Why People Like Certain Songs: Seeing the Trees From the Forest

Everyone at one time or another has stopped while a song was playing and exclaimed: “Wow, I really like this song.” Being a very analytic person, I find myself wondering why people like certain songs.

You don’t have to necessarily analyze what you hear to enjoy it, you just do. On the other hand, it might be fun to know why you like or dislike songs. If you focus on certain elements that move you, it might be reason to love a song even more.

Obviously the melody and the words are what most people relate to. Even those can be separate. The melody could be weak but the words could be powerful or meaningful.

Many years ago, as a young teacher, I was teaching a private instrumental student: “Bless The Beasts And The Children”. Honestly, I could not get on board with the melody. The words were nonexistent at the moment. It wasn’t until I heard the interaction of the melody with the chord progression that I felt comfortable playing the song. From then on I added the support of the chords internally.

Let’s set aside melody and words, and see the trees from the forest.
Did you ever just listen to a bass line? Not only is it the foundation for everything else, it can be very interesting on it’s own. Sprinkle in some tasty drums and you have a driving force for almost any band even without the melody. Get them vamping and I can groove on them all afternoon. I find them getting my creative juices flowing. A good example is the back up I down loaded last week without the lead: “Nite and Day” by Al B. Sure. The more I play along, the more ideas I get. The melody is short and basic.

Sometimes, the addition of horns in different combinations give you more tone colors and excitement.
Not to mention the lines and solos that the horns supply to the finished product. Did you ever go to a live concert and you felt something was missing but you didn’t know what (and you were slightly disappointed)? Just maybe when your favorite band didn’t use string sounds live. Again at face value, it was not right. The warmth of strings added to a rock band is like sprinkling a secret spice to mashed potatoes. It just doesn’t seem right if it’s not there.

Of course the voices of the lead and back-up singers could be good or not so good. I personally downloaded a song recently that felt great but the lead singer, in my opinion, didn’t cut it. Still I found lots to grab on to.

Some people fall in love with a band and every song they play is great. Blind loyalty!

How about the first time you heard a song and your girl/boy friend dumped you. No matter how great the song is, you will hate it forever!
I hope you have been spared that experienced.

What ever you do, try to find the beauty in music. It’s fun to figure out why you like certain songs. ENJOY!