You Suffer

Album: Scum (1987)
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Songfacts®:

  • The Guinness Book of World Records lists this as the world's shortest song, at 1.316 seconds long. That's enough time to get in a few quick drumbeats, and supposedly four words: "You Suffer But Why." To most listeners, the lyrics sound more like "Mwwwooooo." The song also has a really quick guitar outro. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brandon - Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Napalm Death is one group which has had perhaps the highest turnover rate in history; the early days of the band leaves one with the impression that there was a revolving door with members just wandering into and out of the group. As near as we can peg it, "You Suffer" was written by Nik Napalm (aka Nicholas Bullen) and Justin Broadrick, and the line-up at the time of this recording was Nik Napalm on vocals and bass, Justin Broadrick on guitar, and Mick Harris on drums. They formed in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom.

    In the book Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces, Bullen and Harris tell all about the nucleus of "You Suffer." Bullen: "'You Suffer' was largely a comedy thing, one-second song. Utterly retarded. It's ridiculous, but it was hilarious. We played that song in front of 30 local kids, like, every weekend. We played that song 30 times. It was a laugh." And Harris: "There is a bit of a novelty. let's do the shortest, fastest thing you can do. And yeah, there are notes there. People think we just go, 'Blllp,' and that's it. And I believe there's, like, four notes or something. there's a lyric, 'You suffer, but why?' And it's played quick, fast and sharp and as tight as we could. We had a bit of reverb on there. It probably made it longer.

    Also in the same work, when asked about their Guinness World Records entry, Bullen reflects, "Yeah, I've been told that. It's quite amusing. I wish it had been for the first human to be able to breathe underwater, but that's quite good." Harris offers, "We didn't ask for it. It just got put in there. We were told, 'You've made the Guinness book of World Records.' And we were like, 'Nah, get out of here,' and yes, there it is. it's sort of funny, isn't it? A bit of achievement, I guess."
  • Napalm Death is widely credited with founding the grindcore genre. The Nielsen SoundScan system ranks Napalm Death as the seventh best-selling death metal band in the United States. A number of bands also cite them as an influence, and most former Napalm Death members have gone on to form their own bands or join other bands. This makes Napalm Death a relative of Carcass, Godflesh, and Extreme Noise Terror, to say the least.
  • This song was also Napalm Death's big break. When the album Scum came out, BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel played "You Suffer" three times while introducing the group to his listeners. Both Harris and Broadrick express pride at this, since they grew up listening to Peel's show and were huge fans. So this was their idol giving it back to them.

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