If you asked ten people what is the greatest rock song of all times, you would probably get nine different answers. [Two people would probably give you the answer that Rolling Stone Magazine has told them.] It begs the question; what makes a great song? To answer that question, I go back about 2300 years to Aristotle. Aristotle said (in not so many words) that great art was defined by having the ability to arouse emotions in the audience. That premise is simple enough. Asking one to name the greatest song is certainly a subjective question. There are no right and wrong answers. Music is a personal experience for each individual. How does a particular song make you feel? If it makes you feel nothing, chances are it’s not a great song. That is why you will get different answers from different people. For me personally, my moods change, my attitude changes and I can hear a song five or six times but it makes me feel nothing but then when I am in the right mood and right frame of mind, I’ll hear the song again and it will hit me; it will create an emotional response. From then on, every time I hear that song, I will remember the mood I was in and the song brings back that frame of mind.
Here is where I begin to have an issue with commercial radio formatting but maybe it’s just me. I like a variety of music. Sometimes I am in the mood to listen to classic rock, other times I might be in the mood to hear something a little more raw and other times, I might want to hear something a little lighter. Just because I eat steak every day doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good chicken dish on occasion. Does it? For the life of me, I can’t understand why commercial radio formats are so narrow in their scope. In all honesty I believe most people want variety; they want to be exposed to music that they have not heard before. When I was growing up, we were exposed to new and interesting music; by way of the radio. Now days, I tend to be exposed to new music through television shows, commercials, and NPR which does a pretty good job of highlighting new and interesting artists. If you stopped listening to music in high school or college, as a lot of people do, it’s not because you lost interest in music, it’s because you lost the time, effort, and desire to seek it out. It’s still out there but it takes more of an effort these days to find it.
The bottom line is, there is an intimate relationship between the artist and the listener. No one should be telling you what you like it’s a personal decision. How do you know if a particular song is a great song if you’ve never heard it? If you like music, make an effort to find it. Make the effort to enjoy it.