What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

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What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby tzvibish » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:17 pm UTC

I've always wondered about this one.

I know it's a highly subjective question, so I made this personal. For you, what qualities of music make for enjoyable listening. I don't want examples (unless absolutely necessary to illustrate your point), that could make this thread explode. I want to know what you look for when you listen to a song the first time.

For me:

- Talent. I don't care what kind of music I'm listening to, if you're good at your art, I'll listen to you.
- Aural Sense. By that, I mean that your musical structures should make sense to my ears. I listen to jazz, so there's obviously flexibility, but overly dissonant arrangements make me cringe. Now, someone that can turn that dissonance into something consonant, that will get my ears.
- Originality - This can come in many forms, but the point is, I don't want to listen to you if you're a carbon copy of a genre.
- A dash of quirk - Throw in a pinch of odd time signature, different chord voicing, some different instruments, and some innovative arrangements, and you have me hooked.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby scrt_rbt_agnt » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

i have thought about this a lot and i like a lot of different things depending on what group is performing, but on first listen here are some important things i pay attention to:

dynamic. the most important thing in songwriting is dynamic. it is how your louds compare to your quiets, how your highs compare to your lows the variety of rhythms/sounds used and how the track is mixed. this is EXTREMELY important in my enjoyment of audio anything. often, radiostations add more compression to a track on top of the compression the track already has in order to even out louds and softs and highs and lows so that you don't have to mess with your radio a bunch. this is the most terrible thing you can do to music. ugh.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Midnight » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:15 pm UTC

A good sense of switching between (quiet) slower parts, and adding in intense/more fast paced parts. Gotta keep em well blended though. Obviously stairway to heaven is an example of this. Animal Collective's "Banshee Beat" is another great example. it's slow song, but has a very powerful undercurrent that rears it's head every once in a while.

Dynamics, in my opinion, are not just what makes compositions sound good, but makes all music sound good. The different between a good drummer and a great drummer is mastery of dynamics. If a guitarist can play quiet and legato and switch to hard and fast, that's talent. If a singer can master vocal dynamics, that's a good singer.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby rpgamer » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:13 am UTC

It's all about flow for me. The best songs I know simply flow like a river. I know no links was requested, but nobody listens to my music. One of my favorite songs. The back and forth in the first third, followed up by the third introduction, and intertwining of all the parts leads to a beautiful flow.

Probably why I like bagpipes and sitars and accordions. The droning or chanting leads to a nice, seamless sound.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby EduardoLeon » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:05 pm UTC

I like bands that combine technical wizardry with awesome songwriting, like Dream Theater in the 90s. After Train of Thought, their last decent album, everything started going downhill for them.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby achan1058 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:51 pm UTC

Midnight wrote:Dynamics, in my opinion, are not just what makes compositions sound good, but makes all music sound good. The different between a good drummer and a great drummer is mastery of dynamics. If a guitarist can play quiet and legato and switch to hard and fast, that's talent. If a singer can master vocal dynamics, that's a good singer.
The problem is, the loudness war killed it, at least until the Death Magnetic scandal. Let's just hope it will be better from now on.

Anyways, to me, I would say it's harmony. There are pieces where you have the exact same melody, with different harmony, where the first time it sounds peaceful and longing, and the second time it sounded nothing less than pure horror.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby scrt_rbt_agnt » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:50 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:The problem is, the loudness war killed it, at least until the Death Magnetic scandal. Let's just hope it will be better from now on.


i assume you are talking about something about metal and metallica. what is this "scandal" about and what is the "loudness war"?

edit:

nevermind i found something on wiki:

The album has been criticized for having compromised sound quality, due to an overly compressed dynamic range, leading to audible clipping and distortion.[68] Sean Michaels of The Guardian explains that "the sound issues are a result of the "loudness war" – an ongoing industry effort to make recordings as loud as possible"


this is... hilarious. bands have been recording like this for ages. amps turned up to 11 with mic'd drums for distorted sounds. see: my bloody valentine. or if you prefer something newer: a place to bury strangers

despite obviously being recorded at tremendous volumes, both of these tracks are amazing.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:17 am UTC

scrt_rbt_agnt wrote:this is... hilarious. bands have been recording like this for ages. amps turned up to 11 with mic'd drums for distorted sounds. see: my bloody valentine. or if you prefer something newer: a place to bury strangers

despite obviously being recorded at tremendous volumes, both of these tracks are amazing.


You're WAY off the mark there. "Loudness" DOES NOT, by any means and under any circumstances, imply on a compressed dynamic range. In fact, it's the exact contrary: there is no "loudness" unless there is "quietness" for reference. The "loudness" war doesn't just increases the volume of the instruments: it crushes the dynamic range, so there isn't loud and quiet, but only a blur of noise -- digitally distorted, unpleasant noise.

Take those recordings more or less up to the early nineties -- yes, even those My Bloody Valentine ones -- and look at their waveform: you'll see the peaks and the valleys clearly defined, and that doesn't make them any "less loud". The latest recordings chop off all the peaks and amplify the signal. This is not simply loudness: it REDUCES THE QUALITY of the recording and damages the music.

It's in the mixing and mastering process: it's the stages that come AFTER the actual performances, and this process has not the intention of maintaining the sound quality.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Snowflake » Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:35 am UTC

Whether it's light, heavy, bright, dark, soft, hard, energetic, or mellow,

It's the way the song moves my heart - its raw Emotional power.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby scrt_rbt_agnt » Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:36 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:It's in the mixing and mastering process: it's the stages that come AFTER the actual performances, and this process has not the intention of maintaining the sound quality.


ok, so you called my bullshit. you're right. i didn't listen to that metallica record (or other albums that came out in this "loudness war"). they are probably terrible.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:40 pm UTC

One type of song I love is the kind that really tells a story, especially if it's told in the third-person. Songs like "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot and "She's Leaving Home" by The Beatles are good examples of this. What I really like is as the artist sings the story, you can really imagine it taking place, without the use of hallucinatory drugs.

Another good song is that which is a dedication to a famous (or not) person or object. You can really see how the song is dedicated to the person or object. Like with the story songs above, I like to be able to envision the person or object the song is an ode to, as the artist sings about it. "Candle in the Wind" by Elton John and "Calypso" by John Denver are great songs in this category.

A good song to me would have lyrics that are easy to sing along to, easy to understand (not mumbled or easily misheard), and easy to memorize. I like a song that I could sing a capella while working outside, or driving down the street in an area where I get no radio reception, and I don't have my mp3 player with me, or just whenever the hell I feel like singing.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Shivari » Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:03 pm UTC

I've actually thought about this quite a bit, but I really don't know a thing about music except that I like listening to it, so hell if I know a single thing about the structure of a song that makes it stand out to me. I'll just put something that I think is pretty important.

Catchiness. Seriously, if it's not going to be in my head all day and making me itch to get back home to blast it, I'll like it a lot less. I don't care if it's supposed to be artistically excellent, if it's not reasonably catchy I highly doubt I'll like it all that much. Now, it doesn't have to be something that's hyper-catchy and was basically solely manufactured for the radio, but it has to stick with me enough to make an impression.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Under A Pale Grey Sky » Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:53 pm UTC

Something progressive. Anything along the lines of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side..", The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper..", or Dream Theater's "Scenes.." really bring out the best in music. Brilliant lyrics, musical genius, and NO rap, hip hop, or any of that junk.

Also, fellow aussies Cortisone are a good band. They have an amazing musical range rarely found these days (they play both "heavy" rock and "melodic" rock in equal parts). If anyone at all is interested, you can find them here: http://www.myspace.com/cortisone.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Under A Pale Grey Sky » Sun Oct 04, 2009 3:59 pm UTC

EduardoLeon wrote:I like bands that combine technical wizardry with awesome songwriting, like Dream Theater in the 90s. After Train of Thought, their last decent album, everything started going downhill for them.


The "core" members (JP, JM, and MP, for the uneducated) were looking for a heavier sound with 'Train of Thought'. The heavy style found in 'Train of Thought" meshed in with the progressive element of the band, which evolved into what we see now. 'Black Clouds & Silver Linings' is one of their best sounding albums to date. While I prefer the predominate proressive style of 'Images & Words', the balance that metal shares with prog in DT's work is what brought the band to where they are.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby H2SO4 » Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:18 pm UTC

Lyrics and feel of the music. Lyrics can actually sometimes overpower talent/what I feel about the singer's voice or the instruments in the background. Funny lyrics (pretty much a lot of Ludo songs), poetic lyrics (a lot of The Hush Sound), or lyrics that I relate to (A lot of Good Charlotte and Airborne Toxic Event songs) affect if I like the song.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Dream » Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:00 pm UTC

scrt_rbt_agnt wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:It's in the mixing and mastering process: it's the stages that come AFTER the actual performances, and this process has not the intention of maintaining the sound quality.


ok, so you called my bullshit. you're right. i didn't listen to that metallica record (or other albums that came out in this "loudness war"). they are probably terrible.

If you listened to "At War With The Mystics" by The Flaming Lips, then you listened to one of the worst offenders. The loudness wars aren't just about loud acts, R'nB and commercial hip-hop are terrible for it as well.

I'm sitting in a mastering studio right now, with no one's ears but my own, and somebody else's work in front of me. Wish me luck...
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby achan1058 » Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:27 pm UTC

Snowflake wrote:It's the way the song moves my heart - its raw Emotional power.
Emotion, yes, that too, as long as it is negative. Happy joyous tunes aren't for me.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby tin » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:26 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
scrt_rbt_agnt wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:It's in the mixing and mastering process: it's the stages that come AFTER the actual performances, and this process has not the intention of maintaining the sound quality.


ok, so you called my bullshit. you're right. i didn't listen to that metallica record (or other albums that came out in this "loudness war"). they are probably terrible.

If you listened to "At War With The Mystics" by The Flaming Lips, then you listened to one of the worst offenders. The loudness wars aren't just about loud acts, R'nB and commercial hip-hop are terrible for it as well.

I'm sitting in a mastering studio right now, with no one's ears but my own, and somebody else's work in front of me. Wish me luck...


Y'know, after you said that about At War With The Mystics, I gave it a listen on my MP3 player (because I didn't believe you :P ). But damn, Coyne and co? Guilty as charged. It is loud.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:55 pm UTC

I don't think technical skill is really related to how good the music is, so long as the musicians succeed at doing what they're trying to do. Dream Theater (also, Ayreon, and really most newer stuff that calls itself prog) is the best example of this. They're technically brilliant, but I find their music to be hopelessly dull (even I&W and SFAM, for a while two of my favorite albums, now that I listen to them again) because, while it is technically proficient, it lacks passion. Octavarium was their worst offender in this regard, but all of their music seems to suffer from this. Seeing them live really cemented this for me. Their stage presence felt calculated and empty, they seemed more like machines than musicians. I think every artist I've seen live since has made me like them less, in comparison.

So, yeah, passion. I want to feel like the artist is putting themselves into their music and not just performing it. The rest is pretty subjective, really, and there's certainly sincere music that I still don't like, but it's hard for me to find a common thread. Rock, rap, metal, folk, country, noise, experimental, ambient, psychedelic, prog, each with artists I like and artists I don't, it's hard for me to really find what it is that makes me like music. I guess I need to find some sort of emotional connection with it.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby wiggles » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:10 am UTC

This is a really difficult question to answer, and I don't think it is all musical either.

I guess the best way to try to identify what it is that makes me like one song so much that I play it over and over again (I mean...I totally don't do that...) is to break it down into its basic elements. So in a song (from a contemporary outlook, because I very much doubt people are arguing a comparison of Wagner to The Rolling Stones) there are:

    lyrics (more often than not)
    ostinato (I seriously doubt that there's many drummers who today create a pattern which never repeats an idea, even if they are switching from snare to toms or whatever)
    riff or repeated ideas
    verse/chorus structure
    instrumental parts (or "solo's")

Please feel free to add to this list, but I believe these are the main aspects to contemporary music.

So if we break it down now, lyrics are something which help to identify a song from others, though probably not at first glance. Ever been at a festival or concert where a band you've never really listened to is playing, and you're trying to sing along, but instead you just hum the melody? That's because you honestly don't know the lyrics, though the musical structure is somewhat predictable. Lyrics are also often used to convey a message, so this is an element in which a song can transgress its actual popularity.

Whilst the drums don't always create something awe-inspiring, they play a crucial role in how we perceive the song. I mean, you usually dance along to the drum beat, and where you don't, its a rhythm created by the bass part. They also help to develop a particular mood to the song, especially in that concert or club situation. The 16 part rhythm of Happy Hardcore songs is very different to the slow beat of Dubstep, or the 1&3 rhythm of rock.

Riffs are the main way that I think people identify one song from another. It's almost like a universal indicator for each song, there's no language element, as in where lyrics require a more precise identification. This is the part which gets stuck in my head most of the time, and when its not a riff, its the melody from the vocals, again without the language itself.

Verse/Chorus structure has both created amazing music, and destroyed it. The pop formula relies on a very repetitive chorus-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-chorus type structure that whilst successful, doesn't really develop music on a whole. It just creates a heap of one hit wonders. One band that does come to mind is Placebo, who have in some songs created a more linear structure less reliant on a repeated chorus, and instead a repeated yet changing verse structure. Sort of hard to explain what I mean, but Bright Lights is just one example that comes to mind. Other bands, particularly in progressive genres do this too.

Solo's are a favourite of guitar hero fanboys. It really pisses me off when I'll be at a party where Sweet Child O' Mine is playing, and all the gamers air-guitar-heroing the solo. Not just air-guitaring, but actually playing the solo as it is on guitar hero. They are also a great way in which the instrumentalists can steal a bit of the spotlight, especially if they are in a band where the singer/frontman is the only person fans care about. As a guitarist who cannot sing one bit, that must suck.

But what makes a song good to me?

Challenging what has been done up to this point. Not just conforming to a stock pattern of formulaic music. Whilst there is always a need for pop music (I enjoy listening to it, and it is especially enjoyable in the club scene), it should be kept as a "good pop song" rather than a "good song". I don't believe that there is any one element, or any two for that matter, which specifies what will be a good song. Of course, you can tell whether it will be popular, but most popular music fails to be okay, let alone good.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby PlayingMonkey » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:28 am UTC

Shostakovitch.

Thank you and good night.

On a more serious note: Music which is powerful is what I consider good music. Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony makes me cry when it's played well, and to me is more moving than some of Dream Theater's ultra-technical chamber playing.

Weber's 1st clarinet concerto is one of my favorite pieces, simply because it's so dark and moody.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby achan1058 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:34 am UTC

PlayingMonkey wrote:Shostakovitch.
I second this. Music sounds that much better when you are under the threat of being arrested by the KGB.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby PlayingMonkey » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

achan1058 wrote:
PlayingMonkey wrote:Shostakovitch.
I second this. Music sounds that much better when you are under the threat of being arrested by the KGB.


I'm not sure if your being sarcastic. If you think about it the best/most powerful music (imo) comes when times when the composer is under extreme pressure, and that much music is influenced directly from politics.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Dream » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:59 pm UTC

PlayingMonkey wrote:Shostakovitch.

Thank you and good night.

On a more serious note: Music which is powerful is what I consider good music. Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony makes me cry when it's played well, and to me is more moving than some of Dream Theater's ultra-technical chamber playing.

Weber's 1st clarinet concerto is one of my favorite pieces, simply because it's so dark and moody.

Those aren't songs.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby achan1058 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:26 pm UTC

PlayingMonkey wrote:If you think about it the best/most powerful music (imo) comes when times when the composer is under extreme pressure
That's what I mean. BTW, I love him too.
Dream wrote:Those aren't songs.
Song is just a generic word to encompass music in general.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby scrt_rbt_agnt » Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:54 pm UTC

Dream wrote:If you listened to "At War With The Mystics" by The Flaming Lips, then you listened to one of the worst offenders.


fair. the lips did something similar on their new album too but it sounds much better.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Dingbats » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

Above all, creativity. I want to hear that the person/people who made the music are truly creative and love the art. This often goes hand in hand with originality, but not necessarily.

The creativity should preferably be heard in both the "actual song", the arrangement and the production. One band I adore for getting this totally right is Animal Collective. And The Olivia Tremor Control blew my mind the first time I heard them. Pure creativity every millisecond. Deerhoof is an example of a band that writes really creative songs, but whose productions are pretty average, which makes me listen to them less.

Technical skill, completely irrelevant.

Emotionally moving is a plus, but not essential. To name a few bands and artists I like that rarely make me feel anything in particular; High Places, Beirut, Thao Nguyen, The Books, Black Dice. I still like them a lot for their creativity and skilled songwriting.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Dream » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:37 am UTC

achan1058 wrote:
Dream wrote:Those aren't songs.
Song is just a generic word to encompass music in general.

Which is kind of annoying for those of us for whom songs are only one part of our musical experience. And it's still wrong.

rbt wrote:the lips did something similar on their new album too but it sounds much better.


Nooooo! I was totally hoping it would be beautifully subtle... :(
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Midnight » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:31 am UTC

Song is definitely NOT a general word to encompass music in general. If the OP meant that, the words "piece of music" might've been used.

And frankly, I think solos can add a great element of music. Bands that put them in every song... I dunno about that. I prefer it when they're some kind of overwhelming climatic shift (stairway), or say, the solo in Muse's "Citizen Erased" when the song goes back to the fast part. If it's a metallica style thing where it's just "Verse-verse-chorus-verse-verse-chorus-solo-chorus", or worse yet, when metal bands have a completely different rhythm/chord progression JUST for the solo section. urgh.

Some solos are great. I don't like sweet child o mine in general. Comfortably Numb, on the other hand...
I mean, I think dragonforce's (and hell, Mahavishnu Orchestra's) use of solos as a constant thing, is silly. I also think bands that intentionally have nothing solo-y in them are intentionally stifling an element of creativity, which is also silly.
uhhhh fuck.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby TheAmazingRando » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:28 am UTC

Dream wrote:
rbt wrote:the lips did something similar on their new album too but it sounds much better.


Nooooo! I was totally hoping it would be beautifully subtle... :(
Seconded. I was looking forward to the album's supposed return to their psychedelic roots. That kind of psychedelic music needs dynamics and good, subtle texture. Still going to check it out, though.

I know I've posted this song before, but, if you don't like solos, hopefully this will change your mind. I agree that bands who overuse them can be annoying, but a properly placed solo can make a good song great (and an unnecessary solo can make a decent song terrible). The song shouldn't feel like it's all building towards the solo unless you specifically want that kind of tension.

I have a friend who wrote music that bugged me. It took a while before I realized that every single song seemed built around the solo. The guy is a very technically proficient guitar player, practices all sorts of speed exercises and whatnot, and felt like he had to incorporate as much of his technical skill as possible in every song he wrote.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby tin » Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:35 pm UTC

Dingbats wrote:Above all, creativity. I want to hear that the person/people who made the music are truly creative and love the art. This often goes hand in hand with originality, but not necessarily.


I was trying to think of a way to succinctly get across what makes a good song for me and that would be this. If I can hear the passion and the dedication to the craft, it's usually wins me over. A great song for me is when this is coupled with an emotional connection of some sort.

Also, a common theme for a lot of my favourite songs is this very strong and very powerful energy layered underneath everything. Be it layers of distortion, electronic modulations, samples, strings...whatever! Sometimes this energy is kept harnessed, so the song broods with a teasing sense of tension. Sometimes it's unleashed and you get balls-to-the-wall noise. It doesn't matter what genre it is, that energy should be there.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Midnight » Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:42 pm UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:
I have a friend who wrote music that bugged me. It took a while before I realized that every single song seemed built around the solo. The guy is a very technically proficient guitar player, practices all sorts of speed exercises and whatnot, and felt like he had to incorporate as much of his technical skill as possible in every song he wrote.



okay. That's a perfectly valid argument, and it's kinda lame too. I mean, some guitarists (like say, the aforementioned guitarist of Muse) are really really good, but don't really show it off. I mean if you listen to an average muse song you'll be like "Yeah, no, he's good" but then if you see something like that... it'll surprise you. Which I think is cool on a whole nother level.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Zentry » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:51 pm UTC

As a bassist the first thing i look for in a song is how good the rhythmn is, then i look for originality and how well each song is pieced together
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

Sometimes when a portion of a song is spoken, it really helps to create the mood of the song, and makes it so much better. The Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" has a great spoken part. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" without the spoken part read by Vincent Price is just a love song telling a girl that she can rely on her boyfriend to protect her from the monsters in the horror movie they just saw. The spoken part always sends chills down my spine.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:26 pm UTC

A good song (track, musical piece, etc.) is one that puts my brain to work and doesn't annoy me. Those are extremely simple, restrictive, absolutely subjective and vague criteria, and I think that's what usually happens with the majority of the population: most people have criteria that you can explain but not define objectively. The others are total freaks. :P

Rhythm or no rhythm, melody or no melody, tonal or not, dissonant or not, fast or slow, loud or quiet, if it activates my braincells and doesn't make me want to run screaming from my place, it's a score.

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby scrt_rbt_agnt » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:05 pm UTC

yeah but there's something about a song that does that to you. what you're basically saying is "i like a song because i like it". but what is it ABOUT a song that really gets you? i'm not saying there's a formula to make a song that you like, but maybe there's a particular aspect of the songs you like that they all share?
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby KallistiEngel » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:32 pm UTC

tzvibish wrote:- Aural Sense. By that, I mean that your musical structures should make sense to my ears. I listen to jazz, so there's obviously flexibility, but overly dissonant arrangements make me cringe. Now, someone that can turn that dissonance into something consonant, that will get my ears.
- Originality - This can come in many forms, but the point is, I don't want to listen to you if you're a carbon copy of a genre.
- A dash of quirk - Throw in a pinch of odd time signature, different chord voicing, some different instruments, and some innovative arrangements, and you have me hooked.

I agree with all these. Talent is nice, but if you're super-talented at what you do and it doesn't sound good to me, I'm still not listening.

I very much agree with the aural sense bit. I like some punk music, but I can't listen to bands that just go to slap-dash screaming and wailing on instruments (F-minus is a good example....). One of the bands I like a lot, can manage to go from a slow, classical-type piano arrangement and transition into more rapid punk guitar riffs, etc (the specific songs I'm thinking of are Until We're Dead by Star Fucking Hipsters and the end of Stop the Insanity transitioning into the beginning of Crack City Rockers by Leftover Crack. I like songs that are arranged well.

Lyrics are also a big thing. I like songs that have clever lyrics or ones that just sound damn good even outside the context of the song. For example, A Moment of Silence by Streetlight Manifesto uses the line "A pox upon your house, upon your family, and everyone you ever knew, and everyone you'll ever meet", that's drawing on Shakespeare right there. Addicted to Bad Ideas by World/Inferno Friendship Society is one that I like quoting out of context just because the lyrics are beautiful.


I'll give anything a listen once, but I'm actually decently picky with music. Even though the genres of music I listen to are very diverse.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby ChocloManx » Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:32 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:One type of song I love is the kind that really tells a story, especially if it's told in the third-person. Songs like "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot and "She's Leaving Home" by The Beatles are good examples of this. What I really like is as the artist sings the story, you can really imagine it taking place, without the use of hallucinatory drugs.


Maybe you would like 70's Genesis. Especially Foxtrot and Nursery Cryme.
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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby Ivora » Sun Oct 18, 2009 12:53 am UTC

It has to have a catchy tune and meaningful lyrics.

But the latter isn't always the case.

Also? Something I can JUST DANCE TOO! 8)

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Re: What Makes A Good Song (for you)?

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:55 am UTC

scrt_rbt_agnt wrote:yeah but there's something about a song that does that to you. what you're basically saying is "i like a song because i like it". but what is it ABOUT a song that really gets you?


It can be anything! I say that literally: as far as I can see, there are no restrictions and no constraints in terms of style or sound that I impose in the music I listen to. Looking through the stuff I really like, the only trends I can see are exactly what I said: they are stimulating and don't fall in pitfalls of utter bad taste. And that thing of defining what is it "about" a song that makes it good kind of irks me, because that means people put obstacles inside themselves in order to filter out certain kinds of music, and to me, the only effect that has is narrowing the vision and limiting the possibilities. I can say I truly enjoy music only because I like breaking down the barriers, and that's why I have a special affection for music that leads me to take the most radical moves -- the more shocking a musical piece is, the more attached I'll probably get to it.

Now that I think of it, it's much easier for me to take a piece of music I don't like and pick the reasons apart. I can only try to list the things that potentially make songs BAD for me, but then, there are exceptions -- there constantly are new exceptions, so it's all back to square one.


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