Some music resonates with me. It might be an entire song, an excerpt of a song, or one small piece of an arrangement. Hearing the music will stir up a response. With some songs the response is the same every time I hear the song, others change. I’m amazed at the power of music to alter my mood, especially if I encourage it to do so. I believe good music is simply emotion transmitted through sound.
I love to listen to music and pick apart the layers. The bass line, the rhythm, the background vocals, the melodic fills, and the harmonies. The texture of music is fascinating.
My perception of musical beauty is rather bizarre because it encompasses so many different styles of music. I have a love for guitar-driven rock and pop, but I enjoy all sorts of genres. Here are several pieces of music that came to mind right away when I thought about music that resonate with me.
Johann Pachelbel – Canon in D (Particularly the melody)
The melody of this song is wonderful. It stirs up thoughts of beauty and grandeur. I’ve heard effective arrangements on many instruments, but a quartet featuring violins and a cello is the ultimate representation in my opinion. I like the simplicity of the chord structure–evident in the bass line–which provides a backdrop for the melodies.
Silvertide – Ain’t Coming Home (Particularly the guitars)
Here’s a change of pace. Silvertide was a Philly band that has broken up and is no more. They made one album that I think is musically wonderful, though it causes conflict within me. The lyrics of their songs are full of celebrating a life of excess and their morals are a little loose (or non-existent). This song is no exception.
Musically speaking this might very well be my favorite song ever. It’s like a musical candy bar, not very balanced or healthy but extremely sweet. It’s impossible for me to hear this song and not respond to it. Everything about this song is huge, the guitars, the drums, the vocals.
B.o.B. – Airplanes (The snare beat on the verses)
When I heard this song for the first time the snare beat on the verse jumped out at me. I was collecting data at an experiment site, and I just closed my eyes and listened to the glorious syncopation with my head nodding like a metronome, a smile on my face. I’m not a dancer, but that snare makes me wish I was.
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child o’ Mine (Slash’s riff and guitar solo)
Slash is the man (and he wears a top hat). This song is one of his best. His opening riff is one of the most recognizable rock guitar licks of all time. The guitar solo starts at 2:52 on the video below. At 3:26 he takes things to a new level, then goes even bigger at 3:41. Poetry with a Gibson Les Paul and an amplifier. Rock on.
Feist – Secret Heart (Feist’s guitar technique and the band accents)
Feist’s cover of Ron Sexsmith’s Secret Heart is worlds better than the original. Her live versions of the song and radio edit are better than the version on the Let it Die album. She does wonderful things with her Guild Starfire. I like the subtle muting, pull offs, slides, and sharp accents. The tone is devastating and the reverb is delicious. The botched notes at the end of the song don’t bother me; it’s a live performance, these things happen to the best of us.
U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name (The Edge’s guitar work)
The Edge knows more about delays than the Philadelphia International Airport. Most people associate guitar delay effects with U2, even if they don’t understand what they are hearing. The guitar intro for this song is something special.
Andrea Bocelli – Con te Partirò (Bocelli’s vocal)
Music is a universal language. I don’t speak Italian, yet I can appreciate the beauty of this song. When I heard it the first time I wondered what was being lyrically conveyed. There is so much emotion in the vocal delivery, yet if you do not know the language (like me), you’re left wondering if the song is happy or sad. Is it a song of loss? Is it a song of celebration? Is it an apology? If you don’t speak Italian (or Spanish, I suspect you can understand the song if you speak Spanish) I’ll let you ponder this yourself. For the record, I like the lyrical content of the song, but it was not what I expected.
EMF – Unbelievable
This song will always be one of my favorites (even if Kraft Foods is trying to ruin it with their stupid commercials). I like the guitars, the simple but interesting drum beat, the vocal delivery, the bass line, and the riff that turns up throughout the song. This song was used for baseball advertisements and highlights at some point in the early-to-mid 1990s, so in my mind I see slow motion replays when I hear this song.
That’s enough for now. One thing I did not mention in this post are songs that resonate primarily because of lyrical content. I have a long list of those too, but that’s something for another day.
Do any songs resonate with you?