Weekly Question: Weirdest Odd-Time Signature Song

Name a track that rhythmically blows your mind.

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Ultimate Guitar
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Odd time signatures are one of those things that can be described as walking a fine line between two extreme ends.

On one hand, a complex riff can get the listener intrigued and presented with something new and fresh. On the other hand, forcing complexity is one of the worst things a musician can do.

But let's not stray away from the initial idea here. Getting to the point, this week's Wednesday Question is:

What is the weirdest odd-time signature song ever?

We already held a complexity battle a few weeks ago, but this one isn't necessarily about being complex, but rather about stunning the listener with not so typical or traditional time signatures.

Same rules as always apply - only one suggestion per comment, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG Top 10. Show us what you got!

350 comments sorted by best / new / date

    thenightmareclu
    ttng - chinchilla
    Floyd Phoenix
    Some Yes, anyone?
    jorgdisseldorp
    Definitely, I was thinking about Yes - South Side of the Sky, not so much the verses and choruses, since they're all in 4/4, but the interlude, some lovely changes, but still incredibly melodic, nothing sounds forced (to me). Wakeman at his best, and the vocal parts are great too.
    jorgdisseldorp
    Definitely, I was thinking about Yes - South Side of the Sky, not so much the verses and choruses, since they're all in 4/4, but the interlude, some lovely changes, but still incredibly melodic, nothing sounds forced (to me). Wakeman at his best, and the vocal parts are great too.
    Moovis
    My vote goes for Chinchilla by TTNG. Though if you want something simpler but still in an odd time signature (and is also a cool song) Providence by Foals is a good one (it's in 7/4 throughout)Foals - Providence
    third(-)eye
    Extra Life has the weirdest time signatures of any band I've ever heard.
    metallideth88
    BEATLES - Ticket to Ride!
    pololski65
    entropicxdisson
    Tool - Lateralus 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8 in the chorus 987 being the 16th number of the fibonacci sequence, the lyrics also follow this sequence syllable wise.
    Vash_15
    How has no one said Tetragrammatron by The Mars Volta? Parts of that song don't even have a consistent time signature.
    Darth Crow
    Dream Theater - Erotomania The obvious choice would probably be The Dance of Eternity, but Erotomania is just... weirder
    FistOfFury
    Master of Puppets by Metallica - the tail in the verse riff is just something I can't wrap my head around. It's not a full 3/4 and it doesn't sound like 11/16 either.
    link no1
    Wrong, Lars Ulrich can only play in 2 time signatures: 4/4 and 16/16. It's rumored he's also capable of 32/32, but I think that's nothing buy an urban legend.
    jamie_hough
    Are you serious?
    FistOfFury
    It might not be a 'weird time signature song', but I'm serious. Can you tell me what it is?
    the_bi99man
    4/4. It's just a little short stop on an 8th note or something. I don't know the technicalities, but it doesn't break the time signature.
    jonathan.keeler
    Dillinger escape plan - 43% burnt (There are a number of tabs on this site and EVERY one of them is incorrect)
    HUNDuffman
    wow this is awesome
    AccountAttempt4
    Red Fang have a song titled 15/16.
    jonathan.keeler
    Blotted science - Activation Synthesis theory Fast tempo, signatures of 11/16 and 9/16. Plus Ron Jarzombek is not afraid to use quintuplets and septuplets in his music.
    iammclovin
    Happy I wasn't the first to think of Blotted Science, Cretaceous Chasm is another crazy one!!
    Random9000
    I think it really comes down to what you think is weird. I personally don't think Money is a "weird" song persay, but everyone knows it. I wouldn't be surprised if it made the list. On another note, I think anything Blotted Science would work. Those guys are on a whole different level.
    Silver Blues
    Yeah, Blotted Science is amazing. I don't think any of it is "weird", but I'd give a nod to Adenosine Breakdown as far as odd time signature goes.
    jonathan.keeler
    Psyopus - imogens puzzle Literally the most complex pollytempo piece I have ever heard. There are septuplets over quintuplets here and it is all played on one guitar neck with tapping, it's just inhuman.
    N-D
    Oh, another strange time signatures: Radiohead - "Pyramid Song"
    silent_reaper
    I think Myxomatosis takes the cake on odd Radiohead time sigs
    third(-)eye
    Also 4/4. Here are some Radiohead songs that are actually in odd time signatures: 15 Step (5/4) Morning Bell (10/8) 2 + 2 = 5 (First part is in 7/8) Sail to the Moon (All over the damn place) Everything In Its Right Place (alternating 4/4 and 6/4) Go To Sleep (alternating 4/4 and 12/8) Let Down (polyrhythm of 5/8 over 4/4)
    Just2340
    Myxomatosis can be played in cut time at around 100bpm, just a very syncopated rhythm. Some more unusual ones from Radiohead: Everything In Its Right Place can be interpreted in 10/4 or 4/4 + 6/4, and 2+2=5 starts at 7/4 then goes to 8/4.
    irotinmyskin
    "The song is infamous among fans for its time signature, which many find hard to discern or even nonexistent. However, one possibility is that “Pyramid Song” could be based around an uncommon subdivision of 8/8 time (3+3+2) in which the eighth notes are swung. This could also be expressed as 16/8 time subdivided as 3+3+4+3+3. Another interpretation which can be found be following the drum pattern is a cycle of 5/4-4/4-4/4-3/4 that repeats itself throughout the song."
    GeriatricNinja
    Frank Zappa - The Black Page #2
    Wininacan
    this list should be nothing but zappa
    jonathan.keeler
    Well that all depends on groupings, I could use 9/8 as 4/4 with a quaver on the end. That would definitely throw people. Or I could group it in 5/8 and 4/8. That would be complex.
    snowpig
    Although this is french, these guys are amazing. Check out the solo at 1:22
    jonathan.keeler
    I'd like to nominate some king crimson. Possibly 'Discipline' because one guitar is playing in 5/8 and the other in 4/4
    Quicksand15
    King Crimson's "Discipline" is a perfect example for weird time signatures/polymeters while still being wonderful music at the same time. I mean, everyone could write a 45-min piece with trillions of time changes, but would just that fact make it worth listening? That's exactly why "Money" should be on this list, because it grooves regardless of the 7/4 beat. Same with a whole lot of Tool songs. Odd times just for the sake of it are boring to me - it just seems to me like those bands are bragging "look how clever we are!"
    jonathan.keeler
    There are so many fantastic songs with such mind blowingly complex time signatures that is something like money by pink floyd wins ill be pissed. Yes it's a good song, but it's a slow 7/4 with a 4/4 solo. Hardly mindblowing.
    pjn7000
    Gentle Giant-Cogs in Cogs
    YoungFluff
    It is so difficult to decide for Gentle Giant since they have a lot of brilliant odd timing moments!
    lgerhar
    Alman Brothers - Whipping Post (11/8 - I think)
    Bigdubb
    Good to see someone on UG digs TTNG.
    robo37
    Remainder the Black Dog by Steven Wilson. Criminally underrated IMO.
    N-D
    Oh, I forgot this great song - a lot of different time signatures and changes - weird and awesome! Gojira - "Flying Whales"
    maddog61
    Rush- Anthem. 9/8.
    dogfacedgod
    Trioscapes anyone?
    Jrhammett
    ill be rediculed but o well.... i think at the moment im into blackened by metallica and the harmomny before the solo is a nice example of 6/4 into 7/4 back to 6/4 then the solo is impressive
    NeilTheDruid
    Check out Long Piece 3 Part 1 by Egg. Not a guitar band but they were concentrating.
    Alice2Mudgarden
    Blue Rondo A la Turk - Dave Brubeck
    bigblockelectra
    I would also vote for Money....because it works and most definitely was not written to be "weird". Have you heard this version? It was done by David Gilmour playing all of the instruments as the old record company would not let them use the original.
    jackt1160
    Main riff is in 11/8 I think?
    16esaurer
    limo wreck soundgarden
    Larrywerther
    Question by System of a Down!
    titoprog
    Anything by Spastic Ink.
    dshatel
    Cleanliness is next to Godliness by A lot like Birds can be a bit confusing
    ibanez124
    Anything by Mudvayne off of L.D. 50 More specifically "Internal Primates Forever"
    qraqerjaque
    MIDNIGHT BY JOE SATRIANI admitted not the craziest time signature but its a really neat groove and just works so well with His solos
    jonathon.fenton
    Radiohead Pyramid Song. This in well known to be a mystery.
    Momo320
    Veil of Maya - Namaste One of the weirdest guitar and bass lines I know
    nanu991
    Queen - The March of the Black Queen "It is the only Queen song containing polyrhythm/polymeter (two different time signatures simultaneously 8/8 and 12/8), which is very rare for popular music."
    Absurder22
    I listened to this album and now I'm insane
    paulstfu
    I'll go with The Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater. Even Mike Portnoy explains in a funny way one of the most difficult parts of the song
    cRACk mONKEyTTU
    HAhahahaha! I really don't like much of Dream Theatre's music but that was awesome and made me laugh. Cant count as fast as it goes and then weird inflections and whatnot, awesome stuff.
    ewolf5150
    FOGHAT- SLOWRIDE!
    Mad-Mike_J83
    Behold the Arctopus -
    Gatorman1300
    that sounded like shit.
    HitmanJenkins
    To be fair it does actually sound better with drums, not by much though. I feel like a terrible person for liking this at one point.
    SstanN
    I know, right? Sounds like crap coated with piss. Yet some people really enjoy this.. Wierd..
    Downfall93
    1 : 05
    paulstfu
    I'll go with The Dance of Eternity by Dream Theater. Even Mike Portnoy explains in a funny way one of the most difficult parts of the song
    TwisterAce
    Soundgarden - Limo Wreck
    silent_reaper
    Myxomatosis by Radiohead
    metallicadude83
    Frank Zappa- Keep it greasy in 19/16!!
    spargmeister
    Pink Floyd- Welcome to the Machine. It switches between 4/4 and 3/4, but in the verses they sneak in a bar of 7/8, so I believe it counts
    Pearlvana589
    YYZ
    sykryk
    Piglet!
    SOAD_SoG
    prssecustum
    I believe from what I've heard that the beginning is in 21/16??? idk, trippy as all get out. And by the way, it's brutally heavy
    creapilust
    what? no primus or claypool
    mishax92
    I'm not even sure the members of Meshuggah can still remember how this one goes time-sig wise
    southernsoulo
    LysanderSpoon
    Gobbledigook by Sigur Ros has a guitar part in 7/4, a vocal line in 4/4, and a drum part in 2/2 all going at once.
    BillGull
    BloodWolf666
    My vote is for Jimmy by Tool
    Rands2113
    Israeli Caves by Maps and Atlases is pretty fun to listen to
    Crunge92
    Also, 2112?
    Sparda3
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bxpLcNod80 I always thought this song had a weird time signature.
    Crunge92
    *insert Tool's entire discography*
    hanneman66
    Dream Theater - The Dance of Eternity
    cbachmann33
    A more recent song is Beck's, "Blackbird Chain." It has gorgeous meter changes.
    bartzm
    Rush - La Villa Strangiato 4/4 5/8 7/8 and 9/8
    MichiIsDaBest
    I'm not seeing nearly enough RUSH here... To me the obvious answer is Freewill (RUSH)
    jamie.hancox
    rocklee1431
    15 Step by Radiohead. Just 5/4 time, but also a great song
    chaotiktak
    Definitly The Dance Of Eternity by Dream Theater ! There are more than a hundred time signature changes in the song, with weird time signature such as 13/8, 15/8, 10/16, 11/16, 13/16, 14/16, 15/16, 17/16 among more classical one's like 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/8, 7/8, 9/8 and probably a few others that I missed. So definitely the weirdest odd-time signature song ever.
    RaisingCain199
    Alice in Chains - Them Bones
    Hamer14
    Dream Theater - Dance of Eternity