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How do YOU define a good song?

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  • 2 weeks later...

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I think a good measure of how good a song is - How translatable is it?


How many times has a particular song been covered and "re-worked" successfully? Was it able to cross genres easily and did it hold up under diverse instrumentation?


Not just do people connect with it, but do people who like mostly other genres connect with it? That's a biggie, I think. "I don't normally like *****, but that song kicks ass!"


Just my two cents.

I really don't know what to put here.
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I'm not sure the discussion in here matches the head. There are a million 'good' songs out there that no one cares about because they're not 'great' songs. Sure that's semantical, but no more than this entire thread :P


I really think your post is interesting, kitaristi0. We just had a 'songwriting competition' here at school and I our professors judged our songs in a very similar fashion. Now, I can't help but wonder (and I mean no offense to you in the least) if I could think of a less accurate way to recreate the setting in which a listener hears a song. No one (at least I hope not) sits down in front of their radio when the new Backstreet Boys single is released, pulls out their pen and paper and says '...well, the lyrics get a 6.5, and the music gets an 8.5, which averages out to 7.5, so this song gets higher than a 7 and therefore advances to the 2nd round in the contest to see which songs I enjoy listening to and may someday purchase..."


Again, I mean no disrespect to kitaristi0. But the average listener listens to a song because he or she wants three and a half minutes of pure emotion. When you break up with a girl or guy and listen to 'your song' you want that melancholy feeling, you're not thinking "Man, these 5.0 lyrics really hurt the overall value of this song and adversely affect my listening experience." Either a song gets you or it doesn't. And if it gets a massive audience then you've done something right and you've got a great song. Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.

*Howard Zinn for President*

**Pilsner Urquell for President of Beers!**

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  • 3 weeks later...

5 pence worth.. i'm sure that these opinions have already been given in one form or another above, but i'll go anyway. i find a bunch of things affect what i think is a good song.


firstly, i would call a good song a song that once it's reached the end i have an instinctive to hit repeat and listen to it again. kinda like a great meal that i'm thinking - i could eat that again and again, even to the point of overdose. my tastes have changed due to all sorts of reasons, some songs that i did NOT like at first took a while to grow on me - i think i just had to get used to the style. i'd be a crap a&r man 'cause i just can't get new things straight away - i always take a while to relax within a new genre or artist.


i'd apply that thinking to this artist called dar williams who doesn't seem to be that well known - i heard her album which i bought 'cause i heard one song that i liked and immediately thought - bad move - this is one crap album!!! gave it a chance and slowly it started to grow on me and since - in my opinion - the songs had a depth to them - they didn't become less palatable the more i listened to them, rather the opposite - i started to pick up things i never heard the first time. i suddenly started "getting it". then went on and bought other stuff of hers and now i'm a total fan. same applies to some little known group called Swan Dive - heard one song - bought the album - all the other songs were totally different and it just really took a while.


then there's the obvious one of emotional responses - some songs that i think are great right now move me in a way that they never would have done a few years ago, either because i was too young to relate to the words, or my tastes were focusing on something different. i went through an r&b stage where all i could listen to was r&b - wasn't interested in folky acoustic music and probably wouldn't have liked the songs that i love now, by the same contrast - i dont' particularly think there are many good r&b songs out there now - and looking back at the ones i used to listen to - i don't think that many were great either then? i was being interested by something different, the sounds, the beats and stuff - but with rare exception - r&b lyrics have never really made me stop and think and actually listen, they're just a means to an end. i find in other genres - the lyric is everything and i guess i'm just hopefully grown up enough now to start appreciating that and getting something from that.


does everyone else find that songs they used to think were good are still good? does that remain consistent? what about songs you never used to like, do you find yourself liking stuff u once hated?


i'll quit now 'cause personally - i can get far too lost in these kinda topics! haha


good vibes,



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I think there's a difference between what constitutes a "good" song, and what constitutes a "popular" song. Peoples' tastes vary...there's some very "good" material out there that never hears the light of day.


One must ask themselves the question..."Am I trying to write good songs, or popular songs?". In terms of popularity, one can refer to common themes, melodic and chordal signature lines, even instrumentation (remember those sickening synth strings that were all over the pop charts in the late 80s?)...in other words, what sells?


But, for a good song...does it have something, a good hook that pulls it back into your head? Do you find yourself humming it constantly? That, IMO, is a good song.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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