Hi people! 🙂
What makes a song a good song to you?
Sometimes it’s hard to say why I like a song. But some factors that play a role are: what instruments are in it, my favourite instrument is harp, almost all harps, but especially Celtic harp, but I also like all sorts of guitars (nearly all plucked string instruments really), flutes and piano from the more commonly used ones and a lot of others, also I don’t mind synth music or not typically. Sometimes electrical guitar can badly trigger my sensory anxiety if played a certain way but generally I love a good guitar riff, and not only just riff. The vocals, I don’t really know if there are some clear patterns to what kinds of vocals I usually like and what I usually don’t, I only know I usually dislike coloratura sopranos or voices with a similar hue – I spontaneously made up a word to describe them as a teen because I didn’t know if there was any actual way to describe them and I called them thick, as in a thick fluid, perhaps because that’s how they feel to my synaesthetic brain –
and some types of tenors, no matter in what genre, but there are always some exceptions to the rule, for example Maire Brennan from Clannad (has been featured on my blog) has a very thick singing voice but I rather do like her, though I prefer her singing in the lower registers because then she’s less thick. I tend to like light and clear lyrical sopranos as well as slightly husky and deep altos, and strong baritons, and I can like tenors too if they have enough depth and strength and expressiveness but not too much of the latter, as I always appreciate expressiveness in music, but too much exaltation is awfully annoying and a really bad thing for music in my very personal opinion. If there’s harp in a song/piece of music, it’s very bad if there’s also some rhythmical beat at the same time, ugh, it’s a profanity and the results are rarely any good, it sounds kinda cliche. I like lyrics that I can relate to, or that are intriguing, or funny, or very quirky, even so quirky and odd that no one can really understand what they’re about. There’s something refreshing in odd, even nonsense lyrics when all you hear all the time in “normal” music is: “Oooooh yeeeeeeeah yeah yeah I luuuuv yaaaa baaaaby” or the like. No, I don’t mind lyrics about love whatsoever, but it’s depressing that, according to what I once read somewhere, well over 50% of lyrics (don’t remember now how much exactly) is about love (though I hope they were only talking about English-language pop music). It also doesn’t make me feel as much of a connection when a song is about love as I’ve never experienced romantic love nor the sexual stuff that people often mistake for love, my fazas are a little similar but not the same. Elaborate, folklore-themed are always welcome. I love creative lyrics and those that are raw and honest or at least appear to be so. But usually lyrics are not the primary thing in a song for me, and if I like the music, I am often happy for the lyrics to be anything, unless I find them somehow really awful or completely not in line with what I think then it might be more of a minus and make me like the song less. Also I of course listen to a lot of music in foreign languages, so I’m not one of those people who have to understand a song to enjoy it. Sure, lyrics help me or at least hugely motivate me to learn and it can be so rewarding to see my progress in a language by being able to understand more of the lyrics of a song over time, but I’m happy not to understand a word. I’ve been a fan of a Polish radio programme called Strefa Rokendrola Wolna od Angola (English-free Rock’n’roll Zone” on Polish Radio Programme 3 where you can listen to all sorts of rock music (not necessarily just rock’n’roll) in all sorts of languages, including minority or just rarely heard of languages, any language you want except English and except Polish, unless sung by non-natives or Poles singing in a different language. And I usually don’t understand very much of the songs but still like listening to them. I also enjoy the childish and primitive language play with lyrics – where you either try to understand, or your brain understands on its own, some bits of the lyrics in another language as if they were singing in your language or any of the languages you know. – English speakers who speak only English might be confused right now, so I’ll say it’s like when you listen to a song, you try to pick up on as many words that sound similar to words in your own language. Both I and a lot of people I know often have such an illusion even without trying, when listening to music in a language we don’t know well or not at all, that some of the words or even whole phrases are in a language that is familiar. Brain doesn’t like things that aren’t familiar so I guess it’s logical in its own way. For example, Zofijka is convinced that in the song Sofia by Alvaro Soler he says “poo” in Polish, and then “Bibiel” a couple times. I often hear absolutely crazy things, although my capacity of understanding strange things in English music has been lessening as I become better at it which is sad. My favourite artist in this regard is Julie Fowlis who sings in Scottish Gaelic, in whose songs I’ve managed to hear Polish phrases like: “Make pancakes for me, make coffee for me, make pancakes for me and buy me a great-great-grandma”, “The poo has fallen out”, “Shame, Billy”, “You knave”, “James is marrying”, “Oh, I’m not deaf, son” etc. etc. etc. these are just a few bits I remember at the moment, there were a lot of totally absurd and bizarre ones.
And yeah, language. Language makes a song good. Sometimes the only thing that makes me like a song when I think of it is because it’s in one of “my” languages.
And the general feel and vibe, you could say energy. Or in any case, a bad feel and a bad overall harmony can make me really dislike a song and have a bad sensory reaction to it. My brain just doesn’t agree with some sounds and combinations and sequences of sounds.
That’s all that comes to my mind, though it’s possible there are some other factors too.