Some good friends and I get together every few weeks to hang out, listen to songs and to talk about how we think they work. This past week we talked about several pairs of songs that sound similar but are still very different in mood or meaning. One of the examples was Good Old Desk by Harry Nilsson vs. Hummingbird by Wilco).
After a while, the discussion about individual songs expanded into a general aesthetics nerd-off, and after reading up on the subject a bit (online – no book recommendations yet), I find myself wondering how you listeners evaluate the music you like.
What are the characteristics you look for in songs and artists? How many different ways can a song work for you? Do you distinguish between so-called “guilty pleasures” and music that is somehow “great”? If so, is the distinction a matter of taste, or a result of some kind of systematic philosophy?
ps – Wow, many new books for me to read now. Thanks to everyone for posting, even if it makes my bookshelf collapse…. I’m going to keep posting to that entry as I find more good music books, and I encourage everyone to do the same, if inspired.