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That perfect song and why it is so


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What is your perfect song and why?

For me, it is “Hey Joe” by Hendrix.  The lyrics and their delivery, the mournful background vocals lending a sense of impending fate, the buildup of the song to the fury unleashed in the solo and chromatic walking (gunshots) immediately after.  They all contribute to this most evocative piece of music to me.  You aren’t just listening to notes and beats or music anymore.  You are transported for a brief moment into the experience of a man making the decision to and carrying out the murder of his unfaithful wife.

I have let my kids listen to a lot of inappropriate music.  Fuck the Police, War Pigs, Let the Bodies hit the Floor, etc...  Hey Joe was the one song that left them kind of stunned until my daughter asked, “JOE KILLED HIS WIFE?!” and my son was like, “Dad, I don’t think we should be listening to this.”

If that’s not a testament to the evocative nature of a song, I don’t know what is.  All of that is what makes “Hey Joe” the perfect song to me.

 

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I don't know if this is my perfect song but I swear everytime I hear it, I hear it.

I couldn't tell you the first thing about music but to me the first chords are haunting.  The lyrics are wonderful.  I can feel it.  Isbell and the DBTs take their time.  This song is supposed to be felt and I feel it.  Plus the title, Goddamn Lonely Love.

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I don't know if I could name a #1, I'd probably pick a different song each day for a month, but this one pretty much nails it.  For starters, it features what is likely the greatest singer of the pop/rock era.  Combine that with the greatest effort by what might be the greatest writing team of that period, and well, there you go.  It's an unusual, iconic melody, and a very simple recording -- the brilliance of Aretha, drums, bass, piano (is that Aretha?  don't know) and some backing singers.  That's it. 

It's as fine an example of pop brilliance as I can think of.

 

 

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I had a long think about this. I thought about Stevie’s version of Little Wing. It just reminds me of why I like music. Then I thought of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger because of its enjoyability, it’s an anthem that is sad and happy at the same time. It a great song because of its vibe. 

But the perfect song for me is The Beatles ‘In My Life’ 

Why? I enjoy harmony. It has great harmony. It has a lovable piano solo. The tone, the vibe, the pensive quality. It has a sad and happy quality. The lyrics are universal. 

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

 

 

 

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Whew.  Tough one.

I'm not sure this stands the test, but it seems to me that such a song needs to be very accessible, and therefore "poppy," yet not completely trite.

To it's credit, it has been a hit for three artists in fairly different genres.

It's not my favorite song, but it's a good one.  And it endures.  I forget about it, but it makes me happy when it plays.

By the author.

The original.

 

The latter day.

That it was selected by Wes Anderson for revival in one of his films seems significant, as does the fact that Raul Malo thought it would be good to cover.

Edited by TwiceHorn
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There's something about this song that takes me to wherever I need to be as soon as I hear it.The rolling wave of the bass line is just hypnotic to me. It's simple and timeless and perfect.

 

Edited by IDIOTsavant
Living up to my user name
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I've had a difficult time with MJ for the last several years like I'm sure plenty of other folks have. It's hard to reconcile the guy's transgressions with the memories of his music piping through our house, and the superhero status he had when I was a kid. I want to share and enjoy his music with my kids now but I find myself mostly changing the station when he's on. Maybe when they get older and I can fully explain it to them. It sucks.

Anyway - Rock With You is perfection. Impossibly smooth, dancing perfection:

 

 

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For me, it has to be Harry Chapin:

 

No matter how many times a father says that he is going to be the exception and spend a large amount of time with his young son, life always gets in the way when you are struggling to make ends meet as a new family. This is a fitting tribute to that lament. It is comforting knowing that I'm not alone in my regret.

CHIEF

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As many may know, I am a fan of the Grateful Dead.  My perfect sing would be Eyes of the World because it is a beautifully and beautifully played.  It has plenty of space in it for all of the band to explore and it has been played so differently over the last almost 50 years.  Here is a version from 1974.  It's got a very jazzy sound to it.

 

Here is a version from 1990 when Branford Marsalis sat in with the band and there was plenty of room for him on this song too, yet is sounds completely different than it did 16 years earlier.

 

And then this is a version from Dead & Company in 2019 (FF to the 6 minute mark).  Dead & Co have 3 different members playing than the previous versions I posted.  It's almost a completely different song as well.

[spoiler]yes, I know you hate the Grateful Dead, jimmyjazz.  I don't give a shit.[/spoiler]

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10 hours ago, IDIOTsavant said:

There's something about this song that takes me to wherever I need to be as soon as I hear it.The rolling wave of the bass line is just hypnotic to me. It's simple and timeless and perfect.

 

That's a really good choice.

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Well I probably should be
Drug out to sea
Where I can't hurt no one
And no one can hurt me
At least I'd be free
And probably I'd see
What caused me to be
So detached completely
Jumping rope
Through a thick cloud of smoke
Fumbling through all
Of the letters and the notes
The ones that you wrote
Did they keep me afloat
Or just wrap 'round my throat
Like a noose on a rope
Probably both
 
So lay low baby
I won't be back anytime soon
If it gets too lonely
I will follow you 'round in this tune
 
I don't know what to do
What I'd do if I knew
But we go through our day
And get by and get through
But my heart is with you
You probably knew
Your love is like glue
 
So lay low baby
I won't be back anytime soon
If it gets too lonely
I will follow you 'round in this tune
 
So lay low baby
Just for a little while more
If you can't keep waiting
I will find my way back to your door

****************

if you've never felt like that, I envy you

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Nothing has ever captured heartache or longing so perfectly.

The gently strummed intro.  Mick's subtle vocals.  Keith's lead fills all over the top.  The swelling chorus.  "Let's do some living after we die".  Fuckin a'.

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On 1/12/2021 at 10:31 PM, TwiceHorn said:

Whew.  Tough one.

I'm not sure this stands the test, but it seems to me that such a song needs to be very accessible, and therefore "poppy," yet not completely trite.

To it's credit, it has been a hit for three artists in fairly different genres.

It's not my favorite song, but it's a good one.  And it endures.  I forget about it, but it makes me happy when it plays.

By the author.

The original.

 

The latter day.

That it was selected by Wes Anderson for revival in one of his films seems significant, as does the fact that Raul Malo thought it would be good to cover.

This wouldn't be my vote, but I fuckin' love this song.

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3 minutes ago, Al_4_ISU said:

This wouldn't be my vote, but I fuckin' love this song.

I'm not sure why it popped into my head.  I did go through the thought process that it has to be something poppy, but not too poppy.

American Girl is a great choice.

So is Dock of the Bay, which also makes me think of a Sam Cooke song.

 

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On 1/12/2021 at 8:00 PM, Post Oak said:

 

 

I don't know if this is my perfect song but I swear everytime I hear it, I hear it.

I couldn't tell you the first thing about music but to me the first chords are haunting.  The lyrics are wonderful.  I can feel it.  Isbell and the DBTs take their time.  This song is supposed to be felt and I feel it.  Plus the title, Goddamn Lonely Love.

Just thinking about this takes me back to my discovery of Drive-By Truckers.  Never before nor since have I been so instantly and completely enamored with an artist where I went out and just bought everything.

I bought "A Blessing and a Curse" on a whim seeing it on the shelf at a Best Buy in 2007.  I had recently read some praise or descriptor of them and then saw the album.  By like the second verse of "February 14th" I was in, hook line and sinker.  The next day I went back and bought "The Dirty South".  When I heard this song for the first time, my jaw dropped and I looked over at my buddy who was riding with and we knew that this was probably going to be our favorite band for a long fucking time.  Within a month I had the whole catalog and was listening obsessively.

Outside of the classic rock era, I don't think there's an artist/band that can top their 3 album run of "Southern Rock Opera", "Decoration Day", and "The Dirty South".

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1 minute ago, TwiceHorn said:

I'm not sure why it popped into my head.  I did go through the thought process that it has to be something poppy, but not too poppy.

American Girl is a great choice.

So is Dock of the Bay, which also makes me think of a Sam Cooke song.

 

Agree 100% on American Girl.  It popped in my head when I saw this thread, but of course it was taken.

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My college girlfriend is a HUGE music fan.  We never watched TV or went to a movie.  We went to live shows and sat at home listening to albums.  Really listening to them.  She is still the biggest Dylan fan I've ever met.   This was around 82-86.  I always wondered about the line in parentheses below from the first time I heard it.   This is what we finally settled on, though it made NO sense.

Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
(I don't fall for the one)
Like waves crashin' on the beach

Then in 1985, we had a huge house party to watch Live Aid, and Petty opened with American Girl.  That was the first time we ever figured out what he was saying.  

Yeah, she could hear the cars roll by
Out on 441
Like waves crashin' on the beach

I saw Petty in Feb, 2017 and when he played American Girl as his last song, I cried.  I knew I would never see that song performed live again by the full band.  I cried for falling for the one and for 441.....  It was maybe the happiest I've ever been since my daughter was born.  This version makes me cry as well.  

 

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Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You.

Not a typical love song or typical breakup song - more of a gracious breakup song.  It is fairly short, however every word has meaning to the overall simple yet powerful story  Take into account Parton's reason for writing the song and its, IMHO, perfect.  While Whitney Houston did an amazing cover, I will always love Dolly singing it.

 

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7 minutes ago, Jerry Callo said:

Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You.

Not a typical love song or typical breakup song - more of a gracious breakup song.  It is fairly short, however every word has meaning to the overall simple yet powerful story  Take into account Parton's reason for writing the song and its, IMHO, perfect.  While Whitney Houston did an amazing cover, I will always love Dolly singing it.

 

I was a kid when The Bodyguard came out, and so I was always inundated with the Whitney Houston cover, and while she's an undeniable vocal force of nature, I much prefer the simple country arrangement of the original.

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I can completely get on board with "American Girl", "Rock With You", and "Dock of the Bay".  No question about any of those.
It's a different day, and I said I'd probably pick a different song every day for a month.  This song is perfect.  Most people think of it as pop candy, but it has some the nastiest guitar tones in recorded history.  It fucking blazes, you just have to listen past the (awesome) vocal harmonies.  He straddled a line between 60s/70s psychadelic haze and pure pop, and I have no idea how he did it. 
Yep, perfect.  Wouldn't change a thing.
 
 

Love the harmonies in the chorus
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On 1/13/2021 at 3:22 PM, CHIEF said:

For me, it has to be Harry Chapin:

 

No matter how many times a father says that he is going to be the exception and spend a large amount of time with his young son, life always gets in the way when you are struggling to make ends meet as a new family. This is a fitting tribute to that lament. It is comforting knowing that I'm not alone in my regret.

CHIEF

Didn't see this. Just posted the same. Everything you just said.

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I don't know if it's perfect or better than perfect. This is the most unbelievable performance I've ever heard. Lalah Hathaway's vocals are obviously mind blowing, but the band is smoking, and after the polyphonic singing starts up towards the end (she's comping for herself like a keyboard player and hitting all the changes, check out the interplay between her and the organ), the band cranks up the energy and just blows the roof off of the thing. It's cool to see great musicians obviously blown away by each other and collectively raise to another level. Lot's of former UNT kids in this too, so Mean Green represent.

 

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5 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Are Ian Curtis and Tom Petty playing the same guitar in those clips?  Maybe 6-string VS 12-string?

Google says correct - Vox Phantom VI. In 6 or 12 string. Good eye.

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32 minutes ago, Mole said:

I don't know if it's perfect or better than perfect. This is the most unbelievable performance I've ever heard. Lalah Hathaway's vocals are obviously mind blowing, but the band is smoking, and after the polyphonic singing starts up towards the end (she's comping for herself like a keyboard player and hitting all the changes, check out the interplay between her and the organ), 

 

Wait . . . was she singing multiple pitches at once?  Is that "polyphonic" singing, as you put it?  That was freaky.

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1 minute ago, jimmyjazz said:

Wait . . . was she singing multiple pitches at once?  Is that "polyphonic" singing, as you put it?  That was freaky.

Yeah, Mongolians do it. So do Inuits and a few other traditions. But they don’t do what she’s doing. They’re highlighting overtones in the notes they’re singing. Think of it as extreme Eq using the shape and resonance of the mouth.

She’s doing some sort of witchcraft and hitting all of the chord changes. It’s not overtone singing like the Tuvan throat singers. It sounds like some sort of finely controlled growl. I have no idea how, but it’s awesome.

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5 minutes ago, Mole said:

Yeah, Mongolians do it. So do Inuits and a few other traditions. But they don’t do what she’s doing. They’re highlighting overtones in the notes they’re singing. Think of it as extreme Eq using the shape and resonance of the mouth.

She’s doing some sort of witchcraft and hitting all of the chord changes. It’s not overtone singing like the Tuvan throat singers. It sounds like some sort of finely controlled growl. I have no idea how, but it’s awesome.

It obviously freaked the band out.  They were all "what the fuck?"

Awesome.

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7 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

I can completely get on board with "American Girl", "Rock With You", and "Dock of the Bay".  No question about any of those.

It's a different day, and I said I'd probably pick a different song every day for a month.  This song is perfect.  Most people think of it as pop candy, but it has some the nastiest guitar tones in recorded history.  It fucking blazes, you just have to listen past the (awesome) vocal harmonies.  He straddled a line between 60s/70s psychadelic haze and pure pop, and I have no idea how he did it. 

Yep, perfect.  Wouldn't change a thing.

 

 

Perfect.  I offer up Divine Intervention. What a great song.  This could have been on Sgt. Pepper's easily.  The guitars, I love the lyric of "I do not understand my God."

 

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1 hour ago, Mole said:

I don't know if it's perfect or better than perfect. This is the most unbelievable performance I've ever heard. Lalah Hathaway's vocals are obviously mind blowing, but the band is smoking, and after the polyphonic singing starts up towards the end (she's comping for herself like a keyboard player and hitting all the changes, check out the interplay between her and the organ), the band cranks up the energy and just blows the roof off of the thing. It's cool to see great musicians obviously blown away by each other and collectively raise to another level. Lot's of former UNT kids in this too, so Mean Green represent.

 

I follow David Crosby on twitter, and he's pimping Snarky Puppy on the regular.

 

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1 minute ago, baboso said:

I offer up Divine Intervention. 

Yeah, speaking of insane guitar tones.  Just nasty, fuzzy, cram-a-Shure-SM57-in-the-speaker-cone overdriven sound.  What an album.

My sis is a classical pianist of some renown, especially in the opera world.  We have a hard time seeing eye to eye on pop music.  She just doesn't "get" most of it, although there are certain things from her teenage years she digs like James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, etc., probably for nostalgia's sake as much as anything else.

A few months ago she sent me some photos of a bunch of CD's her ex had left behind and asked if I wanted them.  I had a bunch already and didn't need the rest -- I probably gave him the ones I liked -- but I told her to listen to about a dozen of them to make sure she wanted to give them away.  I pointed out Counting Crows, Los Lobos, Aimee Mann, and . . . Matthew Sweet.  She called me a couple of hours later raving about "Girlfriend".  She didn't end up keeping any of the rest, but that one tickled the Beatles' nerve endings.  Told ya', sis.

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Harry Chapin is amazing.  I humbly submit that this is his best.   A guy that had big dreams, and he's a fucking loser driving a cab and getting high.  A woman with equal dreams, living a dreary life. 

 

 

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