what do you look for in music

Discussion in 'Music Discussion' started by acidrock, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. acidrock macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2004
    The Evergreen State College
    When you buy or listen to music, what are you listening to? Is it just background noise? Are you listening to the lyrics, the melody, the sound of the instraments?
  2. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I generally listen for a good composition. C, Am, F, G7 doesn't exactly do it for me. I like music with some tonal substance to it.
  3. joeyjojoe macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    lyric, meaning, something more than just instrumental sound. i know a lot of bands just add lyrics hodge-podge on top of songs they've already written, but i think it normally shows.
  4. srobert macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2002
    For me it's mostly the melody, although, I can also appreciate clever lyrics.

    When I find myself whistling the melody of a song, it's a good song for me. I guess that's one of the main reason I really fond of old jazz (ragtime, dixieland, charleston, swing) and celtic/gaelic/irish folk. It might also be why I don't enjoy modern jazz as much (free, acid, D&B, etc...). I also have a thing against "angry" music. Thanks but no thanks. :D
  5. womencantsail macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2004
    Siberian Labor Camp
    Good lyrics, good instrumentals. Anything else is garbage, and should not be listened to.
  6. Opteron macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2004
    South Australia
    I enjoy listining to music that a group/band have obviously put a lot of time, effort and soul into. Not that Pop Trash.
  7. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    The lyrics and the melodies are important, but if you were to read the lyrics of most songs without ever hearing the song as performed by a gifted artist, it could be easily dismissed.

    For example these lyrics,

    "I've got a ticket to the fast city, where the bells don't really ring, getting off the plane the cold air rushes like bullets through my brain.
    And I'm divided between penguins and cats, but its not about what animal you've got, its about being able to fly its about dying nine times."

    don't do much when you read it, but how it's sung and the accompanying melody really makes it special and stirs emotions. I love this song, but I can't put a finger on why I love it so much. Songs like these just grow on you.


    That's awesome, scemo. I'm going to enjoy reading your thoughts on music.
  8. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    i hate songs which are just the same as all the rest (ie pop music).

    I like music which shows talent in all of the players, but they all take an even part in playing the song (Incubus, Chili Peppers).
  9. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    Hmmm, this is tricky one. I listen to a lot of different stuff.

    I listen to a fair amount of stuff that the general population wouldn't count as music.

    Merzbow, is a Japanese noise artist. I can listen to his stuff for hours. It just obliterates every other sound around you! I listen to it most often on trains or buses where I don't want to hear anything from my surroundings.

    Drone/Sludge Rock. Earth and SunnO))). Best experienced live. The sound produced is just incredible. Feeling the low frequencies against your body is awesome.

    I've started experimenting in randomly generated and improvised electronic music.

    As stated by other people. Pop/Chart music has absolutely nothing in it that interests me. It's more about which record label has the best marketing division than the music it produces.
  10. calculus Guest


    Dec 12, 2005
    This is a really difficult question to answer and I may have to have several goes at it as I think about it. I guess that most of us use music in different ways at different times. This is certainly true for me and so it follows that I am looking for different things at different times.

    One of the things that I look for is authenticity, there are some musicians who, it seems to me, would do what they do regardless of what is considered 'commercial' or whatever response they get. These are the people who map out their own route. I am thinking here of people like Mark E. Smith of The Fall, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits.

    I am also looking to hear something I haven't heard before. This gets harder the older I get as so much music is simply a rehash of what's gone before. That doesn't necessarily make it 'bad', just something I have heard already.

    I am bound to have some more thoughts on this...
  11. zephead macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2006
    in your pants
    I listen to just about everything in a song. It's interesting to listen to different elements of the music every time you listen to it (like staying with one instrument/vocal when other parts seem to be overpowering it). I also find it interesting to listen to parts of the music that might not be immediately apparent (bass, drums, other instruments). I also like to listen to how the vocals/instruments wrap in nicely with the beat. The emotion/soul/work that a singer/band puts into it also scores big points with me.
  12. FullCollapse macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2006
    Oneonta, NY
    mostly honesty and heart. even if a band isn't the most talented around, if they have these qualities i can really enjoy them. beyond that it depends what kind of music i'm listening to.
    i listen to a lot of instrumental stuff like explosions in the sky, so for me the melodies are really important.
    if it's some form of hardcore/metal, i'm listening mostly to rhythm. good vocals are important, but i'm usually more fixated on how the vocalist sounds more than what the lyrics are about.
    innovation is always nice.
  13. Airship macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2007
    The last thing I listen for in music, and I believe in an ideal world this would be the same for everyone, is a song. You know, lyrics. I don't mind them, but they're just not important. I listen out for composition and sound, or sometimes just sound alone. I listen to a lot of funk, jazz, folk, noise and trip-hop/hip-hop. A hell of a lot of modern electronic music too, but I'm not too keen on the sound and production on older electronic. I think my favourite music is downtempo.
  14. Aarow macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2005
  15. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    The melody and quality of instrument playing.
    I think the quality of playing is a bigger deal with me. same with vocal music
    I prefer well trained, good quality voices.
  16. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

    Nov 21, 2005
    I agree, but I would point out that this is not the exclusive domain of 'cool' music. I think you can always hear when people are making real music, regardless of genre. This is why Abba were great and Steps were terrible, despite superficially similar songs. I should point out that I am not a cheesy Abba-lover :D - I chose a particularly poppy form of music to emphasise the point.

    Again, I agree but should point out that it is often the subtlest of things that make something sound fresh - the intangibles like attitude, passion and feeling. You don't always have to be on the cutting edge to feel exciting and new.

    I am a lover of great lyrics, but they do not always have to tell a literal story. Some of my favourites simply evoke a feeling.

    For me the most important thing is how it makes me feel. Some music does this using complex structures and sophisticated melodies; some music does it with a few chords bashed noisily on a guitar. Also, the sophistication is not always where you are conditioned to expect it: those of used to lots of melodic pop/rock may completely miss the sophisticated polyrhythms in good rap.

  17. calculus Guest


    Dec 12, 2005
    I pretty much agree with everything you have written here. The Abba / Steps comparison is a great illustration. Abba were terrific and I love their music.

    Spot on about what makes things sound fresh too!
  18. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    That's what I meant. Lyrics are genius without the need to be so literal. :) Glad we agree.
  19. Kernow macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2005
    Hmm - interesting thread. I don't think I have ever really analysed why I like particular music, but off the top of my head I would say that the genre/type of music matters least. I will listen to pretty much anything if the band/artist show some kind of genuine personality, uniqueness or inventive quality. Scenes or labels or any kind of derivative music tend to put me off.

    Lyrics, although important, don't matter to me as much as the melody, composition and overall feel of the song. Musicianship of itself doesn't really matter either - there are plenty of ramshackle quirky tunes that I prefer over virtuoso but generic songs.
  20. epochblue macrumors 68000


    Aug 12, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    When I listen to music (or am auditioning new music) the first thing I notice is how the music and vocals (sound, not lyrics) work together. If the two don't grate on my ears or otherwise turn me off then the album will stick around and hopefuly warrant repeat listens.

    After a few times through the album I'll start to pay attention to the lyrics more. If I find something there I like, then more's the better, but unless the lyrics are really bad, it's not a deal breaker.

    So, I kind of ingest my music in layers....I think it makes for a better musical experience, as I pick up on something new through each listen.

    BTW - excellent thread idea :)
  21. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    There's never just one thing. Powerful lyrics can cover deficiencies in composition or performance, but likewise a tightly written melody and energetic performance can make boring lyrics listenable. There's a certain interplay that hits the right spot. Sonic texture is quite important, as well, which is why Radiohead is such a gift.
  22. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Shouldnt the title be "What do you listen for in music?" ;)

    I 'listen' for good lyrics and then melody. Style doesnt really matter as long as lyrics and melody is good. This is evidenced by my somewhat strange iTunes library.

    It includes Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Happy Hardcore :eek: , RnB and a dash of the beautiful Mandy Moore :eek: .

    Crazy eh? :cool:
  23. OwlsAndApples macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2006
    Melody first, I only really notice lyrics after a couple of listens. I look for care more than exessive production, I like to feel that music sounds as good live (or better) as the recordings. I notice guitar fills, as seen in my love of graham coxon's music, whilst my brother will notice bass lines and chord progressions - influenced by the instruments we play.
  24. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Being a drummer I like to hear beats that are a part of the song not just keeping time. The drums are an instrument not just for rhythm. I want a song that builds not just something thrown together for a quick hit. Solos and chord progression. I want to be able to hear every instrument, Not just the lead over blowing everything else.

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