Excluding instrumentals, the beauty of a good song comes from the listener's ability to connect with some aspect of it.
Usually the connection comes from the lyrics.
A song's lyrics are like the pieces of furniture in a room. If you can't find a comfortable couch to lie on or a beautiful piece of art upon which to gaze, for example, then that room becomes a space you'd probably rather avoid.
It's so strange how subjective lyric interpretation can be.
It appears that the more abstract lyrics are or the more generalized the sentiment the lyrics describe, the more one can project what they want on to the meaning of a song.
I remember hearing for the first time "Everything Zen" by the British grunge group Bush back in 1995 or so.
From the lyrics, I couldn't quite tell what Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer and lyricist, meant when he said, "Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow/Dave's on sale again/We kissy kiss in the rear view/We're so bored/You're to blame."
In fact, I still don't understand what that means.
Who knows what lingers in the mind of a songwriter, but the songwriter.
I know when I'm writing a piece of fiction, sometimes all I'm able to conceive are a series of images that will hopefully translate into narrative prose.
For amateur poets, which most song lyricists are, the task of shaping visions or word combinations that sound "cool" into stanzas that speak to the human experience is a difficult one.
As our language landscape broadens, I suppose our ability to interpret nonsense should also expand.
Take for instance VH-1's Greatest 100 Songs of All Time special, currently airing at various times on that cable channel.
On the top 25 portion of the list, all the songs are from the 1980s through the 1990s. Ok, we're talking about songs of all time, right? And the only songs to chart in the top 25 don't even include "Let it Be," "Paranoia," "All Shook Up," or "What's Going On?"
The staff at VH-1 must be smoking crack.
Not only did those songs and their lyrics influence generations of musicians, writers, advertising executives, and wedding planners, I can assure you at least one of them is being played right now, as you read this, in some part of the world.
And that includes an elevator.
Trina Trice is the education reporter for the News Daily. Comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.