Thursday, December 21, 2006

Great Songs

The following is an article written by Joe Parr. My friend and the rhythm guitar player in the band with me. This is his point of view about what makes a song "great". The stuff of legend and history.

Joe Parr:
Great Songs


How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh man, now that’s a great song”? Probably a few thousand times at least. Seems like the term ‘great song’ is even more overused than the term ‘hero’. There are definitely many great songs that have been recorded over time, just probably not quite as many as are proclaimed.

But what makes a ‘great’ song? We all have our favorites and everyone can recognize what they consider to be a great song when they hear it. But what is it that makes the difference between a truly great song versus just a really good song? The simple answer, of course, is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what I consider a great song versus what someone else considers a great song are likely to be very different. Fans of every genre out there will likely consider songs from their favorite genre to be great songs. But beyond personal tastes, I do believe there are specific characteristics that most (if not all) truly great songs share. Some of these are very hard to define because they deal with how the song affects the listener. Some, although they may be hard to measure, can certainly be identified.

There are some basic criteria that I think most would agree (regardless of genre) that a song must meet in order for it to be considered truly great. Beyond these criteria, which I consider to be ‘table stakes’, then there are less measurable qualities that are those magical differentiators that elevate a song to great status.

But first, let’s talk about the ‘table stakes’:

Crossover / Mass Appeal – I do not believe that a song has to be a ‘hit’ to be considered great. In fact, what defines a hit in 2006 and what defined a hit in 1945 are very different so it would be difficult to judge a song purely on whether it made it on the charts. It’s certainly a factor. Conversely on the other side of that coin, just because a small group (regardless of their credentials) deems a song great, if at least a significant portion of the general population doesn’t agree, then the ‘great’ claim is just hot air. This goes for any creative endeavor whether it’s a book, movie, TV show or painting. The concept that the general public to too stupid to recognize greatness when they see or hear it, is condescending rubbish.

A song needs to viewed outside of its genre or cult following as a worthy song. I may not be a particular fan of a certain genre, but I should be able to listen to a song from that genre and determine if it’s a quality song. If the rest of the world listens to something and considers it nothing but noise (sorry Punk Rock), then it can’t be considered a great song. I’m not saying that niche genres such as Punk Rock or Death Metal haven’t impacted music and aren’t important genres. They have. I’m just saying that I’d be hard pressed to find any truly great songs that have come from these genres. I realize this puts some genres at a slight disadvantage but we are differentiating between ‘good’ songs and ‘great’ songs and if a song can’t rise above a small following, how can it be consider truly great?

Test of Time – A song doesn’t have to be ‘old’ to be great but eventually a song has to pass the test of time to be considered great. You should be able to listen to a song and ask the question, “will anyone be listening to this song 20, 40, 60 years from now?”. It is fairly safe to assume that the classical music that has survived through the centuries was the truly great music of their time. Even in the modern music era, we are already seeing the time filtering process with songs from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s. There are songs from these decades that are still being played routinely and are finding new fans on a regular basis.

Base Talent – I don’t think a song must complicated or require a tremendous amount of talent to perform. In fact, I would tell you that some of the greatest songs of our time are fairly simple in their structure. However, I do think that most great songs do require at least some level of talent to produce them. If you’ve never played a particular instrument before in your life and I can teach you a song on it in with minimal effort, that song likely isn’t going to be one that goes down in history as a great song. This again makes it difficult for some genres to elevate songs to the great level. At the same time, songs that are incredibly complex with multiple melodies, counter melodies, harmonies and that require a Chinese Acrobat with twelve fingers to play are not necessarily great just because they are difficult to play. They may, by definition, be impressive but then so is juggling chainsaws.

Original – In order to consider a work to be great, it really should be original. I’m not saying that it can’t be based on traditional forms or patterns such as in Blues or for that matter, use chord progressions or note patterns within reason that have been used before. After all, if you eliminated songs based on traditional patterns, scales or progressions, there wouldn’t be much past the 1950’s that would qualify. What I am saying is that the song should be your material and all your material. If you’ve taken (copied, sampled, stolen, etc.) all or part of someone else’s song and merely changed or added something (sorry Beyonce, sorry Rap), then it’s not a great piece of art. While it might be good music and fun to listen to, you are going to have to make significant changes to it for it to be elevated to great status.

Remakes of a previously recorded song may be the exception to this rule. There are some remakes of songs out there that are impressive. Some maybe even better than the original, but great? I guess it’s possible. There are certainly a number of Beatles songs that have been remade over the years that many would considered better than the original. But in all of these cases, the ‘song’ itself is still the ‘song’ and the performer is merely taking a great song up a notch. It’s not a piece or part of the song that is taken out of context and twisted into something different.

There are some remakes out there that eventually became the identified version of the song. Jimi Hendrix’s remake of Bob Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’, James Taylor’s remake of Carol King’s ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ and Garth Brook’s version of Billy Joel’s ‘Shameless’ are all classic examples of where the ‘remake’ became the signature version of the song. Those are also all three songs that many of their fans would classify as ‘great’.

Transferable – I think one of the true marks of a great song is when that song can be transferred to different instruments, styles and genres and still maintain its greatness. I can best convey my meaning by an example. The song Amazing Grace is a song that almost everyone in the English speaking modern world has heard. Not only have they heard it, I’d bet they’ve heard dozens of different versions. Whether it was performed as a solo piano or guitar instrumental, a chorale piece, an orchestral arrangement or maybe as a single soulful acapella voice, the song retains its beauty. I even once heard a Bass solo version of Amazing Grace that absolutely blew me away. My point is that a truly great song can transcend its original form.

Reproducible (live) – One of the core aspects of music throughout time has been the fact that music has always been performed live for audiences. I personally hope that never changes. It’s one of the great joys in life. With that in mind, if a song is so fabricated that it can’t be reproduced by real musicians in a live setting, then how can you consider that a great song. Maybe it can be consider a great audio creation, but a great song? Once again, this may limit some genres (sorry Electronica) that are so heavily dependent on computer generated sequences, sound effects and rhythms that they would be impossible to recreate in the real world. I’m not saying you can’t dance to it. I’ll just need some major convincing before I can consider it great.

So now I’ve put forth what I consider to be the basic requirements that a song should meet before we can consider it a great song. I’m sure I would get many disagreements on whether these basic requirements are valid. For that matter, you may have additional basic requirements that I haven’t consider but these seem like a pretty good start. After all, I haven’t dismissed any single genre out of hand. Nor have I dismissed any style or instrumentation. I think all genres, styles and instruments have the potential to create great songs and in fact I would tell you that most have.

With these criteria in place, are we any closer to defining what makes a truly great song? Not really. We have managed to filter out an awful lot of music. In fact, I’m sure we’ve filtered out some songs that I might personally even consider to be great. But we really haven’t gotten to greatness yet.

I think in order to discuss that next step, we have to explore the purpose or purposes of music. Why does music exist? Now that’s a big question, isn’t it? If we look at history, we will learn that music, in its most basic, original form was created as a means of communication. Drum rhythms to send messages from tribe to tribe or to warn people to stay away. Songs passed down from generation to generation telling the history of the people. Even when you look at today’s music, most songs are still trying to communicate something. Otherwise, what’s the point? Oh, there are certainly songs that are for just pure entertainment but how many of those do we classify as great?

When a song is trying to communicate something, that ‘something’ usually falls into two categories – songs telling a story and songs promoting an idea.

Story Songs – This is one of the oldest forms of music dating back to a time when the average person didn’t read or write and therefore in order to pass on stories or history, it had to be passed on verbally from memory. As educators learned a long time ago, it’s easier for someone to remember something if it’s made into a song. This style of song is especially prominent in Folk, Country and Blues music. However, you will find it in almost every genre. Our national anthem would be considered a story song. It tells the story of a battle fought during the revolution.

Story Songs can be great if the story is told well. Much like a book, the great Story Song is going to have a beginning, a plot, an end and often either a twist or a moral. Great Story Songs paint a picture so vivid, you feel like you can reach out and touch the people or place in the song. Of course, the average story song might just tell about a wild Saturday night. Harry Chapin’s ‘Taxi’ tells the story of a cab driver picking up an old girl friend as a fare. A pretty simple story but told in a very compelling fashion that reads almost like a short novel.

Idea Songs - Idea songs may be the most prevalent form of song in existence today. They range from the political to the plain old everyday pop song that is saying I Love You. You can pretty much look at any week of the Top Forty charts and most of the songs on the charts would fall into this category. One of my favorite examples of an idea song is John Lennon’s Imagine. It’s got to be the most beautiful depiction of Communism ever painted. The irony of course, is that the Capitalist Americans made it one of his biggest solo hits. I would imagine that most of them never paid close enough attention to the lyrics to understand what it was saying. There are certainly some great songs that would fall into this category but just based on the sheer number of songs in this group, there is also a tremendous amount of mediocrity. The mark of the great Idea Song is believability. Does the performer make you believe in what they are saying? In addition, is the idea itself important enough to worry about? Love is certainly an important idea and I’ve got to believe there are some truly great love songs out there.

Beyond communication of a story or an idea, another historic use of music was to create some sort of reaction from the audience. Usually those reactions would be either physical or emotional.

Emotional Songs - The Emotional Song may be one of my favorites. That may be because as a musician and a song writer, it may be the hardest form of song to write. Of course, this type of song way back in the beginning wasn’t usually about making someone melancholy or happy. It was usually about scaring the crap out of them. The jungle war drums telling the enemy to get ready eventually evolved into the marching drummers of later armies and then into the bugles blaring out the ‘Charge’ call. Of course, the art of scaring someone through music hasn’t been lost on the movie industry. Can anyone say Jaws?

Emotional songs run the gamut from happy or proud to sad or angry. It really runs the gamut. Some songs can make you feel all kinds of emotions all at the same time. If you didn’t cry the first time you heard Alan Jackson sing Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning, you’re a tougher man than I. I’ve heard that song now dozens of times and I still have a hard time making it to the end.

The mark of a truly great emotional song is one that can actually change your existing mood. If you’re happy, a truly great sad song can bring you down and keep you there for a while. The opposite is true. If you’re sad, a truly great happy song can bring you and keep you there for a while. Emotional songs may be one of the easiest types of songs to consider great because their impact is so obvious and immediate.

Physical Songs – The Physical Song provokes a physical reaction from its listener. Does it make you want to get up and dance? This is more than just feeling the need to tap your foot or mildly bob your head. This is “I’ve got to get up and boogie” or “I’ve got to bang my head ‘til it hurts”. A great dance song will fill the dance floor by the third note with people who normally wouldn’t be caught dead on a dance floor.

There are also songs that can provoke riots, make you want to go punch someone or make you want to go run, ride, swim or climb. These are great motivational songs.

At this point, you might be wondering, “What about songs that have no purpose other than to sound good or to entertain?”. There are certainly an enormous number of songs that would fall into this category.

For that matter, one type of song falls almost exclusively into the group is the Instrumental. After all, it is very difficult if not essentially impossible to tell a story or to put forth an idea in an instrumental. Sure, there are instrumentals that may accompany a story and even some that were written solely with the purpose of telling a story (Peter And The Wolf) but without the visual or the story presented with the music, they can’t ‘tell’ the story.

As for evoking a physical or emotional reaction, instrumentals can certainly do this. An instrumental can set a mood, get you on the dance floor or raise your tension level but it is pretty difficult to pull off without any other aspect (visual, lyrics, spoken word, etc.).

There are, without a doubt, some amazing instrumental music in this world and I’m sure that some of it elevates to the Great status. But you have to ask yourself, when was the last time you just couldn’t wait to get home and put on that instrumental? When was the last time an instrumental made you cry, made you smile, made you want to go overthrow the government? I’ve certainly been deeply affected by instrumentals. Those occasions are certainly few and far between.

So, if it’s so difficult for an instrumental to have that kind of impact on a person, what does that say for genres such as Classical or Jazz? Two genres that most would agree require an amazing level of talent to perform. There are obviously Great Classical and Great Jazz songs. I’m not sure what to think about that question.

I’m a huge Jazz fan and I think Jazz musicians may be the most talented single group of musicians on the planet. But when I listen to Jazz, I’m usually listening with a musician’s ear and wanting to hear great musicians ‘show off’ a bit. I’m rarely moved emotionally or physically other than the occasional smile when I hear a musician pull off some amazingly cool melody line over a series of impossible chord changes. I’m also at a bit of a deficit because while I enjoy listening to Jazz, I’m not overly knowledgeable in the genre. So maybe I just need to be exposed more to the genre.

As for Classical, I would propose that, since Classical music is predominantly a genre of the distant past, we really can’t judge greatness in the same way we do for modern music. Yes, I know there is new classical music being created and performed everyday throughout the world but it is not the popular music of the day as it was during the time of Mozart. There are no doubt great Classical songs and songs that do move the listener emotionally. The William Tell Overture immediately comes to mind. It is an incredibly moving song. Performed in the right setting, it will rock your world. There are more. Again, as with Jazz, I’m not an expert in the genre. If I was, I’m sure I could provide a list a mile long.

I think in the case of both of these genres, the technical expertise and musical skill required do have to be factored in. After all, some credit has to be given to the composer who spent years writing a classical piece for a hundred piece orchestra as opposed to the singer songwriter who poured his soul out over three strummed chords.

We can talk all day about criteria and what should or shouldn’t be a part of great song, but in the end it really comes down to what moves you. To paraphrase Carlos Santana, music has the ability to affect people at a molecular level. The right notes or lyrics at the right moment with the right instrumentation can reach into a person’s soul and change them. When it’s all said and done, if a song does that to you, then it’s certainly a song that should be put on ‘your’ list of great songs. If it does that to a large part of the population, then there’s no doubt it belongs on the list of Great Songs.

The mark of a great book is one that consumes the reader to such a level that they become completely engrossed in the story and they “can’t put it down”. Similarly, a truly great song has the ability to consume a listener to the point of distraction. When was the last time you had to stop a conversation because a song was being played near by and it was so consuming that you couldn’t converse and listen at the same time? When was the last time you heard a song whose lyrics took your mind off to a distant land or made you feel like you were living the story being told? Those songs are out there. They are the truly great ones.

So, with all that in mind I think I’ll grab my iPod, slide on my Bose headphones, listen to some really good music and see if I can find some truly great songs. Surely, out of the 3,000+ songs on my iPod, there’s got to be a least a few.

3 Comments:

At 12/27/2006 7:38 AM, Anonymous Joe Caneen said...

Dear Joe,

I hope you won't mind my blathering on here. I just happen to have some hours of downtime and your article just happen to hit at an interesting time.

Your very well thought and and written piece came at a time when I personally just discovered a great artist with a host of great songs--so great, in my opinion, that after a few days I took EVERYTHING else off my iPod. So great that it inspired me to create a future project that will probably cost me 20 million and which will be the musical equivalent of "Sundance", Redford's film retreat in the mountains of Utah--though it won't actually be equivalent, but much greater. It's purpose will be to start reversing the decline of the music industry unlike Sundance which is a haven for political statements. I never hear much about films that wIn Sundance awards.

And I know really nothing about the Music Industry. In fact, my background is film and video.

I've got $3000 in my pocket, so give me a few years. But don't laugh. One day you'll hear about "Missoula Jewel" and remember this. Even before I wrote this, I already thought of Val and you guys. I'll be inviting you to perform there.

So I thought I'd try to articulate something on the subject of what makes a song great. And what makes an artist great.

I'm talking about Jewel.

Ironically we've crossed paths a couple times. The first time was in 1996 at LAX. Someone nudged me and said, "that's Jewel". I turned to see a pretty, young, smiling blonde with a small entourage getting into a black limo. I had no idea who she was.

10 years later, a month or so ago, I heard an old song I liked on XM radio. It was "Who will save your soul?". Unlike FM DJs, the guys at XM always give you the song and artist names after they play a long block.

He said, "Jewel".

I said, "Jewel?!"

Mind you, I think "Who will save your soul?" is a good song, not a great one. But she wrote that at the age of about 16 and was performing it in coffee shops and living out of a van. But because of that song and many others she did alone on an acoustic guitar, she accrued a large following. Eventually someone from Atlantic Records came down to listen to her. "and the rest is history".

Sadly, I missed out on the whole thing.

On the other hand, if it had happened any other way, I probably would never have dreamed up Missoula Jewel.

Anyway, over the next couple days I heard a couple other Jewel songs on XM. I think one was "Foolish Games", another from her pre-fame era and which, I believe, went onto the soundtrack of a movie. One of them did.

I thought, "god, she's really good".

And I did something I've never done before in my entire life--went out to a record store and bought every single CD she had and listened to them all.

Furthermore, I liked every single song on every single album.

That's when I wiped my iPod clean. It's now a "Jewelpod".

I listened to her all day for several days as I drove across the US from Washington to Joliet, Illinois. I had plenty of time, so didn't push it. I could have made it a day earlier. If I had, our paths would have crossed again, because the day after I arrived I found out she had just done a concert in Joliet Illinois the night before. Damn.

Well, enough intro.

What is it about Jewel?

Her songs are mainly in your "emotional" and "story-telling" categories.

Her work is all original--self-written lyrics and music. And like all greats, many have tried to copy both her lyric and vocal style. They're up against two obstacles there: she's a very bright and aware young girl who can accurately observe life and relate exact nuances of thought and emotion through lyrics and melody. And she has a voice that no one can beat.

Her voice.

A good singer's voice is like an instrument. There are many who have such instruments that I admire greatly--some as simple as Bono or David Bowie or Nancy Wilson (Heart) or as complex and dynamic as Sarah Brightman or Pat Benatar.
I like Natalie Merchant's voice, but she's got no dynamic range. And Sarah Brightman's whose dynamic range is probably 3 octaves or more. But all of these and most everyone else has this "single instrument" voice.

Jewel's is more like an orchestra. Now that's pushing it a little, but serves to make the distinction.

She can sing as classical and as high an octave as world-class Sarah Brightman. Or low and sultry. Or with gravel in her voice. Or with a cry in her voice. And she can sound like a child. Or a woman. Or an angel. Or belt it out like Pat Benetar. And often her voice changes pitch, or octave or timber within the same song. Or within a single line of lyric. Or a within single word. And then, I've heard her do things with a voice I've never heard before and would never expect and couldn't even describe.

And none of it is an affectation.

What drives her voice and style is the highest level of communication I've ever heard in an artist.

If the term "soul music" hadn't been invented yet, I'd call it that.

She can emote like no one else I've ever heard.

She can make you laugh out loud or bring tears to your eyes or make you angry. Or even make you quiver in grief with a single line of lyric or a single word, all the while painting vast imagery--or evoking past imagery, as she sings about aspects of life we all relate to. And she does it with pure honesty.

You're right. The purpose of music (and all art) is COMMUNICATION.

Thus, the highest level of communication, would be the highest level of achievement in art.

But, as it is still in the eye of the beholder, that would have to be qualified by the fact that it must achieve the highest level of communication for the greatest number of people to be truly great.

Some of the current trash music is a "high level of communication" with a relatively small group of low lifes--many of whom probably say they like it just to be cool. They have no idea who they are and latch onto anything reachable to get attention. Such "art" comes and goes with the tide or the latest fashion.

So another quality of great music and great songs would be a message (communication) that transcends time while reaching the greatest number of people who chance to hear it.

The second aspect of Jewel's music that I admire is the instrumentation and arrangements.

She started off as a lone acoustical act. One girl and her guitar. Her melodies were always simple and always forwarded the message of the lyrics. In fact she still goes out sometimes to do acoustical tours without a band.

It was Atlantic records that insisted on making a "radio version" of "Who will save your soul" (her first hit and gold record) which then added other instrumentation. But it was well done and still forwarded the message of the song.

And so it is with all her band-backed songs since. The arrangements always seem so perfect, never showing off for their own sake. I've never seen a concert, but I don't imagine seeing some guitarist dancing around in the background like these modern "rock star" types are want to do. No, the attention is directed to Jewel's voice which carries the message of the song.

Having listened so many times to these songs I've been so impressed by the subtle contributions of the band--be it a drum beat, electric guitar or some instrument I can't even name.

So a great song has all of its elements contributing to forwarding the message of the song. The old days of "the guitar" solo for the sake of showing off the guitar player--or any other instrument, are not the days and songs of greatness.
I'd give some exceptions to that--such as David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, but there, his guitar was contributing to the overall message of the song in ways that no one before him had ever done.

I may be shifting the subject somewhat to what makes a "great singer/songwriter", but the essence of greatness is still the same. Andrew Lloyd Webber may not sing, but he has written great songs. And Sarah Brightman, who can sing, became a famous singer because of it.

Finally, on the subject of greatness, I thought I'd end with a quote from a man who was himself an artist in many different genres--from writing, which was his main love, to music, photography and cinematography, the latter two subjects which he taught me personally. It's something any artist can appreciate or aspire to. And by this quote, Jewel is truly an artist.


"No artist attempting to interpret life is worthy of being called an artist
unless he can view almost in the same sweep both apathy and exhilaration .
A good poet can cheerfully write a poem gruesome enough to make strong men cringe,
or he can write verses happy enough to make the weeping laugh.
Any able composer can write music either covert enough to make the sadist wriggle with delight
or open enough to rejoice the greatest souls.
The artist works with life and with universes. He can deal with any level of communication.
He can create any reality. He can enhance or inhibit any affinity."

--L. Ron Hubbard Science of Survival 1952

Joe Caneen

 
At 12/27/2006 7:41 AM, Anonymous Richard Konopada said...

Music is both personal and cultural. Great music lifts up your soul to the heavens. It will relax or excite. Sadden or entice you with happiness. It will touch emotions on different levels. Defining what makes a song great is a little like trying to define how many angles could dance on a head of a pin.



There’s a difference in the way you look at music and I. Being a musician, your approach is more logical. The difficulty in the cords being played or the pitch of the lyrics being sung is factored into your equation. Could the song be sung differently? What about adding a drum solo or the base guitar? Too loud or is it too long? Your experience and knowledge of composing adds a different dimension to listening and appreciating music.



I on the other look at music more simply, purely on an emotional level. If it significantly impacts one of my emotions then I appreciate the music.



But what is the effect of music. Why for example you enjoy Jazz but for me it is something I could never get into. Why does my musical taste range from Classical to Heavy Metal? Logically speaking Beethoven and Black Sabbath are the exact polar opposites. What is hard wired into ones brain that music by either would be enjoyed and appreciated? Is a part of our genetic makeup that allows one to be moved to tears over, say Harry Chapin’s Cats in the Cradle while another will be bored to tears with it?



So regardless of how your analytical mind classifies it, a great song pure and simple is one that effects the listener’s emotion. Regardless of the buckets you have stated in your blog, if the listener does not like the song it does not matter how physical the song is, or how difficult it is to play, etc the word greatness will never be applied.



Now, regarding Classical you stated that the “we really can’t judge greatness in the same way we do for modern music”. I would disagree with you on this one if anything it is more of a better measuring stick than anything played today and it meets and exceeds any of the buckets in your blog. Think about bit, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Santana, etc write a song they do so with the mind set that there is a finite number of musicians in their band, that the band may comprise of a drummer, a few guitar players and the lead singer. Big deal, think about writing a music that requires the combined efforts of dozens of musicians, different musical instruments and are so complex that they require someone to lead the effort. Think about your thought process and effort it took to compose say, The Hero Tells His Tale and compare it Beethoven, Ode to Joy. Consider if you will that when Beethoven composed the 9th symphony, he was completely deaf. He did not have the advantage of recording studio, multiple recording sessions or even the simple pleasure of hearing the music. This entire symphony was written in his mind, every note of every instrument played in his head. The feat itself is almost impossible to comprehend and 182 years after it was first played, it is still much loved by music lovers around the world.



So perhaps classical music does provide you with a yard stick of what is a great, music that stands the test of time. Think about the new songs that have been written and recorded in the past 100 years. How many are still being played today? When our generation has died, will anyone listen to the Beatles or Santana? Will they be footnotes in a musical history class or will their songs be played with Mozart or Beethoven? Only time well tell.



Richard

 
At 12/27/2006 8:11 AM, Blogger Val Serrie said...

I Always listen to music to the level that I can't converse and listen to it at the same time.
That's how I engage with music. It is not background to me. It is front and center of my attention field.
So when it's a bad song, it hurts. But when it's a good song, it's great!
And when it's a great song - it's magical.

To me, a great song is one that resonates with a lot of people so much that later in life, when they hear that song, it reminds them of that whole time in their lives.
On a larger scale, a great song is one that reminds all of us of a whole era in our culture.
The Beatles have some songs like that. So did Hendrix. They both remind of of the 1960's They are the musical backdrop of that era.
The Eagles had a lot of songs like that, that remind of us of the 1970's. And Toto. Steely Dan. Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, etc.

For me, a great song has to be a lot more than technically excellent. It has to have more than some flashy guitar parts or cool vocal harmonies (although they might get my attention). A great song has to touch people. It has to reach inside and connect to them. It has a voice and it speaks to them in a way that other's can't
Most people want recognition for trhe pain in their life. And a really good song does that. It reaches in and says "I understand your pain" in a way that they believe it and feel not so alone, and part of something bigger.
It also touches their joy and enhances their good times, their outlook. It makes them feel like dancing. It makes them feel like thinking. It makes them feel like singing along at the top of their lungs.
It engages their spirit.

That is greatness in music. And that is what I strive for in my music.

Wish me luck.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home