What Makes Good Music?
Updated: Feb 7
This article was originally published in the Indie Music Feedback blog.
It is a question that is commonly asked, that I feel (in just my honest opinion… just an opinion.) doesn’t really have a concrete answer.
I think it really varies per listener.
Music has become so complex and complicated, I feel that it is more divided and subdivided more than anything else. Genres have become so wide and varied, and the audience they cater to is so dynamic. I think the only universal thing about it now is a lot of times, they use the same recording software, and use the same instruments. (some might contest, but meh…)
So some might say, production techniques, others will say structure, there will be some who would say lyrics… etc.
But for me, I would say, “Connection and Experience.”
I do look at the technical aspects, although I am not highly particular with it. I feel those are just some parts of the basic components, all the technical stuff that goes with the music I listen to is just a little piece of bonus detail nugget that enhances what I have already experienced.
But personally, when I listen to music, I always worry about how it would make me feel, what kind of emotion will it bring out in me? What kind of memories will I have from it?
I grew up listening to albums. And for me, listening to albums gave me different kinds of emotional experiences.
There was a Sex Pistols compilation album that I listened to a lot because I felt like a grimy little shit. I listened to RATM, because I felt rebellious and militant. Metallica’s library made me feel like I was following a series of stories. Weezer’s Blue Album made me feel like an isolated nerd… I could go on and on and on…
In my opinion, good music should make a connection and should provide some kind of emotional experience or trigger. It should connect to you on a very deep level, it would be difficult to describe it in simple words. It should give you an experience, that it will be very difficult to replicate it, but well enough that you will never forget it. It should shape thoughts and emotions. And most importantly, it should inspire and shape a person.
Good music is also encouraging, enriching, and most of all, honest.
Does it really matter what are the technicalities involved in the making of a song? Or is it more important to know the story as to why and how it was written? What really makes good music?