META ALERT: Rock Remnants on Song!

We started RockRemants because we enjoyed talking together about the music we liked and saw. It is safe to say that we didn’t have a plan, and it’s safe to say we still don’t, but some themes emerged early.

For instance, we each have different tastes, and different ideas about what is Rock and what is a Remnant.

We also have discovered that this is a fun medium for writing about songs we like and songs we hate, thanks to YouTube, and one of the crosscurrents of our dialogue has been a discussion about great songs. I started this early on with a Battle of the Songs feature, that asked readers to listen to two songs and vote for the one they thought best. The problem was we had no readers then, so the vote would often come down to Steve on one side, me on the other, with Gene the tiebreaker.

Now, Remnants friend Ron Shandler has asked a simple question: “What is it exactly that makes a good song? I thought maybe doing a search on the site might bring up something, but it doesn’t. And I know that everyone has their own opinion, but I’m really interested in how you guys would answer that question. When you hear a song, what exactly is it that makes you think, “wow, that’s good”?”

Ron’s daughter, Justina, is a young pop songwriter. She’s winning awards, forging partnerships, trying to make her way as a musician and songwriter. So there’s that. But also deep in Ron’s biography were his days as an aspiring musician, before reality got real and he had to take the traditional route to earning a living: Becoming a fantasy baseball entrepreneur.

The Remnants accept Ron’s challenge. For as long as it stays interesting we’re going to explore this question explicitly. Here’s my answer:

I think great songs are catchy, original, emotionally present, and they sound important.

I like Da Doo Ron Ron because it’s as catchy as a nursery rhyme, and sounds absolutely totally inevitable (but unlike any other song), and it is epic, but it’s about that simple giddy moment of infatuated first love that has no name but is the most exhilarating feeling in the world. This pop song has got the whole package.

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