A couple weeks ago while driving from . . . somewhere (I have a mind like a sieve), Dave and I had the radio on. It may have been August for all I know, and the presence of Christmas songs on at least two stations doesn’t really help identify the season anymore, now does it? I heard next year they plan to just skip Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving and wind up the Bing Crosby around April. You can have a White Christmas when it’s 112 and you’re sweating your mammaries off.
Before I find myself neck deep in a Christmas rant – and really, let’s save that for another post – back to the topic at hand! The Beatles came on the radio, as they are wont to do fifty trillion times a day, and Dave and I started talking about “Yesterday” as the quintessential, perfect pop song. Something to keep in mind: David and I generally don’t agree on music. We meet up here and there, but it doesn’t happen all that often. In fact, usually when we start talking music a slap fight ensues with words like POTTY HEAD and DOODY FACE flung back and forth. These hurtful things take days to overcome, as they tear our confidence down and make us hollow shells of the craptastic people we were before.
The Yesterday thing made us realize, though, that if two assholes like us could agree it’s perfect, other normal people might say so too. Of course, from there we went on to talk about other perfect songs, and how genre effects what might be considered perfect. We both said Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” would probably be a perfect rock song, for example (no, not hard rock or metal, but just old fashioned rock. Put your horns away, Reuben). It’s catchy, it’s got the essential rock guitar solo, and it’s stood the test of time.
The logical question is “What makes a perfect song?” Before I get into identifying “the rules”, keep something in mind: the topic is subjective, so the rules are subjective as well. You may not LIKE my rules, but these are the rules David and I played by, and as such, they’re the rules I’m laying out for this post. That said, onward. I don’t want to cop out and say “you’ll know a perfect song when you hear it”, but you probably will. It’s a combination of catchy melody, a great singer, a balance between vocals and music, and lyrics. If a retarded squirrel wrote your lyrics, it probably isn’t perfect. If it’s one of those songs where the band just spits out the same section of lyrics on repeat fifty times? It probably isn’t perfect. It’s a song that even if you’re not a fan of a genre, you can say “yeah, I can see why you’d say that’s perfect”. It’s a song that will stand the test of time, and will be played fifty years from now when we’re all old and crumbly and pooping ourselves in the Old Folks Home (which sadly, negates obscure/Indie stuff because it didn’t get radio play in the first place).
Obviously, music is one of those things based on opinion, so I’m sure people won’t agree with my list. Better yet, I’m sure they’ll think of songs that should be added that I didn’t think of. If that’s the case, share in the comments. What I’d ask is if you want to put a song up there as perfect, you tell me which genre and why it should be there. If you feel that the damn thing warrants a perfect label, you should be able to say why. Oh, and if you’re feeling crazy, link the song.
Without further ado:
Hillary’s Perfect Song List
- 2Pac & Dr Dre – California (Rap)
- Al Green – Let’s Stay Together (R&B)
- Allman Brothers Band – Ramblin’ Man (Southern Rock) **
- Aretha Franklin – Respect (R&B)
- Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Pop) **
- Beatles: Yesterday (Pop)
- Bill Withers – Ain’t No Sunshine (Pop/R&B)
- Billy Joel – Piano Man (Pop)
- Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper (Rock)
- Boston – More Than A Feeling (Rock)
- Eagles – Hotel California (Rock) **
- Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds (Rock) **
- Eminem – Lose Yourself (Rap)
- Garth Brooks – The Dance (Country)
- George Harrison – My Sweet Lord (Rock) **
- Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind (Pop/Folk) *
- Heart – Crazy On You (Rock)
- James Taylor – Fire And Rain (Rock/Folk) **
- Jim Croce – Time In A Bottle (Rock/Folk) *
- Johnny Cash – Walk The Line (Country) *
- Kansas – Wayward Son (Rock) *
- Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven (Rock) ** DONE UNDER PROTEST
- Madonna – Like A Prayer (Pop) *
- Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (R&B)
- Metallica – The Unforgiven (Rock/Metal)
- Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Pop)
- Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes (Pop) *
- Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight (Pop)
- Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (Rock)
- Simon & Garfunkle – The Boxer (Rock/Folk)
- Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me) (Pop) **
- U2 – With or Without You (Pop/Rock)
* Added later as I remembered them
** Added after a recommendation by other people and I begrudgingly admit other humans have good ideas too
All right. I know I’m missing things, so I may update as the list comes creeping back into my brain, but it’s a good starting cluster. Now gimme more, folks. Tell me those perfect songs. Or, if you don’t agree with one of these songs as perfect, feel free to say why (reasons like RAP IS SHIT don’t count, btw).