I've always been fascinated by songs, and what makes one song great and another not so hot. There is so much that goes into a great song. Obviously, you have to have both a memorable melody and meaningful lyrics. And the song has to be constructed in such a way as to please and surprise the listener over and over again.
Great songwriting is a craft as well as an art. I love that place where the craft and the art meet.
This is the first in a series of posts in which I hope to explore different facets of songwriting and also post some examples of what I consider great songs. And eventually, come to some conclusions about exactly what elements go into a great song.
The first song I'm posting was written and performed by Michelle Shocked, on her 1992 album, Arkansas Traveller. Ironically, I chose it not because it illustrates any particular premise about songwriting. It's just a song I find myself listening to a lot. And aside from the catchy melody and propulsive pace of the song, the reason I love it as much as I do may have more to do with the fact that it's structurally a travelogue about Los Angeles circa 1988 (a few years before I moved there) and therefore personally interesting.
Michelle Shocked - Come a Long Way