After 17 years André 3000 has finally released his solo debut, and each song is very long. Super long. In fact, the single has just become the longest song ever in the Billboard Top 100.
Songs that top ten or even twenty minutes are a dime a dozen, and it's been that way since the sixties, but songs that top that chart are a different matter. Traditionally, only songs that were released as singles, and could be played on the radio, made the charts.
Singles were issued on 7" 45 RPM records, which were limited to three to four minutes. Longer songs that topped the charts have been a rarity, but technology has changed that, as we're becoming untethered to the limitations of physical media. Artists who feel they need longer to get their message out are pushing the boundaries of what length pop songs have to be.
Songs that top ten minutes are becoming more and more common
André 3000 - "I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a 'Rap' Album but This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time" - 2023. 12 minutes, 20 seconds
As far as I can tell, this is also the longest song title ever to chart, though don't quote me on that. As the title suggests, this is not, as you'd expect from the erstwhile Outkast rapper, a rap song. Rather it's a 12-minute flute instrumental. And I'm pretty certain this is the first time one of those has charted.
The whole album, New Blue Sun is made up of meditative new-age flute instrumentals, and though this may be a surprise left turn for the eccentric rapper, 3 Stacks has been spotted playing the flute in random places around the world since 2019, including a Starbucks in LA, a yoga class in Philadelphia, a shopping mall in his native Georgia, and even in Japan. He told The Guardian “It’s almost like a Where’s Waldo thing... 'We saw André playing his flute in the airport! We saw André playing the flute on Abbott Kinney [Boulevard]!’ I felt like: damn, they’re always just catching me noodling around.”
"I Swear..." is not the longest song on New Blue Sun, all but one of the tracks passes the ten-minute mark. And it's not even the longest song title either. All the songs have epically goofy titles, including the literal dad joke "BuyPoloDisorder's Daughter Wears a 3000® Button Down Embroidered." But the longest is "That Night in Hawaii When I Turned into a Panther and Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control ... Sh¥t Was Wild."