I began this thread almost five years ago on a whim. I love music and there's just something about a beautiful song that grabs me unlike any other form of art. As I visited this thread over the years, some things about beautiful songs became more and more obvious and I'd like to share them, if you'll indulge me.
First, some of you peoples' ideas about what's beautiful truly boggle my mind ;-). I mean this with some honesty and some tongue in cheek. I listened to most of the songs that I could find, and while I would agree that the vast majority were good, if not great, songs, I would be hard-pressed to call many of them beautiful. Pretty, maybe. Sweet, possibly. But hardly in the league with the truly beautiful.
I'll compare songs to women. Everyone's high school had a bunch of nice girls. The cheerleading squad was full of great ladies - nice looking, pretty, hot, sexy, etc. Most of them, you'd be proud to take home to Mom or date or eventually marry. But there's always that one girl. The one that made you a little sad inside because you know you could never be with her. When you saw her, you physically ached. The one that you know 50 years from now, you'll still be able to see her and think, Whoa. She's the beautiful one. Most of the songs listed in this thread were the cheerleaders, in my opinion.
I also started to see some common traits among the truly beautiful songs. Most of them fall in the simple category, not overly complex or impressive in their musical technique. There are a couple exceptions, but for the most part the truly beautiful ones are also pretty easy to play/sing from a musical standpoint. They are also almost all fairly slow. And soft (or at least have soft parts). Here was the really interesting stuff: many of them are from at least 20 years ago - there's only a handful from the past 20 years and the last 5 years is sorely under-represented. I tried to listen comparitively to some of the more recent ones mentioned and almost every time, I came away thinking, No, no, no - there's no comparison. A good song, but not among the most beautiful. I am not one of those people that believe that all the good music died a long time ago. Much of my music consumption is modern stuff from the last 5 years.
I was also intrigued by a few artists that kept getting mentioned with often no concensus on the most beautiful of their songs: The Beatles and Elton John being most notable. Some people just seem to have this ability to make many of their songs beautiful.
Continued in next post...