Jump to content
john

What makes a song great?

Recommended Posts

john    1,459

Hey gang

I won't spell out my own perspective to kick the topic off, because I want to leave it as open as possible and because I want to see what you think....

So, for you... what makes a song great?

try and explain as fully as you can. In other words, don't just say "oh the lyrics make a song great", think about how, what, where, why, when etc.

Thanks

John

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HoboSage    1,997

It's often said that a song is a lyric and a melody.  That may technically be "a song," but play an expressionless single note-by-note melody for a song I've never heard before on a piano and give me the song's lyric to read while I listen to the melody, and chances are I won't think much of "the song."  Whether it's a solo vocal a capella, a bare-bones 1+1 rendition, or a full-blown complex arrangement, in addition to the words and melodies, it's the instrumental and vocal performances in a live presentation or as arranged and mixed in a recording of the song that gives a song the potential to really mean something to me.  For example, when I first heard John Denver's Annies' Song, I thought - great song.  But, if his guitar was way out of tune and his playing sucked and his singing was way off key when I heard it, I wouldn't have been able to stop listening to it quickly enough.  For me, it's how it all sounds, and the way the whole bundle of sounds and the ideas and feelings those sounds convey impact me under the totality of my own circumstances at the time I listen that determines what I think of that song. 

Edited by HoboSage
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MikeRobinson    165

To me, a song is "great" when either its musical arrangement or its lyric is something genuinely well-crafted and different, or when the performer simply blows the doors off with his/her performance.  (For instance, Black Velvet, as performed by Alannah Myles.  Or, completely different, Mary, Did You Know, as performed by Kutlass.  Let It Go, from Disney's Frozen, as performed by Pentatonix.)  

Sometimes the song has no lyric at all but is musically captivating.  I was spellbound by a performance of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique ... listening to the amazing things he was doing with harmony.  I guess I went into a sort of trance and simply disappeared into the music.  When the song was over, I was exhausted.  I love it when that happens.

Maybe the clearest answer is when a song is not "great."  Corporate music-industry folks don't want to take chances:  they want to find a demographic and shove song after song down its throat.  And so, "it's fair and it's true and it's boring as hell."  (Check out the video ... from a very important music-industry critic ... about how "every country song is the same.")

If you are merely content to waste my time, you are wasting your time. Whereas, when a composer, lyricist, and/or arranger simply tries to think outside the box and really show respect to me as a member of their audience who took the time to listen ... when that person presents me with a piece of musical food actually worth eating, instead of "the least mystery-meat-burger they calculated that my demographic would accept," "Music can be Great."  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snabbu    440

In a word prosody. When the melody, the harmony, the lyric, the groove,the arrangement, the performance the, production, are all saying the same thing. Then we have communication on all levels, that to me is a great song.

 

cheers

 

Gary

Edited by snabbu
Apple spell check monster
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mahesh    491

Nice one Gary. I agree, prosody. When it all comes together!

 

Personally, I think a song can be called great because of one of the many aspects too, such as the performance, or the lyrics, or the arrangement and so on. A person may get drawn to one of these qualities but I think every aspect of a song also has a part in supporting that highlighting factor.


For example, a nicely crafted, emotionally intense guitar solo might not sound really good if the arrangement is just not giving the space for the guitars to come through. 

 

Very interesting topic indeed. 

Following.

Mahesh

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tomcollins    529

A song will reach many people in many ways,its all personal . some are intune to lyrical parts while others its how the melody and how its composed. For me as Gary said it is the over all . you can have 100 people listen to the same song and each person will take away what they need or want .this is the greatest gift of all the arys ! It's personal ,and if that was ever taken away we would no longer need nor want any firm of art !!

And for me personally its more the melody first then the lyric

Rock on !!!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MonoStone    917

Wow that's a difficult question... I think... maybe...

First of all I think of a 'song' as having a vocal, right or wrong that's how I think. I'd say 'words' but the Cocteau Twins proved a great song doesn't need great lyrics (or not in the usual sense), the melody and the way it's delivered is enough to move us.

It must take a combination of so many factors working together just right to make a song great... but there is one thing which I think a great song needs -

It has to move me in some way... that might be to tears or it might just be to dance ... whatever... it has to make me FEEL something (other than bored, irritated etc ;)  ). Bad songs just fall flat. That might be partly down to performance etc but I think the magic is more than that, I think (hmm I'd have to think more on that). Got to have the magic. Some very good songs just have a pinch of the magic, moments, but great ones are full of it.

Dek

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tunesmithth    1,288

Hate to say this, but for the majority of listeners there's a really simple answer....."when I really like it". ^_^

For musicians & songwriters, it's a tough question, but for the ordinary listening public....not so much. If they like....and better yet, if their friends like it too, then it's great. That's all they really need. 

Just thought I'd toss that into the mix.

Tom

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MonoStone    917

saying it's great because you like it doesn't work for me ;)  ... I think the question is WHY...

Some people might not know why they love a song but I think John is asking us as songwriters what the special ingredients are which cause that reaction. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tunesmithth    1,288

Point taken and I certainly get that !

I was simply pointing out that MOST listeners don't care why. They like it or they don't....hence it's great, or it's not. Since songwriting doesn't exist in a vacuum, I think it's good to remember that most folks don't see things the way we the do. It doesn't mean we're wrong....it doesn't mean they're wrong. It does mean we're different!

Sorry....wasn't trying to confuse the issue. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GocartMoz    437

I think this is a strange answer, but true.  Strange because I think it is nearly impossible to take what I think makes a song great, on the front end, and use it while writing.  All of the songs that I think are great, are songs that I connect to a certain time in my life.  In other words, I never think a song is great when I first hear it (although the term "great" is used pretty freely by me in critiques ... perhaps I should re-examine my use of that word). However, when I hear a song years later and it brings me back to a particular time and place, I know I have connected to that song in a positive way and it rises to the level of greatness for me.  For example,  I doubt I share the same favorite song with anyone here.  My favorite song is Meeting Across The River, by Bruce Springsteen off of the Born To Run album.  I can remember where I was the first time I heard it, the time of day and I can see myself listening to it and being completely invested in hearing the song and blocking everything else out.  I doubt many have had that experience with this song and it is probably one of his lesser known tunes.  To me it is his greatest.    There are things that are used on the front end that make songs better (catchy melody, prosody, etc.), but what makes them great, is the personal connection and i don't know that such is an element a songwriter can necessarily incorporate into their writing on the front end.  Food for thought. Good topic John.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just1L    962

I think Dave pointed out the answer. The only thing that makes a song great is the listeners connection to it … nothing more. So in a way, all songs are great and they all stink just depending on who you ask. Let's take the song "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel. Hated it the first time I heard it. Hated it the following thousand listens thanks to radio airplay, and I still hate it. But if I were to strip it apart and look at all the pieces, I'm fairly certain that song covers all the bases for a "great" or "hit" song. But I don't think it's great and I can't stand it. Surely many others disagree though.

So you can have a song that is great for some, but not great for others, it all comes down to the listeners connection to it. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MonoStone    917

saying it's great because you like it doesn't work for me ;)  ... I think the question is WHY...

Some people might not know why they love a song but I think John is asking us as songwriters what the special ingredients are which cause that reaction. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tunesmithth    1,288

Uh Deja Vu ????? :eusa_think:LOL

So, as I understand it, that doesn't work for you? Got it! :specool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MonoStone    917

It's true that we all like different things... And memories can make us love a song more... But does that make it 'great'? And can any old rubbish be 'great' just because it reminds us of our first kiss or the day something changed our lives? I don't think so.

I think we each have different tastes and personal events might make a song special to us... But that song needs to be something special and way sbove the average in the first place in order to make us connect it to a personal event. Or for that matter to have even been on the radio or record for us to hear it at all.

I also think that 'great' goes beyond personal preference. And we need to think as writers and artists or else the question is kind of pointless. And I think we can all recognise what is great to us personally AND what we think might be great to the many, even in a new song. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
justsoulin    323

Seems like there's two veins of thought going on here, which I think is good, because as musicians/songwriters/producers etc we apply one cap to creating and when we switch off the creativity we put on the cap of enjoying listening to music.

I think when we are creating, our focus is on the style and genre which can impede our creativity since we are often trying to follow a set of rules we've been told to follow, whether that's line length, rhyme, metre, subject, composition et al and we forget the enjoyment part that comes from listening.

Creating can be very clinical whilst enjoyment is freedom, and as has already been said a couple of times, what makes a song great is always on an emotional level, something that 'vibrates' through the prosody of all the instruments including all the vocals (and I mean backing singers too) that when combined and arranged flows not just through the air into your lugholes, but hits you in your soul, twanging it's strings. The emotions felt of course cover the whole range.

And 'this elusive ingredient' I don't think is recognisable in the creation process, because we're working from an idea, and often one that we change and rewrite and find mistakes and correct them and the end product can often be far removed from what you began with (due to trying to,again, fit it into a box we think people will enjoy), which was a message from within, which had the seed of this elusive ingredient at the very start, that then gets lost or covered up along the way.

I think what Tom is trying to say is important, because as creators we need to look back to look for this ingredient in music history and the greats that have been and understand why the listeners found them to be great, why it 'touched' them so deeply, to get a glimpse hopefully of what combination of all the factors available brought it to greatness in most peoples eyes.

A song always has vocals of some sort, just sometimes they belong to an instrument and greatness often comes then from the ability of the player to make the instrument come alive and talk to us, as I often find George Benson does for me, though a lot of jazz turns me off. When a vocal actually becomes an instrument rather than just a tool to sing words, such as when Pavarotti performs Puccini's Nessun Dorma (I cannot categorize it as a performance) and you cannot control what's happening inside you because it's something more, something intangible, it has to be because I have no idea what the words mean and yet feel every note. The first time you hear a song, it's very rare that the words are what draws you to it, because you don't know them. But there's something in it, the first few bars of the beat or rhythm style used, or how the verse becomes the pre and then explodes into the chorus - whether quietly/gently or not, but within you there's a hurricane building up of emotional highs and/or lows - or the range of the vocalist if there is one and how well they use it. As Gary says, this all comes under prosody. But all the physical parts do not yet make it great.

Which brings me on to the most important aspect of my reply, that there is one thing that I do think counts a lot towards the writer/composer finding this invisible ingredient that turns into greatness - and that is 'cost'. It must cost you emotionally and physically to create the piece. Then the musicians and vocalists to perform it get infused with it and pass it on so that the listener is drawn to it and 'it' captures them deep within. When every ounce of emotion has gone into creating the 'song', that the performers of it 'get' and translate it across to the listener, the listener also gets it too and that is what I think makes it great. Being a study of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones might make you a hit, but it won't turn it into greatness!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
a ranger    2

From the different replies, it's apparent that there are various interpretations of the question, or the definition of 'great'. Here are the main perceptions so far listed: 
[1] There is no great or crappy music - it's all in the listener and what appeals to them. Therefore no real answers to the question. 
[2] great music is that which has lasted longer in the limelight and is revered by more people, especially music history scholars. 
[3] personal experiences that connect us to the song influence which ones we like or identify with. 
[4] great is defined from what moves me personally, and consists of __, __ & __. - no reference to what people with different tastes like or why.

So I think you have to hone the question down to something more specific unless you don't mind a whirlwind of unrelated or relatively useless answers. Having said that, I can only talk about what I like personally and define as great. So I have narrowed the question to #4 for my answer, which is really all I, or anyone else here, can do. I have studied just this question intensely for the last 15 years. The songs I chose to study had to fit 2 criteria: [1] they were personal favorites of mine [2] they were also chart topper smash hits at platinum level at some time, usually included on a "greatest hits" album. Many of them [probably all of them] are hated by someone for sure. What can you do?

My answer is not really a practical "how to" answer [at this point] but only pointing to something ethereal, which I think most of you knew all along in some way.

Artistic principles are at the root of it, which are abstract and cannot be defined in any technical terms or ways that hint at a formula that can be easily followed by intention without uncertainty. They're elusive almost by definition: Anything that can elicit feeling is going to be as elusive as feelings are. They have to be understood through intuition. If you try to look at what it is exactly about a song that you like, you can never quite put your finger on it except to point out a riff or a melody, but that same melody or riff [or other technique] might be used in a song that you hate. There is something in the way it all goes together that's ineffable. 

All you can do is filter ideas as they come through, recognizing which one's serve the artistic principles and which don't. This assumes that you understand thoroughly enough of the basic artistic principles behind all art. Usually it takes time & repeated listening to separate what 'works' or doesn't. If you do this with your songs - see how the song makes you feel, really, while listening - be honest and try to let go of your attachment to all the inspiration and effort you've put into it, the rationalizations of why it SHOULD be a good song [because the singer is really good & your guitar picking is crispy due to a $1500 mic] - you'll mature in your song production ability. You undoubtedly did lots of neat things in the song, but in the end it's how it all flows together in that exciting or not so exciting way.

My musical motto is that a great arrangement can make a poorly written song sound better than a great song with a poor arrangement. An arrangement is to a song what chords are to a melody. Acapella only really works when the audience is already familiar with a harmonic version of the song. When you play a popular song around a campfire with your beginner's guitar strum, it's the original arrangement your friends are hearing in their memory, otherwise they would yack all the way through it [they probably do anyway - ha!] instead of sing along.

In the effort to compose and produce a "great" song,
one of 2 extremes often interferes with the process and judgment. On one extreme you have: [1] Repeating formulas that worked in a particular song, but don't have the same effect in the currant application because the over-arching artistic principle is not understood. 

At the other extreme: [2] being different for different's sake. This is my biggest peeve, and to me is the fatal disease that overtakes the music industry from time to time, [as well as the graphic arts]. Artistic value is forsaken for the easy substitute of just being different with no artistic merit.
Nowdays it routinely takes the form of trying to be 'badder'. This is reflected in band names, as well as the lyrics which have to keep being more pessimistic, sulky, sexually loose, or even deranged. "Bad" from M. Jackson shows that you can pretty much brag about how bad you are now. It would almost be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

It comes from the shallow and hollow conclusion that good is boring [which comes from a lack of patience to find something good which is also somewhat original], therefore we need to continually pursue 'bad' farther and further down a steeper & steeper incline. When artistic effort tries to come out of boredom it rarely succeeds in a lasting way. It's effect is meant more to shock rather than entertain, so it's not surprising that it isn't still being listened to much 40 years later. But I digress....

Somewhere in the middle you find gimmicks which can be a combination of both extremes, and be used 'successfully' for awhile 'til they wear out. Artistic creativity isn't found between those 2 extremes though. It's found where most don't feel comfortable, in the land of uncertainty, where you only know the feeling of when you've found it, but not so much how to get there from here. The need to crank out or finish something, get that album done, appeal to what you think fans want, will take you away from uncertainty toward formulas that by themselves don't really hold the answer.

As I see it, there are 3 overlapping polarities at the very top of the concept of Artistic Principle: Contrast/Similarity - Repetition/Variation - Predictability/Surprise. A great song has a balance - not necessarily in the middle - of these elements. It's not easy to explain how these polarities are converted into sound, especially in a short spiel like this. The possible ways of expressing some give and take between these polarities is infinite, and which is why there is "no one right way" to do things. But if you analyse songs that have made the charts and stayed there for awhile, looking for the little things that keep your interest, you will find that they usually trace back to these 3 polarities. 
Following a technique's trail back to principles is fairly easy, but going the other direction . . . not so much. This is why knowing the principles does not help much - at first. But if you study the expressions of these principles in 'great' songs [disclaimer there] long enough, you will begin to see into the workings of artistic genius, and that your best creativity will be in finding new ways to exploit the principles, which your audience will intuitively find intoxicating without ever knowing why. The 'principles' are principles because they are intuitive laws of attention and interest.
They are also used in great movies, graphic art, sculpture, story telling, all real art forms, really [not the fake, special interest propaganda crap known as 'modern art'].

You'll notice that the 3 core polarities all have each opposing side as meaning something similar

- Contrast-Variation-Surprise, on one side, and Similarity-Repetition-Predictability on the other side.

They can mean close to the same thing, but also can branch out into very different types of expression in sound.

Many 'great' artists stumble upon ways of exploiting these principles by intuition and accident, without ever really understanding the principles.
And more bad news for the impatient songwriter is that a great song is essentially a new invention. There is really nothing quite like it: there are other great songs but they seem to have such different ways of appealing to you.
If this were not the case, McCartney could just write another "Let it Be" or "Hey Jude" using the same formula or 'skill' he used on the original, more or less.

Let me remind you that my theories here are based solely on, and validate, my own music preferences. My speculation is that if your tastes are different than mine, the principles still apply, but that you prefer a different flavor of expression of the principles that could still be traced back to them, while my tastes focus on another limited focus of the principles. Which path of expression of the principles appealing most to one person, need not be far from the path another appreciates more, yet the final expression can seem unintelligible or uninteresting to the other. In other words, from the core principles, extending out to varying modes of expression, they can be made to appeal to very different tastes. Because of this, it's sometimes possible to learn to like a kind of music you once hated. You just acquire a taste for the other ways of meeting the 3 polarities, which at first you didn't recognize, but once you do, it pulls you in. That is, provided the music is expressing a dance of the polarities in some way. FWIW

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
john    1,459

Hey A Ranger

A detailed and well thought out answer.

I is deliberately vague because I know that it means different things to different people, even at different times. Meanings can even overlap as a combination.

For me the purpose here is the debate, the thought behind it and the possibility of writers and musicians examining other perspectives. Informed opinion and understanding of the issues help writers forge their way with more direction rather than stumbling about aimlessly or in an unproductive way.

While there is no right answer, there are answers which at least approach a right answer for some of the interpretations of the question.

What makes a song great can differ for writers and listeners, though there is generally some overlap. Popularity is certainly an important factor for measurement, but the meat of the measurement is more how many people think that a particular song is great overall, and in so many ways.

For example:

  • Is the song emotive?
  • Do I connect with the sound?
  • Does it mean something important to me?
  • Is it evocative?
  • Does the melody do all these alone?
  • Do the lyrics do this alone?
  • Does the arrangement or performance achieve all these?
  • Combined, do they become even more?
  • Are these facets above memorable?
  • Does the song have a strong connection in multiple contexts?

There are no doubt more measurements that we each personally use, normally by strength of response. I.e. We have a stronger or weaker response, we don't tend to quantify our response in marks out of 10.

Similarly, our measurements can change according to context. We can also qualify greatness according to context "the best song for a wedding", "the best party song" etc.

Popularity is important only in that it gives an idea of numbers and strength of connection.

As writers and musicians, as a rule, we do not create music with the purpose if it being disliked and ignored. How we connect with listeners may vary, the reason why we connect or even who we want to connect with may vary, but again, we don't want our work to mean nothing, to connect with nobody.

And so popularity has to be an important factor.

So does fulfilling "purpose".

The writer may want to fulfill an artistic vision, or to connect will loads of people and sell millions of units. Listeners just want something that fulfills their need, usually an emotional need. They want something that evokes a strong reaction, on some level, even if that is an intellectual level. They want a song to feed their happiness, or to comfort them with sadness, to encourage their heart with love etc... And they endlessly sift, looking for songs that they can earmark for certain circumstances.

Either consciously, or subconsciously, writers try to create these songs. Artists and producers try to perform and record them.

Songs can have instant, strong short-term appeal, others slow burn with growing, lasting appeal. A very few manage to achieve both. A combination of easily accessible melody and lyrics, with strong hooks, but enough meat on the bone to have an intellectual appeal, even with the simplest of messages. Lastly exposure saturation must be perfect. Under saturated a song may fail to fulfill it's potential. Over saturated and listeners turn off, even to the point of hating the song. There is a sweet spot.

I think for many, the answer could simply be the songs that elicit the greatest response in them. That response could be a song that has very strong connection in one context, or elicits a strong connection across a number of contexts.

Formulas may help us to approach creating something that is a great song, but that is far from the whole answer. As songs are penned, performed and recorded, they only have potential. To be truly great that song has to convert potential into actual, or more correctly a combination of a song with great potential and a team to present it to the masses in the right way at the right time.

So many variables!

All we can do at any point in the creation of a great song is fulfill the parts we play to the best of our ability.

When we create, our motivations are complex and varied. Some writers say they "write for myself". But in all honesty, it is only a part of a complex picture. If everyone expressed dislike and hate for their songs they would soon stop... At least publicly. What they seem to want is acceptance and endorsement... And that is measured by reaction. Even popular reaction.

Writing for others may or may not be your acknowledged prime motivator, but it is an important part of the mix.

Writers try to fulfill a brief, their own or someone else's. Write a love song, write a protest song, tell a story... this at least gives a song an initial purpose. But songs can be repurposed by artists, producers and marketers. To be in control of the entire thing, you have to be in control of all those roles.

Just a few thoughts... :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
McnaughtonPark    695

For me, what makes a song great unfortunately does not make for as great an answer.  A great song moves me to tears or encourages me to act.  This simply has to be more than formulas and production.  Seems to me with the correct formula and production you can certainly get close, sell a ton of washing powders, but without the right performance, as David suggests, a song will never be great.  Great, as in inspirational.  

There has to be differing ideas of the definition of great here.  There have to be great instrumental  songs, but I have never been moved to tears by one, unless it's been an instrumental version of a song I know the words to.  Which really points to the association factor brought up by Dave.  That's a very strong response and one I can relate to.  I wouldn't know a great rap song, I've never been moved at all by the entire genre.  While I dislike country almost as much as rap, I have been moved by countless country songs and that most definitely can be attributed to how well I relate to the lyric and performance and something else.

The answer here, I feel, doesn't come down to an algorithmic simplicity of defining which chords, keys, scales, meters, rhythms, styles and production techniques great songs have in common.  It seems more deeply rooted in the human experience of the song.  And for me, this all seems relative  to where I am today.  Which kind of points it in the direction of values.  

Something not spoken about very often is how morals and values help to define musical genre.  Rock and roll was definitely seen as having loose moral standards, my parents hated rock and roll, yet I loved it.  That's a bit strange having grown up and being raised by them, I did receive my morals from them.  I thinks it's because it wasn't about the morals, it was about the values.  we valued things differently.  What I value in music, in a particular song, seems personal even if the same song is perceived by others the same way.  Seems to suggest we are not so different after all and that what triggers my throat to close and eyes to water is very close to what causes this reaction in others.  My emotional connection is what can be greater or lesser and common or not, the cause of which seems most closely related to performance and understanding.  (I know this isn't true for others, but for me the lyric is key)

Wishing all of you the inspiration to write great songs.      

 

Tom

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/6/2015 at 3:46 PM, snabbu said:

In a word prosody. When the melody, the harmony, the lyric, the groove,the arrangement, the performance the, production, are all saying the same thing. Then we have communication on all levels, that to me is a great song.

 

cheers

 

Gary

 

I would agree that that's the first step in making a song great. It usually has to have all those things, or if one is missing, another aspect has to compensate. But I've heard 57,213 songs in my life that fill snabbu's criteria and are definitely not great. Greatness comes in some sort of undefinable greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts way that is different for everyone and hard to put your finger on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim123    2

What makes a song great for "me"? I have a 1 word answer ..... "emotion". What engenders that emotion? A combination of all, or merely several, of the following things ..... the melody, the voice, the lyrics, the musical backing. I have very specific likes and dislikes, all based on my emotions, and of all the trillions of songs written over the past 100 years I would only truly like about 100 or so of them, about 50 of which I have written myself (which should tell you something).

 

My liking or disliking a song has nothing whatsoever  to do with academic analysis, therefore can't possibly be fully explained in academic terms. If the song goes to my heart then I like it, if not then I don't like it. It's rare for any song to go to my heart. And so far, not one instrumental  that I've heard over the past 65 years of my life has ever gone to my heart ..... I just prefer songs.

 

To "me" a song is great if it hits that emotional spot within me.

Edited by Jim123

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2016 at 5:48 AM, Jim123 said:

My liking or disliking a song has nothing whatsoever  to do with academic analysis, therefore can't possibly be fully explained in academic terms. If the song goes to my heart then I like it, if not then I don't like it.

 

I don't think I can agree with this statement. I would argue that if someone took those 100 songs you like and "academically analyzed" them, there would be patterns that could point to triggers in songs that hit those buttons for you. I've always loved to ask myself "What is it about that song that works on me in this way?" and more often than not have been able to winnow it down to a turn of phrase, a chord, a vocal inflection, whatever, that is what really did it. Academic analysis of music gets a bad rap for being somehow dispassionate, but to me it's like one person saying "Wow, this song really gets me --right here--" and then another person saying "I know, me too. Why is that?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HoboSage    1,997
25 minutes ago, Jim of Seattle said:

Academic analysis of music gets a bad rap for being somehow dispssionate, but to me it's like one person saying "Wow, this song really gets me --right here--" and then another person saying "I know, me too. Why is that?"

 

And then a third person says: "You two are nuts. This song sucks!"  

Edited by HoboSage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guess which one is the Trump supporter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tunesmithth    1,288

I give up.....which one? :rolleyes:

Oh look Moe.....political overtones! :blush::excl:%**:censored2: [smiley=BlueTeamEnforcer.gif]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HoboSage    1,997
43 minutes ago, Jim of Seattle said:

Guess which one is the Trump supporter.

 

The one who throws the first punch, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So... How about those Seahawks, huh?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim123    2
6 hours ago, Jim of Seattle said:

 

I don't think I can agree with this statement.

 

I've already addressed your concerns in my post with

On 10/03/2016 at 0:18 AM, Jim123 said:

To "me" a song is great if it hits that emotional spot within me.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tunesmithth    1,288

Don't feel bad Jim.....my answer wasn't popular either :blush: 

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/11/2016 at 6:19 PM, Jim123 said:

 

I've already addressed your concerns in my post with

 

 

Actually, I was responding to your implied denigration of "academic analysis", as if it were somehow antithetical to enjoying a song on an emotional level. I've heard this many times before, the "I just know what I like" argument, as if that academic analysis and emotion can't exist in the same room, or that asking why somehow kills the magic.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×