Monday, March 27, 2006

Best Song Ever

It's always a tough question when you ask a music fan what his or her favorite song is. There are so many that resonate in so many different ways, and depending on where you are at and what you are feeling different songs hit you in different ways. There is also something to be said for the effect a song has if you haven't heard it in a long time. That's why I will never attempt to answer what my favorite song is. However, deciding what song is the best ever is an entirely different question. It's theoretically possible that one may not even like a song that one acknowledge's to be the best song ever. In fact, the song that I have only recently decided is the best song ever is one that I wouldn't want to hear too often because I would definitely grow to hate it.

If you had asked me to name the best song ever when I was in middle school, I likely would have said Hank Williams Jr.'s "Monday Night Football" theme song. I wasn't too much into music at the time (in my defense if you grew up in the 2 Live Crew/New Kids on the Block Era/M.C. Hammer era you understand). Then in high school, I probably would have nominated a Beatles song for best ever, probably "Let It Be" (I've always been a sucker for McCartney's melodies, and the George guitar part in there is perfect). In early college I would have said the Doors "The End" is the best song ever, and in late college I would have gotten in a fight if anyone said Dylan's "Desolation Row" isn't the best song ever (unless they said Dylan's "Gates of Eden" is the only song better...I would have let that one slide).

Now I realize that the best song ever can't be something esoteric like "Desolation Row." "Desolation Row" can still be the best folk-rock dirge ever, but the best song ever needs to be something that can cut across cultural boundries. It must be something that can work on "Kids Bop" and something that can be played at a senior's convention. It must be something that men and women can listen to. It must be something you can enjoy if you are erudite or illiterate.

It must also walk a fine line between having meaning and not having too much meaning. "Desolation Row" has no apparent meaning at first listen, but upon opening oneself to the song, it has seemingly infinite meanings. The best song ever can't do that. It must have a universal meaning that is obvious at first listen, and it must stop there.

Since music is emotional, the best song ever needs to touch an emotional chord, it must be "slightly mawkish." It can not be schlocky or bombastic, but should leave one feeling slightly embarrassed for liking it. That's why it should likely be a piano heavy song. That's why Elton John came very close at many times to writing the best song ever, but ultimately fell short. For it must be a modest down-to-earth human who wrote the song, and not someone wearing sunglasses the size of Rhode Island. That's why the best song ever is...

100 Years by Five For Fighting


Blogger Heidi said...

i disagree. seriously. why make yourself a fool by picking only one? why don't you leave it open ended like....

"and after writing this post, i declare that i have changed my mind about picking only one. The fact of the matter is, one song can not dominate any other song and one song can not be inferior to any other song." The End.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Cristina Williams said...

I do agree that that is a very good song, but i disagree in saying that it is the best song ever.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Azor said...


Do you really think all songs are relative? In my opinion, "Pictures of Matchstick Men" by the Status Quo clearly dominates "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" by Motley Crue. Also "I Saw the Sign" by Ace of Bass is clearly inferior to "Well Respected Man" by the Kinks. Unless of course I'm misinterpreting the title of "I Saw the Sign." If the title is actually "I Saw the Sine" (as in sine, co-sine, and tangent) then that is actually the best song ever.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

was that math you were talking about? math10? i think i may have to boycott this blog if you do that anymore. i just had another heartfelt with my math teacher, seriously five minutes ago... aww...good times. anyways. yes i seriously think all things are relevant except time.

im talking smack you know.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Azor said...

Not to worry Heidi, I go years without referencing math. Although speaking of math and music, there is actually a genre called "Math rock." One of the seminal bands in the genre is actually from Louisville.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

yeah, and there's MuteMath, which i think everyone should check out.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

moneen is a mathcore band. apparently because you have to be good in math to understand the music when its written out, or something.
finally theory is good for something.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree with your "best song ever"
it's totally "u can't touch this" by mc hammer.
mc hammer is more than a rapper...
he's a faith healer.

6:45 PM  

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