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  • Candidates for Perfect Songs (or near enough)

    You know, we all go back and forth about "good, better, best" and so on with songs. There's a sense, 'tho, to me, where a song so perfectly does its job, is so satisfying in its construction and execution at all practical points, that such a song seems to stand on its own pedestal and it seems like to some extent missing the point to compare it qualitatively with other songs. It's like the song both fulfills and creates an ideal thing with a unique value. It may be a small thing, a simple thing, sure - not a four-movement symphony for the ages and so on. But still, if it fulfills so wonderfully what it attempts, what else can you ask?

    (Not that I mean total, absolute perfection (whatever that is.) But near enough for this life.)

    So I'm inviting entries for songs you admirable ladies and gents feel similarly about.

    Here's one I'll throw out that I think of in these terms:

    Crowded House - Into Temptation



    nat whilk ii








  • #2
    I'll play:

    "I write from a different place. I do not even know what it is called, or if it has a name. It just comes and I sculpt it. But it is also a lot of hard work." —Van Morrison

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    • #3
      I wouldn't know how to categorise a perfect song - I just know those songs I've never tired of after 50 years.

      The Crowded House song is great, but as the lyrics appeared on the screen, I found myself adjusting them to achieve better prosody. It was easy to do, so why didn't the songwriter do it?

      The Sinatra piece with Mercer as the lyricist was just perfect in it's prosody, but is it a perfect song? - I don't know.
      The whole exercise is so subjective.

      I have a few songs that I use to set the standard of my own songwriting. I doubt that I'll achieve the level I would like, but maybe just one excellent song and I'll be happy.
      Here's one that I consider worthy of aspiring to:

      Waterloo Sunset

      Last edited by oldgitplayer; 07-08-2014, 10:27 PM.
      'Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn'.
      CHARLIE PARKER

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      • #4
        Originally posted by oldgitplayer View Post
        I wouldn't know how to categorise a perfect song - I just know those songs I've never tired of after 50 years.

        The Crowded House song is great, but as the lyrics appeared on the screen, I found myself adjusting them to achieve better prosody. It was easy to do, so why didn't the songwriter do it?

        The Sinatra piece with Mercer as the lyricist was just perfect in it's prosody, but is it a perfect song? - I don't know.
        The whole exercise is so subjective.

        I just want to know what songs strike people this way, that's all. Not looking for some definitive universally supreme creation in a technical sense. Just something that totally does the trick for you. Like what you mean when you take a big pull on your favorite beer on a hot day and say "it doesn't get any better than this". You're not interested in listing pluses and minuses or defining absolute perfection for your beer experience at the moment. Still, it's something you like so much from beginning to end that it stops the analytical machine for the time being, as analysis seems beside the point when you're in the moment.

        If it has flaws that you can't get around, can't transcend in the experience, then it fails the test for you.

        This one - I don't even know all the lyrics - but that one image of one headlight, in that it is enough to keep going in spite of a world of negative voices and so much damage already done...that's a perfect image and the song nails it.





        nat whilk ii


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        • #5
          Originally posted by oldgitplayer View Post
          Here's one that I consider worthy of aspiring to:

          Waterloo Sunset
          Good choice.
          "I write from a different place. I do not even know what it is called, or if it has a name. It just comes and I sculpt it. But it is also a lot of hard work." —Van Morrison

          Comment


          • #6
            Both Sides Now - the perfect simplicity of the lyric blows me away every time. I wouldn't change a word. The melody leaps then pauses, like she's playing with us. Wow.




            Others? Yesterday is pretty great. I'm Only Sleeping. I'm sure there are some standards.

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            • #7
              Into Temptation. Knowing full well the earth will rebel. Don't tell. When I first heard that lyric, incidentally, on the day it was released, I rejoiced inside. Here was someone speaking to me. Was there a God then? ? But an earth? Yes. I got that. Right and wrong, devotion or deception. That spoke to me then and still does today. Neil Finn talks of blood and mud and floating through the sky. Of the cosmos and a coffee cup. The great unknown and the things we do know for sure. I get that too. I love him, and I love that song even more.
              __________
              Your god doesn't exist but my god does and he is all loving. If you disagree with me I'll kill you. - Prince Ea

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              • #8
                Originally posted by nat whilk II View Post

                This one - I don't even know all the lyrics - but that one image of one headlight, in that it is enough to keep going in spite of a world of negative voices and so much damage already done...that's a perfect image and the song nails it.

                nat whilk ii
                Another good choice. I remember the first time I heard that song and I thought, "Where did this come from? It's so good!" At the time I was unaware of the singer's DNA possibly being part of the equation...
                "I write from a different place. I do not even know what it is called, or if it has a name. It just comes and I sculpt it. But it is also a lot of hard work." —Van Morrison

                Comment


                • #9
                  As far as my perfect song... Oddly enough, i'd have to say Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel. It's such a silly song and yet... Somehow it always spoke to me about self doubt and really knowing your place in the world. He gets up to wash his face and when he comes back to bed someone is taking his place. I get that.:-) and a great groove you can't destroy half drunk with an acoustic guitar around the campfire. Everyone, everyone! ...loves to sing it. I want to write my Cecilia.
                  __________
                  Your god doesn't exist but my god does and he is all loving. If you disagree with me I'll kill you. - Prince Ea

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, One Headlight. Great tune, great lyric, great performance by the band, and fantastic production by T-bone Burnett. Not only did Jacob come from out of nowhere, but T-Bone's dry punchy realistic production did as well. That sound set the benchmark for radio hits for the next couple of years.
                    __________
                    Your god doesn't exist but my god does and he is all loving. If you disagree with me I'll kill you. - Prince Ea

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lee Knight View Post
                      Yeah, One Headlight. Great tune, great lyric, great performance by the band, and fantastic production by T-bone Burnett. Not only did Jacob come from out of nowhere, but T-Bone's dry punchy realistic production did as well. That sound set the benchmark for radio hits for the next couple of years.
                      T Bone is am amazing producer, one of my favs. On Jakob's last solo album he even did a better job imo than he did on that second Wallflowers album, it's a different rootsier style though.

                      I believe T Bones style is keeping it real and keeping it simple, but that might be not as simple as it seems.

                      Rubin also did a killer job with Jakob's first solo album. Another fav of my is Don Was.

                      All these producers seem to let songs stand on there onw and don't try to cover up stuff with over production. I'm quite sure how out of nowhere Jakob came, as his dad made a few albums over the past 50 years.
                      _____________________________________
                      Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
                      Bye bye OJ it's been fun!
                      Join Date: Aug 2001
                      Location: N. Adams, MA USA
                      Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

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                      • #12
                        I meant it was surprising how good he was. We'd seen pics of him and figured, "Dylan's son. Yep." But to hear him was a very nice surprise.
                        __________
                        Your god doesn't exist but my god does and he is all loving. If you disagree with me I'll kill you. - Prince Ea

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                        • #13
                           
                          __________
                          Your god doesn't exist but my god does and he is all loving. If you disagree with me I'll kill you. - Prince Ea

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nat whilk II View Post


                            I just want to know what songs strike people this way, that's all. Not looking for some definitive universally supreme creation in a technical sense. Just something that totally does the trick for you. Like what you mean when you take a big pull on your favorite beer on a hot day and say "it doesn't get any better than this". You're not interested in listing pluses and minuses or defining absolute perfection for your beer experience at the moment. Still, it's something you like so much from beginning to end that it stops the analytical machine for the time being, as analysis seems beside the point when you're in the moment.

                            If it has flaws that you can't get around, can't transcend in the experience, then it fails the test for you.

                            This one - I don't even know all the lyrics - but that one image of one headlight, in that it is enough to keep going in spite of a world of negative voices and so much damage already done...that's a perfect image and the song nails it.





                            nat whilk ii

                            Love this song. Not a single cymbal in the song (other than hi-hats).

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                            • #15
                              This one has got so much going for it - it's not just soul 'tho it's great soul - it's got a blues mood and the vocal is totally blues phrasing, plus it's supremely funky and all the parts just click and fit perfectly and the recording is great. Not much missing here! And it always puts me in the zone.

                              Love and Happiness (of course)



                              nat whilk ii

                              Last edited by nat whilk II; 07-09-2014, 09:37 AM.

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