songs existed already, but most of them were written just for this comp. The whole thing is obviously a little tongue in cheek, but it's also kind of amazing. Some of these bands proved you really could write a great punk song that clocked in at 30 seconds, and even if you wouldn't choose to throw on Short Music for Short People all the time, it served as a who's who of punk rock, from first-wave '70s bands to '80s hardcore bands to '90s skate punk bands, from underground faves to megastars. If you were one of the 101 bands with a song on Short Music for Short People, you were almost definitely worth knowing about, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who believes this comp did wonders for punk rock.
Short Music is about to celebrate its 21st birthday (who's buying it its first drink?) and since we're all stuck at home with nothing better to do, I thought: why not review all 101 songs on Short Music For Short People to celebrate its 21st anniversary? It's probably a ridiculous idea, but it wouldn't be right to celebrate the anniversary of this ridiculous compilation with an idea that wasn't ridiculous, would it?
Read on for my 101 song reviews, and listen to the comp as you go (it’s not on Spotify, but I’ve embedded the album from YouTube below). It may have 101 songs, but it only takes 50 minutes to hear the whole thing.
And, credit to a YouTube commenter for this one, but: these all also make good COVID-19 handwashing songs.
1. Fizzy Bangers - "Short Attention Span"
What better song to kick off this compilation than one actually called "Short Attention Span"? This one's just eight seconds, and it came from LA skate punks Fizzy Bangers. Also a fitting name!
2. Less Than Jake - "Anchor"
I've written before about how Less Than Jake's ska-punk was really as hooky and driving as anything by NOFX or blink-182 -- making them a band of choice for ska-curious punk fans -- and "Anchor" is as good an example of that as any of the band's longer songs. They basically cut out intros, interludes, bridges, and any other possible fat (no pun intended), and managed to squeeze a well thought-out song into their 30 second window. It's got a big chorus, triumphant horns - the works.
3. Teen Idols - "Ketchup Soup"
Nashville pop punks Teen Idols (not to be confused with Ian MacKaye's pre-Minor Threat band The Teen Idles) leaned into the silliness of the comp with a power pop-tinged ode to ketchup soup. As a literary scholar, it is my opinion that "who needs a meal when we got ketchup soup?" is a metaphor for "who needs a three-minute song when we got a 30-second one?" but your mileage may vary.
4. Terrorgruppe - "All Comic Heroes Are Fascist Pigs (A.C.A.B.)"
I am not sure exactly why Berlin punks Terrorgruppe are comparing Mickey Mouse and Superman to all cops being bastards, but these basslines are pretty rad.
5. Good Riddance - "Overcoming Learned Behavior"
Some of these songs are super on the tongue-in-cheek side, but Good Riddance stuck to their dead-serious, in-your-face melodic hardcore guns, and this song rips as hard as this band ever does. If you were using this comp to get a taste of what to expect from these 101 bands, Good Riddance's contribution would do that job perfectly.
6. Chixdiggit - "Quit Your Job"
Calgary's Chixdiggit made sugary retro pop punk that owed a lot of debt to the Ramones, and this fun song offers up some grin-inducing advice of what to do after you quit your job: "Whatever you do, don't start a band."
7. The Living End - "Ready"
Some of the bands on this comp cut right to the chase with an all-vocals, no-riffs approach, but Australian psychobilly vets The Living End (who, memorably, have a stand-up bass player) took the opportunity to show off their chops as shredders, really earning the "psycho-" prefix.
8. Bad Religion - "Out of Hand"
"Life is way too short," Greg Graffin sings, but this song isn't! Bad Religion stretch their window to 39 seconds, but those greedy bastards earn it because this song really has all the ingredients of a great Bad Religion song: the soaring harmonies, the finger-pointing lyrics, and the perfect mix of loud, fast, driving, and melodic.
9. Hi-Standard - "Asian Pride"
Skate-punk is not all from California and Florida, as proven by bands like Japan's great Hi-Standard, whose "Asian Pride" is a genuinely iconic song. Like a lot of great punk songs, this one's a little tongue-in-cheek but it's also making a point. It takes a stand against racist Asian stereotypes, and it's a real fist-raising anthem too.
10. Aerobitch - "Steamroller Blues"
Moving from Japan to Spain. Spanish hardcore band Aerobitch didn't fuck around, so it's no surprise their contribution to Short Music for Short People didn't either. This song is dark, coarse, and totally intense.
11. Nerf Herder - "Doin' Laundry"
It's been a while since we heard a silly one! This song is not actually about doing laundry, it's about, uh, what you might do alone in your room with a certain article of your laundry: a sock. Not outside of the realm of what you might expect from a self-described "geek rock" band.
12. Bigwig - "Freegan"
This is one of the few songs on the comp that was also released on the band's own album (Stay Asleep, which came out a few months earlier), so it's no surprise that this is one of the more "complete" sounding ones... it even finds time for a guitar solo! Good stuff, but maybe not recommended listening for animal lovers.
13. Undeclinable Ambuscade - "Not Again"
Not only do these Epitaph-signed Dutch punks manage to pull off a catchy song in 30 seconds, they do it with just one line.
14. Fury 66 - "Waste Away"
Fury 66 counted Good Riddance frontman Russ Rankin as their guitarist, so it's probably no surprise that these guys took a totally serious approach to their contribution too. Good Riddance are inspired by '80s hardcore, but Fury 66 did a total revival of it, and sometimes 30 seconds is all you need when your music is this whiplash-inducing in the first place.
15. The Ataris - "The Radio Still Sucks"
This song eventually also ended up on a split with The Ataris' pals Useless I.D., so it's a little more iconic than some of the other songs on this comp, and deservedly so. "The Radio Still Sucks" is snotty and funny and it reminds you that The Ataris were punk af back in the day.
16. Unwritten Law - "Armageddon Singalong"
Some of the songs on this comp sound like they might've even been written in 30 seconds, but Unwritten Law ended up writing one of their most memorable songs for this. It's hard enough to forget a song that opens with the Bill Hicks quote "By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising... kill yourself," but then UL raise the bar with an earworm as catchy as any of the bigger pop punk hits of the time.
17. AFI - "Hearts Frozen Solid, Thawed Once More by the Spring of Rage, Despair, and Hopelessness"
I actually just wrote about this song in my AFI album guide. With a song title that takes almost as long to say as the song takes to listen to, this is one of the best songs on the comp and one of AFI's best songs in general. It squeezed everything that was good about their late '90s era into one short song: minor-key aggression, great basslines, great whoa-ohs, and a super catchy hook.
18. Dillinger Four - "Farts Are Jazz to Assholes"
Don't let the song title fool you; this song is actually kinda depressing, and it also finds D4 firing on all cylinders. Their brand of poppy but not "pop" punk never gets old, and this song is as much of a rager as their more widely loved classics.
19. Spread - "Surf City"
Spread is another Japanese band, and this song is not a Jan & Dean cover. It is, however, a mile-a-minute ripper.
20. Swingin' Utters - "Back To You"
You'd think for a short songs compilation that bands would lean into their fast punk side, but Swingin' Utters went for a drunken, mid-tempo folk punk singalong, and they pulled it off. The chorus is as joyous as a song like this needs to be, and the song works so well that you almost forget it only lasts for 30 seconds.
21. The Bar Feeders - "Outhouse of Doom"
San Francisco's The Bar Feeders had already released this song on their 1997 album Scotto El Blotto (Dill Records), and since this fast, raw band had a propensity for very short songs anyway, it fit right in with the rest of their stuff.
22. Citizen Fish - "Alienation"
Citizen Fish were usually an anarcho-ska-punk band, but for this short song, they returned to the straight-up punk of their former band Subhumans, and came out with a total ripper in the process. It's no surprise Citizen Fish ended up including this one on Third Psychological Background Report the following year; it holds up very well next to their more "proper" songs.
23. blink-182 - "Family Reunion"
Probably the most well-known song on this comp, joke song "Family Reunion" was already a live staple for blink-182 before Fat Mike encouraged them to make a studio version for Short Music for Short People, and it remains a live staple (and one of the band's most infamous songs) today. In case you haven't heard it, it plays off of George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine (its lyrics are "Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits, fart, turd, and twat," and at the end Mark and Tom harmonize on the line "I fucked your mom"... lovely), and it is obviously one of the most intentionally stupid songs that blink-182 have ever written. Somehow, though, it's kind of beautiful.
24. Goober Patrol - "Mirror, Signal, Wheelspin"
UK punks Goober Patrol have been making punk that's super catchy but still raw and hard-hitting for 30 years, and this enjoyable little nugget is no exception.
25. Killswitch - "Saturday Night"
Not to be confused with the very popular Killswitch Engage, Killswitch were a short-lived California punk band in the late '90s, and one of the very few songs they released was on this compilation. There's not much else in their discography to compare "Saturday Night" to anyway, but just going by this song, these guys were pretty good! Too bad they kinda disappeared.
26. Enemy You - "Bedroom Windows"
Enemy You were one of the most underrated punk bands of the '90s and '00s. They had releases on Fat, Lookout!, Red Scare, Nitro, Panic Button, and more, and they made ripping melodic punk that should've made them a lot bigger. Guitarist Ken Yamazaki went on to play in Western Addiction and Dead To Me, and vocalist David Jones sadly took his own life in 2015, but they left behind a rock-solid discography, including this little song that managed to pack a lot of depth into 24 seconds.
27. No Use For A Name - "Sara Fisher"
One of the major highlights of this comp, "Sara Fisher" really showed off the late Tony Sly's ability to work a singer/songwriter approach into his band's fast skate-punk songs, and this one really resonates as strongly as the band's best-known songs.
28. Green Day - "The Ballad of Wilhelm Fink"
Green Day were in their "mature" phase in the late '90s, so it's no surprise that Billie Joe decided to turn in a solo acoustic song for this comp. Not that that's a bad thing at all; he's always had a way with jangly tunes like this. It’s brief, but this song is good stuff.
29. Consumed - "Delraiser Part III: Del on Earth"
Short-lived UK band Consumed had a darker, heavier, and very British brand of skate punk (most Americans probably know them from "Heavy Metal Winner" being used in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2), and sometimes they were known for opening songs with lengthy (for punk's standards) instrumental intros. They're good riffers, but if you ever needed a more fat-trimmed version of Consumed, there was "Delraiser Part III: Del on Earth."
30. The Mr. T Experience - "Told You Once"
The Mr. T Experience were never the most self-serious band in the first place, so it's no surprise that they kept things playful for this song (which has 27 words, nine of which are some variation of "fuck"), and as dumb as this song is, you kinda have to love it.
31. Lagwagon - "Randal Gets Drunk"
Like his pal Tony Sly, Joey Cape knew how to write skate punk songs with a singer/songwriter mentality, and this short, ska-ish song was no exception. Considering some of the songs on this comp only have like six words, it's impressive how poetic this one is.
32. GWAR - "Fishfuck"
Even GWAR is on this comp! A longer version of "Fishfuck" had actually already come out on We Kill Everything a couple months earlier, but that version has an intro and a guitar solo, and who needs those things?!
33. The Dickies - "Howdy Doody in the Woodshed"
The Dickies had been at it since the late '70s (and still are), and their style of zippy, poppy punk rock was a definite influence on tons of the bands on this comp. So it was nice to get this contribution from them that proved The Dickies could still sound as fresh in 1999 as all the much younger bands they influenced.
34. Samiam - "Long Enough to Forget You"
By 1999, Samiam usually favored a slower, alternative rock/emo fusion, but they revived the bouncing-off-the-walls sugar rush punk of their earliest work for this short song. Cool to see they still had it in 'em.
35. Dogpiss - "Erik Sandin's Stand-In"
Short-lived UK punk band shared members with Snuff and Guns 'n’ Wankers and they were only around for two EPs and one full-length in the late '90s, but they churned out their fair share of rude, snotty punk songs in that time, and this brief one had all the attitude that you need if you're gonna call your band Dogpiss.
36. 59 Times the Pain - "We Want the Kids"
Thanks to Epitaph's relationship with Swedish label Burning Heart Receords, we Americans got exposed to Sweden's flourishing '90s punk scene, including such bands as Refused, The Hives, Millencolin, No Fun At All, and hardcore ragers 59 Times the Pain. These guys were so loud and fast anyway that a mere 20 seconds was all they needed to fit a shoutalong, anthemic chorus, a searing guitar solo, and more into this ripper of a song.
37. Bracket - "Warren's Song Part 8"
One of the most underrated punk bands of the '90s, Bracket had a sound that owed as much to skate punk as it did to late '60s Beach Boys, and this song is a fine example of Bracket's knack for soaring, Brian Wilson-inspired harmonies. The Ramones made early Beach Boys forever an influence on punk rock, but even on this very short song, Bracket's Beach Boys/punk fusion stands apart from the pack.
38. Nomeansno - "No Fgcnuik"
Fat Mike didn't invent the idea of 30-second punk songs when he dreamt up this compilation; classic hardcore bands had been tossing them on albums since the early '80s, and "No Fgcnuik" -- from 1986's Sex Mad -- is one of a few classics repurposed for this compilation. It sounded great in the context of Sex Mad, and it sounds great on this too.
39. Descendents - "I Like Food"
Another classic repurposed for this comp, and I mean... is there anything left to say about these 17 legendary seconds?
40. Dance Hall Crashers - "Triple Track"
One of the most meta songs on the whole comp, set to the ultra-catchy ska-punk you could always rely on DHC to deliver. I'll let the lyrics do the talking:
Got in a fight with Fat Mike when he called and told me
To write a thirty second song for his little CD
Tried to explain that I needed more to go on
But motivation, where is he comin' from?
So I distract with a triple track of "ahhh, ahhh, ahhh"
Get to the end with my good old friend, the "ahhh, ahhh, ahhh"
41. Guttermouth - "Don Camero Lost His Mind"
Guttermouth found out they had to write a 30-second song for this comp, and they thought, "Hey, what if we just spend the whole song pretending to do narration for a commercial for a magic and pet supplies store, over some generic punk music?" Sure Guttermouth, I guess you could do that!
42. Limp - "X-99"
If you've only got half a minute, you may as well get 'em singing and clapping their hands, which is exactly what Limp do on this "na na," "hey!", and handclap-filled song. Cliches are cliches for a reason -- this is catchy stuff.
43. Jughead's Revenge - "Faust"
Jughead's Revenge were always a little darker and grittier than a lot of their peers, and this genuinely great 31-second song is no exception. It's a middle-finger-flipping blend of melodic hardcore and skate punk that rips as hard as just about anything else the band put out in the '90s.
44. Circle Jerks - "Deny Everything"
This is another of the hardcore classics reused for this comp, and like "I Like Food," I don't think "Deny Everything" needs an introduction. It's one of the best songs on Circle Jerks' massively classic debut, and not even the only song on the album of this length. Circle Jerks wrote the book on 30-second punk songs.
45. The Offspring - "Hand Grenades"
The Offspring were a popular major label rock band by 1999, so it was nice to see they could still bang out rippers with the fury, attitude, and sense of humor of their early work like "Hand Grenades." "Let's make hand grenades / Just try one out on your neighbor's car" remains one of the best so-dumb-it's-good lyrics in The Offspring's catalog.
46. Mad Caddies - "Mike Booted Our First Song, So We Recorded This One Instead"
Despite the title, it's not as meta as fellow ska band Dance Hall Crashers' contribution, but it's a catchy dose of horn-fueled, reggae-tinged ska-punk. Three rhythm changes in 28 seconds... not bad!
47. The Criminals - "Union Yes"
Classic Lookout!/924 Gilman band The Criminals (who evolved out of Blatz and whose members later formed The Frisk with AFI bassist Hunter Burgan) made raw, filthy, and political punk not too far removed from their pals Operation Ivy, and this anti-big business song had no trouble leaving its intended impact in 34 seconds. One of the comp's highlights for sure.
48. Screeching Weasel - "Dirty Needles"
Ramones worshippers Screeching Weasel had already included this PSA about the dangers of dirty needles ("you might end up with AIDS or something else") on 1998's Television City Dream, which had not one but four songs that clocked in at under a minute. It's Screeching Weasel doing what Screeching Weasel do best.
49. One Man Army - "300 Miles"
Instead of sticking to fast-paced punk, One Man Army (whose members later played in Dead To Me, Swingin' Utters, and more) channelled Eastern European gypsy music for this 29-second song, which was otherwise delivered with their usual grit. Not exactly Gogol Bordello but kinda cool.
50. Strung Out - "Klawsterfobia"
Strung Out have a way of mixing bratty skate punk with tough-as-nails thrash metal, and this 30-second song really has all of their powers on display: badass riffage, lightning speed, and good hooks/harmonies.
51. Youth Brigade - "You Don't Know Shit"
Back in the early '80s when hardcore was very regional and it was a lot harder to know about bands from across the country than it is now, two notable bands called Youth Brigade formed around the same time, one straight edge band from DC and one very not straight edge band from LA. This is the LA band, and with this 34-second ripper, they set the record straight on which one they are ("We drink, we smoke, we fuck, we fight").
52. Groovie Ghoulies - "Doin' Fine"
Like a lot of punk bands, Lookout! vets Groovie Ghoulies often worshipped at the altar of the Ramones, a band who were masters of less-is-more, bubblegummy punk rock, and the Ghoulies really proved just how much more "less" could be with this super catchy song that has seven words.
53. Tilt - "John for the Working Man"
East Bay punks Tilt are pretty underrated these days. Their 1993, Lookout!-released debut album Play Cell is a classic (and even if you've never heard the album, you might've heard two of its songs on the soundtracks for Angus and Glory Daze) and Cinder Block was (probably still is) a distinct, powerhouse vocalist whose voice really stood out amongst the dozens of samey-sounding punk bands. Even on this 30-second song, her power is undeniable.
54. Spazz - "A Prayer for the Complete and Utter Eradication of All Generic Pop-Punk"
Fat Mike decided to ask powerviolence band Spazz to be on this mostly-pop punk compilation, and Spazz decided to use the opportunity to write a song shit-talking most of pop punk. They showed love for Fat Mike though ("quit trying to be NOFX"), and you gotta love the audacity.
55. The Damned - "It's a Real Time Thing"
Having helped pave the way for literally all of the other hundred bands on this comp, it's kind of amazing that The Damned contributed a song to it. The Damned could've easily written a short, fast punk song like "Stab Yor Back" for this comp, but instead of rehashing their early days, they stuck to the brooding goth/psych path they'd been on since Machine Gun Etiquette, and they managed to pull off that side of them in just 31 seconds.
56. 88 Fingers Louie - "All My Friends Are in Popular Bands"
It's kinda hard to say with a straight face that you like a band called "88 Fingers Louie," but these guys wrote some damn fine melodic punk rippers in their time and this was no exception.
57. D.O.A. - "I Hate Punk Rock"
Somehow it took Vancouver hardcore OGs D.O.A. like 20 years to write a song called "I Hate Punk Rock," but it finally happened for this compilation, and Joey Shithead sounded as filthy as he did in the early '80s.
58. Pulley - "Fun"
If you're gonna write a song for a compilation of 101 30-second punk songs, you can't take yourself too seriously, and skate-punk greats Pulley wrote this very song about just how not-seriously they take themselves. It is indeed fun.
59. The Vandals - "To All the Kids"
For this comp, The Vandals offered up a swaying, retro-rock song that didn't sound like their usual skate-punk but had all of their usual tongue-in-cheekness intact. If you're cracking a smile when you listen, they're doing it right.
60. Pennywise - "30 Seconds Till the End of the World"
If the world was really about to end in 30 seconds, and this was the last thing I heard before it all blew up, I think I'd be okay with that.
61. No Fun At All - "Get A Grip"
The lyrics on this one are unfortunate, but it's a chance to hear these Swedish skate-punk greats try their hand at real-deal hardcore for 27 seconds.
62. Sick Of It All - "Blatty (Human Egg)"
Unlike a lot of their contemporaries, NYHC OGs Sick Of It All never broke up and never went more than a few years without making new music, and even if you sorta always know what to expect, they're still good at it today. This one's not exactly essential SOIA, but it reminds you how much of a beast Lou Koller is on the mic.
63. ALL - "I Got None"
By the late '90s, post-Descendents band ALL co-existed with the Descendents, whose great 1996 comeback album Everything Sucks had actually come out of the same writing sessions as ALL's 1998 album Mass Nerder (there are demo versions of a lot of the Everything Sucks songs with ALL's Chad Price on vocals, and Chad sang backup on Everything Sucks while Milo Aukerman sang backup on Mass Nerder), so it makes sense that the music ALL were putting out in the late '90s would sound cut from a very similar cloth as Everything Sucks and even this 29-second song is no exception. It's got the spastic and off-kilter yet super catchy vibe that Everything Sucks and Mass Nerder have, and it covers more musical ground in 29 seconds than a lot of the others on this disc.
64. NOFX - "See Her Pee"
NOFX are not a band who really change things up much, but when they're on, they're on, and from a purely melodic standpoint, this is actually one of the best songs they ever wrote.
65. 7Seconds - "F.O.F.O.D"
Here's another one that spends the whole 30 second song singing about how they're writing a 30 second song, which was a little unexpected since 7Seconds actually wrote 30 second songs with a message in the early '80s. But whatever - their hooky punk rock still sounds great.
66. Rancid - "Blacklisted"
A year after this compilation came out, Rancid released their great Rancid 2000 album, which is the most straight-up hardcore album in the band's discography and features a couple genuinely great songs around this length. So it's no surprise that this song -- which had to be written around the same time as Rancid 2000 -- is cut from that same real-deal hardcore cloth and is also a genuinely great Rancid song.
67. Diesel Boy - "Chandeliers and Souvenirs"
Santa Rosa’s Diesel Boy don't need more than 29 seconds to accomplish their speedy, catchy punk goals.
68. Adrenalin O.D. - "Your Kung Fu Is Old...and Now You Must Die!!!"
NJ's Adrenalin O.D. were making tongue-in-cheek, whiplash-inducing hardcore since the early '80s -- and for a key early NYHC scene band whose praises have been sung by Stormtroopers of Death, Ted Leo, Jack White, Gibby Haynes, The Bouncing Souls, and more, they still feel kinda underrated -- so they were perfect candidates for a compilation album that didn't take itself too seriously. And as you'd hope for from AOD, this song is silly, but the level at which it rips is no joke.
69. Frenzal Rhomb - "My Pants Keep Falling Down"
Whether your song is 30 seconds or three minutes, including a juvenile hook that you can sing along to after one listen is a surefire way to write a memorable skate-punk song, and all these years later I still get this one stuck in my head as soon as I see the name of the song.
70. The Queers - "I Hate Your Fucking Guts"
You know what you're getting from The Queers -- fun, simple, Ramones/Beach Boys worship -- and a Queers song called "I Hate Your Fucking Guts" was destined to be a good time.
71. D.I. - "Comin' to Your Town"
D.I. came out of the same '80s Orange County punk/hardcore scene as Adolescents and Social Distortion (both of whom they shared members with), and their early material is classic, super influential stuff. Unfortunately, they didn't really capture that magic on this one.
72. Black Flag - "Spray Paint"
One of the most iconic punk songs of all time, the inclusion of the Henry Rollins-led "Spray Paint" was yet another reminder (like the Bill Stevenson penned and drummed "I Like Food" and the Keith Morris-led "Deny Everything") that 30-second songs were part of punk way before this compilation was thought up. Nice to have a piece of history like this included.
73. White Flag - "Rage Against the Machine Are Capitalist Phonies"
White Flag were always ones to be taking the piss (they're called White Flag and members named themselves Jello B. Afro, Mike Mess, and Pat Fear), and obviously a song called "Rage Against the Machine Are Capitalist Phonies" is no exception. If the track’s title alone doesn't bring a smile to your face, the feel-good song will.
74. Anti-Flag - "Bring It To An End"
"We've got just 30 seconds to sing to you about nationalism, fascism, corporate greed, hate, nazis and the president" is OBVIOUSLY how Anti-Flag were going to open this song, and it is every bit as good as you want an Anti-Flag song to be. It's also sad how topical these lyrics still sound 21 years later.
75. AVAIL - "Not A Happy Man"
AVAIL usually made loud, gritty punk rock, but eventually Tim Barry pursued a solo career as a folky singer/songwriter and this short song is an early taste of the kind of music he'd focus on all throughout the time AVAIL were on hiatus. Not bad at all.
76. The Real McKenzies - "Old Mrs. Cuddy"
As far as Celtic punk goes, The Real McKenzies were more on the fast-paced melodic hardcore side than some of their peers, and that came across very effectively on this Dr. Seussical 30-second tongue-twister.
77. Agnostic Front - "Traitor"
"Traitor" originally appeared on Agnostic Front's classic 1983 debut EP United Blood, but the NYHC legends re-recorded it for this comp, making it a little more polished and somehow even nastier.
78. Down By Law - "Life Rules 101"
As the lead vocalist on Dag Nasty's 1986 debut album and ALL's 1988 debut album, Dave Smalley helped write the blueprint for a ton of the pop punk and emo that would explode in the '90s and 2000s, and he was there to reap the benefits of his influence with his longest-running band, Down By Law. By the late '90s, DBL were doing a fine job of toeing the line between Dave Smalley's classic sound and where punk was headed, and this short fun song was no exception.
79. Radio Days - "Wake Up"
It's not easy to find info about this band, or any music besides this 32-second song, but whoever they are, they wrote a pretty enjoyable dose of carefree pop punk for this comp.
80. Useless ID - "Too Bad You Don't Get It"
Israeli skate punks Useless ID ended up putting this song on that same split with The Ataris that The Ataris put "The Radio Still Sucks On," so this is another song that was exposed to a wider audience than some of the others here, and it deserved that exposure. Useless ID were always great at mixing sugary melodies and whiplash-inducing aggression, and they even find time for a shredding twin guitar solo on this one. Badass stuff.
81. Poison Idea - "Humanity"
Portland hardcore legends Poison Idea released some massively influential material in the '80s before calling it quits in the early '90s, but they've reunited a handful of times over the years and proven to be true lifers -- their latest music is genuinely great. The first time they reunited was in 1998, the same year they released the Learning To Scream EP, and this song kept the breakneck speed momentum of that EP going. It rips.
82. Men O' Steel - "In Your Head"
Montreal's Men O' Steel released only one full-length album during their brief run (1996's Can I Have A Piece?), and they've kinda disappeared, but before breaking up they contributed this feel-good song to this comp. Catchy, simple, and some really nice harmonies.
83. Subhumans - "Supermarket Forces"
Not only are Citizen Fish on this comp with a very Subhumans-sounding song, Subhumans were on it too. They had just reunited a year earlier and released the Unfinished Business EP (with recordings of previously unreleased songs from their initial run), and then they wrote this song for this comp. Eight years later, they actually included a longer version of the song on their comeback album Internal Riot, but I dunno - as good as the album version is (and it's good), this faster, shorter, and rawer version of the song might be even better.
84. Buck Wild - "Tribute to the Mammal"
Shawn Dewey had already made a name for himself as the original guitarist of Lagwagon, but he left that band in 1996 and turned his attention towards his own band, Buck Wild. The apple didn't fall far from the tree, and Buck Wild were sort of a slightly heavier version of Lagwagon's snotty skate punk. They never achieved Lagwagon levels of popularity but they did it well, this short song included.
85. Lunachicks - "Pretty Houses"
Lunachicks were one of the coolest, most DGAF punk bands of the '90s (and they were set to reunite for their first shows in over a decade this year before coronavirus hit), and even as they toyed with stuff like classic rock riffage and pop harmonies, they never abandoned their real-deal hardcore side. For this killer short song, they fully embraced it.
86. Dwarves - "The Band That Wouldn't Die"
Like Subhumans, Dwarves turned their Short Music for Short People song into a longer song years later (on 2011's The Dwarves Are Born Again), and actually in the Dwarves' case I'd say the album version beats this one. But still, their eccentric, over-the-top punk is as fun and distinct as ever on this shorter version.
87. The Bouncing Souls - "Like a Fish in Water"
When One Man Army went in an Eastern European gypsy music direction for their contribution, they still had some of their punk roots intact too, but The Bouncing Souls went full-on 15th century for theirs. Kinda funny, but if you wanted to hear a 30-second dose of the Bouncing Souls' usual pogo-inducing punk, better luck next time.
88. The Almighty Trigger Happy - "Turn It Up"
Somewhere between hardcore and skate-punk was Toronto's Almighty Trigger Happy, who had a brash, pissed-off sound but couldn't resist a good melody either. That's on full display throughout all thirty of these seconds.
89. One Hit Wonder - "Madam's Apple"
Before forming One Hit Wonder, Dan Root played alongside Keith Morris in the short-lived Bug Lamp and was in TSOL offshoot Tender Fury, and he's been a member of the Adolescents for the past decade, so Dan's obviously a well-respected guy even if One Hit Wonder have kinda remained in obscurity. They wrote some damn fine melodic punk songs though, like this one.
90. Hotbox - "Staggering"
Short-lived San Francisco band Hotbox were fast and full of sneering attitude, but they also had a knack for classic-style pop hooks, all of which is on display on this song.
91. 20% - "DMV"
20% is another band on this comp who I can't really find much about outside of this comp, but "DMV" is a pretty fun dose of melodic hardcore.
92. Snuff - "Big Fat Skinhead"
UK punks Snuff have been going strong since the '80s and they still sound great today. This song isn't much (it's one six-word line over and over), but Snuff rules and sometimes less is more.
93. The Muffs - "Pimmel"
The last album that The Muffs made before Kim Shattuck sadly passed away saw them branching out from their usual crunchy, punchy punk side and working in the quieter side of Kim's songwriting that she said was there all along but usually left off Muffs albums. She did also embrace that side for her contribution to this comp, and "Pimmel" is proof that Kim is as good at tender music as she is at throat-shredding pop punk.
94. H2O - "Mr. Brett, Please Put Down Your Gun"
H2O probably could've contributed a short, fast ripper like "Gen-Eric" to this comp, but instead they chose to contribute 30 seconds of punk theater where they stage their own murder, and I mean, who could blame them?
95. Bodyjar - "Wake Up"
As far as skate punk goes, Bodyjar kinda had it all -- good hooks, good harmonies, chunky power chords and bright leads -- and they tried to squeeze it all into this constantly-morphing song. And it worked.
96. Nicotine - "Eyez"
Japan's Nicotine hop back and forth between ska and skate-punk on this catchy 26-second song which takes itself exactly as not-seriously as it needs to.
97. Satanic Surfers - "Another Stale Cartoon"
More representation from Sweden's thriving '90s punk scene, and another skate-punk riffer. It evolves into what sounds like a super catchy "bridge" riff, but then it ends, leaving you wanting more.
98. Ten Foot Pole - "I Don't Mind"
Before Scott Radinsky (who was also an MLB player) formed Pulley (who are also on this comp), he sang in Ten Foot Pole, but he left that band in the mid '90s and they continued on without him and continued to write very catchy punk songs like "I Don't Mind."
99. Caustic Soda - "Welcome to Dumpsville, Population: You"
Caustic Soda were sort of like an Australian version of Jawbreaker or Samiam, which is to say that yes they were a loud, fast punk band but they were also kinda emo. (The band they formed after Caustic Soda broke up, Blueline Medic -- who had a 2005 split EP with Ted Leo -- went even further in the emo direction.) Short Music for Short People didn't really represent much of what could be called emo at the time (even Samiam's contribution was super punk), but this Caustic Soda song managed to fit the more dynamic, off-kilter approach of '90s emo into a very cool, very short song.
100. Misfits - "NY Ranger"
As the story goes, John Cafiero wrote the song "I Wanna Be A NY Ranger" for the Ramones to record for a New York Rangers campaign, but then the Ramones broke up and Cafiero gave it to the Misfits who recorded it with Cafiero on vocals, and then they re-recorded a shorter version of it for this comp with Michale Graves on vocals. Weird, but hey at least Short Music for Short People ended up with a Misfits song... even if Glenn Danzig had nothing to do with it.
101. Wizo - "The Count"
We made it to the end! Pat yourselves on the back! Okay, here it is, the 101st song on Short Music for Short People. Wizo are a long-running, Germany-based, anti-Nazi band who have some very serious political songs, but to wrap up this compilation of 30-seconds songs, Wizo kept things goofy and spent their entire 30-second song counting to 30. It's dumb, but it's also kind of the best way to wrap up this uniquely ridiculous compilation.
If you're like, "okay that's cool and all but I'm still not gonna listen to 101 songs no matter how short they are," here are -- in my opinion -- the 20 best songs Short Music For Short People, from best to least best:
THE TWENTY BEST (only counting songs first recorded for this compilation)
1. AFI - Hearts Frozen Solid, Thawed Once More by the Spring of Rage, Despair, and Hopelessness
2. blink-182 - Family Reunion
3. The Offspring - Hand Grenades
4. NOFX - See Her Pee
5. Less Than Jake - Anchor
6. The Ataris - The Radio Still Sucks
7. Unwritten Law - Armageddon Singalong
8. No Use For A Name - Sara Fisher
9. Bad Religion - Out of Hand
10. Anti-Flag - Bring It To An End
11. Rancid - Blacklisted
12. ALL - I Got None
13. Tilt - John for the Working Man
14. Frenzal Rhomb - My Pants Keep Falling Down
15. Lagwagon - Randal Gets Drunk
16. Lunachicks - Pretty Houses
17. Useless ID - Too Bad You Don't Get It
18. Subhumans - Supermarket Forces
19. Enemy You - Bedroom Windows
20. The Criminals - Union Yes
And if you missed the stream above (or finished listening to it by now), here it is again. You can also purchase the album (CD or digital) at Fat's webstore.
Lastly, Fat Wreck Chords does still put out compilations, but it's the streaming era and these are now usually limited vinyl releases that sell out quickly. Fat has also been killing it lately, with great 2020 albums by The Suicide Machines, Days N Daze, Western Addiction, and the upcoming/anticipated album by Bad Cop/Bad Cop, a newer band who would fit perfectly with the bands on Short Music For Short People (and whose "Simple Girl" I called one of the best punk songs of April in the April roundup of In Defense of the Genre). For more Fat Wreck Chords, go here.