Another one from me in this area of the forum, I'm afraid, hoping it will elicit some contributions from one or two members. 😊
Just a fun thread; and countless songs to choose from, of course.
Although I do think lyrics often matter, it's the sheer tunefulness of some songs that most grabs my attention a lot of the time - and the way that tunefulness is presented in the arrangement. (By the way, if this thread was about tuneful ABBA songs, then Dum Dum Diddle would be right up there as far as I'm concerned.)
I'm hoping someone will be able to pick what they regard as a modern tuneful pop/rock song. I say this because I feel there might be a general lack of attractive melodic ideas in today's popular songs. Or am I wrong about that?
Anyway, here's one that appeals me at the moment (from 1971). For me, so charmingly tuneful, and I like the arrangement, too.
What are some of your 'most tuneful pop/rock songs ever'?
I also find very little new music has any appeal to me. But I’m an old fart now. There is one fairly recent song - not obscure at all - that I really love. Very tuneful in my opinion, and good lyrics. Here it is:
Thanks for those choices, Gary. Two of my favourite songwriters, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan, both good with words and music, in my opinion; and I don't feel many of Dylan's tunes get the appreciation they deserve because a lot of the attention is on his lyrics, of course.
Here are a couple of late 1970s songs from Rupert Holmes (of the Pina Colada Song fame). Again, I also like the lyrics, but the tunes of both would stand up on their own for me. The second one is a cover by Manhattan Transfer, which I slightly prefer to his own version.
Agnetha had a gift for writing pretty tunes for her songs, and I like that one.
I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum that my buying a Ronettes compilation album led to my taking more interest in songs from the 1950s and early 60s - an era of some wonderfully tuneful pop, in my opinion. Love this one. Originally recorded in 1952 by Mel Carter, but I really like this version recorded by Gloria Estefan in the early 1990s The song is a wonderful example - for me, anyway - of the appeal of, and what can be done with, an 'obvious' chord progression. Is there a lack of such harmonic movement in the modern-day pop that I've heard that limits its appeal for me? Probably! I really don't think it's just an age thing, though I'm sure that has something to do with it, here and there. :-)
They've written a lot of great melodies, that's for sure. But have you ever really paid much attention at the Bee Gees' songs' lyrics? They're insanely random, and when they're not simply puzzling, they're mostly practically meaningless.
Even Bjorn's weakest lyrics are works of art compared to the mostly nonsense lyrics of the Bee Gees songs. Theirs are the kinds of lyrics you would expect to be randomly sung on the demo versions, certainly not on the finished, commercially released versions.
It's astonishing that nobody noticed how whacky the Bee Gees lyrics are. I certainly hadn't noticed until somebody told me a few years ago, and by god, they were right. The Bee Gees have some of the most ridiculous lyrics ever. Some are almost hilarious.
I mean, even the oft-maligned "Dum Dum Diddle"'s lyrics tell a coherent, logical story.
You can be sure that if ABBA songs had lyrics as random and as throwaway as most of the Bee Gees songs have, ABBA would still be crucified for this today. ABBA would have zero credibility if their lyrics were so nonsensical. Critics would still be laughing at ABBA if they'd had such dud, empty lyrics as songs like "Stayin' Alive" and "Nights on Broadway" do. Great melodies, sure, but those lyrics are complete crap. They're no better than demo-quality, yet hardly any critics seem to have noticed or commented on the fact that the Bee Gees are the kings of dumb, anything-goes lyrics.
Thank God Bjorn knew how to write reasonable lyrics at worst, as well as some truly excellent ones (e.g., TDBYC and I Let the Music Speak).
Some Bee Gees songs are almost shameful, lyrics wise. Truly laughable.
Interesting the discussion about lyrics. Quite often I can kind of ignore what I regard as poor lyrics if I like the tune, vocals, and arrangement - almost like enjoying a song in some incomprehensible foreign language ;-)
For me, Carole King is a brilliant songwriter - right up there at the top with the rare few of the best pop composers. So many hit songs, many written when just a teenager or in her early twenties, with lyrics by Gerry Goffin, her husband at the time.
Here's just one of them (1961), when she was 19. This is a great soulful, live, cover by Billy Joel from 1997:
And this pop gem - originally a big hit for The Shirelles in 1961 - recorded by Carole King herself, from her 'Tapestry' album (1971):
Ha! Funny that Billy Joel should make an appearance now, following a conversation about the Bee Gees songs and their poor lyrics, because Joel's songs are the exact opposite: snappy, smart, just superb! He's maybe the best, or if not, at least one of the very, very best, lyricists in the entire world of popular music. Honestly, he makes over-hyped lyricists like Tim Rice look mediocre by comparison!
Here's just one among a multitude of incredibly good, amazingly tight and engaging lyrics in the Billy Joel songbook:
Only the Good Die Young
Come out Virginia, don't let 'em wait You Catholic girls start much too late But sooner or later it comes down to faith I might as well be the one
Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray They built you a temple and locked you away But they never told you the price that you pay For things that you might have done Only the good die young That's what I said Only the good die young Only the good die young
You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd We ain't too pretty we ain't too proud We might be laughing a bit too loud But that never hurt no one So come on Virginia show me a sign Send up a signal and I'll throw you the line The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind Never let's in the sun Darlin' only the good die young
You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation You got a brand new soul Mmm, and a cross of gold But Virginia they didn't give you quite enough information You didn't count on me When you were counting on your rosary
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait Some say it's better but I say it ain't I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints The sinners are much more fun